By this point it shouldn’t be a secret that my happy place is behind the wheel of a car traveling across the country. For me, it’s not only relaxing, but a way to blow off some steam, collect my thoughts and simply enjoy the beauty that is, the United States (except for maybe Kansas). I’ve crisscrossed this country so many times now that I’ve got it down to a science. In fact, not too toot my own horn or anything, but at this point I’m one hell of a long distance driver. One thing that being in the car for long periods of time does is give you the opportunity to try out some new gadgets. Granted some work better then others, but for the most part each one plays a part in making long distance runs enjoyable. Listed below are just a few things that will not only keep you out of trouble, but make you’re journey a little more fun.
• Portable GPS Navigation Unit
These little buggers have literally revolutionized the way that people go about traveling. They’ll get you where you want to go, inform you about traffic jams, the weather and even tell you where to eat if the need arises. While still not a substitution for a good atlas, today’s GPS units provide instant feedback as well as piece of mind.
• Valentine One Radar Detector
I LOVE THIS THING, as it has literally saved me thousands of dollars in speeding tickets. I’m singling out this unit because I’ve logged over 100,000 miles of use with it and it has always come through for me. The beauty of the Valentine One is that it not only tells you what direction a signal is coming from, but gives you band and signal strength as well. This is a must for anyone who does distance driving.
• CB Radio
I’ll be honest, sitting in a car for 12-hours at a clip can sometimes get boring. Having a good CB radio with a nice long range antenna can not only help pass the time, but provide you with some pretty amusing conversations. Truckers for instance are some of the funniest SOB’s that I’ve ever had the pleasure of chatting with. Plus, not only will they provide you with vital traffic info, but they’ll also let you know of any police activity that’s going on.
• Cell Phone w/ Navigation
Having a cell phone in this day and age is a must for cross country travel. More than once has my phone saved me when I was stranded on the side of the road. Get stranded without one and it’s a very scary feeling. If you haven’t already, I’d recommend going with a new smart phone with a built-in navigation unit. Not only does it provide you with constant communication, but it can work as a backup in case your primary nav craps out (had this happen twice so far).
• Satellite Radio
If you plan on rolling across the great wide expanse that is the United States then you’d better have some tunes with you. CD’s and iPods are great, but for total uninterrupted music then satellite radio is the ONLY way to go. Trust me… I resisted this for quite some time, but after having it now, I’d never go back to regular FM.