How to be a Good Co-Driver
OK..Let's not get ahead of ourselves here, I don't drive when the rolling townhouse (aka Sven) is being hauled behind my beautiful Olaf. To be honest it frightens the crap out of me. So by co-driver what I really mean is, drink bringer, snack provider, pet pacifier (I could dedicated an entire topic to travelling with Kassidy – the other two are easy) navigator and most importantly entertainment coordinator. Note: I plan to figure out this whole towing the townhouse caper, I just plan to wait till we are on a nice flat straight road somewhere with no one else (Or attend a towing course – this will probably come first). Where was I, yes that's right being a good co-driver, this starts with a plan or schedule (I love schedules did you know that?). The schedule will let you know where you are headed for the day and how far it is, based on this and knowing your set up you should be able to estimate the time it will take. Now you can start planning. For example an entire day travelling will require multiple refreshments, possibly navigation and definitely entertainment, shorter trips will have less of these requirements (say one drink each and a small snack) – but always a lot of music (I do introduce the occasional game but this isn't always recommended as it could be a distraction).
Navigation we have a GPS and I like to program this before we leave. Especially if we are heading through a major town (or lets be honest trying to skirt around it). I do always try to have paper maps as a backup, as you just never know when the GPS is going to have a brainfart and send you in the wrong direction. For drinks I always make sure that the lid is left loose and can be easily accessible from the driver's seat (in the event that I fall asleep – this happens a lot, I am really a rotten co-driver). I have tried to ban chips in the car as salt ends up everywhere and it looks like a snowstorm (Marty likes to rub his fingers on his pants, drives me wild and is a waste of salt – LICK your fingers), this isn't working yet, and trail mix gets dropped ALL OVER my beautiful seat covers – how fussy am I (VERY this isn’t a trick question). Snacks – as above this is tricky, and I blame my father for this – there was a rule when I was growing up about eating in the cars, it really just didn't happen a lot, kinda like touching the windows and slamming car doors. Neither of these are an option for me (Kassidy ignores this completely – her window is dog snot city). Waffling aside and moving right along. Snacks do provide a good opportunity to stop and stretch your legs and have a break. This is a win win situation. It gets you out of the car, breaks the monotony of the journey (although I am never boring to travel with, just ask me), and keeps the car clean of crumbs etc. I guess my point is we take snacks but have these when we are having a break.
Entertainment – there are only so many games of eye spy that you can play on say ummmm the Stuart Highway, trust me we've done it a few times now. Music is always a great fallback. We have a monster sized iPod that has both his and hers (albeit a lot more of hers – I am in charge after all) music. Marty's music taste is questionable at best, mine is either all or nothing (ie I have ALL of Garth Brooks albums and if it wasn't for Marty nothing of Midnight Oil let's not even mention Greenday). BUT at the end of the day you need something to sing to, and by sing I mean loudly and offkey and I do this WELL. Just don't change the songs halfway through; apparently it can drive your husband nuts. Keep an eye out for photo opportunities and of course safe places to pull over. And ALWAYS pick a trip song, we do every trip, it is also the first song played every day to set the tone. Safe travels and remember if you have dropped the bottle of fizzy drink don't open it in the car.