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How to Road Trip Right: 10 Essentials

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By Paddy O’ConnellI descended Beartooth Pass and skirted the range, bought a $5 shower in Cody, and drove barefoot through Shoshone, Yellowstone, and…

By Paddy O’Connell

I descended Beartooth Pass and skirted the range, bought a $5 shower in Cody, and drove barefoot through Shoshone, Yellowstone, and the Tetons, listening to new Americana and eating month-old candied almonds. I had been on the road for three months, with six weeks in front of me, in search of springtime turns. I found an abundance of wiggles atop both sweet corn and isothermal sludge. But when is it ever about the snow, really? Like fishermen and meteorologists, skiers are great liars. Typically the conditions are either “all time” or “super sketch.” But if my adventure taught me anything, it’s that laughter is the soundtrack to every skier’s life. 

Stick them in your boots and A/C vents. Nothing kills morale faster than a car that smells like low tide. 

Stick them in your boots and A/C vents. Nothing kills morale faster than a car that smells like low tide. 

Coffee and Red Bull will run through you, and making good time is important...right? (Sorry, ladies, but due to ongoing confusion about your…

Coffee and Red Bull will run through you, and making good time is important…right? (Sorry, ladies, but due to ongoing confusion about your bathing-suit area, I have nothing to offer by way of a girls’ drive-’n’-pee. Other than a diaper.) 

My favorite is Mr. Potato Head. He is a terrible driver but a great listener. 

My favorite is Mr. Potato Head. He is a terrible driver but a great listener. 

Not just for boating. The greatest gift is a solid night’s sleep. 

Not just for boating. The greatest gift is a solid night’s sleep. 

No matter the time of year, always have a pair of leather gloves in your rig. They handle tinfoiled potatoes coming out of the fire, diesel refuels,…

No matter the time of year, always have a pair of leather gloves in your rig. They handle tinfoiled potatoes coming out of the fire, diesel refuels, engine tinkerings, and sausage-greased grills. 

Drapes, changing room, sunshade, flag for your fort... The possibilities are endless. 

Drapes, changing room, sunshade, flag for your fort… The possibilities are endless. 

Dirtbag welding can fix damn near anything. 

Dirtbag welding can fix damn near anything. 

Specifically lady pop. Mariah Carey can cut through the numbness of Nebraska like nothing else. Life is too short to pretend you do not love this…

Specifically lady pop. Mariah Carey can cut through the numbness of Nebraska like nothing else. Life is too short to pretend you do not love this genre. I also like Songza because it’s the greatest music app of all time. 

What works for MacGyver works for me. I do not go anywhere, except on a plane, without my Swiss Army Knife and Opinel. 

What works for MacGyver works for me. I do not go anywhere, except on a plane, without my Swiss Army Knife and Opinel. 

The speckled composition book is the original BlackBerry. Scribbling down travel-inspired notes, poems, and esoteric ramblings is one of the most…

The speckled composition book is the original BlackBerry. Scribbling down travel-inspired notes, poems, and esoteric ramblings is one of the most beautiful parts of a road trip. Also, it’s really handy if you run out of shit tickets.