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Five Tips for a Fabulously Fun Spring Road Trip

1.    Destination: The Journey IS the Reward
2.    Ride with A Road Warrior
3.    Choose the Road Less Traveled
4.    Pack the Miscellaneous and Unusual
5.    If You Plan for Lemons, You’ll Drink Lemonade

Driving season has finally arrived here in Illinois and it seems the K40 team spots another classic, hot rod, modern muscle, or high performance sports car on its maiden voyage out of hibernation.

“Where’s that driver headed?” we often wonder aloud as we look out our office windows. As driving enthusiasts, we begin to discuss past road trips and reminisce about being in the “way back” in the family wagon or the thrum of open pipes in a friend’s modified ride. These days, however, we might opt towards traveling in a K40 equipped BMW M4 for style, performance, and reliability. Regardless of the vehicle used, any road trip has five key considerations that can make or break a road trip.

We put these tips in a logical order of planning and immediacy…or in other words, what we feel you really should focus on at first to get your trip planning started. With that said, buckle in and get ready for a learning ride.

1.    Destination: The Journey IS the Reward

To us, the destination is really two-fold…the final location as well as the journey to the desired destination. Two road trips that highlight this philosophy would be Route 66 and The Pacific Coast Highway (aka California State Route 1). Sure, you can make a “final” stop on either of these iconic road trips, but it’s all the sights along the way that make a road trip epically memorable. Using the Route 66 trip as an example, you start in Chicago, IL (our home town) and end in Santa Monica, CA. Old bridges, quirky roadside attractions, kitschy diners, restored gas stations, vintage motels, and specialty museums are just a few of attention-grabbing sights you’ll see. Looking for something more “real”? How about checking out the Mojave Desert, Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, Meramec Caverns, and the mighty Mississippi River along the way? The point is, the journey to your destination IS the real reward to your trip.

2.      Ride with A Road Warrior

Now, we’re not suggesting you take someone like Max Rockatansky along for high speed thrills. Rather, you should travel with someone that likes to be in a vehicle for long periods of time for multiple days. Someone that, if you’re riding in a modified vehicle, likes the sound of a deep exhaust note. Or, if it’s a classic you’re piloting, someone that understands and accepts what four-forty air conditioning means. Whether you take one or more passengers, they need to be easy-going, adventurous, car-loving, flexible, and hey, it doesn’t hurt if they’re mechanically inclined (#5 tip comes to mind). Asking what kind of music they like to listen to for hours, if they have any special dietary requirements, and even if they’ve ever taken a similar trip or at very least what’s the longest amount of time they’ve spent in a vehicle can save you and them from a disappointing experience. One nice thing about taking a road trip with a K40 system is aradar detector/laser jammer countermeasure consultant is a phone call away anytime…even weekends! Watch how this couple traveling from IL to Florida got a K40 Consult as they were driving!

3.     Choose the Road Less Traveled

Going back to our Route 66 example, 80% of the original route can still be driven today but much of it goes through small towns and cities along their Main Street. Some see that as a slowdown, but we see it as an opportunity to find a hidden gem with a story to tell. For example, if you find yourself in the Quad Cities and cruise Moline’s downtown area, you might spot Lagomarsino’s antique marquee sign. Some feel this vintage ice cream parlor and confectionary makes the world’s best hot fudge sauce. The story goes Angelo, one of the founders, obtained the sauce’s secret recipe from a traveling salesman in 1912 for $25. With that cost equating to $655 in modern value, it’s understandable why Luigia, Angelo’s wife, wasn’t very happy with Angelo’s purchase at the time.

The lesson here is don’t be afraid to just take a random exit or follow a road side sign to a “homemade pie” place. Shut off the tech gadget (well…you may want to keep your GPS-powered K40 system turned on so you know your directional heading) and don’t plan everything by the reviews. Instead, travel the road less traveled. The places you find by chance offer so much tastier memories.

4.     Pack the Miscellaneous and Unusual

Let’s face it, even road trips with all sorts of things to see along the way will have long stretches of monotonous driving. Whether it’s due to an unchanging landscape or cruise-control set speed, you’ll hit a wall where you’re feeling a little burnt out and the adventure novelty is wearing thin. That’s where packing some random items can re-energize a trip. It’s kind of like the end of the Let’s Make a Deal game show. Bring a driver golf club and blast some balls into the desert, play Frisbee in a forest, break out a deck of cards and challenge some locals to a game, leave instant camera photos or label printer notes at stops…the list is only limited by what you have lying about your home. The key is to take along items that don’t seem “right” for a road trip or something that you use often, but can provide a mental and/or physical break and some memories that will be unique just to your trip.

5.     If You Plan for Lemons, You’ll Drink Lemonade

If you embrace the proverb, “the best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray”, your trip may sail along much smoother or at very least, experience less downtime for “incidents”. So, how do you plan for the unexpected? If driving an older vehicle, having extra belts, hoses, hose clamps, and even various fluids can keep you from being parked on the shoulder of a road. A foam mat can double as a comfy outdoors nap spot and a hail protector for your vehicle. A tube of Super Glue can fix many things, including small clean cuts you may incur after making a road side repair. A Swiss Army knife and Vise-Grip are nearly must have’s as they provide many uses. Our advice here is to pack things that if you are in the middle of nowhere, you can turn a sour experience into a sweet drink of satisfaction that you were able to get yourself out of a jam.

Speaking of the unexpected, no one starts on a trip – whether to the local convenience store or an epic cross-country adventure – planning on getting a speeding ticket. The K40 RLS2 Portable Radar/Laser Detector is a plug-and-play solution that warns you to slow down when police radar is being used. Combining it with a crowdsourced traffic information app like Waze forms a well-rounded plan to protect yourself from the sour experience of a costly ticket.

What’s your favorite road trip memory? Have you taken a trip in an unusual vehicle? Have you been saved by K40 while traveling? Please share your stories!

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