I want to explain my strategy for handling long road trips. There are three steps involved outside of taking rest stops, gas stops, eating stops and the like. Whether your trip is four hours or twelve hours, my mile-marker strategy is sure to help you break up a long trip into a bunch of smaller ones.
So let’s start with this case scenario:
You have a road trip from Chicago to New Orleans. It should take you about 13 or 14 hours to complete it, depending on how fast you drive. Total trip – 928 miles – if you start with interstate 57 and end with interstate 55. How do you tackle this with the mile-marker strategy?
1. Figure out how many states you’ll need to go through.
For the purposes of our case scenario you’ll need to go through Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
2. Get the mileage for each state.
Illinois is 357 miles, Missouri is about 90 miles, Arkansas is close to 70 miles, Tennessee is about 10 miles, Mississippi is close to 300 miles, Louisiana is the difference. If your map didn’t tell you how many miles are in a state, you may be fortunate enough to be in a state where the mileage is going downward. The first mile marker in that state will tell you how many more miles you have left before you get out of the state. If you aren’t near a mile marker, then look for the nearest exit number. For example, if you’re at exit 203, and the numbers are going downward, then that means you have 203 miles left before you get out of that state.
3. Break up the mileage in each state based on a block of miles. Use a small number so that each goal only takes about 30-45 minutes to complete.
Most expressways allow you to go either 65 or 70 miles per hour. Given this fact, I’d recommend mile markers every 40-50 miles. Let’s go with interstate 57… it’s 357 miles between Chicago and Cairo, which is the last exit in Illinois. It roughly takes about six hours given construction delays and such and not to mention the speed limit is 65 miles per hour through the state. So let’s start at mile marker 357. I would do the next milestone at mile number 300. That should take me a little less than an hour to reach it. The next milestone would be mile number 250… then 200… then 160 which is Effingham. If you ride down an expressway often you’ll know where certain landmarks are so you may want to utilize landmarks instead of mile markers. After 160 I’d do 120, then 80, then 40, then the bridge into Missouri. After about six hours or so I’ve conquered a big hurdle.
4. Once you enter a new state, celebrate some kind of way… it may be as simple as taking a rest stop and getting a choice of beverage.
Usually when you enter a new state, the rest stop is not too far from the beginning of the state. This is a good time to celebrate. If you have the energy to keep trucking through, then maybe you celebrate at a food stop, or at a Walmart, or something.
So that’s my mile-marker strategy. I hope that it works for you the next time you have a long road trip. Let me know if it works for you or not. Once I discovered this method for road trips, it made road trips that much faster for me.