1. Be sure to appreciate how beautiful she looks framed against the backdrop of a place you’ve never been before.
It doesn’t matter if you’re driving through the hill country of West Virginia, or stopping for fuel at a ramshackle gas station. Observing the little qualities of the person you love, even their habits you know so well, in a whole new context will shed a different light on them. Appreciate it. You don’t know when you’ll be here again.
2. Enjoy road food together.
If you don’t have time or the budget to stop at a roadside mom and pop’s, pack sandwiches and granola bars to eat on the ride. Often times the nagging pitch of your lover’s voice only sounds so grating because you’re hungry. Eat something! And it doesn’t hurt to crush some Benadryl up in their sandwich when they aren’t looking.
3. Stop someplace random and make it yours.
See that quaint little church with the curious red roof off in the distance? Take the next exit and have a look around. Stretch your legs, take some pictures, and remind yourself why this person is an amazing travel companion. Give them kisses under a tree that no one else will ever know about. Try to have sex with them there. Make some memories to last a lifetime!
4. Take turns controlling the radio.
After they lovingly tolerate your choice of Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run from beginning to end, it’s up to you to endure Taylor Swift’s 1989 with a clench-jawed grin. These are the small sacrifices on which a solid foundation is built. And you can both probably agree that Lana Del Rey is the shit, anyway.
5. Eat at a goddamn Cracker Barrel
I know we already discussed food earlier in this list, but if you’re lucky enough to be traveling through a part of the country that’s home to a Cracker Barrel, and you bypass the opportunity to give yourself and your significant other the gift of a meal in this fine establishment, there will forever be a black mark on your relationship—and on each of your individual souls. I’m serious. It may fester like a sore and take years to become apparent, but one day, when it seems like all is well, everything you’ve built will come crashing down. And all you had to do was enjoy some chicken fried chicken, or anything on the Cracker Barrel menu. Literally anything.
6. Let them sleep
Most likely, the carb (and gravy) heavy Cracker Barrel food mixed with all that crushed up Benadryl is going to put your loved one into a coma. Let them sleep! Don’t be one of those people who get all butt-hurt and seem to think they’ve been ditched just because your road companion needs to catch a few Z’s. Listen to whatever your heart desires on the radio. Admire the delicacy of your lover’s sleeping frame. Breathe in God’s creation as it unravels under your spinning tires. You’re one lucky motherfucker.
7. Know that the real trip takes place inside
Sure, you may have physically gone from Point A to Point B, but you and your significant other have come much further in terms of your feelings for one another. You don’t really know a person until you’ve spent countless hours cramped in a speeding metal box together. For all you know, now you hate their fucking guts. But hopefully you love them even more. The point is, now you know, and it didn’t take you twenty years of passive aggressive behavior to figure it out.
Note: I am not in anyway paid or endorsed by Cracker Barrel. It’s just delicious, is all.