Road Trip to Athens, Georgia: Part 1 – What to Bring

Well, it’s been a long time since my fingers have graced these keys, and it sure feels good to be back. I’ve missed you all, and am looking forward to some serious catching up time this week.

So where have I been? On a little road trip, that’s where. And I’m here now to tell y’all about it. So pull the old pickup out of the shed, fill up the tank, roll down the windows and crank up the Rockabilly ’cause we’re heading down to Athens, Georgia to visit my little brother Joe…

It’s a long drive, so better bring along something to do in the car. Here’s what we brought along:

Books on CD:These are especially critical if one of your kids gets carsick when she reads in the car.

Feed by MT Anderson. A fabulous suggestion from daugher Nats. Narrated by a young teen who falls for a girl in a future America where everyone is plugged into the web via an implant in their brains, through which they are fed constant marketing messages matched perfectly to their live’s experiences. Chilling, and not so far off from a possible future. Not to mention a great opening line:

“We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.”

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D Schmidt. The sadly beautiful story of an unlikely friendship between Turner, a young minister’s son, and Lizzie Bright, the grandchild of former slaves in Phippsburg, Maine in the early 1900’s. Lizzie lives with her grandfather on Malaga Island in a racially-mixed community destined to be destroyed by the greedy townspeople of Phippsburg, who seek to turn the “Island of Maroons” into a resort community. Although the two children are fiction, the story of the town and the islanders is a true one. The author also weaves in nature in beautiful ways, giving the sea breeze it’s own role in the story, and making the reader long to ride with the whales.

Drive Time Italian. Learn Italian while you drive. Within the first few minutes, you’ll be saying many wonderfully useful travel phrases such as “Il camion e blanco” (The truck is white) and “Vedo un segno giallo” (I see a yellow sign). Actually quite a nice little audiocourse. We have till July to learn Italian, so this wasn’t a bad start.

It’s also not a bad idea to load up your IPOD with a few PBS podcasts to listen to when daughter Em asks for silence in the car so that she can do her homework. Here’s what I listened to:

China on the Rise: Paul Solomons’s seven part series from The News Hour with Jim Lehrer on the emerging economic giant. Fascinating.

NPR Fresh Air. My all-time favorite radio interview show.

World Cafe Words & Music from WXPN: Ah, WXPN – One of the radio stations I missed the most when I left Philly for NY. Now I can listen on line. If only Sleepy Hollow was on podcast…

We had a great little directory of stations nationwide that we tuck in with the maps so we’re never without our feed. But you can go online before you leave, punch in your trip route, and print out a personalized NPR Road Trip.

Okay, our listening needs are taken care of. How about some actual reading material? I brought The Namesake, Mr TBTAM read Nelson Demille’s latest book, and Em plowed through The Invisible Man.

Casino Royale
Oh, all right. I’ll admit it. We did pick up one movie along the way…Nats got through the first half hour in the car before we had to pull over for her to settle her stomach. We watched the rest in the hotel room the last night on the road. One of the best title sequences in a long time. More violent than I think 007 should be, but I would still recommend it. And be prepared for your libido to kick in, ladies, the new 007 may not be Sean Connery, but he is one hot dude…

Great Music
We’re heading South, so grab those Dixie Chicks CD’s. We also listened to John Mayer’s Continuum, and Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon, and Gillian Welch. We also found some great new music in Athens, but I’ll leave that for another post.

We actually did not pack much car food, just some fruit and cheese and pretzels and water and diet coke for me. We promised ourselves we would eat 3 squares and avoid road food, and we almost succeeded.

I love ’em, don’t you? The crinkling of the pages as you wrestle with them in the front seat with the wind tearing the edges from your hands…

Okay, we’re ready to go. Have I forgotten anything other than my pillow? What would you bring?

Next Up: The Road

2 Responses to Road Trip to Athens, Georgia: Part 1 – What to Bring

  1. Lordy, how I missed you!!!!!

    Hopefully you found Athens full of its Southern hospitality and gentility. I pray you filled yourselves with grits, fried chicken, biscuits, and collards.

    Can’t wait to hear what you have to say about new music since Athens is the hotbed of emerging musical giants. You’ll be cutting edge!

  2. A well planned road trip. I usually make a few MP3’s for the car since our radio is, ummm, in foreign languages. I need to figure out how to use my ipod for more than language courses…
    Lots of diet coke and all of the magazines I haven’t had time to read. I leave a trail of them behind wherever I go.
    Don’t you just love road trips?!?
    Can’t wait for the next installment!

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