Yesterday it was 20 degrees for the first time in ages. That can only mean one thing.

Summer’s here! And more importantly, Road Trip season is here!

The Rules Of The Road (Trip)

I love road trips. I try to take one a year, usually to the far off mystical city of Toronto, where the nearest other big Canadian fighting games community is. I made many new friends thanks to these trips, and got into hilarious misadventures thanks to the zany group of geeks I travel with.

Due to the large number of trips taken, and the many silly incidents that occurred, I’ve come up with a bunch of unofficial road trip rules that I try to follow.

1. Seats rotate (divide trip in 4)
The annual Toronto road trip is as follows: 5 hours to get there, 5 hours to come home. There’s one stop each time, at roughly the 2.5 hour mark, in or near Kingston. This effectively splits the trip into 4 parts, and each passenger will have a different seat per part. The key I’ve found is to shotgun the backseat middle as soon as possible, and get it out of the way while you’re still fresh, so you can grab the front seat or one of the sides when you’re tired.

2. Driver gets priority
Seriously, the guy is driving about 5 hours each way, he deserves whatever he wants. If the driver needs a piss break, then goddamn he’s getting one. If the driver wants to fart and rolls up the windows to hotbox the car, then it’s hilarious. Deal with it.

3. Junk food is de rigueur
Road trips aren’t quite the same if you don’t eat some really greasy stuff that makes you feel like a teenager. I personally go for the Wendy’s, but it’s also acceptable to share a bucket of KFC with the boys if they’re into it.

4. If you’re gonna buy a porn mag, buy a 5-pack
This one may require an explanation. The last time we took a road trip, we stopped at a small town somewhere near Kingston. After sharing a bucket of chicken, we walked over to a small corner store to purchase some beverages and quench our thirst. As I was browsing the magazines, I noticed a big green sticker that said “5-PACK!” on a porn magazine.

“They sell porn magazines in 5-packs?” I thought. “More importantly, who still buys porn magazines? Don’t these people have the internet?”

So I pulled it off the shelf. Sure enough, there were 5 magazines taped together: one for each of us. Perfect.ย As I got into the car, I distributed them amongst the geeks, and let me tell you, it was hilarious. Cougars, foot fetish, shaving… I must’ve hit the kink jackpot. I saved the best one for the driver, of course, and as we showed him a centerfold spread, we were rewarded with a very loud exclamation.

“Why the FUCK does mine have a chick with a GODDAMN A DICK ON IT?!”

Yep. That one’s going down in the history books.

5. Gas gets split
This one’s kinda obvious. 5 people in the car, the gas gets split 5 ways. There’s no escaping it. If you’re part of the trip, then you’re pitching in for gas.

6. Figure out the sleeping situation beforehand
It’s very easy to get caught up in the ride details, as well as what we’re going to do at our destination (play fighting games), and forget about where we’re spending the night. We usually like to double check with our Toronto fighting gamers to ensure we can crash at one of their houses, but we have slept in very strange places before. Notable places of the past include parents’ house, the car, the floor of an all girls dorm, and no sleep at all, we just drove back all night. Which leads me to my next point…

7. Night driving requires a wingman
Not to be confused with the other kind.ย Driving at night is super dangerous, especially if the driver’s exhausted. If it can’t be avoided, make sure the geek in the front seat is awake, chatty, and keeping the driver up. We’ve had scares in the past where the car started drifting off the highway.

Thankfully it hit the bumpy noisemaker things on the sides, and my friend woke up and yelled “oh boss get back on the road or we’ll never play Tekken again!”

Seriously. You can’t make stuff like that up.

8. No smelly people
I can’t emphasize this one enough. If someone has really bad BO, it will spoil the mood of the trip. Shower, do your laundry, wear some deodorant. Whatever you do, DON’T STINK. Because you’re only going to get sweatier and smellier as the drive goes on.

This rule came out as a direct result of the Smelly incident of 2007. You see, at the time, one of our members bailed at the last minute. Wanting to help out, my good buddy Travis (names changed to protect the innocent) asked if he could bring his friend, also a gamer, to save money on gas. We unfortunately agreed.

Before our departure, he and his friend, henceforth referred to as Smelly, spent the night at Al’s house. Apparently, Smelly’s mild stink increased to mad BO overnight. To remedy this, Al suggested a shower in the morning. Alas, it was not enough, and Smelly continued to reek as the day wore on.
It got so bad that the driver said “No Smelly in the front seat,” and according to rule #2, the driver gets what the driver wants.

Unfortunately, this meant that everyone in the back had to deal with Smelly, who by this point had moved on from his original wet dog smell and mutated into a dead fish odor. To compensate for this, we put Travis in the middle forever, so he’d constantly act as a buffer between us and his stinky friend. It still wasn’t enough. We rolled down the windows. Nope. People smoked to cover the smell. Shake head sadface.

After we arrived in Toronto, and spent the day playing games, we realized how awesome it was to breathe real air again. As the time neared to return home, Al went up to Smelly, handed him a freshly bought deodorant stick, and asked him to put it on. Smelly began applying it under his arms, when Al shook his head.

“No man, ALL OVER.”

We all silently applauded Al’s valor, but it was to no avail. The ride home smelled like a decomposing corpse and deodorant stick.

9. Music is videogames related, or Michael Jackson
In all the years we’ve road tripped together, there have only been only two occasions where the music was to everyone’s satisfaction.

The first was when we played the Final Fantasy VII official 4-CD soundtrack. It’s about 4.5 hours of music, which covers nearly the whole trip. And it’s amazing. I mean come on, who doesn’t like the FFVII soundtrack? Since then, it’s become a staple, and along with videogame related chiptune music, makes sweet love to everyone’s ears.

The second occasion was when someone put on the classic Michael Jackson Thriller album. Because no one argues with Thriller.

10. Kick ass! We’re going on a road trip!
Bags are packed, controllers are ready, tank is full, friends are together, fun has just begun, hurray!

Do you have any road trip rules? When was the last time you took one, and was it awesome?

14 comments add yours

  1. hahaha I was going to mention #8 if you hadn’t included it. I literally had to burn the clothes I was wearing that time I was stuck next to smelly. He even fell asleep on my shoulder.

  2. Note to self: never go on a road trip with a group of guys.

    Quite honestly, I’m a solo-road trip fan. I like to roll down the windows, blast the music and sing at the top of my lungs… there is frequently also car dancing. And epic amounts of coffee. And I get to set the pee-break schedule. I also work on expanding my memory capacity by trying to play the license plate game by myself in my head if it’s a particularly long ride. If I want company? Well, that’s what bluetooth is for! (yes, I’m totally one of those people who uses the car to catch up with friends. Whatever.)

    Thanks for sharing, Rami – always an entertaining read. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Are you serious? Wow. You’re the only person I’ve ever met that prefers solo road trips. Totally cool.

      I do have one question though: if you’re car dancing, whose hands are on the wheel? ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Maybe it’s an introvert thing?

      I can dance fairly well and still keep at least one hand on the wheel… and a foot on the gas. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • lol, yup. I wrote that same note to self.

      I could do either.. alone or with friends. Right now ANY road trip would would be awesome. I’m waayyy over-due for time off.

  3. If the O man wants to road trip, then it shall be done! Pick a time and place, I’ll even get my license in a few weeks ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Totally forgot about the 5-pack of porn. Selective memory perhaps?

  5. Splitting gas 5 ways each time? Way too much work. On my last road trip, we kept a running tally of expenses on a little scrap of paper. Whoever was the lowest bought (whatever it was we were sharing: Gas, food, lodging, etc). Then it just goes round robin until the end of the trip when you all square up.

    • Ethan, I’ve done road trips that way too, and it always works out well.

  6. I’ve put on a lot of miles in my life, but I can’t say as I’ve ever ‘roadtripped’. Your road trips sound amazing! I think the seat rotation is particularly brilliant.

  7. I’ve only road tripped once in my life and that was 2,500 miles from Madison, WI to Pasadena, CA at the turn of the millennium. I sure could have used a few of these rules with the 5 other people in the minivan!

    Music selection always seemed to be the toughest decision along the trip though. I’d think where (and when) to eat would be but that wasn’t the case with my ragtag crew.

    Have any tips for supporting the driver when driving through two ice storms that nobody has any business being on the road for when it happens?

    • Yes! When your driver is going through dangerous times, everyone needs to mellow out, the music goes down, and the seat belts get fastened.

      Light conversation with jokes and positive thinking, and you make it through the storm in no time.

      Oh, and NO WET WILLIES ๐Ÿ˜€

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