Another Father’s Day has come and gone, folks, so I wanted to take some time and reflect on a great tradition in my family: the father-son road trip. I did it with my dad back when he was able, and now my own son’s talking about setting one up with me. Tell you what, I never felt as close to my old man as when we were out on that open road. If you haven’t done it, you’ve got to. It’s an experience you’ll never forget.
But before you pack your stuff and peel out, you gotta have a plan, right? So I thought about how my dad and I did it back in the day, and I came up with four suggestions for you. Check ‘em out, and when you’re done, I’d love to hear your own father-son road trip stories in the comments. We are so privileged to live in this beautiful country with so many road trips to choose from, and it’s even more of a privilege to have your dad along for the ride.
1. Find a Great U.S. Road Trip
Wherever you are in these United States, I’m sure a great road trip isn’t far away. I’ll just mention a few of my favorites here. Now, the one I did with my old man was straight up the California coast from Los Angeles to Monterey, and it’s still number one on my all-time list. You take the 101 to San Luis Obispo, hop on Highway 1 heading north, and hug hairpin corners high above the Pacific for the next 80 miles or so. I will tell you to my dying day that there is no more beautiful place in the world. But if you can’t make it out west, how about the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire’s White Mountains? Or the Tail of the Dragon that slithers through the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee? The theme here is natural beauty, and I would say that’s a firm requirement for a Father’s Day road trip.
2. Pick the Right Car for the Road Trip
Alright, let’s talk cars. I was fortunate enough to be pushing a ’69 Corvette drop-top with the 350 V8 when my dad and I did the California coast (we’re talking 26 years ago here; like I said, I’m no spring chicken), and that old beast is now worth about ten times what I sold it for, but I digress. My point is, get your hands on a neat car for the road trip, because you might only get to do this once. If you’ve got the right set of wheels in your garage, more power to you; if not, consider renting a Mustang convertible or something for the occasion. Just like the trip itself, the car for the road trip should be something you look forward to every day.
3. Prepare Your Car
This won’t apply if you’re renting, of course, but if it’s your own car, do yourself a solid and get everything checked out before you leave. A good independent mechanic will only charge you maybe 50 to 75 bucks for a safety inspection, and he’ll check out your car’s systems to make sure they’re all go. If you’re a DIY type, poke around on AdvanceAutoParts.com and see if you can’t put together your own little inspection. If your air conditioning isn’t blowing as cold as it should, for example, I’ve had good luck with this A/C Pro stuff.
4. Make Your Trip a Gift to Remember
The road trip is a gift to both of you, so make it special. Spring for that upgraded room with an view, and splurge on a nice steak dinner instead of pinching your pennies. Your old man has done a lot for you; now’s your chance to return the favor. You won’t regret it, I promise.
If you’re a Dad, tell us what you did on Father’s Day? Is there a road trip in your near future? Download a copy of our handy Rules for Road Trips infographic. It’s free.
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