Spontaneity and adaptability are sometimes key to any good travel agenda. About three hours before we planned to start our drive to Arizona, we checked the forecast for the 14th time and decided that the giant snowstorm aiming at our Midwestern home was going to steamroll its way over our westerly route first. Watching that and knowing that we had precious and particular days scheduled for vacation from work, we exchanged the hiking/climbing gear for paddling gear and swimsuits.
Florida Keys, here we come!
Matt is, admittedly, more of a road warrior than I am. Sure, I’ll drive for days, but I stop to sleep at night. He prefers the drive-all-night method. We compromised by agreeing to “see how it goes,” which meant we set out on his path and ended up pulling over for a few hours of sleep before charging on. The Keys were calling, after all, and there was snorkeling and sunshine to enjoy!
I discovered something, though, that will be noted for the future: long, hardly-stopping drives are hard on a changing body. The muscles and ligaments feel different, the weight settles differently now, and I’m convinced that taut core muscles don’t necessarily hold their shape as long in a sitting position for long periods of time. If I were to do this again with a little more planning ahead, I would have scheduled more stops to really get out and walk around or just lay down completely for a night’s rest. The best relief I found was reclining the seat – it took some of the pressure off the midsection.
Snacks were one of the main focuses of my planning for this 21-hour drive. Trail mixes, cheese (protein!), fruit, water, juice, and tea all did the trick to keep energy up and hunger at bay. Oh, and chocolate. Can’t forget that! Real meals are always necessary, though, and my body does seem to know the difference. I can’t seem to sneak much passed it these days…
Lower back support in the form of a rolled up fleece blanket was perfect. I’ve always carried a little travel pillow in my 4Runner for this reason, though (lower back stiffness on long road trips isn’t new).
All-in-all the drive down was pretty comfy until the last three to four hours: those were the hours that made me wish we’d stopped somewhere overnight. At 18/19 weeks this was alright, but I’m not sure I would have pushed it much more if I were further along with more of a belly bulge. The reward at the end of the road was definitely worth the long drive – sun, seafood (which finally sounded tasty for the first time in months), warm temperatures, and a little time together without any thoughts outside of enjoyment. Yes.