And I can’t wait to get on the road again. On the road again -Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway. We’re the best of friends. Insisting that the world keep turning our way. And our way is on the road again. Just can’t wait to get on the road again. –Willie Nelson

Today is the day. I’m leaving for a few days to participate in Spalding Universities Residency program. Residency marks the beginning of a semester and I’m looking forward to getting started on the MFA program.  It sounds like it’ll be a lot like a writer’s conference, with different workshops, lectures, conversations and events. Is there anything in particular you want me to take extra careful notes on or ask about? No promises, but I’ll try.

Anyways, as soon as my shift ends at work, I’ll be heading to Indiana.  According to MAPQUEST the 1874.52 mile drive should only take 27 hrs 22 mins.  I’ve made this trip enough times to know MAPQUEST lies.  Unless you don’t have a bladder or need to stretch, it takes longer.  Fortunately, I know how to prepare for it and I’ve given myself enough wiggle room where, even if the weather is nasty or we end up trapped in a traffic jam for 4 hours, I should still make it in town in time for opening ceremonies.

No little ones with me, unless you count my grandmother and she’s taller than me, so that saves me a lot of time and space. I’m a writer, so I’m easily entertained with things that can easily work/fit in a car.  On road trips like this I always have multiple notebooks and a ton of pens.  You can never have too many pens.  I have books to read–some of them for class. Of course, since we’ll be driving at night, I have book lights and extra batteries so the darkness won’t be an impediment or dangerous as my grandmother drives.

I take an MP3 player with me.  I don’t care what they say. There is always somewhere out there that doesn’t have a single working radio station and you need music, for those long hours on the road. Usually that’s all I need to entertain myself, but I also have my latest draft of my manuscript printed out so I can look through that and a few other things.

To cheapen the expense of driving cross-country we’re bringing snacks.  We bought those goldfish cheez-its, some fiber and protein bars, butter crackers and chips.  We’ve made our own chip dip and a handful of other things.  The idea is we’ll snack the entire trip down. If we need to stop for something, fine, but we’ll try not to. That way gas is the only expense.

What do you do for long trips?