The heat is on out there in Ames and the road trip season is upon us. The possibilities are endless and the open road is calling, it is time to answer the call. The superior interstate infrastructure and the American tradition of exploring are responsible for many of our pop culture references. Road movies, driving playlists and spectacular books about travel are ingrained in the psyche of this country. Lewis and Clark were the first to document their need to pack up and start an adventure to a destination somewhere “over there.” This country has almost unlimited resources to amaze even the most stoic among it citizens, and no matter what sort of activity you enjoy it is more than likely only a car trip away. They say that once the travel bug bites you it is nearly impossible to shake. Now we don’t know anything about that, as it seems a bit hardcore, but getting away for everything for a week or so is definitely good for the soul. So get out the map and choose a destination—this is your summer travel guide.
The Boy Scouts’ famous, yet elegantly simple, motto is not something that can generally be disputed. If you are taking your car on a road trip this summer there are a few things that can mean the difference between a breakdown in rattlesnake country or a smooth sail to your next destination. A few weeks before your road trip give the experts at LOF Xpress™ a call and schedule an appointment. Be sure and block off some time because a thorough inspection should be performed before a substantial trip; ordinarily we will have you in and out so fast that you might not even have the time to enjoy our Northwoods Lodge waiting area.
Our technicians will perform a complete inspection and advise about every issue that may be found, you can even watch and listen to your car being serviced through our camera/speaker system in the shop. A good rule of thumb is to have your oil changed at this time, as during the road trip you may go over the oil change interval and who wants to get their oil changed on vacation? The key fluids are checked and topped off if need be as well as battery testing or replacement if necessary. It is a good idea to have a coolant flush if it has been a while, to keep your cooling system in top shape for the open road. It can get hot out there and if you need an A/C system recharge we can keep you cool in even the hottest destinations. Changing your oil, fuel filter and air filter is not only a good idea for the integrity of your vehicle, but taking these steps can also maximize your fuel efficiency, so you are actually saving money! Another critical component that should be checked thoroughly is your tires. Your tires can be your lifeline when you are on the road and if not properly inflated they can leave you sitting in a ditch, waiting for the tow truck. LOF Xpress™ offers tire rotation and inflation services for your pre-trip maintenance plan. On the subject of tires, make certain that you have a spare that is full of air and is in good condition. Remember, be prepared.
In these days of in-dash maps and GPS, the old gas station maps have been relegated to the boneyard. Regardless of where you are going, a paper map is always good to have on hand just in case you lose cell service or your GPS is not as accurate as it should be. Additionally, we have become far too dependent on cell phones and electronics, sometimes it can feel like more of an adventure to navigate with a map. The most important part of planning a road trip might just be deciding how to get to your destination. If you are on a time schedule, be sure and take into account all of the wonders that are along the way and make time to explore.
You will need to decide how you are going to handle your lodging, be it a hotel tour, tent camping or a camper, (maybe even couchsurfing). Any way you slice it, planning for where you are going to lay your head at night is critical. During the summer, along popular travel routes, hotels fill up quickly and the last thing you want is to see that big no vacancy sign when you roll up after a long day of driving. Make reservations at least a month in advance to avoid any headaches. If you are camping, long gone are the days when you could stop along the road and pitch a tent. Campgrounds are numerous in this country but they also fill up quickly in the summer, particularly in tourist heavy destinations and on weekends. Make sure that if you are traveling during a holiday that you check a few months in advance to make sure the campground has enough spaces.
Once you decide where you are going, do thorough research about the area, details like where not to go or hidden treasures are almost impossible to determine unless you have done some research. One of the best resources you can have is your local AAA office. Not only are they able to provide the fastest way to your destination, they can also recommend the most scenic. They can book a hotels, campgrounds and even tickets to attractions. Traveling is all about using your resources, and finding out the information your GPS gave you is incorrect information will force you to rely on your wits—the best thing you can do is rely on your preparation. So if you are ready to hit the road this summer take our advice to heart, be prepared. Please give us a call to schedule your summer road trip vehicle service and rest easy knowing LOF Xpress™ has your back.