Hit the Open Road, When the Roads Open Again
Ease back into traveling with a road trip
By MJ Wilke
Gas prices are the lowest in decades. What does that mean to a nerd? Road Trip! While we are in various degrees of stay-at-home, we can dream, research and plan for when those roads open again. What better way to ease back into travel after the order has been lifted than driving down a nearly deserted highway, Supernatural style.
Dream, Research, Plan, Engage
Dream about all the places far away and nearby to have an adventure. Astoria, Oregon, for Goonies fans (there’s a museum); Death Valley, California, for Star Wars fans; Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, for Doctor Who fans; Rachel, Nevada, for X-Files fans; and so much more. Supernatural fans are blessed with 15 years of the boys on road trips. Plenty to choose from, maybe even some near you to make a short weekend jaunt. Or the ultimate SPN trips – Lawrence, Kansas, and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Step 1 – Dream
Dream big. Make your list of ideas – what fictional worlds and physical worlds do you want to visit? Don’t limit to just fandom; there are great science road trips as well to places such as Fermilab outside of Chicago or any of the NASA locations. Film buffs, Alamo Drafthouse has many events over the summer, including a rolling roadshow. Last year they showed “Jaws” in the evening on a screen in a lake. Imagine lounging on a tube in the water watching “Jaws.” Epic!
Step 2 – Research
After you’ve made your list, consider what can be a day trip, a long weekend and a full vacation. Think about which trips can continue the practice of social distancing, and which ones can be saved for the all clear. For inspiration, check out our Nerdy Places page for ideas near you and our When Nerds Travel page for some far-flung adventures.
Step 3 – Plan
The planning stage can evolve from the research stage or coincide with it. Map it. What’s the direct route and is there an alternative route? Does the alternative route provide interest that outweighs the increased travel time? Choosing between a straight road and a curvy, twisty road – I’ll take the curvy, twisty road every time.
If you choose the alternative route, research the bathroom stops along the way. Case in point, traveling from Albuquerque to Roswell, New Mexico, by way of the highway the crash was “supposedly” to have occurred, there is only one bathroom along the three-hour trip.
WN Note: A trip to the bathroom should always be the first thing to do on a road trip, minutes before you leave. Just in case your planned bathroom stop is closed.
What elements of fandom can you add to enhance your trip?
Playlists. Absolutely all road trips should have their own playlists. Even if you spend the trip with the windows down and no music on. The act of creating the playlist, in itself, extends your trip. Pretty much all fandoms have music or sounds. Music is woven into the fabric of Supernatural. Your playlist could include your favorites from the show, or in creating your playlist re-watch the episodes specific to the towns you’re visiting and pull music from those episodes. However, if you’re taking a Star Trek pilgrimage to Riverside, Iowa, the future birthplace of James T. Kirk, your playlist may just be the theme song to be played as you start your journey and as you pull into town.
Check out our how-to article on creating a playlist, Anatomy of a Road Trip – The Playlist.
Entertainment. Consider audiobooks, podcasts, radio plays – anything related to your theme.
Food. Is there a food item associated with your theme? Research locations along the way and at your destination to stop and enjoy. Supernatural fans don’t forget the pie! A Stranger Things trip needs Eggo waffles. X-Files fans require sunflower seeds.
Crafts. What crafts can you do now, take on your trip later such as make an X-Files file folder for all your notes and maps.
WN Note: We always pack a map; cell service can be spotty or nonexistent out on the open road.
Step 4 – Engage
When it’s time to head out, you’ll find us out there somewhere on the deserted open road exploring the nerdy universe!
MJ Wilke is the founder of Wayward Nerd. She is a road warrior. A nerd. A trekkie. A whovian. A Star Wars fanatic. She will go where no one has gone before, come back and post it here.