pack up the spouse and kids, hop into the family truckster and head off for one
of the most memorable and miserable weeks of your life. It’s bad enough living
with these people when you’re spread out through an entire house, but when you
add the close proximity of a vehicle for an extended period of time, such as in Great American Road Trip, airing Mondays on NBC, and the various stresses and
smells, there’s almost no greater feeling than pulling back into your own
driveway. So pack a suitcase, call your friends and neighbors, and pray for
lower gas prices because we’re throwing a Great American Road Trip party!
Setting the scene:
Thanks to oil speculators, this party is
homebound, but that doesn’t mean you can’t decorate as though you’re planning a
cross-country trek. First up: maps. Get yourself several wall-size state maps and wallpaper your living room. Place pushpins in
various state attractions — check out Roadside America — and map out a route from one place to another with
a yellow highlighter. In one corner of the room, set up the inevitable
breakdown location by placing the spare tire from your car alongside a jack,
tire iron, lug nuts, emergency triangle and a yellow
light bar from a tow truck. If you’re extra crafty, head to
a junkyard, buy the front bumper off an old car, and attach it to a hook and
winch so it looks as if your bumper has been ripped off
by the tow truck!
You’ll need one person dressed as a
grease-covered auto mechanic holding a wrench near the roadside emergency area
and at least one person dressed as a motorcycle cop (if you can get your hands
on a police motorcycle, that would be even better). Everyone else should come
as idiot tourists in Bermuda shorts, T-shirts and baseball caps with SLR
cameras around their necks.
On the menu:
Go with regional fare here and pick
someplace known for its food. Go with the Lone Star State and serve BBQ ribs
and chili. Have the Texas state flag above the buffet table
and a fiberglass bull beside it! Roadside attractions
On the hi-fi:
The soundtrack to National Lampoon’s
Vacation is the only CD you will need, but sadly, it’s virtually impossible to
find. Do yourself a favor and download Dancin’ Cross the U.S.A. and Holiday
Road, both by Lindsey Buckingham, and Blitzkrieg Bop by The Ramones.
Host Reno Collier would agree that if you
must take the family cross-country, you should do it in a vehicle that lets you
be as far apart as possible. So get yourself a used Class A Winnebago and park it on the front lawn. They’re surprisingly
expensive and get terrible mileage, but until you find a Ford Focus with a TV
and a bed, this is it.