Tuesday, December 3, 2013

On the Road: Beverages & Coolers

On some vacations I take a cooler full of drinks, but on other trips I leave the cooler at home because I do not want to be bothered dealing with the ice. Taking a cooler saves me money and makes refreshments available to me at any time. On my last trip the temperature was low enough for me to put the soft-sided cooler in the trunk and have the beverages stay nice and cold on their own. On the other hand, if I do not take a cooler, I have to go inside the travel plaza to get drinks. This forces me to get out and walk around to exercise my legs which is beneficial.

After many years of trial and error, I have decided on a good balance of beverages for me. Diet Coke gives me my caffeine fix and I try to take only two cans per day. I have found in the past that drinking too much caffeine dehydrates me while I am on the road. In addition, if I drink caffeine all day, I will have a difficult time falling asleep when I stop at a hotel. My second drink is Arizona Diet Green Tea and four small bottles per day works for me. If I feel dehydrated, I add a packet of EmergenC to the bottle because the two mix well together.

The last choice of drink is water. If I decide to take only one beverage with me, I will choose water. For my first day of the trip, I freeze the bottles of water and use them to keep the rest of the drinks cold. Four bottles of water a day brings the total to ten beverages per day.

Having drinks in the car is very convenient. However, not taking a cooler frees up room in the car. For my last few trips, I have taken a soft-sided cooler that will collapse when empty. The hard-sided cooler may be more efficient, but the soft-sided one will fit into more areas. If I have packed the car to its limits, I will fold down the cooler and not use it.

On my final day of travel to the west, I always stop to get gas just before I drive into the Mojave Desert. Even if I have not brought any beverages with me on the rest of the trip, I take that opportunity to purchase several large bottles of water just in case something goes wrong with the car. Those drinks are always ice cold - much colder than if I had kept them in a cooler with melting ice. I would rather have too much water than not enough for that section of the trip since services can be scarce in the desert.

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