Road trips — It’s all about emergency planning!

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

When I was young road trips were about the destination. They were about the companions with whom you were traveling. It was all about the fun.

Think about Woodstock. Was anyone there worried about food, water or bathrooms? Joints or sex maybe but not the life essentials. (Or was it that the concept of life essentials was different?)

As you age other factors come into play. Getting older upgrades your expectations along with the cost. You are no longer interested in crashing on smelly, worn-out sofas along the way. Instead you want your own bed at a Motel 6.

Aging even more, you upgrade from Motel 6 to nicer places with sliding doors to the pool. You move from street vendor food to real restaurants that have inspection stickers.

You finally understand the importance of inspection stickers.

The discovery of eating while sitting down and not juggling 3 things in two hands is amazing as is the discovery that this sort of thing comes with a higher price tag.

Fast forward to where I am today. Road trips are about the bathrooms. Absolutely no vendor food because well, where would you “go” or is the vendor “clean?”

Food on the road means stops on the road about an hour later so it’s all like a fine music score carefully orchestrated.

There are apps for that. Yep, I have a bathroom finder on my smart phone. However, it’s not always dependable nor is there good coverage. I seem to prefer to visit bathroom dead zones.

I thought it was only me. The beloved husband is very understanding although truth be told, he also uses the bathroom at every stop. It’s not just women.

We were comparing notes at my exercise group. I was grateful to find out that I am not alone. There were stories of shopping trips punctuated with bathroom stops that exceed the number of Starbucks in a given location. There’s an app for that too.

There were stories of car trunks filled with extra clothing for accidents or change of weather. Remember how we wore shorts which accentuated our fabulous thighs as soon as it was above freezing? We didn’t mind the cold at all.

No, me neither but I see kids doing it all the time — body parts hanging out all over with frostbite.

Now there are extra sweaters, rain gear (doesn’t matter if there are no clouds in sight) along with contingency clothing for accidents.

It was also interesting to see what people do to compensate. There is of course the adult diaper but that only works if you are a “pee” person. For people with IBS-D (Irritable Bowel Syndrome-Diarrhea) that’s not an option or at best a very short-term option.

There are compensations. You can forego eating or drinking for the entire day. That makes for a cranky person. Or you travel with kind companions and plan your stops hoping for no emergencies.

There are also medications. Some work and some don’t but it’s always worth a try.

I was always amazed that retired people like to jump into their RVs to travel. It seems like extra work to me. Perhaps it’s that they enjoy a traveling bathroom.

As they say, aging isn’t for wussies!





19 thoughts on “Road trips — It’s all about emergency planning!

  1. Bathroom app! Love it. Who needs a road trip? My new job has me going from home to home. I LOVE parks now: free bathroom with no obligation to buy something. 🙂


  2. How did I miss this…hmm…need to pay more attention. Road trips…funny this should come up. I’ve been invited to go to Hudson New York for the weekend by car. It’s a long drive with someone who complains a lot and never stops talking. The last time I went, I took the train, a lovely trip up the Hudson. I hesitate saying yes because I’m not a long term car gal. I get antsy and my legs fall asleep. This person has no relationship with their body whatsoever so my need to stop and stretch preferably at a Starbucks to refuel will elude not to mention irritate. There are no accidents Kate, except perhaps on the road, so seeing this post may help me make the decision to just stay home and hopefully see Carmela the basset hound instead.


  3. As someone with IBS-D, I have gone on many a road trip without eating anything. I’d rather be hungry than desperately searching for a bathroom or a lovely private tree by the side of the highway.
    What’s important seems to constantly change with age. I guess that’s what keeps it interesting.


  4. Wow! A bathroom finder app? Who knew? I think the only thing left to do now is tour the country rating all the bathrooms on cleanliness, comfort, toilet paper quality, etc. seems like you’re just the one to tackle this project!


    • I’ve talked about doing this on a local level before. I do know most of them locally. I know the good, the bad and the (ahhhhh) locked! Can you imagine locking a bathroom! I know, people are pigs.


  5. You still take Road Trips?
    You young whipper snapper, you! 😎

    When I traveled on the Auto Train, it was nice to know that the bathroom was at the ready.


    • Road trips? Me? No. Those other retired folks do. For me a road trip is going to the garden center or the grocery store! Occasionally to the outlet malls but that’s an hour away so it takes planning.


  6. You got me here. “Yep, I have a bathroom finder on my smart phone. However, it’s not always dependable nor is there good coverage. I seem to prefer to visit bathroom dead zones.” I think you’re on to something. “Necessity is the mother of invention.” If you come up with an app that works (you are very creative) and it earns you a mint, you’re welcome. Check these out…hmmmmm the iBeer might eliminate stops.


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