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Road trips, as we all know, can be long. Some lasting only a few hours, some a few days. Some thrive along the journey, wanting to savor every beautiful site (me), others want nothing more than to arrive at their destination as quickly as possible (brother). 

As a DPDD, I’ve recently discovered ways to save while trekking through 3 western states in one day. 

1. Eat fast food only. 

2. Don’t even think about purchasing souvenirs for anyone.

3. Do send picture messages to show them you care. 

4. When tired behind the wheel, make a 50 cent lollipop last for 2 hours. 

5. Don’t worry if your only road map is from the late 80s. I’m sure the streets haven’t changed thaaaat much. 

5. If a lady cop on a motorcycle pulls you over, provide sunflower seeds as a peace offering in exchange for dismissing a speeding ticket. 

6. Go ahead and take that penny from the leave-a-penny tray. Apply it towards a 99 cent Arizona iced tea. 

All aspects of road trips should be embraced, no matter if they’re good, bad or fucking disgusting. Sometimes, magic can happen on the road. For instance,  you sit still for hours on end, shifting only to readjust your feet on the dashboard. Despite the appetite-enhancing physical movement your day has severely lacked, you’re somehow magically consistently starving for the entire duration of the trip. And somehow, after your eat-a-thon, you manage to freakishly easily find reasonable justification for ordering Taco Bell’s classic cheesy gordita crunch for late night dinner. 

The brilliance behind the decision, besides affordability of course, is that it’s one of the most car-convenient hand-held dinners America has to offer a gal on the go. Not only that, but could help a single lady score a local hottie. Because let’s face it, what’s truly more attractive than a sleepless, bra-less chick in a baggy flannel, sporting boot tan lines, equipped with a Taco Bell bag in hand, shuffling her way through a gas station? 

Although it’s not the cleanest meal in the car when the gordita’s guts (mysterious brown paste not be mistaken for refried beans and MSG infused white cream-sauce) inevitably spills all over your thighs, steering wheel and ipod. But once you take that first bite, your mouth is instantly rewarded with a burst of fabulous flavor and your taste buds break out into a song and dance number from Hairspray. You bask in the glory of those 4 savory mouthfuls and you drive in euphoria for the next 30 minutes. 

But once that feeling fades and your body travels deeper into California and the night carries on deeper into the wee hours, your eyelids and stomach slowly start to turn against you. It’s now when the going gets tough as exhaustion fights to knock your body out. 

The tunes of Foster the People escape the speaker system at an ultra-low volume as to not disturb your passed out passengers. Your gaze transfixes into the high-beam illuminated path in the pavement and you convince yourself that at any given moment, a mountain lion will leap into the light. With 2 hours to go until you reach your destination, you know it’s not going to be a cinch. 

But falling asleep at the wheel is not a good look. Driving at 4:45AM after being in the car for 18 hours is also not a good look, both appearance-wise and state-of-mind-wise. 

So when you discover a green lollipop the size of a softball in your center console, the feeling might be comparable to the day you found out Arrested Development may become a film, and there is once again hope for the future. 

And any wise dirt-poor disheveled diva* will make that pop last 2 hours. You clutch the paper stick in the palm of your hand, forcing yourself not to allow the pop to linger in between your teeth any longer than a few seconds at a time. This hard candy complete with a gumball center is about to save your life, and the lives of your brother and friend. There are of course minor risks that factor into your lollipop feast, however, the following side-effects are worth escaping death if you ask me:

Sugar high. Sliced and bloody tongue. 5-6 cavities. Gum stuck in hair and/or other parts of body. Sore and maybe even burnt taste buds. Feelings of guilt and/or disgust with oneself once all you have left is that sloppy paper stick. Flashbacks to times when trick or treating used to be thrilling. Green tongue. Sugar high crash. 

So I suggest to eat responsibly. 

Road trips: you may lose yourself, you may find yourself, and you may also survive yourself. 

*Not to be confused with a dim-witted dirt-poor disheveled diva, who might do something dim-witted like drop off laundry with wet towels in the sack, and flick herself off after not realizing this until after placing it on the scale. 

 

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