Eat only the mildest foods imaginable. The cross-country road racer has two mortal enemies: highway patrol and roadside fast-food restaurants. Pack food that will settle gently in your stomach and obviate the need for emergency roadside stops throughout New Mexico. (I learned this lesson the hard way; for the record, you will find plenty of usable toilets at the Hotel Albuquerque, minutes off of I-40.) “For us, diet is everything,” says Reese. “It’s high-energy, low-sugar foods. No Red Bulls, no energy drinks, none of that kind of stuff.” And no stopping at the gas station for Mountain Dew and Combos, either. “On our trip, nothing joined the car that didn’t start in it, other than extra gasoline,” Bolian says.
Consider your kidney functions. Drinking plenty of water is also a must, as is minimizing the time spent addressing the result of drinking plenty of water. During his record-setting transcontinental motorcycle trip, Reese cut down on bathroom breaks by wearing a condom catheter that allowed him to urinate in transit without wetting his pants. “A catheter’s a little extreme for just your average cross-country trip,” he says. “But it definitely saves time, and you’re able to stay hydrated to the levels where you need to be, and not wasting time stopping.”
Play podcasts, music, whatever’s your jam. The professionals do not generally listen to music. Bolian says, somewhat cryptically: “It’s not that you can’t do those things, but you have to understand that the consequence is that you’re going to go a lot slower. And the risk, particularly of exhaustion, is going to elevate.”
If you’re not trying to set a record, go ahead and soundtrack your drive. We packed three CD cases with Dawes, Spiritualized, The Cars (a little on the nose, but whatever), Scott Walker, Laura Cantrell, and, for some reason, Eric Clapton’s Unplugged album, the most-owned, least-remembered CD of our time. Seriously, back in the ’90s every single person in America owned this record. “The tears are for his dead son,” I noted gravely, somewhere in the middle of Indiana. “Can we please listen to something else?” my wife asked.