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19 Things You Talk About During A Cross-Country Road Trip

I drove from New York to Los Angeles in three days with my brother. This is what happened.

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BACKGROUND: A few weeks ago I moved from New York City to Los Angeles, and like any sane person, I chose to drive myself instead of taking a magical flying tube aka an airplane. (Those things suck anyway — driving is wayyyy cooler.) My brother Eric volunteered to drive with me, bless his soul (also he scored brownie points with our grandma for doing this, so it's a win for him too).

We both had time constraints, so this was going to be the fastest cross-country road trip in the history of road trips. THAT'S RIGHT: IT WAS GOING TO TAKE US LESS THAN 15 MINUTES. Just kidding, but it would take us exactly three days. Now I'm going to share with you all of the things we talked about on our three-day trip, so that you can experience what we experienced, because I know you want to.

1. Road signs.

"Lol, did you see that route was called 420." Eric and I probably attempted to take 200 pictures of road signs that we found ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS AND AMAZING. Only about five came out "clear"; the rest look like the photo below.

2. Other signs unfamiliar to us passersby.

There are so many signs on the road, I gotta tell you, the sign business must be booming! This was one of a few "runaway truck signs" we saw. We guessed that the premise here is that if your truck won't brake, this is a ~super fun~ way to slow down! "Just speed on up this hill!"


5. What do babies and animals think about?

At some point in Pennsylvania, Eric asked me what babies think of all the time. I wondered the same. We discussed and couldn't come up with a logical answer and then we realized that we'll never know. They are thinking *things* obviously...but...WHAT??


7. What happens when you ship an E-ZPass?

For the trip, we took an E-ZPass that I borrowed from my mom. (Side note, isn't it kind of messed up that you have to pay to enter another state, like, HI WE ARE ALL PART OF THE SAME COUNTRY!) I realized that I'd probably want to send it back to her once I got there since E-ZPass doesn't even exist out west. Then we wondered, if you mail an E-ZPass back, will you get charged if it's shipped ground and sits in a truck and is driven all the way back? This question still keeps me up at night.

8. Sunsets, and bugs fucking up your sunsets.

AREN'T SUNSETS SO PRETTY?!?! You get to see a bunch of them when you are driving west, because it's like you are driving into the sun. However, BUGS WILL RUIN YOUR SUNSET (photo on the right). Look at those dead bugs blocking our view! RIP bugs.

9. How fun that one rest stop was.

Lauren Yapalater / BuzzFeed

For some reason at a rest stop in Illinois there was a photo booth that doubled as a tourism ad for Florida. This type of rest stop was like a vacation within our road trip. What fun! Not only did we get to use a bathroom, but we got to take pictures too!

10. Has anyone named their child exit?

We were an hour and a half away from Ohio and I became curious. Out loud I asked, "Do you think anyone in the world is actually named 'Exit'?" I googled it, and it turns out there IS. At least two people actually. They reside in Mississippi and they both have the last name McQuarter. Are you Exit McQuarter? I'd like to take you to lunch if so.


11. When is it appropriate to turn on your windshield wipers? (And that's what rain looks like from afar.)

Lauren Yapalater / BuzzFeed

As we drove it started to drizzle (and then downpour because things need to be made more difficult all the time).

Eric posed the question "When is the right time to turn on your windshield wipers? A few drops? When the whole windhsield is covered? WHEN?"

I replied that I think you've got to wait until there's enough rain on the windshield so that the wipers don't make that rubbing noise. If you wipe too soon, you'll get smudges. If you wipe too late, you'll have just been an idiot for letting so much water build up.

12. Guy Fieri.

An important thing to do when deciding where to eat while passing through a random state that you don't know anything about is ask yourself, "What would Guy Fieri do?" So we turned to the the bible of food TV shows, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. There we found our answer, and so we stopped at this sandwich place to, endorsed by GUY HIMSELF. They were good. We also bought a lotto ticket there and did not win.

13. Time zone games.

A fun game to play is to stare at your phone until the time changes. You don't know *when* exactly this will happen, so it really keeps you on the edge of your seat. To make this game even MORE fun, sporadically exclaim that the time changed and make the driver guess if it actually changed or you are still in the same time zone. What a riot, let. me. tell. you.


14. And time zone questions.

Google Maps

Say you live on the border of two time zones. What if you work in one time zone and reside in the other? Either you can wake up 45 minutes after you are supposed to be at work and get home really late, or wake up two hours before you have to be at work but get home in time to catch the end of Gilmore Girls reruns on ABC Family. Is this a thing that happens in real life? If you are one of these people, please contact me immediately I have many questions for you. Also this is just a screenshot of Google maps of a road called Fangboner that we passed. It's a screenshot beacause I missed the sign when we passed it (see: conversation #1.)

15. Landscapes

A lotta landscapes out there in this here country! But mostly it's corn fields and mountains. In fact it's all corn fields until you get to Colorado. Then it's mountains, then it's canyon things (but not GRAND ones — those are reserved for ridges that were named during the 1920s when "swell canyon" just didn't seem like the best name), and then it's desert. The pic on the left is Eric in front of a cool mountain thing in Colorado. We decided to stop at this one because as you can tell by the other photo here, it was a good place to get that perfect ~empty road in the middle of the good ol' USA~ pic. Shortly after this photo we were on a stretch of road for 129 miles without any exits or rest stops. The landscape was mostly sandy rock.

16. How many hours are left before we are there.

Google Maps

We were in the car for 14 hours in a car on our first day. We were in the car for 17 hours the second day. We were in the car for 18 hours the third day. Driving is stupid. America is stupid. Cars are stupid. Getting gasoline is stupid. Food is stupid. Bathrooms are stupid. EVERYTHING IS STUPID when you've been sitting in a car for a billion hours and you There's actual math involved when you see that your destination is 209 miles away, which means it will take roughly four more hours to get to where you're going if you are driving a measly 60 mph (most highways on our route had a speed limit of 70 or 75 mph). Denial was a much better way to live — "Only like an hour and a half until we're there," we'd say. Many times. Many, many times.

17. Miscellaneous dumb shit.


My brother has this game on his phone called Akinator. This computer genie asks you to think of a character or person, real or fake, and then tries to figure out who it is based on a series of questions. When I was driving Eric would think of someone and I'd be controlling the game, and when I was driving he'd do the same. This genie was on point and we didn't understand his wisdom. Sometimes his questions made no sense, but he'd always know who we were thinking of. Eric made it his mission to stump the genie. Somewhere in Utah he did. (The character he was thinking of was Todd Gack from Seinfeld; the genie guessed the Soup Nazi, also from Seinfeld, but still wrong.) It was a triumphant moment. We stopped playing after that.


No road trip across America would be complete without at least a quick pit stop in Vegas. Even though it was late and we still had hours to cover, we decided that Vegas had to be done. "In and out in 30 minutes — OK?" HAHA FAMOUS LAST WORDS. This was my first time in Vegas; it was like Disneyland for adults, but sadder. We walked in and I put $20 down on a game of roulette. Within 15 seconds I had lost that $20. I felt defeated and betrayed by Vegas. It had gotten me good. Gotten me real good. After my major loss, we checked out the strip, my brother made a sports bet (which I helped him lose), and then made our way back to the car. But before we went I decided to try out a slot machine. It was then that I won $25 and felt like I was on top of the world. After about two hours there I came out with a profit of $5! That's the thing with Vegas: It chews you up and spits you out, but you love it!

19. How fun it actually was.

Long days, not enough sleep, too much country music, and way too much junk food. That's what a road trip is, I guess? But even with all of that shitty stuff, and even though driving kind of sucks and the end can never be close enough in sight, it's kind of awesome to spend three days with your brother, out on the open road, talking about baby thoughts, and taking pictures of sunsets. (So you should do it too). Also, car sing-alongs.