A long drive can be difficult to get through, especially on a straight, boring highway and nothing but bad AM radio (forgot my iPod - whoops).
It was like getting through a long run - stay hydrated, eat healthy snacks and take it in phases. And talk to yourself. And make fun of Washington.
It gets old fast just sitting there. Just sitting there working your right calf, ever so slightly. You can feel your muscles turning to mush. And it also lets fatigue creep in so quietly you don't even realize it until you wake up five minutes down the road. See previous post about Washington.
To work other areas besides the right calf, try these mini-exercises and see if they don't help you stay alert (and help burn off the bacon maple bar - or five - that you inhaled before leaving Portland).
Either to your own count or to a song on the radio, shake your legs back & forth like you have to pee so bad you almost can't believe it. Count to 30 (seconds or so), rest for 5, then repeat as many sets as you like. Works the groin, upper quads & hamstrings. Makes you look anxious and disturbed to other drivers, resulting in a greater space barrier with other cars.
Press your knees together for a 30 count - works the groin. Depending on your car, if you can press your knees against the door and center console, that will work the abductors and glutes. Can also help air out the crotch, and that's always a good thing.
Tense your butt muscles for a 30 count, rest for 5, then repeat two or three times. Can alternate or "super set" with Stomach Crunches for a more robust exercise.
Tense all stomach muscles and use them to crunch your body forward slightly toward the steering wheel - hold for a 30 count, rest for 5 then repeat, or super set with Butt Crunches. Focus on the lower abdomen by "pulling" the pelvis up into the stomach. Believe me, do enough of these and you'll feel it the next day. The gentle rocking makes you appear possibly deranged, resulting in a greater space barrier with other cars.
Starting with your hand resting on your lap, make a fist and tense your entire arm as if you were holding a dumbbell in your lap, then slowly curl your imaginary dumbbell up to your chest. Do 30, rest for 5, then repeat. Switch arms and repeat. Do not - DO NOT - do both arms at the same time. You'll have to move to Washington.
This one is a little difficult being that you can't get good enough extension above your head to do a traditional tricep press, but you can put both hands on the wheel at 9 and 3 and press against the wheel for a 30 count. You have to focus on tensing the triceps while pressing. Keep your hands relaxed so you can keep steering the car. Kindof important.
Starting with a bent arm raised in front of you like you're holding your mic on American Idol, fist at chin level, raise your elbow to the side, keeping your fist at chin level - like doing the Funky Chicken, just in front of you instead of at your sides. Focus on tensing the deltoids while raising your elbow - do 30 raises, rest for 5, then repeat. See above note about switching arms and repeating.
With both hands on the wheel at 9 and 3, press your hands toward each other, squeezing your pecs. Do a 30 count, rest for 5, then repeat. See above note about keeping hands relaxed.
Turn up the music and dance in your seat. See above notes about appearing disturbed/deranged. When making pit stops, don't use the drive through - park as far away from wherever you're stopping as you feel comfortable (with all that crap in your car), and walk vigorously to/from your destination. If desired, do jumping jacks, plyometrics, or go for a run around the rest stop/gas station/starbucks/wendy's.
Traditional road trip snacks tend to be Pringles, Gardetto's, Oreo's and such - lots of salt to ward off frequent pit stops and fat, well, because it's fat and it's good. But too much of that, and you'll be flagging by lunchtime. Some of that is good - you need the fat/calories for staying power, but too much sugar is the killer.
Keep a variety of snacks on hand - whole grain bagels, granola bars, protein bars, nuts or seeds, the bacon maple bar for extreme fat/calorie loading and the one sugar rush you shouldn't deny yourself, water and coffee.
I was surprised at how little coffee I wanted/needed for the drive. I usually have too much blood in my coffee stream, but staying hydrated with plain ol' water helped ward off fatigue better than caffeine.
It's a delicate balance - drinking just enough H2O to be hydrated but not so much that you're stopping every hour to pee behind the car. You'll have to figure out what's enough for you.
Soda can work, but I wouldn't recommend it. The sugared stuff is mostly poison and the diet stuff is all poison. It's fluid, but full of shit your body has to work to break down or use water to break down/process, negating the liquid it contains. And the acid eats your teeth.
Brain exercise is also important. Count the number of highway patrol you see by state and the overall total. Keep track of political bumper stickers. For example, 5 Obama to 2 McCain with 1 for Impeach Bush. Do the math of figuring out how long it will take to get from where you are to the next city based on your average speed. Then try to beat that. Safely, of course. Of COURSE!