I'm preparing for another road trip, a journey from Central Florida to Key Largo: Alone again, naturally.
A few of my friends were worried about the unorthodox strategies I offered for coping with highway boredom in a recent column that included the idea of gazing at clouds from behind the wheel. So I've decided to seek ideas from a few other road warriors as I gather the supplies for my lengthy commute.
I also like to throw a book into the back seat, especially one that sets a theme. I've never read Ernest Hemingway's "To Have and Have Not," so I think that's my destination pick this time.
Meanwhile, here's a list of ideas for the solo road-tripper that lean toward the practical, more than the whimsical, from a contributor to roadtripamerica.com:
"A solo road trip gives the traveler absolute power, the opportunity to control every aspect of the trip," he writes, obviously not familiar with the dynamic of doing travel pieces for a major newspaper.
Even so, the advice is helpful. Among the tips:
•Keep a journal — a simple notebook works well — and jot down your thoughts at least once per day.
•Carry items to give to people who are helpful to you.
•Establish a check-in time with your friends or family.
•Place an itinerary in your vehicle's glove box, along with a list of contact numbers, in case your car is found by law enforcement — and you are not in it.
•Put an ICE ("In Case of Emergency") listing in your cellphone address book.
•Plan your road trip music and have a food plan. Take your own pillow with you.
•Carry an extra set of keys to your vehicle and a complete set of medical and legal records, including legal identification.
•Listen to your own internal "personal radar." The same little voice that keeps you safe at home also will work on the road.