We just returned from a very quick round trip from the San Diego area to Flagstaff AZ. The purpose was a Choir Festival. Three vehicles loaded with ten teenagers left on Thursday in the early afternoon and headed for Flagstaff via the "southern route". Here's what I learned from the experience:
* Plan plenty of restroom breaks. Somebody's always "gotta go".
* Pre-plan gas stops if possible so that one driver doesn't lose the rest because she has to stop for fuel and the others don't. I preplanned and this worked WELL for us.
* Plan meal breaks where there are several choices. One of our stops was in Buckeye, where there was a Love's Truck Stop with a Subway and Chester's Fried Chicken inside, and Burger King next door. The teens split up. One enterprising gal brought her own Cup of Noodles and got a cup of hot water to make it, at the truck stop. Another stop was in Gila Bend where there was a Love's Truck Stop with Taco Bell, a McDonald's on one side of it and Carl's Jr on the other side. Just as we were coming in, a large tour bus (that we had played Cat and Mouse with all the way down AZ-85) pulled into McDonald's. I noticed the kids all ignored McDonald's, fearing lines!
* When driving with 3 vehicles, have two ways of communication. We had family radios and cell phones. What I learned the hard way, though, was to ensure that all family radios had brand new batteries before we leave.
* Have a general idea of what to do if one vehicle has a technical difficulty or breakdown. Fortunately, all we had were technical issues. (It was snowing on us as we came down, and our windshield wipers had problems that were solvable by stopping and wiping them down.) We did get separated during this and it caused anxiety for all 3 drivers. Fortunately it all worked out and we reconnected, but it taught me that necessity.