5 Essentials To Know Before Your Long End-Of-Year Road Trip

5 Essentials To Know Before Your Long End-Of-Year Road Trip

Essential you need to think about for a long road trip.

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So it that time of year again where everyone is leaving their college town to go home for breaks or maybe go on vacation to somewhere else and have a change of scenery from books and teachers for some time. For me, this time of year means I am driving from the normally warm weather of Alabama to the cold weather of New Jersey. This year is a little different as I may actually be making that over 16 hour (or 1,008 miles) drive by myself which I have never done before.

So this is quite the experience and I wanted to share some advice to maybe make your long car ride a little more enjoyable. You may be wondering though how I can give this type of advice if I have never done this drive alone but I have done several times (nine times to be exact) with others from my family to fellow students. But also I have learned some of these ideas from my Dad who is a long distance truck driver so if anything he knows what he is talking about when it comes to driving long and far.

Sleep

Before you think about making a long car ride make sure you get a good night sleep for several days before hand.

Snacks

Stock your car up with candy so you have fewer stops to make. Also, make sure one of the snacks is a candy of some sort so you can get a little sugar high so you don't feel tired. AVOID the coffee as a way to get energy as it will just lead to more breaks.

Playlist

If doing a long car ride you need to have some type of playlist made as you will be crossing over state borders meaning your favorite radio station will no longer be on as that station doesn't reach where you're going. So getting a playlist of your favorite tunes made with a decent amount so it won't repeat that much. Or go Pandora where you can easily switch between genres but just be aware you will probably hear the same commercial at least twenty times before you get to your final destination.

Navigator

Have something tell you the way to go either have it written down and put a passenger in charge of giving you a heads up when your exit is coming. Or go with google maps or OnStar which will re-route itself if you just happen to miss your exit and you don't want to get off the interstate and get back on to get back to where you missed. Also since this is a busy time of year on the road the navigation will help you figure out where there is the least traffic.

Weather

Check the weather before you leave so you will know what is expected for the area you will be driving through. Will you have sunshine the whole way which may make the trip go a little faster or rain/snow which can very much make the trip longer as people will driver slower for this type of road condition.

Take these tips into consideration before making your trek anywhere this time of year.

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11 Things To Do In Jim Thorpe, PA

"Beware of the ghosts."
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Jim Thorpe is a nice little town nestled in a little crevice of the Lehigh Valley at the base of the Poconos. The town straddles the Lehigh River and is, basically, a Grade-A Tourist Trap. But, you say, the actual Poconos are about an hour north of Jim Thorpe! Yeah, I know. I’m from Pennsylvania. I know where things are…generally. Just don’t give me road numbers or names and you’ll get some okay-ish directions. But, while you’re on your way to the Poconos for a summer getaway or that ski/snowboarding trip, you might want to think about stopping down in Jim Thorpe for a little visit. But, gosh, what could there possibly be to do in Jim Thorpe? That’s what I’m here for. But, I’ll be focusing mostly on the Broadway area in Jim Thorpe. (Disclaimer: I don’t actually live in Jim Thorpe, but I’ve been there a lot.)

1. Shop around

Jim Thorpe’s Broadway area is loaded with small businesses. They stretch up Broadway and some are even on the upper parallel street, Race Street. In Broadway, you’ve got this huge mish-mash of stores and eateries (which I will get to later). There are candy stores, cafés, curiosity shops, clothing stores, stores that sell shiny rocks, jewelry stores, a pickle store, snack stores, a hippie store, and even a meadery outlet. All kinds of stores you might think of. You’ll need a good amount of time to explore every single one of those. Also, come often because stores will often move locations, expand, or close down.

2. Scenic railway

I’m sure you’ve noticed the train station with the big lump of anthracite coal in front of it. Well, that train won’t exactly take you somewhere else and leave you there. It, however, is a scenic railway. You get tickets to ride the rails for a short trip. I’ve only done the ride once, and that was several, several years ago, so I don’t know where it takes you. But, I do remember it being a very beautiful environment. Bring your cameras because you will definitely want to take some pictures. Also, I bet the best time to travel on the train is during the fall season.

3. Old Jail

If you travel up Broadway a little, past the Opera House, you’ll see a big stone building with a pretty tall fence. That would be Old Jail. I’m sure it has a proper name, but locals just tend to call it the Old Jail. Simple enough and everyone knows what you’re talking about: “Have you been to the Old Jail?” “Have you seen The Handprint?” This is the draw of the Old Jail. I’m not going to go deep into the story, but there is a handprint on one of the jail’s walls that has been there, despite intense efforts to wash it away, for a large number of years. If you want to know the story, go visit the Old Jail. Just beware of the ghosts. It is haunted, after all.

4. Glen Onoko

This is a nature park around Jim Thorpe. There’s a bunch of pretty waterfalls you can go see. I’ve never gone up there and hiked around, though. But, please, for the love of everything, listen to the signs! Don’t stand at the waterfall! People die every year doing that. None of the locals are surprised when a headline in the paper reads that a hiker has died up at The Falls. Don’t be a headline. Read and follow what the signs say. Wear appropriate shoes. That selfie isn’t worth your life. And yeah, it’s a hike, not a simple walk on flat ground.

5. Visit Asa Packer Mansion

If you come into Jim Thorpe from Lehighton, you’ll be able to see his mansion perfectly outlined above the county courthouse (the one with the clock tower). It’s the one with the red roof and the teal-ish siding. His son, Harry, lived in the red brick mansion next door. The Harry Packer mansion is now an inn. Asa Packer’s mansion has been turned into a museum to tour. It’s also probably haunted; so beware of those ghosts. Tours are seasonal. Also, it's pronounced "A-sah".

6. Visit Jim Thorpe

Of course, to outsiders, this probably doesn’t make much sense at all. “How can I visit Jim Thorpe? I’m already in Jim Thorpe.” Well, Jim Thorpe isn’t the actual name of this town. It’s actually Mauch Chunk. Jim Thorpe was actually the first Native American Olympian to win the gold medal. He was originally from Oklahoma, but his body is buried in a small town in Northeast Pennsylvania. Why? Well, his family didn’t want him after he died so, Mauch Chunk said they’ll take him and bury him here, and so that’s what happened and Mauch Chunk adopted his name as the town’s name. He’s got a very nice headstone and a huge memorial telling his Olympian story. There’s also a large ongoing feud between the family that now wants him back and the little town of Jim Thorpe. I won’t get into that, though. Go visit his grave, learn a little history, and investigate a controversy with his Olympic medals (yeah, that’s a thing).

7. Festivals

Twice a year, Jim Thorpe’s Broadway gets busy. That would be during the Fall Foliage Festival that takes place during October weekends and the Olde Time Christmas festival that takes place during December weekends. That’s when everyone is open and everything is busy. It’s a great time to check out the stores and see what seasonal items are available. It’s also sort of terrifying to work those times of the year so, be a little considerate with the workers. They’ll thank you later.

8. White Water Rafting

I’m pretty sure everyone knows what white water rafting is. It’s not personally my thing. But, I love watching the people float down the Lehigh and splash each other and having fun. It’s funny to watch and I’m sure if you’d you, it’d be quite a fun experience for you. And a way to cool off in the summer. Try to plan your event for Dam Release Day

9. Mauch Chunk Lake

Mauch Chunk Lake is a large lake near Broadway. You need to pay to enter the park, but there are nature trails and swimming! Some people also kayak and boat around on the lake too. People also can also camp in the campground area. It’s a nice area to go and enjoy nature.

10. Carbon County Environmental Education Center (CCEEC)

This little building houses native wildlife and raptors, as well as a wildlife rehabilitation center. Apart from the main building, where visitors can learn all about any native wildlife and wildlife safety, there are also many nature trails in the woods and out in the Mauch Chunk Lake Park. Stick to the trails though and keep your hands to yourself out there. Don’t damage any of the wildlife and that includes plants. The trails are free admission and open dawn until dusk every day of the year. I went there a lot as a kid and I loved it.

11. Eat at Molly’s!

This small Irish pub-style restaurant is a local gem. If you ask anyone for a restaurant recommendation, they will suggest Molly’s. The full name is Molly Maguire’s and it comes from the same local history story that is behind the handprint in the Old Jail. Their food is delicious and filling. I definitely recommend the pierogis and the bruschetta, of course. They do have a whole selection of other meals, of course. But, definitely, definitely eat at Molly’s.

Cover Image Credit: Andrea Drumbore

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11 Necessities Every Girl Needs To Have In Her Car

These are the necessities.

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Most people spend a lot of time in their car getting from destination to destination. As well as doing a lot of things in one day. There are always things happening on a given day. So why not be prepared for any type of situation in order to not be caught in an uncomfortable situation.

1. Deodorant/perfume

I cannot stress this enough, in Florida especially, it gets so hot and sweating is a thing. Just to be able to reapply throughout the day is always a good thing. And to freshen up you can just give a quick spritz!

2. Pads/tampons

I mean this is pretty self-explanatory!

3. A bathing suit

It's Florida, there may be an impromptu beach day with friends that you didn't plan for. Or a pool day or a boat day. Better to be safe than sorry. Even in any other state you just never know, a lake day or going tubing in the river or going to the pool. It's always good to have one.

4. Pen/pencil

Being in college, sometimes you don't have one, it happens. But if you have one in your car then you're good to go if you commute to campus.

5. Pair of shoes.

If they break or get wet or any other worst-case scenario, then having a back-up is always good. you will be so thankful to have a pair in your trunk if you are nowhere near home or a store.

6. Phone charger

People are always using their phone, to text or listen to music and we all know that moment when our phone battery is at 10% and we don't have a charger. It's the most depressing thing.

7. A brush

You never know when you will need it, and if you are at the beach or the pool your hair will most likely get tangled and look crazy so being able to brush it out is actually a really great feeling.

8. Reusable water bottle

If you have a long day of classes or just a long day in general, you can go to a water fountain and fill up your bottle instead of spending 2-4 dollars on a bottle of water.

9. Earring backs.

Earring backs always fall out, I can't name the number of times that I have lost an earring because of it or had to take it out because the backing fell off. Having a little container or bag of them in your car could save your life, or putting them in your purse if you aren't going to be around your car.

10. Cash

It's always good to have a 20 or something in your glove box, because let's say you forget your wallet somewhere or lose it, at least you will have a little cash to be able to put gas, get food or any other thing you would need.

11. A sweater

Going to a restaurant, in class, at the doctor's, or at work, it's probably gonna be cold, and it's miserable when you are cold and probably won't get any warmer.

These are things that I have found to be useful to have in my car, these are suggestions for you too, change or alter as needed to fit your life better.

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