February 2, 2021
by Vanessa Bouchet
One question people ask us a lot is, "How do you not get bored while driving?" There is a two-part answer to that question. Part 1 is from the driver. The driver is never bored because they manage an RV through construction, traffic, unfamiliar areas, and other vehicles. Part 2 is from the passenger. The passenger, at least in our RV, is responsible for wrangling the dogs and preparing them for bathroom breaks, keeping the driver hydrated and fed, navigating directions, and choosing music or an audiobook. As you drive down the highway and the GPS says, "Follow the road for 256 miles,” - that is when the boredom sets in. What is the solution, you might ask? Answer: Road Trip Games!
We all, at least people who were kids before handheld devices hit the market, know the joys of taking a long road trip with "nothing to do for hours," as I would say to my parents. The question becomes, how do you break up the monotony of driving straight for hours without getting upset or going crazy? For us, we play road trip games to pass the time. We have several different games we play while taking long trips, and I will explain them below. None of the games listed include technology, other than the radio.
The alphabet game is a classic road trip pastime that I have played since I learned the alphabet while traveling. The premise is simple, starting with the letter A, find words on signs that begin with each letter of the alphabet in order through Z. The game is over when you find a word starting with each letter. The person who found the most words first is the winner. While this game sounds simple, for anyone who has played it and has gotten to the "dreaded letters" (Q, X, Y, Z), it is not easy to find them, making those words worth two points when we play. There is nothing better than a quiet car (other than the radio), and all of a sudden, someone yells, "WORK ZONE! Z! I WIN!" It always causes a laugh. If anyone is traveling up or down I-79, just north of Cranberry, PA, there is a town called Zelienople (keep your eyes out).
Travelers can adapt this game for adults only or have the whole family play. In this game, you look at license plates of passing cars and develop a phrase or words that players can make from the letters. For example, if a plate said, "HFC 987," You could say, "Hey Fat Cat 987". This game can be adapted for play by adults only with adult content, but we will leave that part out. The first time we saw this game was in the movie “Jeepers Creepers” (2001). This game is simple and usually results in laughing and funny lines that are created by players.
License Plate BINGO is a family-friendly game when you can create a board (or buy something on-line) with random license plates on them. As you drive, you put a marker on each state that you find. You can choose how the winning board looks (whether it is straight or box or whole card). This game can be fun and allow kids to learn about different states and look at the different types of plates for each state.
Next Line is a game we have created for ourselves. My husband and I are complete movie addicts. We watch movies all the time, from classic black and whites like the original “House on Haunted Hill” (1959) starring Vincent Price, or new movies like “Craft Legacy” (2020) - we love movies. With that brief disclaimer, this game's general rules are to have a conversation as long as possible, only using film lines as the conversation. You can mix up the films, but you have to keep the conversation going from movie lines that make sense in the conversation. The round is over when the next person cannot come up with a line to say next. Here is a brief example:
"Good Morning Starshine! The Earth says 'Hello!'" - “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (2005)
"Good Morning Vietnam!" - “Good Morning Vietnam” (1987)
"What do you want to do today, Brain?" - “Pinky and The Brain – Animaniacs” (1995)
"The same thing we do every day Pinkey, try to take over the world!" - “Pinky and the Brain – Animaniacs” (1995)
"What's wrong with you? Are you stupid or something?" - “Forrest Gump” (1994)
"Stupid is as stupid does, Mrs. Blue." - “Forrest Gump” (1994)
The game would keep going until there are no more lines to say.
The final game we play is called Name That Movie. This one is a game for expert-level movie trivia players only. This game requires a radio or music device to play. While driving down the road, if a song were to come on the radio, players would need to list every movie of memory with that specific song in it. For example, if players were to hear the song “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. The key phrase is "Name That Movie." After that, the player who was asked the question needs to answer with as many movies they can remember. The answer would be: “Outside Providence” (1999), “Forrest Gump” (1994), “The Devil’s Rejects” (2005), and “The Kingsman” (2014). The winner is the person who can name the most movies the specific song was in.
These games are fun activities that do not include handheld devices or newer game systems and require all of us to put down our devices and have fun with our travel partners.
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