My five million-dollar idea is a Yelp for gas station provisions (and bathrooms). Waze, permission to steal it because I want it that bad.
Until then, a more rote solution is imperative. If you road trip at all, you know the sludge that resurrects you from a stiff night of sleep—the stuff that comes in a Styrofoam or latte-colored vessel, flimsy top, 99.8 percent water, 0.2 percent “coffee.” Little red plastic stirrers that likely melt in the coffee, 54 creamer thimbles.
I have brought a pour over and grounds on a road trip before, but people look at me in the gas station funny. And come on, you’re on a road trip! And it’s not being photographed by Heidi Swanson. And, if you’re me, you only brought one outfit (PJs).
So, semi-make coffee with even more packaged food. Bring hot chocolate packets (or buy them at the gas station). They cost little, weigh less, and take up no space—they happen to slip nicely into your glove compartment box for immediate grabbing.
Dump half or more of the hot chocolate into your cup o’ and you made a mocha! The coffee is still the afterthought, but instead of coffee-flavored funky water, you have coffee-scented hot cocoa. While the antithesis of artisan coffee (so sweet and good in how artificial it tastes, like boxed cake), it still relaxes your back and makes you forget you were going to buy a Red Bull, too.
Whether you also go with marshmallows depends on how much of a show off you were in Girl Scouts.
Tell us: What are your road trip essentials?