Growing up in my household meant at least once a year there would be a family road trip, with Mommy handing out chickenmayo sandwiches, fruit juices, apples, oranges and the occasional Super-C or Jelly Baby.
Unfortunately students' thinking goes more the way of how much alcohol we can fit into the car, clothes, a pillow, blanket and “did anyone remember the tent?” And after all that planning we hardly ever remember the all important nourishing and alcohol–absorbing food.
During my varsity years I partook in a yearly, epic pilgrimage from Cape Town to Kenton (East London). It was on these trips that I learned about drinking, camping, Oxbraai, friendship and the importance of padkos. This is for all those virgin road-trippers just starting out, read my mistakes and learn from them.
Lesson 1: Choose between Wimpy and Steers
Road trips separate the Wimpy roadies from the Steers folks, I for one, prefer Steers. I am Steers fan – they serve the ultimate road trip burgers, they taste great, are always so saucy (which is a must) and I have yet to experience food poisoning.
Lesson 2: Stop at random farmstalls
I know there are a lot of them on the road, but every now and again stop off at a farmstall. It is here that you will find homemade pies and bread – fresh out of the oven. This warm bread combined with some of Tannie’s homemade gooseberry jam and butter is an experience every road tripper should have.
Lesson 3: Bring along a competent friend
Make sure you have a competent friend in the crew – one who booked your accommodation, remembered the soap, brought more than one sleeping bag, packed the First Aid kit and has all the emergency numbers on speed dial. She'll also bring all the important equipment like gas cookers and pots. You will love your friend when you wake up and she has boiled water for your coffee and bath, or when you are defending yourself, pot in hand, from curious baboons (men and animals alike).
Lesson 4:Take rusks
Rusks are a top priority, they are a quick breakfast snack that can be dipped in your morning tea or coffee or eaten without; great for keeping up the energy.
Lesson 5: The chip roll
When in doubt make a chip roll. All you need is one packet of chips and one roll, pushed together to form a delicious chip roll. (Hint: Fritos tomato chips have the best flavour.)
Lesson 6: Visit Jeremiah's Restaurant
For some of the tastiest pizzas one will ever have, stop off at Jerry’s. Conveniently located a walk away from the Kenton campsite they have a huge selection of pizzas. And their bar, with sea sand floor, is the only "club" in Kenton.
Lesson 7: Try the tuck shop
In Kenton the 'campsite' does have one good point to it, the tuck shop. It is here where I tasted the best chicken burger ever invented by mankind. It is a huge piece of chicken fillet on a roll with lettuce, tomatoes and sauce (mayo, mustard, some special ingredient). OMG it might not sound like anything special but after a couple of days on a mainly liquid diet, this is heaven. An extra bonus is that the shop stays open till four in the morning, perfect for all the-early-to rise or late-to-bed partiers.
Lesson 8: Take vitamins
As you can tell from the above, nutrition isn't one of our main concerns, but it is important to ingest some vitamins and minerals. Oranges and apples are easy to carry around, you can inject vodka into them and you can use them to throw an unwanted tent crawlers (insects or human). Energade is handy as well; it contains tons of vitamins and minerals, and is a great hangover cure.
Lesson 9: Have a little roadtrippin' book
A great item to have is a list of names, numbers and addresses of any friends or acquaintance. In case you are starving and cannot handle anymore campsite food, dirty bathrooms or need to get away from your roadtrippin' buddies.
Lesson 10: Bring along health insurance
Liver tablets, KGB, etc. These are very important resources to have on hand, after a week of constant drinking, partying and more drinking, your liver is going to want to jump out of your body and run away, treat it well it's the only one you have.
The ultimate lesson: Party at Oxbraai
If you can, visit Oxbraai, an hour's drive from Kenton, the Oxbraai party occurs once a year two days before New Year in the small town of Bathurst. This is why we put ourselves through the above torture.
It is mainly for a one night, hazardous-to–your-dignity party, which as the name so obviously states is actually a braai consisting of a lot of ox. All I can say is, you have to experience this night with friends as it is one you won't easily forget, or if alcohol has rendered you without a memory, others will remind you of for years to come.
Do you have any other lessons to add, let us know.