Brazilian Tarp Hat (no two alike, foldable, water resistant)
Deciding to go on a para trek is easy for us geeks. You say "road trip" and we leap into the SUV, truck, Jeep or car. But, we are also geeks, so being prepared is key to really being able to enjoy the trek.
Load your phone up with apps - see my post on para apps HERE.
Trunk: I got a lot of junk in my trunk, but all of it is necessary for safety and for spontaneous exploration. You'll find a shovel, heavy duty gloves, pollen masks (exploring abandoned places that might have asbestos), first aid kit, flare, snake bite kit, waterproof matches, flashlights, metal detector, gold panning pans, book on what you can eat in the desert, towels, blanket, water, charcoal and paper (grave rubbings) trash bags.
Food: Picnic areas abound, but if you're a para geek, you might want to pull that blanket out of the trunk and find a shady place in a cemetery. I like doing roll up sandwiches. They don't get crushed easily and are easy to handle. Pack napkins and hand wipes. I do a buffalo turkey one with lettuce, grated carrot, grated celery, buffalo sauce, ranch dressing, Monterrey jack cheese and turkey on whole grain tortillas and wrapped in tin foil. Grapes, bananas and apples are best traveling fruits. Toss in the cooler some candy bars in a sandwich bag and let them freeze. Put chips in a tupperware container to protect.
Planning the Route: Sometimes the goal of a para trek is a location, other times it's about a city and heading out to it, trying to tap every infamous para-related site on the way. You can pull up your map on Mapquest or Google Maps and note the towns between Point A and Point B. Look up on Google "UFO sighting (fill in town name)" or "Bigfoot sighting (fill in town name)" or "Haunting (town name)" or "Unexplained (town name)" Now, look up and plot out where the cemeteries are in these little towns and do image searches of the cemeteries to see what looks good to visit. I also highly suggest the book Weird USA or Weird (your state's name). This series of books have stories you didn't know about your state and place of high strangeness.
Be sure you always have a flashlight for unexpected exploring, lots of batteries and chargers in your car. As well, be sure passengers are on the lookout for oddities. Many of the road trips I take with Julie, we get distracted when we see something in the distance or a creepy street we just have to explore. Be fluid with you time schedule.