April 17, 2009

What Would Crabby Do?

Oh look! A road sign! Most exciting thing I've seen in 40 miles...

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you'll know that our crab migrates twice a year from the left side of the country to the right side (and back). Somehow, she manages to work in some exercise during the road trip.

It sounds so easy when she does it.

I am currently recovering from a 1500-miles-in-a-weekend road trip. I tried to exercise whilst on the road, honest I did. It wasn't pretty.

Well, for one thing, I-5 isn't pretty. Not in California, at any rate.

If you've ever done a road trip, you can understand the boredom. You're maneuvering a ton of metal down a road maybe 8 feet wide while going 70+ miles an hour, but all that your body is doing is sitting still. After about 10 hours, the cassette tapes, audio books, CDs, DVDs, iPods and sundry are simply Not Enough.

The most exercise you get is from punching buttons on the radio while you try to find something decent to listen to. Or, if you're in the middle of nowhere, anything at all to listen to.

When I found myself eating junk food merely because it was the most exciting thing I could do at that time, I knew I was in trouble. It was time to try I.C.E. (Imitation Crab Exercising.)

I couldn't remember all the exercises that Crabby mentioned in her posts, but I tried to work in some workouts. The results were mixed:

Do shoulder rolls while rolling down the road
Good: Loosens up the neck as well as the shoulders

Better: The other drivers will reallllly stay out of your way once they catch sight of your movements.
Ugly: The nice policeman might want to ask about your recreational habits.

Do jumping jacks at the rest stop
Good: Gets your heart rate up nicely.
Better: Keeps you awake for the next segment of the trip.
Ugly: The local meth dealer might mistake you for a client in need of a fix.

Dance around in the car while driving down the road
Good: Improves your mood.
Better:Amuses the truck drivers.
Ugly: Really worries the dogs.


I tell you, I don't know how Crabby manages.

What would you do if you were trapped in a car for 10+ hours at a time, stoked up on caffeine, short on time for side trips to a gym, and bored out of your gourd on long-distance driving? Enquiring minds reallllly would like to know.


  1. My first long road trip was 17 hours in a 12-passenger van with a bunch of gaseous teens. Unfortunately, fitness was the further thing from my mind. Anyone have a gas mask??

  2. I'm really looking forward to road trips once I can drive - we're going to go through France, Spain and Italy next summer (everything going to plan)

    I really should do some jumping jacks and get the blood flowing when I've been sedentary too long. I bet it would improve my mood, too.

  3. Mixing it up a little might include picking up some hitchhikers (does anyone even do that anymore?), seeing how long you can drive with the "add oil" sign on, walking to the nearest gas station for a new transmission, or running from the law and/or hitchhiker.

    Could be worse - you could be Greyhounding it, but it still sounds pretty miserable. Good luck - it'll be worth the trip.

  4. I never thought about it. We always try to just drive straight through and get there asap (it's @ 22-26 hours to my family's place). I do stretching...and walk around the complex. I bet jumping jacks would really feel better! Oh, I do shoulder rolls too, but I'm sure the other drivers are staring at me from singing with the radio!

  5. I drove twice cross country. The first time was in December from MA to CA, so we went down and across so as not to hit bad weather, we stopped in VA at a friends, then GA at families, then LA again family and then straight across Texas, it was pretty fun we stopped at the Alamo and some cheesy gift shops along the way. The next time we had the cat with us due to us moving back from CA. That was interesting. LOL

    We listened to music, audiobooks, etc. It was crazy my legs were always so stiff.

  6. LOL to the dog pic and the driver staring at you. :)

    Another exercise is butt pinches. Squeeze...release. Repeat.

    I love road trips. A hilarious, though potentially offensive to some viewers, book is The Bad Girl's Guide to the Open Road. I found it hilarious: http://www.amazon.com/Bad-Girls-Guide-Open-Road/dp/0811821706

    More exercises:
    * pull in your stomach as far in as possible. Hold for a few seconds; release; repeat

    *Squeeze your thighs together as hard as you can; hold; release; repeat

    *hold on to steering wheel, relax shoulders and pull them back as far as you can trying to pinch your shoulder blades together; hold; release; repeat

    I've read about these on the internet before. :)

  7. *sigh*

    this is in my future.

    Husband hates to fly and wants to get an (waitforit) AIRSTREAM.


  8. Ah see - next time you just need to borrow my hyperactive children! 3 kids under 6 will keep you hopping and your heart rate (and blood pressure) up the whole trip! Plus you WILL be stopping every hour, at least, so you'll get plenty of opportunities to sneak in some sprints (as the wee ones head for the freeway).

    And now you know why I never travel.

  9. I've driven the 12 hours to visit my parents straight with only a few quick breaks, and I've flown it in 4 hours. Good weather is a beautiful thing for staying fit :-)

  10. I have driven/ridden so many miles and even more miles with Chris since he has a relationship with 'that car' -- we drove to Kansas from California a few years ago. If I had blogged then, you would have certainly heard about that trip.

    Before any trip I arm my brain with info that's going to be along the way. In the case of Kansas, I got a book on Roadside Kansas so I could torment Chris across the state. Information about the big ball of yarn, or the worlds largest sunflower etc.

    As far as exercises, I took a lot of belly-dancing classes (not the lapdance kind of bellydance, the more authentic kind) and there are plenty of exercises you can do. You can do the shoulder rolls isolating to each shoulder separately. You can suck your gut back to your spine and tighten (to work on your core). You can do a lot of arm 'work' and hand work (fancy, pretty hand work) and if you're doing all of that together, the person in the next car over thinks you're flirting so keep your eyes straight ahead.

    Non-exercise things that I do are I like to ask Chris about his childhood, all sorts of silly questions about what it was like growing up in Iowa as a Lutheran. You can imagine how that subject helps me slip into a deep sleep after just a few words out of his mouth...

    Finally if I am not in the mood, I will take drugs to knock myself out and that's only when I am the passenger.

    I once drove with my dead husband (when he was alive) from San Jose, Ca to Port Angeles, Wash in one day. That was the worst trip ever.

  11. no more road trips for us lately...but when we used to, we were def. on the try to get there in as little time as possible..only stopping to pee and eat :)

    have a nice weekend!

  12. Thanks for this post! I'm driving to the west coast for a job this summer, going on a 2,500 mile (~40 hours) trip. And then back again in August!!! I'm an exercise nut, and car trips are like my own mobile hell. I always stop at least every two hours, and do four laps around the gas station every time I fill up. Also, with cruise control freeing my feet, I can try different yoga positions while driving.

  13. Belly dancing! slaps forehead Why didn't I think of that?

    Well, probably because after several hours of driving on a straight, flat road my brain melts into a puddle and isn't useful for much. I think vacations should come with built-in recovery days included.

  14. Taking pictures of the people in other cars along the road is one way to pass the time. That woman was miffed that I took her picture. Never seemed to occur to her that I was trying to photograph the fire that was going on behind her.

  15. My cure for road trips are bags of pipe cleaners in a bunch of colours...something to do. The car end up looking pretty bizarre on long trips :)

    This is totally off topic, but I just had a big pop up window ad come up when I came here and I couldn't read the blog until I clicked on it...just wanted to voice my no-likeyness of the popup ads (they make me crazy...)

  16. Oh, I see that ad. I had to move the mouse way to the left to make it go away. I agree, that is on the annoying side of things.

    On the other hand, I now have this strange craving for orange juice... must go find some...

  17. I'd need plenty of socks.

    Wait, is this a family blog?

  18. I used to make the trip down to FL in one night (from D.C. about 16-18 hrs). Of course I was in my early 20s then!

  19. But Missicat, what did you do for exercise or to keep awake?

    Maybe I shouldn't ask that kind of question. I asked one friend how she coped with her commute from one end of California to the other. "What did you do?" I asked. "Drugs," she replied.

    Nitmos, I think socks are a safe topic for a family blog. Probably. Not sure that this blog qualifies, but if anyone is scared off by socks... wait, have these socks been washed in the last decade?

  20. I concentrate all my long drive stretching into my left leg. When I see other drivers doing this-- left foot out the window, left foot on the dash, left foot propped up half-lotus-style-- I realize just how scary and dangerous it looks.

  21. Sadly, I would turn up the music, drink more caffeine, and shovel in the Twizzlers and Hot Fries. I use all road trips as an excuse to eat crab and be a slob.

    I do occassionally run around gas station parking lots like a stir-crazy idiot. Oh and take short 5 minute walks around roadside rest stops. Those help a lot.

  22. Having spent many years driving from San Diego to San Francisco, then L.A. to San Francisco with babies, I found the best thing to do was let my husband drive!
    He gets antsy if he's not in the driver's seat on long drives, I can take a nap or read, and luckily the kids are great in the car (especially when we bring the DVD player).
    Although there was that 4 hour drive from L.A. to Vegas when our then 2 year-old cried THE ENTIRE TIME...

  23. These are hilarious accounts of road trips. POD, I cracked up at: "I once drove with my dead husband (when he was alive)..." Love that you clarified that!

    And you guys have some great road trip exercise ideas too!

    What would Crabby do? Well, we rarely did that many miles in a single day. So stopping for a hike or a workout was more realistic than it would be if we were driving 10+ hours.

    Chair-dancing to the radio and a few roadside jumping jacks would probably be as much as I'd get around to if we doing serious, haul-ass type driving.

    Oh, and whining probably burns up a few calories too..

  24. I find the adrenaline rush from both driving as fast as humanly possible away from my mothers house and looking out for the law keeps me going....I also found that having to go to the bathroom really really bad after seeing one of those next rest stop 50 miles signs really works up a sweat.

  25. Whining? I can do that! :)

    Whobody, I can relate to the adrenaline rush. I was driving a rental car whose gas gauge developed the nifty little trick of suddenly jumping down to empty and having the little Low Fuel warning light come on... just exactly as I passed the point of no return and started to drive across the friggin' Bay Bridge. Had no idea how many miles this thing got to the gallon, or how many gallons it had while running on empty. Great adrenaline booster.

    In case you ever need to know this, there are no gas stations on Treasure Island.

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  27. We drive from Colorado to Kentucky every 2 or 3 years. BORING! I hate Kansas (sorry Kansas people) for many reasons - I got in an accident there once, got caught in a dust-devil there once, and other things. But mostly, I hate Kansas because it is one of the most boring states I've ever had to drive through. I completely understand. And... good for you to keep exercising! Vee at www.veegettinghealthy.blogspot.com

  28. Merry, You could do what Whoopi Goldberg did to the west coast and that's take a bus. You know, "leave the driving to us"? There an aisle that is hardly used while in motion and I don't think any of the other passengers would have a problem with some aerobic exercise north of LA.

  29. Hmmm, I don't have any fitness tips, I'm afraid. But I CAN tell you from many, many late nights on the road, commuting an hour from the theatre where I performed back to the house that there is one surefire way to stay AWAKE. And it works during the day, too!

    Drink a lot of liquid. The more the better. Because you canNOT fall asleep when you really, really, REALLY have to pee.

    I'm just sayin'.

  30. Wow, some of you have some great ideas! Mine may not be the best advice, but I usually try and stay up as late as possible the night before a road trip and avoid coffee in the morning and wear earplugs so I can sleep the whole way. My hubby is left to do the driving in silence but I think he might actually like it that way. ;)

  31. I'm usually driving alone on those trips anymore. I do a lot of the suggested exercises: pull in stomach, shoulder rolls, pushups in the rest areas, stretching like mad, head rolls.

    Still I get to my destination and I'm ready to die.

    And I-5? Deadly boring. I find myself eating just to stay aware of the road.

  32. the longest i've gone is from Florida to WI, but I wasn't driving...so I just slept. The other time I drove it was an 11 hour trip. Great suggestions though! I must try them out

  33. Most people think I'm insane when I'm on the road at campsites! I bring along my little rebounder, and do my aerobic-running on the spot exercises on that. They especially what world I've come from when they see me excercising under the awning when it's raining. Exercise has become a thing that I do, even if it isn't a lot, because a lot of my family are overweight, and I love food too much!

  34. Most people think I'm insane when I'm on the road at campsites! I bring along my little rebounder, and do my aerobic-running on the spot exercises on that. They especially wonder what world I've come from when they see me excercising under the awning when it's raining. Exercise has become a thing that I do, even if it isn't a lot, because a lot of my family are overweight, and I love food too much!

  35. UGH is all I can say! We are not ones for long road trips! We fly to our destination when & if we have the money to go... like once a year to visit 2 of the 3 kids & 7 grandchildren in Idaho. BUT, we did try once to drive to Oregon to visit hubby's mom. I thought I was going to go crazy! I tossed & turned like a crazy person... and wanted to stop constantly for a "bathroom break" whether I needed to or not just to get out & stand up!

    As a kid, did lots of this road stuff & it involved lots of word games & car games to get us thru so my parents would not kill themselves listening to us say "are we there yet"!!!!

    I give you lots of credit for the drive! Braver than me! I only do drives as far as I can get there in a day!

  36. Audiobooks, really long audiobooks.

    Oh, and it's probably a great time to do kegels.

  37. I drove from Edmonton to Tucson in four days by myself. I limited myself to 8 or so hours a day, had plenty of water to drink and therefore had to stop lots. Of course, it was all new vistas for me, so I wasn't really bored. Good music, audio books and frequent rest stops, even if only to get out and snap a photo and touch my toes. Peppermint oil &/or mints will help to keep you alert too.

  38. Merry,

    I have absolutely nothing helpful to tell you (there's a shocker).

    But this was a very funny post, and I'm glad you're back :-)

  39. Thanks, Ruth, it's good to be back! I needed a vacation to recover from my vacation.

    Reb, you drove... 24 hours in 4 days? Yikes.

    Pubsgal, I ran out of good audio books on the trip back. Sometimes an audio book that sounds interesting in the library turns deadly dull when you play it in the car.

    I love all the commenters who suggested that I sleep the whole trip. Sadly, that might scare the other drivers on the road, since I'm the only one doing the driving in my car. Unless I adopt Tom's suggestion, which is tempting. Think they'd mind if I brought my dog along with me? ;)

  40. "What would you do if you were trapped in a car for 10+ hours at a time, stoked up on caffeine, short on time for side trips to a gym, and bored out of your gourd on long-distance driving?"I speed--pedal to the metal--so as to get where I'm going real fast and then I can exercise...unless I decide to drink instead.

  41. Stop once every couple hours for a quick stretch. I know, when it's a long trip the idea of stopping is not very desirable, but jumping up and down a couple times is good for the body!

  42. Ha! That's what best friends are for...and I always drag mine along on road trips (Michelle, you are the BEST!). As for exercise, there is nothing I hate more than long straight runs, I'd never be able to run on that sort of Hwy road trip. You need to come to the rockies! :-)

  43. Oh, ouch, Merry! I know what you mean, though; I listen to audio books on my commute, and some of them I just wasn't able to finish. On my last long road trip, I checked out a 20-something-disk audio book. It was book 3 in a fantasy series, and I'd thought it was the last book in it. (I was glad of it, too, because I wasn't overly keen on the writing but it was something to listen to.) Imagine my frustration, after all those hours of listening, to learn that it wasn't the rest of the story! I think, when the last book comes out, I'll check it out from the library and skim. ;-)

  44. Coffee. And then vow to take the 101 next time.

    However, halfway to San Francisco on the 5 you will hit a part of the freeway where the methane gas from the massive slaughterhouse will jolt you wide awake and inspire you to pray that no one in the vicinity lights a match. That should keep you awake for the remainder of the drive.

  45. I have no suggestions. I've never been on a road trip of more than 600 miles one way, and from the sound of it I'm not going to. It all makes me very glad that I get to stay home.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  46. Look at all those wide open spaces!
    I can drive around this island in a short day....Aloha

  47. Maybe you can do that thing where you suck in your belly and stuff. :))

    Well, I can't imagine why the commenters here detest road trips. I freaking loooooove sitting 'till my ass chafes. (not)

  48. I shadow box when a great, upbeat song come on. My seat position is partially determined by exactly how much room it leaves between my shoulders and the windshield. After a couple mis-calculated punches, I learned.

    And yes, this really messes with other drivers. And no, I don't recommend it for driving through high-traffic areas. But it's great for long stretches of nothing, or sitting at stop lights.


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