I just finished packing mine and Allison’s suitcases, printing out our boarding passes and arranging a ride to the airport tomorrow morning. It’s a mere sixteen hours until go-time.
Back in January, I noticed that my AAA membership was about to auto-renew. The trouble was that due to the Target security breach over the holidays the card AAA had on file no longer worked. So I called to give them a new card to which they could charge my Premium membership. I mentioned to the woman on the phone that we were planning this Victory Lap in the spring and she was excited for us and said she’d always wanted to travel along Route 66 too. She said that AAA has a travel service that could help us book stuff and that regardless, AAA would be available to help not only if our car gets sick, but if a member of the family gets sick they can help us find medical care. Okay, that’s pretty cool. Certainly more bang for my buck than I expected. She says she’s going to send me some maps and I say that’s really nice of you, thank you.
So maybe a month later I get a shitload of maps in the mail. Free maps. Two weeks ago I got a big heavy box in the mail (I mean heavy, this box probably cost twenty bucks to ship). It was filled with more maps and tour books and a brochure on the California Redwoods. This picture isn’t even all the books.
Here’s the letter that came with it.
This is amazing. And still, they charge me nothing. I haven’t tried to calculate the costs of these resources, but it’s more than I would have spent, certainly.
So, today as I fill two suitcases, two carry-ons and my giant Disneyland tote/purse, I tried to figure out which books and maps I could bring with me. In retrospect I should have mailed the books to Dana with the Victory Diaper Bag, but it’s too late. As I kicked myself for my poor planning and the fact that I’d have to leave most of this awesome stuff behind I took a closer look at something I’d overlooked in the midst of all this bounty.
A TripTik routing book. I hadn’t even opened it up before, but when I did today I found a step by step highlighted route that AAA had created just for my family and our trip.
Here’s the part that goes from Flagstaff to Kingman, AZ. Now most people would take Highway 40. But there’s a little loop of the old Rte 66 that Dana and I put on our itinerary and SO DID AAA. It’s like they’re in my head! Look closely and see the useful tip “No gasoline or services available between Williams and SR 66. That is important to know.
Here’s a look at the detail around Albuquerque. Not to mention the number to call for 24 hour road assistance is on every page.
Guess what? AAA hasn’t sent me a bill for any of this or even any emails trying to up-sell me anything. I feel like they’ve got our backs on this trip across the country and on every trip to preschool or the grocery store. And they’ve got themselves a customer for life.