For the few of you who can walk out your front door and hop on the lift, can you guess which finger I’m holding up? For the rest of you out there checking your tire treads and wondering if your ride can make the brutal up-hill trips you’re jonesing to put it through again, this one’s for you.

Road tripping is fun, but it can be brutal at times. Especially when you’re fighting Friday traffic and jacked up coffee drinkers, all in an attempt to reach higher elevation. Hopefully these tips will steer you in the right direction and make your trip less stressful.

1. Your Navigator:
It never fails, your talking to your buddies about this weekend’s snow search and they look at you to drive. Well, you do have the shiny SUV right? Maybe not but somehow you lost the Ro-Sham-Bo and find yourself behind the wheel. Whether you’re traveling with one friend or a carload, make sure the person in the seat next to you knows the importance of their duties: food and beverage server, disc jockey, and all around entertainer. Hey, you’re supplying the transportation, the least this person can do is keep you awake and take your mind off that “My Child Is An Honor Student At Bumpkin Bay Kindergarten” bumbersticker in front of you.Note: girlfriends are allowed the late night co-pilot nap, but must be willing to drive part way when they wake.

2. The Fuel:
I’m not going to get into the importance of putting high octane fuel into your engine for optimum mileage. If you don’t know that already…

Actually, I’m referring to the importance of the snack menu. If you’re heading to the hills after work on a Friday (Thursday? You bastard!), you should do one of two things: 1) stop by Starbucks (or your favorite, anti-capitalist Java hut) for a double jolt of something tar-tasting and energizing, or 2) pick up a six pack of Red Bull. The concept of adding caffeine, torrine, or some other ine to your blood system is never over rated.

As for food, the selection of items found at the gas station mini mart is usually limited. My personal favorites: Corn nuts (jaw breakers yes but the noise combined with tooth-stickability adds to their on-road entertainment value), Gumi Bears (they’re so cute!), and peanut-butter-cheese crackers. Nutritional value¿none. Entertainment value¿unlimited. Whatever your selection, make sure it’s handy.

Note: chewing gum surpresses the need to urinate, ultimately reducing the number of pit stops you’ll be making.

3. The Tunes:
Please address this issue long before you hit the pavement. The last thing you want to be doing is scanning the radio stations in the middle of BFE. Make sure your CD or (gasp) tape carrier(s) are fully stocked with your favorites. And P.S. leave the Sinatra at home, you’re trying to stay focused on driving, not doze off mid-mountain, OK?

4. Packing:
So this is fourth on the list because it really isn’t that important. Keep in mind, you’re probably dressed for warmer weather than you’re about arrive in so make sure appropriate layers (jacket, beanie, gloves) are handy. Also, if you have to put your boards inside the vehicle, pack them on the bottom so they’re not sliding around, scratching your interior or the backs of your other passenger’s heads.

5. Driving In Weather:
You’re a lowlander and proud of it. But don’t act like an amateur when the road gets slippery. Make sure your breaks and tires are in good shape, and go easy on them. Remember your driver’s ed: no tailgaiting, don’t slam on your breaks, turn into the skid. If all else fails, SLOW DOWN!

Have fun and get ready to road trip, because the snow’s a-coming!