Every year that I do one of these road trips, I learn how to prepare better for them. This is now the third iteration of what I expect to be a yearly ritual for me. So how do I prepare to drive a car home from a state far away?

First up, tech:

As I learned when I picked up Chelsea, I cannot only depend on the car to provide power for my electronics. To solve this issue, I am bringing along with me:

— iPhone 8 Plus.

— Galaxy S8.

— LG X Power.

— Power bank.

Accompanying that tech will be a set of over ear headphones and earbuds, my entire music library, charging cables for every phone, and a cigarette lighter USB port.

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Learning my lesson from driving in the middle of nowhere, I’m also bringing cash on me. I’ve tossed all non-essential goods out of my purse (like a nail polishes, manicure kit, extra brush, etc), and everything is bundled up and organized safely.

This time around is even better because I have already transferred the title and gotten plates for the car. I’ll take my Uber to O’Hare, fly to Pittsburgh, Uber to Indiana (PA), then extract the car from the previous owner!

I did have some difficulties:

- I previously mentioned getting the title transfer and plates done at a Currency Exchange. Well, since I transferred the title on Chelsea something happened to Illinois’ title database. They kept coming back with “Invalid VIN.” They tried again “Invalid VIN”. Again, “Invalid VIN”. Eventually they gave up and told me “Ma’am we need to see the car”. Well...yeah that can’t happen, it’s like...far away. I asked them to try different make codes and branch out into MB if they have to. I know for a fact these cars can be registered here so that doesn’t make sense to me.

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As it turns out. As of now: Any smarts older than 2008 are now branded “Merz Smart Fourtwo” instead of “smart fortwo” or “smart car” like they used to be. Oh gosh, it’s like a drunk has gotten into the database.

I also only paid $2 in taxes on the car. If there isn’t a number written on the title, just make up a purchase price.

- I miscalculated the size of the spare wheel.

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It does not fit in a suitcase without making the suitcase ever so slightly larger than United’s baggage limit. I don’t want to deal with that mess, so the seller’s going to pick up a tyre for about the same price I would have paid to check the wheel or ship the wheel. Not bad.

Tomorrow I wake up at 3am and my Uber shuttles me away at 4:30. I’ll be at PIT at 10:45 local time! :) This is going to be an awesome weekend!