How many of you have seen the 2005 Cameron Crowe film Elizabethtown? For those who haven’t, we’ll try to give you a quick synopsis.

Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dust in Elizabethtown

Shoe designer Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom) fails miserably at designing the next big thing in athletic shoes and loses one billion dollars for his company. As a result, he decides he is going to kill himself, but seconds before the dirty deed is to be done, he gets a phone call from his sister telling him his dad has just passed away in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.  Drew then takes a nearly empty red-eye to recover his dad’s remains and meets Claire Colburn (Kirsten Dunst) a flight attendant who ends up changing his perspectives on life. 

One of the ways she changes his views about life is suggesting that he take his father’s cremated remains back home via a cross-country trip which takes him through places like Memphis,  Tennessee and across the Mississippi River and beyond (no spoiler alert needed now as we won’t ruin the Elizabethtown full movie  experience for you). She even creates a sort of scrapbook itinerary for him that’s complete with maps, a soundtrack and detailed instructions that would take “42 hours and 11 minutes” to complete the trip.

And so it begins.

Though Elizabethtown really isn’t a road trip movie per se, the cross-country trip is one of the best road trips ever filmed for the big screen, and like all Cameron Crowe films, the soundtrack just adds to that feeling of Drew’s road trip and includes an eclectic mix of everything from The Hombres Let it Out to Elton John’s My Father’s Guns and even Simple Minds’ Promise You a Miracle.

In fact, the whole soundtrack inspired what was originally going to be today’s post on a “100 Best Road Trip Songs Ever!” kind of article; however, after scouring the internet and looking at the multitude of lists of best road songs we realized something: Not everybody has the same tastes in music. This means everybody’s list will be different or, in other words, their own personal best road trip songs list.

Not everybody can agree on whether or not they like the Eagles, man!

For example, one list suggested the song Paradise by the Dashboard Light, which in and of itself is a good song, but for a road trip, some might think that the only meatloaf they want to encounter is the kind that’s served in a mom and pop diner with mashed potatoes and gravy and corn or string beans on the side. Another list put U2’s Where the Streets Have No Name at number 60 on their list of the 100 Greatest Road Trips Songs mix tape, while any U2 fan worth their Guinness knows that you should start the trip off with that exact song. So, do you see how suggesting a list of “The 100 Absolutely Best Road Trip Songs of All Time” might have been as big a failure as Drew’s poorly received athletic shoes?

So, what we here at Stuckey’s Pecan Blog Roll did is we decided to help you decide how to make your own personal list of greatest road trip songs where you choose the songs yourself for any particular road trip (that is to say, do you really need a list of 100 road trip songs for your 3-hour roundtrip road trip from Delaware to the closest Stuckey’s in Mappsville, Virginia just to buy some of those delicious Stuckey’s pecan log rolls you’ve been craving for the last two weeks since your last trip?). And your list might be seasonal, too. Perhaps on your way to the folk’s house at Christmas you might want to put in some Rat Pack singing Jingle Bells to help you get into the holiday spirit. Or maybe it’s Halloween and you get your groove on to the Monster Mash or maybe some Rob Zombie. We digress, but you get the point.

“Dig through the ditches
And burn through the witches
I slam in the back of my
Dragula!”

So, without further ado let’s get started on how you can create your own impressive road trip playlist the next time you hit the open road.

1 │ Choose a Variety of Songs 

Yes, U2’s The Joshua Tree was voted the best album of the 80s, but if you’re taking a 43-hour trip from Ocean City, Maryland to San Francisco, California, you might feel like taking an axe to the first Joshua tree you see once you get to California.  Rather, you can help save both your sanity and a protected species of tree by species by simply adding variety to your playlist. For example, if you drive early in the morning and need a little motivation, maybe you want to start with some hard rock like AC ϟ DC’s  You Shook Me All Night Long or Guns N’ Roses Welcome to the Jungle to give you a little auditory caffeine in the morning.  Label your CD or MP3 player (or cassette if you’re still doing it old school) “Good Morning, Dude!” or whatever you like to call yourself.

There’s also a pretty good chance that you’re going to run into some traffic once in awhile, so you might want to put on some soothing fun music like Coldplay’s Sky Full of Stars or Need You Tonight by INXS because listening to Limp Bizkit wanting to Break Stuff might just make you actually want to break stuff and there’s no need for all that road rage now. So, be sure to add some fun to your variety.  Again, label your CD, MP3 file or cassette “Fun Songs” so you know exactly what to listen to as you’re trying to negotiate your way around Atlanta on a weekday morning, for example.

“I stay out too late, got nothin’ in my brain
That’s what people say, mmm hmm, that’s what people say, mmm hmm”

Once on an auto tour of the Gettysburg battlefield, we heard the voice of Charlotte Church singing Panis Angelicus  coming out of the one of our fellow traveler’s speakers as they slowly drove past, and we found it to be “altogether fitting and proper” that they should be listening to this.

Whatever your taste in music, keep rotating songs on and off the device you’re using or make new CD’s and cassettes to break up the monotony; otherwise, you may wish The Presidents of the United States would hurry up and eat all of those millions of doggone free peaches already! 

2 │ Make Your Mix in Advance

You need not have been a Boy Scout or Girl Scout to be prepared. There’s nothing worse than having to stay up late the night before you’re road trip making your road trip playlists.  Wait, there is something worse – not having any playlist at all!

Don’t forget to mix up your mixed tape mixes.

Try to create a few playlists a couple of weeks out from your trip, and if you have some playlists that are getting stale, freshen them up with some new ones. There are plenty of apps out there like that will help you make your “Top 100 Songs for My Trip Down the Lincoln Highway” or whatever you want to call your playlist.  Some of these apps even allow you to access other people’s list and give you some ideas about what you’d like to put on your own.

By creating playlists ahead of time, you’ll be ready for your next road trip next summer or even tomorrow if the mood strikes you.

3 │ Don’t Limit Yourself to Just Music

You don’t have to be getting your groove on the whole time your road tripping. Mix in some classic comedy with some Cheech and Chong sketches or George Carlin bits.

Download an audiobook you’ve always wanted to read but you’ve never had the time to read. Well, you do now, so make the most of it. Learn about the history of Wounded Knee on your way to Mount Rushmore.  

Listen to a podcast and catch up on what Stephanie Stuckey’s been doing these days before making your next stop for a Stuckey’s pecan log roll.

Remember, this playlist is all about you and what you like, so make it exactly how you like.

So, that’s how you make your Greatest Road Trip Songs playlist.  Now cue up Born to be Wild and get back on the road.

While you’re out there saying “Oh, this is my jam!” to every song that you put on your playlist, don’t get so caught up in the moment that you pass by a Stuckey’s location without stopping in and grabbing a Stuckey’s pecan log roll – now in bigger size so you get 10 full ounces to take back on the road with you. (Better grab two. You don’t know how far away that other Stuckey’s might be.) While you’re there, don’t forget your friends and family back home – what not take them some pecan log rolls, too, or some of our other fine pecan candies.

Don’t forget to stay on everybody’s Christmas card list this year by ordering Stuckey’s candies, hats, t-shirts, mugs and other Stuckey’s merchandise delivered right to your door just in time for the holiday gift-giving season. Visit us at stuckeys.com to find out more!

“You’ve now arrived at Stuckey’s in Mappsville, Virginia.”

Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!