I plan what happens on my stops as much as I plan my road trip. For my comfort, I like to stop after about 100 miles of driving. Before starting out on my trip or leaving a previous stop, I use my Roadtripper app and my mapping app to see where the 100 mile stretch will take me.
My stop will then include the following tasks: gas, eating, journaling and planning the next stop. Here are the details on each of these elements.
Gas - I refill the tank whenever it gets less than half full. I started this when I started driving out through South Dakota and Montana where gas stations are fewer and farther between. It also allows me to use and app called Gas Buddy to find the cheapest gas along the route. I've saved up to 35 cents a gallon by driving 15 miles further up the route.
Eating - if it is close to a meal time, I use Roadtrippers to find individual family owned diners and restaurants. I usually grab a cup of coffee as I hit the road and plan a breakfast stop 100 miles down the road. A lovely, sit-down breakfast an hour and a half into the drive beats the heck out a drive-through breakfast sandwich. If it isn't time for a meal, I still grab a light snack or drink.
Journaling/Postcarding - I make notes on a postcard of things I want to remember about the stop or things I've seen along the drive. If the stop has a postcard, I use one of theirs. I then send these postcards to myself so I have a running documentation of the trip. You could do the same thing in a journal. In either case, these entries or short and to the point and extremely informational - what I ate, something I heard on an audiobook, a song I heard on the radio, impressions of the drive.
Planning the next stop - I take a moment with the Roadtrippers app, my mapping app and the Gas Buddy app and plan what happens at the next 100-mile stop.
If I stop to sightsee before the 100-mark, I plan the next 100-mile stop from that point, but I make sure I check to see if I need gas or food before heading out. I always write a postcard at sights.
And the 100-mile distance is right for me. You may be a 75-mile person or a 200-mile person. You do you.
And remember, it's better to shorten the trip and enjoy the journey than to constantly feel pressed for time.
Enjoy your travels and stay safe.
See you on the road.