Starbucks: Marginal quality coffee but fookin hell is it convenient. Can be back on the freeway with a hot cup and empty bladder in 5-7 minutes. I like the blonde roast but I think the medium and dark is garbage. The Cold Brew is pretty good if they have it.
Carry-On duffles & soft bags: Agreed 100%. I searched long and wide until this one hit the shelves about a year or so ago: Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler
Absolute slam dunk of a bag. The big side pockets are clutch for non-clothing gear. The 45 L size is carry-on friendly, plus I have a larger one for all of all the gear I want to have in my car (hiking boots, flip flops, jackets, etc) without having gear strewn all over the place.
As far as trips requiring planes and travel, here are a few rules, that could apply to road trips as well:
1) No complaining. Or traveling with complainers.
2) If a day is dedicated to traveling between places, get as much distance as possible. I.e. don't spend a night in some crap town if it's only 2-4 or so more hours to the final destination.
3) If there is something cool to do somewhere and you are already there, try to do it. You may never return, and it will cost time and money if you do.
4) Visit new places/countries as much as possible. If I return to a country I've already been to with the intention of returning to a specific place I really dig, I try to spend the first part of the trip somewhere new to "scratch the itch", and spend the end of the trip at the place I've been to before.
5) If you aren't stocked on a place, leave. Even if you made reservations or prepaid. See point #3.
Golden Rules for surf trips: Never leave waves in search of other waves, and when there are waves, surf all day because that may be it!