Questions

Will I get lonely, driving across country by myself?

What are the common elements of community in America?

Does my AAA membership apply nation-wide?

Should I trust strangers who offer to help?

What is the best road snack?

Paper map, or smart phone?

Back roads or interstate?

What is the perfect level of humidity?

How long does it take for my air conditioner fluid to run out?

Is there even such a thing as air conditioner fluid?

Will I get sick of my own company?

Is it safe to camp in a tent by myself?

Podcasts, music, audio books, or silence?

Will I get a left-arm-only sunburn?

Can you sunburn through a car window?

How many showers a week is a reasonable amount?

How do I find healthy eating options on the road?

What kind of gluten-free, vegetarian meal can I get a roadside diner?

How annoying can I possibly be to a good southern cooking joint?

What are the different “flavors” of contra dance around the country?

Hurricane season and New Orleans: worth it?

In which states is it illegal to talk on the phone while driving?

Sunrise or sunset?

Ready?

Set?

 

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Questions

  1. Does my AAA membership apply nation-wide? Yes

    Should I trust strangers who offer to help? Definitely not

    Is there even such a thing as air conditioner fluid? YES

    Is it safe to camp in a tent by myself? Yes, with a heavy object

    Will I get a left-arm-only sunburn? Yes…

    Can you sunburn through a car window?…Because yes

    How annoying can I possibly be to a good southern cooking
    joint? They will throw you out

    In which states is it illegal to talk on the phone while driving? All of them, turn off your phone or die

    Ready? Of course you are

    Set? GO!

  2. Will I get lonely, driving across country by myself? When I was an Oxygen delivery driver, my longest drive was 5 hours. That, by myself, did make me somewhat lonely, but it also gave me lots of time to work out some issues. I was a changed person when I stopped.

    What are the common elements of community in America? I vote for food. Where we eat is where we tend to gather, where guards drop, and people actually make connections. The oldest rule of humanity is hospitality to guests; when we share food, we are furthest from being strangers.

    Does my AAA membership apply nation-wide? Yes.

    Should I trust strangers who offer to help? Depends. Most likely, they are good people who want to help, but trust your instincts, not their smiles.

    What is the best road snack? Baby carrots, oranges (peeled and sectioned), apples (cored and wedged), mixed nuts (protein and salt). Use Tupperware (or the equivalent) and a small ice chest to keep fruits and veggies fresh.

    Paper map, or smart phone? Both. Smartphone navigation is a great innovation, but you never know where you will suddenly not have service, and being able to read a real map is a priceless skill. Get a non-electric compass as well.

    Back roads or interstate? If you trust your car, and it’s in good repair, backroads, all the way.

    What is the perfect level of humidity? I can’t make chocolate when it’s over 50%, so less than that, but more than NM. My fingers are cracking and bleeding while I type this.

    How long does it take for my air conditioner fluid to run out? Unless you have an issue with your AC, it takes years, in my experience. Before you set out, have your AC checked by a professional and recharged if needed. Then it shouldn’t run out for the length of your journey.

    Is there even such a thing as air conditioner fluid? Yes, see above. You can also ask about it at an auto parts store; many have service centers that can help with this (you can technically do it yourself, but that takes longer, because you don’t have the speed that comes with repetition and knowing what to do at each step).

    Will I get sick of my own company? Hope not, because you can’t leave you alone. This is when good music and singing come to the fore. By the time I finished with the oxygen job, I could sing along with Journey, high-notes and all. -_^

    Is it safe to camp in a tent by myself? Depends on where you are. If there are signs warning against picking up hitchhikers, probably you want to find somewhere else. Look for KOA campgrounds or national parks, if you are willing to pay a nominal fee. Do sleep with at least a tire-iron. Your safety is always your responsibility.

    Podcasts, music, audio books, or silence? All of the above, as your mood takes you.

    Will I get a left-arm-only sunburn? With the window down, yes. Use a good sunblock or roll up and use the AC.

    Can you sunburn through a car window? Not really. Glass is actually a good UV blocker. I’ve never even tanned my left arm more.

    How many showers a week is a reasonable amount? During the infancy of the space race, NASA did studies on how long a human can wear a space suit without showering. One of the conclusions was that your clothes do a lot to absorb oils and smelliness (my word, not NASA’s), so if you change into clean clothes, you don’t need to shower as often, and can get away with a quick splashing. Good test: if you can smell you, you should definitely shower. Love’s, TA, Petro, and other truck stops often offer showers. They are usually reserved for truck-drivers, but I think you can just pay a fee to use them.

    How do I find healthy eating options on the road? Grocery stores and travel guides. As long as you are snacking on fresh veggies and fruits, you can indulge on a few meals along the way.

    What kind of gluten-free, vegetarian meal can I get a roadside diner? Depends on where you are. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by road-side diner salads. Gluten-free is less likely, away from major population centers, I think. Try google, I found this: http://allergy-freebackroads.blogspot.com/

    How annoying can I possibly be to a good southern cooking joint? When they start ending sentences with “Bless your heart,” you’re getting close to the line of tolerance. -_^

    What are the different “flavors” of contra dance around the country? I am woefully uninformed about this subject.

    Hurricane season and New Orleans: worth it? I’d do it. Pay attention to the radio alerts, and be prepared to evacuate with the populace. Since everything is in your car, you’re one step ahead of the masses.

    In which states is it illegal to talk on the phone while driving? Hands-free device? Good to go. I can state that in Nevada, if you are talking with the phone to your ear, you will get pulled over. I got away with just a warning. Whew!

    Sunrise or sunset? You’re heading east. Sunset.

    Ready? Yep

    Set? Go with grace, my friend!

  3. Will I get lonely, driving across country by myself?

    Bored more than lonely. I recommend downloading podcasts (NPR is where it’s at) and learning to love quirky AM radio.

    Does my AAA membership apply nation-wide?

    Yes

    Should I trust strangers who offer to help?

    Eh, they usually aren’t much help to begin with. If you dont have a cell phone, maybe, but it’s just awkward more than scary.

    What is the best road snack?

    Wasabi peas, nor that re fracker trail mix stuff from trader joes

    Paper map, or smart phone?

    Both

    Back roads or interstate?

    Small highways, avoid the big highways, they suck.

    What is the perfect level of humidity?

    42.6% or anything not in the desert

    How long does it take for my air conditioner fluid to run out?

    This happens? I don’t think I’ve ever owned a car with air conditioning

    Is there even such a thing as air conditioner fluid?

    Maybe, see above

    Will I get sick of my own company?

    You will get sick of Kansas

    Is it safe to camp in a tent by myself?

    Hell yeah! Figure out the BLM or national forest system on your route and they should have maps of developed campgrounds. If you’re worried you can check in with the office before you camp but since most of them are paid permits, there will be someone who comes by to check permits.

    I wouldn’t worry. I ran into more safety problems at Lead and Cornell in 6 months than multiple summers camping.

    Podcasts, music, audio books, or silence?

    All of these.

    Will I get a left-arm-only sunburn?

    SPF 50

    Can you sunburn through a car window?

    Yes

    How many showers a week is a reasonable amount?

    Depends on your comfort level.

    How do I find healthy eating options on the road?

    Grocery stores, go raw! It’s hard. Restock in big cities and bring a cooler.

    What kind of gluten-free, vegetarian meal can I get a roadside diner?

    Godspeed

    How annoying can I possibly be to a good southern cooking joint?

    Places are getting better. Southern cooking is having it’s moment right now so Yelp is a good place to start. Always ask if they use lard.

    Hurricane season and New Orleans: worth it?

    More accurately: August in New Orleans, is it worth it? It feels and smells like sitting inside a gym sock.

  4. What kind of gluten-free, vegetarian meal can I get a roadside diner?

    -Omelet and homefries (usually comes with toast, but perhaps ask for a side of fruit or banana instead)

    -Oatmeal/grits

    -Investigate soup options; something lentil or beany

  5. From Jane:

    A few bits and pieces, in no particular order.

    I tend to save up some favorite podcasts for road trips. On Friday, driving down to PHX, I listened to 4 episodes in a row of This American Life. I have an older iPod that still fits a play-through-the radio system adaptor I’ve had for a few years (that one’s a Belkin), so I load up the iPod with stuff before a trip. My newer phone and iPad don’t work with that Belkin unit, but there are many adaptors of that sort, and if you are looking for a similar setup, I have enjoyed mine and can recommend it (and the concept). That unit powers the iPod while it’s playing, so I don’t have to worry about recharging that all the time. I also have a USB car pug that allows me to plug in more than one device at a time. I always seem to have several things that need charging, so this keeps me up and running. My travel kit contains exotic things like chargers, cables, etc. 🙂

    I listen to podcasts, playlists, random stuff on shuffle-play, etc. The radio can be fun when going through new areas, to get a feel of the local style. I had the radio on when I got close to PHX, just for a change of pace, and the station I settled on was still tuned in when I was coming home Monday (hadn’t had the radio on at all while down there — I was carting my sister and brother around and didn’t have anything playing). Toward the east end of AZ on I-40, a bit before the NM state line, I switched from iTunes to the radio. The station I’d been listening to while approaching PHX was now Gallup’s Navajo Nation country station. I listened to that until the connection went away out by Laguna. It was great fun. Random country of all eras interspersed with a Navajo-speaking DJ. A lot of mainstream DJ’s sound the same wherever you are, but there will always be those stations where you’ll hear the local accents and languages. Louisiana is fun that way, too.

    Sometimes I listen to nothing at all, though usually not for long.

    There are a couple of apps that I have used on occasion in the past. There’s one called Latitude that you can log into and allow other people (that you choose) access to your location. It’s a Google GPS-based app that shows where you are in real time, more or less.

    Sometimes trusting strangers is just what you have to do. Follow your instincts; have a cell phone handy. (See charger note above.)

    I use a cooler, stocked initially with frozen water bottles (filled myself, so they aren’t overfull and pop open once frozen). You’ll have to replenish with ice as that melts, but it will last a couple days, usually, and then you can fill the bottles with bagged ice (taking a large funnel makes that much easier). Also, carry a bunch of ziplock bags in various sizes (large ones could hold ice, too), unless you’re averse to using those, in which case take containers that stack, and you can use them for lots of things (ice, food, etc.).

    I like to stock the cooler with grapes, sliced apples, pre-segmented oranges, grapefruit, blueberries, greek yogurt, hummus, cut-up veggies, nuts. trail mix. I sometimes carry a pack or more of a kind of low-carb tortilla that I can get here but may not be able to get elsewhere. I’m not gluten-free, but the same sort of thing should be possible. If there’s a bread-type thing that you get here that you could use on the road, just stock up and take it with you. Then you can make a peanut butter sandwich or something. Grocery stores in the small-town south can be a whole new world, but should have some produce that you recognize.

    If you eat eggs and cheese, most restaurants can make an omelet, and give you a good shot of protein. Salads in small-town greasy spoons don’t often appeal to me, since they tend to be mainly iceberg. A lot of fast-food places make salads these days, too, so if what you’ve got to choose from is a Wendy’s or McD, go for Wendy’s and just get it without the chicken breast (they add those last, anyway). You can even carry your own dressing, if you have one you like. Apps like Yelp might help with this sort of thing, too. Or you can always put a shout out on FB in case anyone knows the options near you.

    I like big highways when time is an issue. Backroads are fun if you have time. I like paper and smart phone. I used to carry one of those oversized paperback atlases. Sometimes it’s just nice to see a larger area, and paper is good for that. Even though I’m a map fan, though, I haven’t carried one in a while. I can imagine doing so if I was headed across country and not planning on sicking with interstates.

    OK, I will stop now. 🙂

    I love road trips.

Leave some travel wisdom

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s