Monday, January 17, 2005

A typical traveling day

8:00 Coffeemaker brews a pot, noisily. Ignore.

8:30 Opal asks to be on the bed. She jumps up, lies on her back between us. The cats, who've been on the bed all night, scatter.

9:00 Louise gets up, fixes two cups of coffee. She reads the newspaper on-line.

9:30 Sean gets up, takes a shower, has his coffee.

9:45 Louise takes her shower.

10:00 Opal gets out of bed. She does not shower.

10:00-11:30 Sean and Louise read e-mail, putter around the coach, eat breakfast.

11:30ish We begin to get itchy feet and start getting ready to go. Sean starts the engine, then prepares the outside of the coach. He does his "walk around," checking to make sure all the bays are closed, the tires are okay, nothing has fallen behind the coach during the night, etc. Louise prepares the inside: closing cabinets, putting loose items away, stowing the satellite dish. Opal goes into her traveling crate, usually without being asked. We're off!

11:30 to 1:30sih We drive at a leisurely pace on the back roads. Sean does most of the driving, and Louise is the navigator. For the last several months, we've been trying to travel the road closest to the ocean. We avoid the interstates as much as possible, preferring to drive through every small town and on every back country road. A good town has an interesting downtown with courthouse, library, roadside shacks selling local edibles, and folks who smile and wave as we drive past. A less desirable town has the same stores you can find everywhere: Home Depot, Office Max, Payless Shoes, Applebee's. If we see a roadside attraction that catches our eye, we stop. Or not.

1:30 We eat lunch. Many days, we just snack on what's in the 'fridge, often while still driving. Other times, we pass an interesting looking local restaurant and stop there. Good: cops parked outside, hand-lettered signs with the words "family" or "pie," large flat parking lots. Bad: anything named with a registered trademark, drive-through windows, hand-lettered signs that say "smokers welcome!"

2:30sih Louise starts to look for a place to stay for the night, while Sean continues driving. Estimating where we'll be about 30-60 minutes before sundown, she looks for likely spots. Best: national forests or BLM land where we can boondock. Second best: county, state or federal parks with campgrounds. Third choice: businesses where we can park overnight (Wal-Mart, Cracker Barrel, truck stops.) Last choice: privately owned campgrounds. We have a variety of sources to find campsites, including maps, AAA campground guides, a truck stop atlas, a guide to free camping, and tourist brochures.

Getting close to sunset: We park for the night. Louise goes upstairs to check how level the site is, and Sean adjusts the leveling system as necessary. We check to see if the dish can see the satellite, and re-park if necessary for a good connection. If the site is nice, such as a park, we often set up our rooftop deck and go topside for a drink. If the site has other people nearby, we spend 10 minutes explaining the bus to curious campers.

Sunset to bedtime: We cook and eat dinner (Sean cooks fresh food, Louise cooks leftovers.) If we're parked at a Wal-Mart, we often go out to dinner if there is a restaurant within walking distance. Relaxing in the coach, we check our e-mail and surf the net if we can, watch a little TV, read books, drink a little wine, wash the dishes, walk the dog. Sean often maps out the next day's route. Louise sets up the coffeepot for the next day's brew.

That's pretty much it for a day on the road.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, just started going through your blog via the Airstream Life blog. Hope to hit the road this spring when we're both retired.

    You said, "Last choice: privately owned campgrounds." Isn't that the truth! Is this a case where private enterprise and free market etc etc have simply and completely failed? The vast majority of these private campgrounds seem to be a sorry lot. Few exceptions. Do you have a theory on this phenomenon?

    Also, interested in your mail forwarding evolution. What works best for you? Do you use a commercial forwarding thing or do you just use the general delivery through USPS? Thanks.
    Happy Trails,
    Dirk and Sue


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