Long Haul Vanner

There is definitely a strong feeling of accomplishment with towing something across the country and finally making it over the worst of it as far as elevation and grade.  I can understand how people get into driving trucks across the country.

I don’t think I’d ever do it myself. There are a lot of big differences between what they do and what I’ve done. But I can understand it.

There was a woman driving for Tyson that helped us out with some extra water at a rest stop – I have my 5 gal but I like to get what I can for free from rest stops and Bruce isn’t always allowed in the buildings – and she was super nice so we got to talking for awhile. I wish that I had her info to thank her again for the extra bottles she gave us and for giving me yet another free app based road tripping resource ‘Trucker Path’. The app is designed for truckers and I haven’t used it a lot yet because it almost has too much information to jump into. But when I had trouble getting a KOA for tonight I hopped over to that app and quickly found a truck stop where we can park overnight for free, get a meal, and buy anything we need for our last day of driving.

My backup was Walmart.

So here’s the thing about Walmart…

Whatever you might think of them; they are a terrible company that does terrible things and have had an overall negative impact on the world. I typically avoid spending money there or even walking in the front door.  But out here sometimes options dwindle.

  • There have been a couple of times that I had no where else to go to fill our 5 gal (I decided they could have my $2)
  • They aren’t usually the only gas, but in areas where the gas is atrociously expensive they are cheap (and I figure most gas companies are probably just as bad as they are)
  • And if you have no where else to sleep for the night… there’s always a Walmart somewhere close by.

And for the simple fact that they’re everywhere, they’ll still be my backup if I have any issues staying at truck stops.

Weefee

I’ve been listening to a lot of TechNine since I made the decision to go to K.C.M.O. so I can’t stop pronouncing wifi as weefee.

Anyway, it’s really bad. Everywhere I go. I don’t understand. My phone service is really bad; but even the KOA wifi, hotel wifi, restaurant wifi, I honestly had a WAY easier time finding good internet in Thailand than here in the MidWest.

I got pretty discouraged from attempting any video editing at all; but I do hope to get that going once I’m back.

There will be a lot to do on the wagon whereas the videos I’ve been taking on this trip are just me narrating about the parks Bruce and I have visited. Hopefully it’ll be fun for all to watch the progression and I MAY even be able to get into a weekly post the way I’d planned.

As it is, I can barely get my pictures to upload here, much less uploading several short videos into my editor, splicing them together, downloading the finished product, and then uploading that onto YouTube.

I got a recommendation from a KOA owner to get something called the Nomad which apparently provides fantastic internet for several devices to stream television, upload pictures, surf the internet, typical things we get used to doing at home. I’ll have to compare to the TMobile wifi hotspot I got for work and see what I want to go for.

Either way, I am committed to having portable weefee in the wagon by the end of the summer.

Caffeinating As Needed

As we began our string of long driving days to make it home as quick as possible, I have started to caffeinate. Not something that I typically do!

Long term, it effects my heart more than most people and I don’t drink coffee in the mornings or anything like that. It’s not a healthy habit; so I’m not upset that my body told me ‘No’ ten years ago. Still, sometimes a little caffeine can get you where you need to go – literally.

I picked up several 5 hour energy shots at a gas station (my favorite, I now know, is the Peach) because I didn’t want to be chugging RockStars and give myself a heart attack. Less volume I hope means less extra crap mixed in with the caffeine although I didn’t really compare ingredients.

When I start to feel a little tired, which I’ll admit gets earlier each day that I’ve been doing this {damn dependency}, I take a small sip. The longest day I drank a full 5 hour from around 3pm to when we got in after 10. But on shorter days I try to keep it to a half. As soon as I feel myself getting tired again, I take another sip.

So far, it’s worked great and I have a full one left of the four I started the week with. Peach was the best. Berry is disgusting.

They must be making bank off of all these truckers.

Other Drivers

I’m just amazed by how many people can’t drive, don’t have common sense, and lack the capacity to adjust to circumstances.

1) When entering a freeway, the ramp is not intended for getting as much speed as you can without regard for the drivers already on the road.

The main thing you are supposed to be taught in drivers ed about merging is that you have to determine the speed of traffic. Find the space between cars, determine the speed of both of those cars, and then put yourself in that space.

2) When passing, you can spend more than 3 seconds in the passing lane.

There are very few times that coming up on someone’s ass, jumping into the passing lane for three seconds, and then jumping back over a few feet from that someone’s bumper is a good idea. It’s actually really, really stupid.

3) And this one is mainly truck drivers – just do what the signs tell you to. It’s safer. If there is a truck-specific speed limit, don’t go 5 over the normal limit. If a sign says trucks in the right two lanes only, don’t use the left lane as your passing lane.

I tend to get upset about people doing dumb things around me on the road and I’ve been trying to let it go more.

Impermanence. Impermanence. Impermanence.

But I will sit there and watch near accidents of people doing these really unnecessary things and it just blows me away.

Almost Home

There’s a big light at the end of the tunnel; and that light is being home in just a few days. Not that Seattle area drivers are great, not that I won’t be tired and overwhelmed by getting back to daily life without my energy shots. But I will have driven 7,000 miles, I will have gotten my mini home on wheels safely home, and I will be able to plan the last half of the year around my build-out of the wagon and where I want it to go next.

I’m thinking a weekend at a quiet beach somewhere. Me, my dog, and my books.

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