Elaine and I are off on what will pass this summer as “vacation” but it’s hardly that. While we will be seeing a show on our soiree to Shawnee, Oklahoma today, and sure – testing out my “edge of Gaussian” gambling theory I wrote up in Peoplenomics a while back – a lot of the weekend will be about markets and where next. After August.
The trip is not huge: 5-1/2 hours after Elaine’s brother shows up to sit the place, we will pull into our destination. But like flying an airplane, there is no such thing as a short trip so a discussion of our checklist might give you some ways to make travel more enjoyable.
What’s key is that anyone can have a good trip, but having and using a checklist, does help. It keeps airplanes from falling out of the sky, so stands to reason it keeps cars safely on the road… UrbanSurvival means executing perfect troop movements…
Before the trip there are lots of details that can be attended to.
- Plan your route to avoid big cities. Sure, we like to place freeway-construction roulette in the Dallas area (NOT!). So we will take the “big circle” – I-20 – around as much as we can.
- As the planning goes on, work on your timing so as to avoid the worst of rush-hour. Most times when we leave here, we avoid hitting Dallas before 9:15 AM, or so. That way you miss most of the people running late for work. We’ve seen the worst cases of road rage (other than Nevada up around Reno) in the early morning hours when people who habitually run late try to make up for it as someone else’s expense.
- Weather figures into it, but not on this trip so much. Extreme heat means we don’t press any harder than our routing 2 MPH over the posted limit. Rain finds us right at the speed limit and lights on.
This brings up the use of DRL’s – daytime running lights. A summary of multiple studies, which you can find over here, conducted by one state found that…
“In the considerable body of research on this topic, most studies have found that the presence of DRLs reduces daytime multiple-vehicle crashes, especially head-on and front-corner collisions where vehicle conspicuity is a concern. The magnitude of the reduction varies depending on the study and the type of crash, but many studies have found a reduction of 5 to 10 percent.”
While yes, cars are huge people killers, we seldom drive at night for the very reason that the highest death rates are at night, involve alcohol, or come from a vehicle not being seen. Even in broad daylight on big trips we keep the low beams on.
4. Another day-before task is to wash the car. To me, it always seems like people are a bit nicer to folks who have a clean car. And you just feel better about driving it.
5. Part of the cleaning is going over the windshield with 0000 grade steel wool and then follow that with a good glass cleaner. Of course, we couldn’t do that on the airplane, for we used gallons of $20 a spray bottle Plexiglas cleaner. But 0000 (4-ought) steel wool gets rid of all kinds of crap.
It’s especially useful when you make a pit stop. We never like to go more than 2-hours, or so, between stops.
6. Look up the Truck Stops. We really like Loves and Pilot and the other big chain truck stops. The snacks are usually pretty good, there’s an assortment of several types generally, plus they are pretty darn safe compared with an empty place that has no-brand gas out in the hinterlands.
7. Stay to the freeways if you want to lay down some miles. We do avoid states like Tennessee which has a habit of traffic enforcement based on revenue.
Which states should you avoid carrying anything but minimal cash in?
8. This gets us to another aspect of modern travel: We set our bank card travel notices Thursday and listed which hotel and such. We have been hit with credit card fraud a number of times, but our bank has always been stand up out making good, and promptly too, which is why I have been a customer since 1970.
9. While the GPS is a simple enough tool, something from flying (with lots of head down-in-the-instruments time) has me writing up the major turns and freeway decision on 3 X 5 cards.
It only takes a minute or two, especially if you print out Google Maps for your copilot.
10. You can’t have a trip without a fresh jug of coffee, so our 25 ounce Thermos will be ready along with gum and beef jerky to snack on.
On our testing list is the Thermo Tank Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle – Ice Cold 36 Hours! Vacuum + Copper Technology – 25 Ounce which seems to get very strong reviews and may be better than the Thermos at keeping coffee hot. We’ll likely get one in the next few months and load them up at the same time with the same amount of liquid and see who wins the 24-hour temperature shoot-out.
11. Elaine always sees to it that we have a couple of frozen bottled waters, too.
12. We don’t run a radar detector, but we do keep a 2-meter ham radio and a CB radio monitoring the channels for the freeway we happen to be on. Normally that’s channel 19 with a scan of channel 9 (emergency channel).
Out west the use of channel 17 on north-south freeways is common and channel 10 gets used on state highways that aren’t multiple lanes.
The 2-meter repeaters can be picked up off the net over here.
13. Weather enroute is easily done with the NOAA weather channels plugged into your ham handheld/walkie-talkie.
14. We don’t tell people when we’re going to be gone except when we have a kick-butt person – Elaine’s brother – who we implicitly trust.
I have thought about taking a trip (boarding the cat and such) but seems to me that if people know you’re going to be on a trip, word gets around. Littler things like the trash not going out and so on.
OpSec is the watchword.
15, Last, but not least, make the schedule loose and easy. It is a vacation.
While we will be on the road by 8 AM, it’s only a five hour drive to where we’re heading, so hardly brain surgery. We like to check into our hotel around3 or 4 PM – beating the evening rush/madhouse at the front desk.
So our plans today will be arrive in Shawnee, visit Robin’s (Landry) office about 2 PM and be at the hotel about 3 PM.
That gives us time to set up wi-fi, shower, dress, wander around a bit, and really unwind…
All this for a 2-1/2 day trip? Are these people nuts?
Some truths don’t need to be spoken.
Write which you get rich,