As I’m wrapping up my first lengthy trip I thought I’d put together a few thoughts on what I’ve seen, learned, been exposed to—what I’ve experienced. Here goes…
I truly wish IQ tests were required for drivers. Something like: blow into this tube which measures your intelligence and fitness to drive, then the car will start.
- A couple questions to clueless drivers: Just how much stupid are you sitting on when you pull out in front of 11,000 pounds coming at you at 60 miles per hour?
- And: You do realize, right, that’s it possible to exit the highway without coming to a near-stop? That there are vehicles behind you, right?
- Tow mode is awesome in the hills. Economical & brake saving.
- Fuel economy takes a big hit from 65 to 70 MPH. So I keep it at 65 (unless I’m maneuvering around the dumbass who pulled out in front of me).
We’ve got some great roads in this country. Except for US90 in Louisiana. I’m still annoyed by that one…
- Interstates are great; they get you where you wanna go. But they all look pretty much the same. I’ve steered toward less-traveled roads. Of the 5346 miles I’ll have driven, only about 1300 (25%) were on interstate highways, mainly at the beginning and end of my trip.
- I drove 84% of the 574-mile Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Parkway roads, and I drove 77% of the 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway. Both are wonderful roads and I strongly recommend them.
- Many of Louisiana’s roads suck. The aforementioned US90 and recently driven I-20 are horrible in many areas, particularly the logging road through Shreveport. Ridiculous. Perhaps criminally so. I-20 improves drastically at the Texas state line.
Like a sailboat, I’m sure each trailer has its own idiosyncrasies. B certainly has a few.
- The sofa will throw its pillows onto the floor while traveling. Nearly every time. (I even think it does it when we’re parked overnight.)
- The back window will open while driving. Every time.
- After flushing out the remaining water in the hose before connecting it to the trailer, I’ll forget to turn it on again, until I try to use a faucet inside. Every. Time.
- The Keurig machine doesn’t fall off the counter, so I quit putting it in the sink while traveling. (Watch the damn thing take a header tomorrow!)
- The hand-soap dispenser will always fall off the counter. And it’ll find the most unusual places to hide.
- It’s not worth the effort to make the bed on a trailer. So if that bothers you, don’t look in my bedroom.
- The reefer while running on propane sure uses a lot of battery power. Seems weird to me.
- Don’t wrap leftover meat in just foil and put in the reefer. Just don’t.
I’ve been in great sites & crappy sites, pretty sites & parking lots.
- As often as not, the water faucet will be in a horrible location just to give me something to bitch about. Even had to get help one time to connect the damn hose.
- State parks are usually quite nice—often as nice or better than more expensive private parks.
- Dumping the holding tanks ain’t as bad as I was afraid it’d be. And it seems my mileage cares nothing about how full the tanks are, so I only dump when I really need to. TMI?
- I load up on fresh water from time to time so I can avoid the potential cussfest of connecting the water hose. I think that also helps keeps the little greenies outta the tank. Just be sure to taste the water before filling up; some places have horrible H2O, even though I’ve got a good filter.
When you’re camping to get away from it all, technology can—and should—take a hike. But living on the road is different.
- CarPlay is a good app (it’s the integration of the iPhone and Ford’s navigation system). But Siri, the lady inside the phone, doesn’t give a flying flip for the windiness, width or bridge height of her routes. I’ve learned when to use her and when to shut her up. In cities, her lane guidance is a huge help when towing a trailer.
- Haven’t encountered a campground wireless network that’s worth a damn yet, even in metro areas. C’mon people, it’s 2018; upgrade your dial-up service. Good grief.
- The Dish Network mobile antenna needs a perfect view of the sky; even a stray bird impairs the signal. Or it’s a faulty sat-receiver; we’re still sorting out this annoying problem.
- Google Maps is a frustrating app and apparently hates the Blue Ridge Parkway (it’s probably a Silicon Valley prejudice). But it’s free.
- You gotta use tech correctly. On the last day of my trip I finally fixed the trailer backup camera. It was showing a reserved view (left vs. right). I’d finally had enough after another very tight backup situation in a very crowded gas station.
Coasting to a Stop
Touring the Southeast was a great experience. Uncountable awesome views, great people, a few unique brews here & there, and visiting friends highlight my seven weeks. I’m enjoying the piney woods of East Texas at Tyler State Park, a fitting site to wrap up this journey. The good Lord looked out for me on this trip, and I thank Him for that and for the incredible opportunity to see some of our beautiful country. May God bless America. That includes you! Until the next trip… be good.