The adventure is continuing. More mountain driving, and some very busy California road driving. I realize that maybe California is not for me. It is a lovely state with lovely people, but they drive way too fast and way too wild for this country girl.
So with all the drive time today, I thought of a Top Ten List of things I have learned so far. Maybe this list will help others who are interested in doing a trip such as this:
10. Never leave gummy vitamins in the glove box of your car in 90 to 100 degree weather. My vitamins all melted into one big glob that I cannot even spoon out unless I reheat them. Lesson Learned.
9. O’Reilly’s, Walmart and any Dollar Store are your friends. Yesterday, the check engine light went on in Devi. Had Mike not been with me, it might have been the straw that broke my back. He was able to diagnose the problem and saved the day. But you never know when you are going to need an auto part, a first aid item or any number of things that you might have forgotten. Forget the politics of the stores, they can be lifesavers in an emergency.
8. Car camping in a Walmart parking lot is not quite the delight you might think it is. I could barely sleep for all the random people just walking in the parking lot after midnight (mind you the store we slept at was not 24 hours, so they were closed). There were skateboarders up until about 2 am and a car circled us for a while around 3 am. They kept lighting something…a bowl maybe. But it was downright scary and I do not think I am going to do that again.
7. KOA (Kampgrounds of America) are a great resource for either tent camping or for sleeping in one of the adorable cabins. We have been doing the cabins lately because I am just too old to sleep on the ground. The price is better than a hotel; you have to walk to a bathroom and shower and it is not as luxurious as a hotel but for the cost difference it can mean an extra nice meal once in a while.
6. Laundromats are a haven. I never knew clean clothes were such a pleasure until you go a few days. The task I felt was drudgery at home is now a gift. Plus the time alone doing laundry is true “Me” time.
5. Trust your gut. Everyone says it, but it is so true. Your instincts know when something is not right. If you feel it, get the heck out. If you feel really good, stay. Today on the road I had a bad feeling and I did not stop until I was out of the place that made me uneasy. Nothing probably would have happened, but it is not worth the risk.
4. Simple food is the very best!! I always wanted to try an In ‘N Out Burger (saw them on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives). When I pulled up to the drive through, there are four main menu items; nothing fancy. It was a great burger (gluten and all). I appreciated the simplicity and the fact that every order is cooked to order. Simple is the BEST!!
3. Generally, people are animal lovers. Today on a crowded California highway, a cat ran across the road and almost all traffic stopped including an 18-wheeler. Glad to report that the cat is okay and there were no car accidents either.
2. When figuring travel budget, figure out all your costs and times them by three. It is amazing how much everything costs. I was truly unprepared (and I ain’t living large). Money shortages can ruin a trip.
- Mountain driving is not for the weak of heart. There are sheer drops, insane grades up and down the mountain roads and your car may not like it either. I found out, on this trip, that some states have mandated the use of ethanol in their gas which lowers the gases octane. This can be very detrimental to a car’s engine. I was lucky with Devi, but there was a 10% grade (doesn’t sound like much right — wrong!!) that almost blew her engine in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Find out what your car can do before attempting mountain driving.
I hope this lists helps you as you think of your own Epic Journey. These are things I will definitely consider on my next one. It is rough out there, be prepared!!!