Five Lessons From Our First Week

Well, we’re a week into our travels now and, as expected, we learned a few things this week. Part of the fun of this kind of long-term traveling is that it puts us outside of our comfort zone. Everything we have is in the truck and that’s essentially our home. It’s rather fun and interesting to see what new things we pick up on a daily basis to make life easier. So here are five lessons Edie and I learned our first week:

1. Sometimes Good Ideas Aren’t

When you have two bikes on a hitch-mounted bike rack, it seems logical that you’d want to protect them from the elements. Between rain and road debris, a bike can take a lot of damage. But when you take those two bikes and cover them with a nice bike cover, you’ve essentially attached a sail to the back of your vehicle and the sail is facing the wrong direction. The drag was unbelievable and got us the worst gas mileage we’ve seen in the truck…and we only left the cover on for about 3/8 of the tank of gas.

So instead, we decided that being behind the truck, the bikes are sufficiently protected from road debris and we’ll just cover them when it rains instead of getting around 10 miles per gallon for our entire trip.

2. One Head, Many Hats

We’re in unfamiliar territory with a goal of traveling for as little cash as possible, which means we have to do some things we’d normally farm out. In the course of 24 hours, Edie was a seamstress and a barber. I’m sure we’ll pick up some other roles as we go.

3. The Things You Take For Granted

The “default location” feature on Google Maps is meaningless when you’re a permanent traveler. On that note, even something as simple as receiving a hand-written Thank You note is impossible, but an emailed Thank You is just as good. (Thanks Jennifer and Jonathan!)

4. Some Hotel Wi-Fi Is Nearly Useless

While most hotels advertise free wi-fi, some of them might as well provide dial-up. Both hotels we stayed in this week were slow as molasses. The Travelodge in Opelika, AL was only missing this sound. Trying to do two things at once was a bad idea. Even trying to do one thing at once didn’t work very well half the time.

5. Be Prepared To Pack And Repack

The first time you pack the truck will probably not be the best packing and definitely won’t be the last packing. We thought we had the bed packed to the gills after the first packing job. There was nowhere for anything else to go. But after taking things out to cook dinner at a nearby park, we somehow managed to find space to fit a propane tank and 3 pairs of shoes.

Knox’s Lessons Learned

Yup, I learned a few lessons this week too. I’m usually pretty sharp and quick on the uptake, but sometimes I have to have something drilled into my head a few times to get it. So here we go:

  1. Horses have magic powers. One of them shocked the crap out of me from 5 feet away.
  2. Oh yeah, don’t touch the electric fence around the horses.
  3. The electric fence circles the entire yard.
  4. I’m not as big and bad as I think I am and two 70+ lb farm dogs will whoop my butt several times, bite marks included.
  5. The nicer I am to the farm lady, the more ham I get. The more I growl, the less ham I get.