The Waxahachie Journal is introducing a new blog; following a friend's experiences taking an epic road trip to reground and rediscover. Read along as our friend travels up north and out west, hitting some of the typical sightseeing locales as well as seeking out some of the lesser known fun and interesting people and places along the way. In keeping with the trip, the blog will be unregimented. Entries will be made as seen fit so check back often to stay up-to-date as our friend moves on down the road
HI! Don't know how this Blog will turn out. But the best way to find out is to start. A little about me. I'm older than 61 but less than 99. I remember the Viet Nam War and President Kennedy being shot. Born in the best state and have lived in a couple more. Wonderful parents, a hero for an older sibling and one child. I didn't have a Beaver Cleaver childhood; my Mother didn't own pearls.
Lucky to have had and still have friends that I can count on and enjoy being with all around the world. At this time in my life, I have decided that I need to stop putting other people's needs before mine. That brings me to the time in my life that is “Just Me”. I don't mean that I am going to be coldhearted and just think of myself first, all of the time... maybe just 8 out of 10 times. I still have relatives that would like for me to continue taking care ofthem, but on their terms. That is where the “just me” kicks in.
With this being said, and since I love to travel, a car trip seemed like the way to start; sightseeing, visiting friends,making new friends, and some volunteering along the way. The first time this idea occurred to me was about three months ago. When voicing this idea to friends and relatives they called me senile, crazy, brave, independent, selfish, free spirited and assorted other adverbs and adjectives. Sometimes when talking to friends, a complete stranger will overhear us and say that I have lost my mind and that I am going to get killed by a serial killer. I promise that if I see a hockey mask and a chainsaw at a house or in the area, I will not stop.
Don't know why, but the thought of going by myself on a car trip is not as scary as the November election. I have promised all my worrywart friends and relatives that being deep in the woods in the dark by myself does not sound like fun. Also, I promise not to pick up or stop and help strangers in the middle of nowhere. Hopefully, my brain is not so addled that the sight of an old dilapidated house with no trespassing signs will not make me automatically stop the car and go exploring. Don't worry about my safety. There will be protection from evil in the car; Wasp spray, that shoots about 12 feet. And, if that doesn't work, I have something that will shoot a lot further...and of course my Guardian Angel.
I am going to try conserving money wherever I can on this trip, so I am going to be sleeping in my car (another thing that has some people worried sick). I started with the idea of a baby crib mattress in the back seat, but after searching the web, I found a back seat air mattress. It sounded good so I bought one. The description says "Only TM Car Mobile Cushion Air Bed Bedroom Inflation Travel Thicker Mattress Back Seat Extended Mattress." I received the mattress on the day I expected and it was exactly as was pictured. I'll let you know later how it sleeps.
(The Back Seat Air Mattress can be found by googling "Zhao Wei Air Mattress" It is available through Amazon for about $54.00 US with free shipping. For anyone with an SUV or pickup, a larger size is available for about $94.00 US.)
(This is the second installment of Just Me)
Been trying to get out of town now for a couple of days, but it seems like something always gets in the way. Hoping to finish packing today and hit the road by 9:00 AM in the morning. Just discovered I need to finish some things before I leave. It is going to make me change my schedule, but what the heck; I'm not in any hurry.
Spent the day yesterday seeing friends and trying to finish buying things for the trip. Now to really get down to business and see what I need to take versus what I want to take. I have found a couple of those space bags around the house and purchased a couple of more. I'll be able to store all my cold weather clothes in those bags in the carrier on top of the car. I decided to use tubs instead of suitcases. I tend to want to take everything in my closet no matter if I am going for a day or a month.
Don't know if I mentioned it or not, but I bought a Huffy bike from Academy Sports and Outdoors. It has six gears and cost about $117. Nothing really fancy. and no, I did not buy a helmet. I did, however, buy a bike carrier that fits on the back of the car. As you can see from the picture since it is a ladies bike it does not fit straight on the carrier, so I bought a Bike Beam from Dallas Bike Works, located at 821 W.Davis St. in Dallas. They were very nice and knew just what I needed. Their website is www.dallasbikeworks.com Now the bike has a bar that makes it sit straight on the carrier.
I have heard it said that if you will pack your bags and carry them around the block when you get back, you will be able to take out a lot of the stuff that you really don't need. Remember pack for where you are going...Duh.. somewhere that has stores! You can pick up anything you might need. But if you ARE going to Outer Mongolia, that's another story. I must have thought Mongolia was my final destination. As you can guess, I didn't follow my own advice, and, as you can see by the car, I tried to put everything in there but the kitchen sink.
The carrier for the top of the car is made by Reese. It is a Rainproof Folding Rooftop Carrier. I cannot find my info on where I bought it (still trying to get things organized), but I know I bought it on the Internet. I have seen them other places as well. The one thing I would like to say about this product is ...whoever wrote the directions must have just gotten off the boat and never saw the Carrier. Putting it together was AWFUL. Not only were the directions poorly written, you have to almost crawl inside to put the structure bars together. It took two of us way over 1 1/2 hours, lots of profanity, and finally, I went to the Reese site and looked at the customer comments. I found many comments about the poorly written directions and how to do it easier. If I would have done that first, it would have been about a 30-minute job.
I also bought a metal detector. I have wanted one for a long time. When I was younger, I would image finding all kinds of expensive things like you see people do on TV. So far I have found one dime and a lot of beer bottle tops, but it is still fun. The one I got is a Bounty Hunter Tracker IV, costing about $80, also at Academy. I opted for a less expensive one in case I got tired of digging in the dirt for bottle caps. I am able to break down the detector into two pieces and carry it in a baseball bat bag. That way it is much easier to store and I can put in other small tools and baggies as well.
One last thing for today; some suggestions for anyone traveling; make two copies of both sides of your credit cards, driver's license, and passport. Take one with you and leave one with a trusted friend. Also, make yourself an old-fashioned phone list. If you are like me, I only know one number, and that is not the person I would call if I was in trouble.
Now for a good night's sleep and hopefully hitting the road in the morning.
Thanks for reading.
Well the day is finally here. I am really excited and a little scared. This is not the first time I have traveled by myself, but for some reason, this time feels different. So off Mijo and I go. My first two stops are only a couple of hours from home. The first one is with someone that I'm going to try and develop a new relationship. This person has been in my life for some time, but I have not taken the time to really get to know that person. I feel sure this will be the start of an on-going close relationship.
I am also going to spend the night with a relative that I don't get to see very much. That is one thing I am going to try and do on this trip; see people that I need to see. I hope to make a big circle around the U.S. in the four months I am gone and see people that I have let slip through the cracks.
I must say, the first visit went very well. I am looking forward to our next meeting. My next stop was a lot of fun, but because of complications with business stuff, I ended up staying several days. As you can see from the pictures, it was a great place to stay.
I used the time to find some web sites and of course buy more stuff that I thought might help me on my journey. I am old school. I still like paper maps, something that I can see. Not just tablet or phone size. I found a 2013 Rand Mc Nally Large Scale Road Atlas. I didn't see the need to purchase a new one since I would be using Google Maps for most of my directions. This just made me feel good - to hold and look at the states one at a time. It probably sounds crazy if you are under 25, but all the ancient people reading this will surely understand. And what if the Zombie Apocalypse happens and the Internet goes down? You will all be trying to find me for directions.
I tried to bring a few things that would make my car seem a little more like home. One is a one-cup coffee pot that plugs into my car cigarette lighter. You put the amount of grounds in the filter and tape it shut. If you are afraid of the glue on the tape, use dental floss but trust me, do not use the flavored floss. I also brought my favorite coffee cup. I hate to drink coffee or anything else out of plastic or Styrofoam. I also brought Ziploc bags; rubber bands; tape; lots of ink pens; writing paper; portable surge protector (with 2 USB chargers); those round push lights that run on batteries that are usually used for closets; a battery operated small fan; books; and of course, snacks. Now you know why I have so much stuff in my car.
Now back to the web sites. These are a few I have found so far.
If you are carrying a gun with you, you should check your state's web site for rules and regs. This one is from Texas. http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/RSD/CHL/legal/reciprocity/ Just click on the state(s) that you are going to or through to get that state's rules for carrying a gun in that state. It is important and interesting info. Do not assume that all the states are the same - they are not. Better to be prepared than to risk a ticket or jail time.
Since I am traveling by car I am using www.gasbuddy.com. I downloaded this app to my phone. It tells the price of gas available at your location. I use it all the time, even if I am in my hometown.
Also downloaded the app www.freecampsites.net I have not tried it yet, but it looks pretty easy. You can simply use your smart phone's GPS to find camping near you or even use their trip planner to plan your route from coast to coast.
Google maps of rest area nationwide This is an app for the iphone you can purchase at the Itune or Mac websites and has lots of valuable info, state to state, about overnight parking at rest stops. This includes RVs as well as car parking. Lists for each state's info are available at this site.
I haven't used the Trip Adviser app much since it is mainly for hotels.
www.casinocamper.com is a good site for finding casinos that allow free overnight parking in their lots.
www.elmonterv.com not only offers to rent you an RV, they provide lots of information regarding free overnight parking, be it a Walmart, truck stop, farm, winery, or agri-business.
Need to close so I can do more things to write about.
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