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Old 05-25-2015, 10:05 AM   #1
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PREPARING mentally for a long road trip...

I prepare myself mentally for a long road trip by researching what to expect, before we hook the trailer onto the tow vehicle. Knowing what to expect is a very wise way to prepare for an area never visited or explored. Even NASA prepares astronauts on Lunar Landings, what to expect. At least when there were missions to the Moon and back.

There are many DVD's made of National Parks and points of interest. Those who can navigate the internet can find most likely anything of interest. Public libraries are a great resource to increase the enthusiasm of those in the family not having a clue where they are going.

The Denver Post had an interesting article about the Black Hills of South Dakota. More specifically, Deadwood, South Dakota.

The Black Hills of South Dakota and into the eastern edge of Wyoming have lots of historical interest from 1865 to 1915. Many individual's names will be recognized. From Sturgis motorcycle rally to Mount Rushmore to Hill City, Lead, Devil's Tower and Hot Springs... the area drips with images of the Wild West.

Deadwood, the HBO Original Series in DVD. All three seasons. Watch the entire series ON the ROAD, or at home before you go. You will experience a Deadwood that nobody else can when walking the streets through town.

Little Big Man with Dustin Hoffman. Great for Deadwood, Dakota Territory AND the Custer Battlefield in Montana. This DVD debunks the Custer Myth and the historical General Custer a new look. Watch this DVD AT the Battle of the Little Big Horn... or the evening before you visit. You will have an entire new travel experience.

These DVD's do add a new dimension to your trip. I carry a carton of geological books and Western Americana books that relate to the area we are going. When you realize that the towns and places have a... history... you visit with wanting to visit these real places and spend more time experiencing what you have learned.

Walking through Yosemite, Death Valley, Yellowstone... are meaningless unless you understand what you are experiencing. That is why many have to visit these places more than once, three times, etc.. Why is Yosemite, Yosemite? Why is Death Valley where it is? Yellowstone, how does that relate to the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico? Meteor Crater in Arizona. What creates a hot spring? Why are there no Dinosaurs in the Big Badlands of South Dakota?

Although some historical films have a little or a lot of truth, find them. You will be anxious to experience what you have read or seen.

I watched a western with the OK Corral in Kansas. In the background were snow capped mountains. There are no snow capped mountains in Kansas. Even as a kid, I knew something was not right with that shootout.

Many travel into an area ignorant and leave no better. Invest some knowledge into your road trip. The trip will come alive and you can inspire those who have an interest to do the same.

Following the route of the Pony Express, Oregon Trail, Mormon Trail, Union Pacific Railroad... all can be followed with proper maps and planning. Make this years trip an adventure, not another stop and see what you do not understand or know nothing about.

Why are there towns along the Union Pacific Railroad in Nebraska, Wyoming and Utah 100 miles or so apart? Where did the railroad ties come from? So much to know and understand.

Be well. Enjoy. Prepare. Your Airstream, Trailer, RV, tent or sleeping bag in the back of your vehicle gives you access to places of wonder and history. Do not squander your time glassy eyed from driving and among the ignorant masses.
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Old 05-25-2015, 10:30 AM   #2
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To help prepare for a long trip, I do a couple of things ............

(1) Try to arrange our annual medical checkups 90 days before the planned departure date.

That is in relation to our medical travel insurance. Any new health condition within 90 days of the departure date means that the medical insurance would not cover that condition during your trip because the insurance companies deem the condition "unstable" for 90 days.

Some insurance companies are even worse and their time period for "instability" is 6 months rather than 90 days.

As Canadians, we love visiting the US but would not dare setting foot there without adequate insurance - heard too many horror stories!

Even a change in a prescription or stopping a prescription is considered to make the condition "unstable" from insurance perspective.


(2) I have a huge check list that we use when planning our trips. I print out a fresh copy a few weeks prior to our trip. We don't necessarily take everything on every, but it does cause us to consider each item. I have absolutely no doubt that without this list (8 pages!) we would forget all kinds of things.

(3) Long before departure day, I start a word processing document to capture all kinds of planning details - includes planned route, day by day plan, reservation details, and info on all the places we expect to stop.

I peruse the internet to find details about each place we will stop and make notes of any special attractions and events at the locations, bicycle trails, brewpubs, flea markets, recommended restaurants, etc etc.

Again, we never use all the info I have collected, but it increases the chances we won't miss anything really special at our stops and always have a list of things we might like to do at each place.

(4) Of course prior to our trip, I ensure our truck has been serviced, oil, filter, fluid levels, belts, hoses, tires, and also ensure that the trailer is checked over, bearings repacked etc if due.


Perhaps I go overboard, but being retired I have lots of time, and besides, i enjoy it!


Brian.
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Old 05-25-2015, 10:41 AM   #3
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We keep the trailer ready. Only thing to add are clothes, perishable foodstuffs and check tire pressures. But the one thing I have found that helps me with pre trip jitters, whether it be a cross country mc or RV trip, is to visualize the trip as many four hundred mile days strung together rather than one long one. Seems to lower the stress load for me. Jim
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Old 05-25-2015, 10:46 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
To help prepare for a long trip, I do a couple of things ............

(2) I have a huge check list that we use when planning our trips. I print out a fresh copy a few weeks I have absolutely no doubt that without this list (8 pages!) we would forget all kinds of things.
Brian.
Care to share your list?
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Old 05-26-2015, 07:16 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by JBBeaubeaux View Post
Care to share your list?
I don't think it would be much use to anyone else as it is very much customized to the two of us.

It is broken down into sections such as:


- clothing items for each of us,

- food items we want to take from home because we know they will be hard or
impossible to find en route,

- tools and equipt such as air compressor, trolley jack, etc,

- camping equipment

- hobby and fun items such as metal detector, bicycles, geocaching stuff,
entertainment items and the like.

- important stuff such as medications, passports, health insurance paperwork.

Each item in the list has a check box next to it. The way I use the list is that if we want to take an item and have it ready to go it gets a tick, if we have thought about it and decided not to take it on this trip, it gets and "X"

So when we get to departure day, I can just scan the list and ensure I only see tick marks or "X's", no empty boxes!

It took me a while to convince my wife it was a helpful thing to do but now she is so sold on the idea that she is after me weeks before our departure date to print out a clean copy of the list so she can get started!

Brian.
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Old 05-26-2015, 07:50 AM   #6
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8 pages? Wow. We use one sheet, front and back. The front has "consumables" or "removeables" for the camper and truck - paper plates, spaghetti, ketchup, bread, sunscreen, soap, plastic wrap, beverages, bicycles, bike pump, generator, tools, zero-G chairs, EZ-Pass, etc., to name a few examples of things that can be consumed or removed.

The back has preparation steps, and it's much smaller. Things like holding the mail, checking air pressure in the tires, setting up the cages and litter boxes for the cats, filling the water tank, starting the fridge, draining the fuel separator, etc. (Some of these things are "only as necessary" and are just crossed off without actually doing it - for example, our fridge is running from about March to December, so there's no need to start it for each trip. If we're not going to a rally, we don't worry about happy hour snacks. If it's a summer trip, we don't worry about winter coats.)

We don't have clothes on our list, since our needs vary for each trip. We hope we remember to pack clothes. We haven't forgotten yet!
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Old 05-26-2015, 07:56 AM   #7
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One other thing we do is have the mail held or forwarded if we will be away more than a couple weeks. If you get the newspaper have it stopped while you are gone. Newspapers and Mail piled up are a sign to crooks that you are gone. Jim
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Old 05-26-2015, 12:07 PM   #8
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I am going to be following this thread, looking forward to some tips. Doing the southern route to CA then OR and back to FL, which way back??
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Old 05-26-2015, 12:59 PM   #9
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I guess I don't do much mental prepping aside from mapping routes and campground reservations. I get all giddy like a kid at Christmas, but I don't think that is any way productive or constructive but is a by-product nonetheless. I guess that's what keeps me goin'.
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Old 05-26-2015, 01:36 PM   #10
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This is a super helpful thread as I have started to count down 8 weeks until we leave our home behind for good and make the A/S our permanent home, starting with a year...

Part of my wants to be super prepared but that borders on OCD perfection driven...and the other part REALLY wants to enjoy living spontaneously and capriciously! As always in life, balance is key.

I'll be following this thread. It's so inspiring how we all help each other out. I can't wait to meet you all in person on the road! I wish we all had our names emblazoned somehow on our A/S's so we would know who is who out there on the road!

Best,
Kira
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Old 05-26-2015, 04:32 PM   #11
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Wow
Do we prepare differently. We have been on the road for almost 2 years and one of our favourite experiences is not to plan ,just be spontaneous. Ask others for local insights ,discuss the options and go or stay and go later.
What's a reservation?
Try it you may be very pleased by the unexpected joy of the unexpected

O ZONE
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Old 05-26-2015, 04:53 PM   #12
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Wow

Do we prepare differently. We have been on the road for almost 2 years and one of our favourite experiences is not to plan ,just be spontaneous. Ask others for local insights ,discuss the options and go or stay and go later.

What's a reservation?

Try it you may be very pleased by the unexpected joy of the unexpected



O ZONE

I'm with you. No reservations is best for us, when possible.


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Old 05-26-2015, 06:58 PM   #13
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I keep a running inventory of clothing so I put only what I need in the trailer-
I've already got everything in there except perishable groceries. I go out to the trailer and turn on the refrigerator a day before departure. Then we bring groceries from home or go to Kroger or Walmart on the way or when we get there.


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Old 05-26-2015, 07:26 PM   #14
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OK no one mentioned one of the most important aspects of our family's vacation planning.

The set list.

We spend a lot of time creating playlists on our phone and/or iPod to have different moods for different driving conditions, emotions, and for hanging out as well.

Best example is that for our 25th anniversary trip in to Yellowstone my DH made the playlist for day 1. *(we are still saving up for our AS for the 30th trip in 2 years. This was 3 years ago in our Mustang convertible that we got ourselves for our 25th. )

We load up the car at about 4:30 in the am, for a long day of driving in early August across Kansas to Laramie.

First song

Holiday Road from Vacation by Lindsay Buckingham.

Set the tone for the whole trip!!!!! Love my hubbie.
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