Monday, August 17, 2009

money and other necessary evils

photos by Elaine A. Russell

Some vital statistics....

I traveled about 2150 miles... each way... due to little side trips.
That makes a total of 4300 miles just in traveling.
I did about 450 miles each day -- some more, some less.

I drove thru extreme heat ( usually in the upper 90's ) and humidity. I drove in bad rain, tornado weather/ watch... winds of up to 80mph... sleet and hail. I went thru hills, mountains, plains and plateaus.
City and country driving... mostly interstate.

I averaged 53-55 miles per gallon... with the air conditioning on full blast most of the time.
This means, that is cost me about $110 to travel cross country one way.... for gas.

Hotels were interesting. Most were very nice that I looked at or stayed at. Prices varied from about $50 - $90 a night for one person with a pet. The interesting part is that the really nice hotels didn't really cost that much more than the average hotels. It really seemed to be more of a factor in where these hotels were... ie: in a city... close to convenience centers, etc.

As much as I don't like Walmart.. it saved my butt more than once. When you are traveling.. it is hard to find places that you can get photos printed up at. Had I had a camera that worked properly, this would not have been an issue cuz I could have simply loaded my photos from the camera onto my laptop.

Food. Food is another thing that varies greatly from place to place. Personally, I think this is part of the adventure. Just about anywhere you go, there will be fast food places. Even in Coudersport, population about 2,000... there is a McDonald's. However, for not much more money, you can seek out local venues that are soooooooooo much better. The catch is.. traveling with a pet. Most places won't let you bring your critter inside... which means, leaving them locked in the car, or making a picnic somewhere in the grass. I vote picnic.

You will always need to be drinking more water than you are. Forget soda, forget coffee. Water.
Always drink caffeine in moderation. Heat stroke and dehydration can really kill you.

Rest areas are your friend. But be safe. Lock our vehicle. Don't leave valuables showing in plain sight. Keep track of your money/ wallet at all times.

Talk to people ! This is fun... and you learn alot. Just don't give out alot of personal information... or put yourself in danger. For the most part... people are really nice.. and more than willing to chat.
When you are happy, go ahead and compliment people. You wouldn't believe how very much this is appreciated. Some people get nothing but crap from travelers.... and they will go a long way when they know you are appreciate what they are doing.

You always need less than you packed. Really. I packed one pair of jeans, 2 skirts, about 6 shirts, underthings, a pair of socks, swimsuit and one pair of shoes. I should have taken a hat. What I didn't need to have packed was the bag of stuff to work on (crafts/journals, etc). It took up valuable space.. and it's not like I didn't have things to do. I did pack 2 big scarves that were awesome and did double duty as cover-ups, nightware, etc. I also took a quilt. This was invaluable for picnics, as well as covering all the stuff in the car to deter thieves.. when it was parked. I took a first aid kit, a jar of change, a knife (my son's recommended weapon of choice) and fishing gear. I bought a 2009 version of road maps for the entire US. Just when you think you won't need it; you will.

Enjoy yourself. If you drive like a crazy person, and don't stop for any of the kitchy quirky stuff.. what's the point ? Sure you will get to your final destination quicker... but you will be a stressed out, burned out, anger ball.

I ended up spending about 10 days "on the road" and 21 days with my family. I have spent more time in the past on these trips, and I have spent less. This one was about right. In a perfect world... I could have done with a 2-3 day vacation -- in one spot -- all by myself --to reflect and get my stuff together-- meditate and chill.... but that didn't really happen this time.

I really enjoy traveling. I have always known this.. and I assume that it's my gypsy blood or something. But I really love the lifestyle. I also really enjoy doing this blog, and taking photos. These are lessons I already knew.. but it was re-affirmed for me. I think that I will always want a home to come back too...but I need to travel more. It feeds my soul.

I value your comments -- so keep 'em coming !