We’re in a wonderful location right now, so no worries, but we’ve had a few rough travel days lately. And when I’ve mentioned that to friends, they’ve asked what that means. Here goes.
Google Maps: You Get What You Pay For
Tracy maps out our route each time we tow the trailer, using several sources. He makes sure the roads he’s picked aren’t too narrow; there are no low overpasses; he avoids freeways as much as possible; and he works in stops for fuel when needed.
The route ends up being far from what Google Maps would choose for us, so he adds waypoints to force Google to stick to his chosen route. For example, there are A through F points in yesterday’s route from Kentucky to Tennessee.
Yet Google Maps still manages to change the route on us throughout many trips. Sometimes he’s set the route during rush hour, when Google auotmatically sends us around a city, but then when rush hour is over (when we drive) Google sends us straight through (yuck). Other times Google reports a road closure that isn’t in effect, and sometimes my phone (the one we connect to the truck for navigating while driving) has some preset on, like fuel-efficiency, that will change the route despite the waypoints.
In other words, we can find ourselves driving down some road that we’d much rather not be on, which causes panic and mayhem and general freaking out. I’ll have my iPad in my lap to find a new route, but, unless there’s a spot for us to pull over, I need to find a new route really quickly before we end up in some tiny neighborhood or down some downtown street.
GPS services and devices designed for RVers are out there, and we may resort to that (they’re expensive and can add to the confusion with an extra monitor and even more data). In the meantime, I think Tracy’s going to start writing the route on paper as a backup.
Empty Stomach = Grumpy Travelers
A few days ago we got so turned around in a town while following the wrong directions that we missed where we could pull in for lunch and had to keep going. There aren’t many places where you can safely park a trailer and grab lunch, especially if you haven’t done prior research of your route (your supposed route).
Pictured above is the typical lunch we find on the road when we haven’t planned well enough to eat leftovers in the trailer or to find a good spot to pull over for decent take-out. One day, we just had to skip lunch, which meant showing up at our campground hungry, having to pee, grumpy, and not in the right frame of mind to do the delicate work of backing the trailer into a site.
Parking in Your Site Ain’t Always Fun and Games
It turns out that the day we had no lunch was also the day that, once we finally checked into our campground and drove around to our site, we saw that there was no way we could park the trailer in it. Too narrow. Too steep an incline. Not enough room in front of the spot for the truck to turn in.
Luckily, although the park ranger at the entrance station was just about to leave for the day, she agreed to stay long enough for us to drive around to look at the two sites she had open that we might fit in. And luckily, again, one of them seemed okay, and we did fit in, and we had a lovely two nights and one day in Kentucky. I did not take photos; I chilled.
When Sh*t Happens
On the next travel day, we made several stops for errands, and after one of them I put something I’d bought for Tiny Houses in the shower while we were stopped. And then I didn’t latch the shower door.
We always go through a thorough check before we hit the road to make sure everything is secure, but sometimes we forget when we’ve stopped just for lunch or an errand and we drive away with the soap dispenser sliding around on the counter or my water bottle rolling around on the floor.
This time what we found when we finally pulled into our campsite was the shower door hanging off one hinge, one corner of the frame precariously jammed into the wall across the hallway.
The shower door had swung open during the drive and then bounced so much that the hardware in the hinges broke off. The glass didn’t shatter, but we’re afraid the frame is unfixable. And we just left Airstream a few days ago, the perfect place to get a new door and have it installed by experts.
We really need showers, too. So on our first day at our new campground in Tennessee (I can’t wait to tell you about it), Tracy drove out to a Dollar General store and bought this beauty. What a stylish addition to the decor, right? But it’ll let us shower until we can find a replacement door. I have no idea when that will be.
In the meantime, we cannot travel with items stored in the shower, so I need to find room for big things like the dehumidifier, my washing machine bucket, all my Tiny House storage bins, our laundry bags. This can be done though.
So, there you go with what a “bad” travel day means to me. Not as bad as a car accident or a tire blow-out or something else actually tragic, but exhausting and sometimes costly.
Next up: the very cool TCPC Airstream community we’re camped at!