I sat down to blog about our trip, and only just now realized that already one month has elapsed. Whew! The rest of my family is doing a better job of posting regularly. You can see all of our aggregated roadtrip posts at roadtrip.barnacle.org.
A lot has happened. We’ve camped and/or visited in seven states (Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska). We’ve camped in a wide variety of locations - state parks, KOAs, private campgrounds, a city park, on the street in front of a house, and Sara’s family homestead. We’ve visited three National Parks (Glacier, Yellowstone, Badlands) and several more Historical Sites. And I’ve given my library program twice.
By far the biggest challenge has been mechanical in nature. Our slide out broke, and is currently (as Sara puts it) a “stuck in”. There are lots of trailers our size without slide outs, and they are arranged to allow easy movement within. Ours is not, the layout depends on an open slide out, and suddenly things are very cramped indeed. We can basically move around, cook, and so forth, but doing so requires a lot of cooperation, flexibility, and generosity of spirit. So we’re coping, but it’s inconvenient at best. Though, as we often say, it beats a tent. Spending time outside helps, so we hope to get it fixed before the weather gets cold and wet.
It’s hard to get a slideout fixed when you’re constantly on the move, and my schedule of speaking engagements means our calendar isn’t very flexible. But we have an appointment next week in Minnesota to have it looked at, and depending on the exact problem we could have it fixed in anywhere from ten minutes to several weeks.
The next biggest challenge has been finding the time and place to work. The key is to take advantages of workable situations when they happen. Electricity? Dependable wifi? A dry place to set up my Cintiq? I’ve learned to drop everything and work as much as I can. The farther ahead I am on work, the more flexible I can be about waiting for the next such dream situation, and fortunately my strip buffer is getting comfortably long. When there’s good enough reception I can tether to my iPad’s cell data, though that’s expensive enough that I do so sparingly. And I don’t really need Internet connectivity to do most of my work. I can draw and write and read and respond to email offline, and then connect up when possible. Increasingly this is what I do.
Mostly working on the road just demands a new level of discipline, something that has never been my strong suit. So here’s to growing that particular muscle.
I am very much enjoying spending more time with my wife and kids, which is one of the challenges in working enough - they’re pretty fun to begin with, and of course they’re having all sorts of fascinating and hilarious homeschool adventures. I want to play too! Staying home and working some of the time requires the most discipline of all.
But, warts and all, we are having a fantastic time and you are justified in being fiercely jealous of us.