Jephir Treks America: Bumbling Through Central America

A 6 week adventure in gastronomica, sights, and observation.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Road Trip Rules

Day 2 of working the overnight shift has taken it's toll on my mind, so I figured I would just post some of our roadtrip maxims. These are intended to give our trip a structural backbone so that we don't get mired down in a situation unnecessarily and also to avoid some normal roadtrip pitfalls by planning ahead. The overarching themes are sustainability (of our roadtrip and the planet) and slow, luxurious motion.

1. Balance fun, principles and worthwhile sacrifice.
Optimally it would be 13 parts fun, 5 parts principle, 2 parts worthwhile sacrifice.

2. Keep moving!
Don't stop for more than 3 days in any one spot.

3. Don't move too fast...
Don't travel more than 200 miles in a day. This is intended to save money on gas, wear and tear on our bodies and frankly, I don't think there's any stretch of highway which has more than 200 miles without something worth stopping for, even if it's nothing at all.

4. Do not pay more than $1/night for "housing."
Hopefully we'll accomplish this through worktrades, bartering, camping, sleeping in Z's truckbed, in the truck itself, in between rows of corn or parks. Having spent 3 weeks finding shelter within a tent on the side of the road I'm pretty confident we won't have too much trouble, although I've never dealt with a car before.

5. Eat only in locally owned restaurants - preferably not chains.
The first part is pretty clear - that whole think globally, act locally idea. Why have your food come from the other side of the country? It's almost always pre-cooked, pre-frozen and generally standardized to appeal to the lowest common denominator, which is probably why it's all so damn sweet and salty and fatty (not that there's anything wrong with that). With a bit more effort (or at least the ability to abstain from the allure of convenience) one can find something much more likely to have food from local farms, to exhibit a bit more creativity and possibly even taste spectacular. As to the issue of eating in chains, that's a discussion for another day.

6. Ask for free/discounted things continuously.
This is a shout out to my friend Marybeth, who often asks for free stuff and gets something with surprising frequency. If you don't ask you'll never know - my personal favorite is asking the disgruntled service industry worker. They're easy.

7. Ask for recipes/methods from things we like.
Who knows? Maybe sometime soon we'll have the Jephir Treks America Cookbook!

8. Cook our own food as often as possible or necessary (due to a rule #5 disqualification of all available restaurants).

I think that's about it for right now, off to count some money and then learn a little espanol.


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