The day before a road trip is always the day I pack, never sooner. It’s part procrastination and part knowing that what I’m packing is what I use daily. Even though I pack at the last minute, I’m constantly making a list leading up to a trip. You never know when something will remind you of that one little thing you wanted to bring, so I always have my notepad list on my phone ready to keep things organized. It really helps avoid that feeling like you’ve forgotten something when you hit the road. For me, that thing is often pillows. I sleep on them the night before and forget them in the morning.
We will be on the road for three weeks, passing through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and a bunch of eastern states on our way up to New Jersey. The hardest part here is packing for warm and cold weather. I fully expect to be wearing shorts in Phoenix and Texas, but the mountains of North Carolina are often cold and snowy well before the rest of the south gets a chill. My simple solution to this problem was to pack layers instead of whole separate wardrobes. Being able to strip layers off is something you learn quickly when you hike in the cold, and it works just as well on a November-December road trip. Long sleeve shirts, light hoodies or jackets, and warmer coats as well as beanies and scarves are great for keeping you warm when you need it and easy to remove when you don’t.
Food is important on the road as well. Being vegan it’s not as easy to just stop at a fast food joint for a quick bite, but also wanting to be somewhat health-conscious it’s a good idea to cook some food to bring with you. We cook a large stir fry, or in this case we made a big thing of sloppy joes with lentils. Lentils are healthy and filling so they last a while. We also pack plenty of snacks for the car and the old standby: peanut butter and jelly. You can never go wrong with a PBJ in the car or on a hike. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Just bring a cooler and keep it stocked with a little ice and you can have good food with you at all times and save money from eating out all the time.
As much as I like to keep lists of what to bring, I’m much less detailed on the whens and wheres of my trip. I like to keep my options open which can be good and bad. It’s much harder to know where you’ll be staying if you don’t know your exact routing, especially if you’re trying to couch surf. Traveling in warmer months is easier since you can camp just about anywhere, but the winter can prove challenging if you don’t have cold weather camping gear. As much as I try to avoid it, this trip may include some hotels until we get out of the high deserts of northern Arizona. After that we will be staying with friends, couch surfing, and camping anytime we get the chance and the weather allows!
So we said goodbye to Salt Lake City this morning for a little while. I’m sure I’ll miss it, but the road has been calling for some time now and it’s time I finally answered.