With California entering another lockdown, my friend Josh and I started to plan for a cross country road trip to see what it's like in other states that remained open.
Besides needing a vacation, we're chasing down warmer weather along the way. Our plan is to eventually arrive in Key West, Florida and go fishing.
Ideally, we'd be staying in several cities in Texas and Louisiana along the way. This trip will involve camping, some hotel or Airbnb rental and just enjoying what this country has to offer.
Not a bad way to start off 2021.
A portable grill. There's no better meal than one prepared in nature. I choose the Char-Broil x200 because of its size, price, and branding. Advertised as an infrared grill with no flare-ups, I had to put it to the test. I was pleasantly surprised by its performance. Temperatures can reach up to 600F within minutes if necessary. I made a perfect steak as a mandatory pass or fail evaluation.
Speaking of cooking, I needed a cooler to store food. I ended up getting an RTIC 45 rotomolded cooler that claims to keep ice up to 10 days.
I think they stole their design or possibly ripped off a patent from Yeti. There had been and possibly still is, continued litigation between the two US companies based in Texas. Whatever, it's a win-win for the customer.
Not only is the RTIC as durable as its competitor, but it's also a fraction of the price. Most aftermarket accessories that fit the Yeti will also fit the RTIC.
Of course, with every camping trip, I'll need something to sleep in. I'm not the 'make your bed in the morning' type so I want something easily deployable and fast takedown. My choice is the highly-rated Coleman popup tent. Upon receiving it, I tested it for any defects as one should. I got the tent up immediately upon removing a strap. It was that easy. Getting the tent to fold back was a bit more of a challenge, but I blame that on user error. I just need to remember the method of how to fold it back up.
Driving cross country over 8 states can be tiresome. Sometimes with a wide-open road, I tend to have a heavier foot. Rather than risk a potential trip-ruining; speeding ticket, I'll invest ahead of time into a nice radar detector. Not that I plan to speed the entire way but it will most likely happen.
I picked up a Uniden R3 Extreme Long Range on sale. As a former Valentine V1 user, I know a radar's worth. It's pretty much the cost of a speeding ticket and hours of your wasted time. The V1 is a bit dated now and the Uniden R series have really started to dominate the market with its price and performance. The only device better is the R7 with a slightly longer range and arrows letting you know where the threat signal is received. I figured that if I hear any signals, I'd slow down anyway without the need of knowing the direction. A $200 savings for going arrow-less. Review on the R3 coming soon.
I plan to record my travels through my A6400, GoPro, and DJI Mavic Air 2 and edit on the road using my Razer Stealth 13. All these device batteries need to be charged and ready for capturing the moment. Having a power inverter in-car is crucial especially with the amount of hours on the road and not near an outlet.
Fortunately for me, my Toyota Tacoma has a built-in power inverter. Unfortunately for me, the only outlet is in the bed of the truck. After doing a bunch of research, I was able to install an AC outlet into the cab of my truck.
Coffee is an absolute necessity for me, however, I do know a lot of people that do not drink coffee so I'll just add it to the optional list. There's nothing better than a cup of coffee in the morning especially when it's cold out. I'll double down and also say that there's nothing better than a cup of coffee in the morning and in nature. Secondly, after a few hours of driving, fatigue and boredom will usually kick in and I'll need a caffeine fix.
Stanley makes this awesome French press coffee maker that you can throw over your fire or grill. It's also got fitted cups for 2 for easy packing. A much better option than carrying a pot, a coffee maker, filters, and cups, separately.
If you've ever read any of my other travel preparation list, you'd know that I'm a huge fan of LiquidIV. Rehydration is very important. LiquidIV is my go-to for fast rehydration after drinking or having stomach issues. It's very much like Pedialyte for adults. Mix it with water and you have an instant tasty recovery drink.
My stomach is sensitive. I never travel without Imodium. It's the shit. Like a medicinal buttplug.
We used Google maps to create targeted points of what we want to see along the way.
The must see destinations will be Houston, Dallas, New Orleans, Miami and Key West. Everything along the way is an extra added bonus.
Absolutely no hotel, Airbnb or camp grounds have been booked ahead of time. We don't have an exact itinerary to do so. This should make for a very interesting trip.
I like to plan but I don't want to be so OCD about it that I don't have fun. That's happened before where I turned a vacation into a chore by cramming in as much as possible. Everything was timed and I ended up coming back from vacation needing another.
Instead, we'll leave a lot of things up in the air and be more spontaneous. For example, if SpaceX launches the Super Heavy, we'll probably make a detour down to Boca Chica, Texas. Or if Tom Brady and the Buccaneers advance, I'll probably want to stop by in Tampa Bay.
We also thought of flying out of Miami to the Bahamas or Puerto Rico as well. Both require covid testing 3-7 days prior to arrival. This will be another challenge in timing if we wish to proceed.
As I write this, I'm hoping that I did not forget anything. The trip is two days out. If I did forget something, we'll have to pick those items up along the way and revisions will be made to this blog.
We're allocating three weeks give or take for this cross country road trip. Plans may change if we picked up Arona Cyrus but we'll go with the flow.