Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks
Wednesday, July 07, 2010 Overpacked
Trash and I have done enough road trips of sufficiently diverse duration and purpose that we've gotten pretty good at packing for all of them. The food part, however, remains the most elusive challenge. Before M. Edium, for instance, preparations for the three-hour drive to Iowa evolved from making a special trip to the grocery store to make sure we had food in the car, to simply making sure we had food in the cats' bowls.
Once, in the early nineties, we filled a cooler with lunches and snacks for a two-week, multistate journey. Unfortunately, we failed to take into account the fact that the first week and a half of that would be spent with family members who would insist on feeding us. So by the time we were finally on our own in Wyoming, we couldn't really look forward to eating the baloney sandwiches we had packed seven states ago.
But back then, what choice did we have? This was before the days of GPS, which meant the only grocery stores in the United States were the ones in our area. Which must have been inconvenient for the rest of the country, but we never gave it much thought until we left town.
We were a little smarter this time; in addition to our plan to use the GPS to the locate the nearest supermarket at a moment's notice, allowing us to fry our eggs within three miles of where we bought them, most of the food we brought along on this trip was non-perishable. Now, in retrospect, maybe we didn't need to fill a 30-gallon bin.
In our defense, we thought that would save us having to do much shopping or eating out on the road, but it pretty much ended up meaning we came home with 28 gallons of food to put back away. Sure, you feel pretty virtuous and forward-thinking when you're raiding your own pantry shelves for the makings of twelve days' worth of fully balanced meals that can be prepared on the tailgate of a borrowed extended-cab pickup, but then you find yourself at the gas station in a different time zone and the mini-donuts are right there.
So maybe we were guilty of overpacking in that department. But I'm generally of the mind that when deciding whether or not to pack something, it's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. We had plenty in the first category and nothing in the second (although the giant three-burner camp stove with its accompanying jug of jet fuel didn't get used for anything but to make a single pot of Kraft mac & cheese in Nashville), but the list of other stuff we didn't use at all might be informative:
• M. Edium's Razor scooter
• Our camping oven (no, that's not a typo)
• A lot of our other camp-cooking gear
• My folding barbecue grill
• Any of our music CDs
• Most of our sweatshirts
• Most of our long pants
• A dozen homemade chocolate-chip cookies (out of six dozen)
• Either of the two migraine pills
• Almost anything from the first aid kit
• Trash's emergency bee-sting kit
• The spare tire
• The axe
You know, as you go down that list, the stuff we didn't use starts to tell the story of a pretty successful trip.
Notice I said "starts." I plan to wring entries out of this vacation to last me until the end of the year. posted by M. Giant 8:33 PM 0 comments