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Old 06-18-2015, 12:13 PM   #1
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first trip, 2 months long, nervous!

Hi fellow Skoolie enthusiasts! I am about a month away from embarking on my first real adventure! I am taking my newly renovated 1990 bluebird on a 10,000 mile round trip across the country. This is pretty nerve racking. What if i break down? What if I get stuck in the mud? What if i wander into the back woods of deliverance and get kidnapped and... well you all saw the movie.

I try to calm myself but i have bad anxiety all the time about everything. My shrink has help me the best she can about it but im freaking about about this adventure a little.

I think I have thought of everything but I know that there is no way that is possible. So here it is, guys please help me stop freaking out. What have you learned to help make your trips run more smoothly? I wont be alone on this adventure, I will have 6 or 7 close fiends with me so that will help, but I still need all the advice you guys can give?

My head is bouncing all over the place, do I need tire chains just in case i get stuck, are they really not needed. Other than normal fluids like oil and transmission what do i need to be concerned about mechanically?

Oh god maybe i should just go to bed and stay there... (LOL)

HELP ME STOP STRESSING PLEASE!!!
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Old 06-18-2015, 12:39 PM   #2
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I suffer from travel anxiety.
I also drove my bus 800 miles home with no tag.
I just try to not think about it and plan for everything as best I can. That said, depending on where you're from, your driving experience, and your rig- the Rockies may pose a serious challenge.
If you have an eastern bus, take it very easy and plan your routes VERY well.
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Old 06-18-2015, 01:44 PM   #3
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Last year my travel buddy and I drove 25,000 miles around the country from NC to Seattle, LA, and back in a zig-zaggy fashion with a Honda Element pulling a 1968 pop up camper. We brought three cats, two dogs, and a goat. The camper is just a box with a tent on it, basically, no sink, no fridge. It had an air conditioner mounted on the floor which cooled about a 4 sq ft area under the table, leaving the top of the tent 120 degrees in Texas. We paid for powered camp sites for about five days out of the four months in times when it was too hot to safely keep the animals in there without the AC. We didn't bring a generator, and only had a deep cycle battery used for lights and charging phones. It lasted about two weeks per charge. The rest of the time we found free campsites online (mostly on government land).

If you're planning on staying at real campgrounds I'd say you'll have a relatively smooth time of it. Be very careful in the Rockies and Appalachians about gearing down, watch your engine temp, don't overuse the brakes, and go slow. If you're going the free campsite route (for places besides Walmart and casino parking lots), be aware that most of the places we went were very rough and full of massive potholes and loose and soft ground. There are many places that the weight and size of a bus would prevent us from considering it, although we did see at least one massive RV in almost every place we went. We also went through about eight trailer tires. I don't think you'll have as much of a problem with bus tires since our trailer tires were teeny $30 nothings.

I think you'll clock well over 10,000 miles. Our trip was supposed to be around 8,500 miles but we ended up clocking 25,000 ish. Most of that was due to trying to find these campsites in the middle of nowhere and with bad directions, and driving back and forth between these places and any kind of civilization.

You didn't mention your money situation, but most of us on here are on a budget. I'd recommend getting some type of roadside assistance. We're going with Good Sam. It's like $80 a year if you pay $20 for the Good Sam club too. They'll tow you or bring you fuel, oil, spare tires, etc. They will not help if you're not on a real road, but even those crazy government land places that are unpaved are still considered roads and should be covered. Change your oil when needed and check your fluids regularly. It's very easy if you have an oil catch pan big enough and buy the oil and filters yourself.

If you won't be very far North (Wyoming or farther) past September I don't think you'll need chains. We drove there in mid-October and there was no snow yet. (I've never used chains though so don't quote me on other situations where they might be needed.)

We never once had an issue with any security, and our camper was canvas with no lock. Having dogs that bark at strangers helped, I'm sure, but the general consensus among travelers is be aware of your surroundings but ultimately what's going to happen will happen. If you'd like peace of mind, bring a machete and keep it near your bed. Practice chopping some stuff down with it. They're pretty handy things. I'd worry much more about animals than people. I don't want to worry you too much, but this country is full of BEARS. Particularly Wyoming and farther north. in fact, tent camping is no longer allowed in a lot of places there because of grizzlies searching for food. Hard sided campers only. Do not cook inside if you can help it, use bear proof containers if they're provided, don't leave your cooler, food, or utensils outside unattended or farther than 6 feet from you, or anywhere they can be seen inside the bus from a window. Bring bear spray. We never had an incident (luckily) but bears are very curious and hungry. Wear a bell while hiking in bear-frequented areas to warn animals of your presence. Read up on safety.

The fact that you're traveling with so many people is a help and a hindrance. If you can manage to get along the whole time, excellent. If not, have a way of diffusing the situation and don't be afraid to boot someone if they're not cooperating with the plan in a major way. Make sure everyone knows what financial responsibilities they're expected to contribute and that they stick to it. Having a freeloader is a great way to cause trouble.

Eating out and fast food will be the quickest way to deplete your budget (besides your fuel-hogging home). Sandwiches and pasta are great cheap food and preparing food around a campfire or outside is always memorable.

Take pictures but not so many that you never actually take time to absorb what you're looking at.

Let whoever is the driver be the specialist for a certain kind of driving. For example, my buddy liked to drive long distances. I was better at backing up the trailer and driving in cities and on curvy mountain roads. He would drive the six hours on the highway and I'd take over once we got close to where we were going.

Ultimately, things will go wrong. Be calm about them and remember that no matter what happens you'll eventually be back on your feet. If you're in a life-threatening situation, move out of it the best you can and then examine what to do. If things are getting really rough, take a break for half and hour and come back to it. Make sure you take care of your health and eat and drink plenty of water. If you feel healthy then you will be more able to handle bad situations. Don't be afraid to ask for help from anyone. Odds are they'll try their best.

Tell your story wherever you go. People love to hear stories and will want to help you out. A trucker gave us $100 at a gas station where we stayed over night once because he loved hearing what we had going on. Tell people about it!

Have fun! Worry less.
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Old 06-18-2015, 02:58 PM   #4
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good luck and take pictures and post them here,

What is planned route? interested in meeting other skoolies?

if so mention basic route in everything else a few days ahead and you might end up with camping spots

good luck
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Old 06-18-2015, 02:58 PM   #5
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oops double tap, if you come my way we may have a spot with you
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Old 06-18-2015, 06:49 PM   #6
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Take your shrink and a pound of weed with you on your trip to help with your anxiety.
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Old 06-18-2015, 07:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazycal View Post
Take your shrink and a pound of weed with you on your trip to help with your anxiety.
Or make it worse with the fear of getting caught in the wrong state.

Na, I like the idea. Smoke your troubles away.

As Tom Petty says in his song. "Let's get to the point, and roll another joint, turn the radio loud, I'm too alone to be proud". . . . . .

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Old 06-18-2015, 07:35 PM   #8
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Take your shrink and a pound of weed with you on your trip to help with your anxiety.
first thought that came to mind......

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Old 06-19-2015, 01:02 AM   #9
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With that number of people when things get tense have everyone agree that you can pull a "rip chord" and shove the group into some motel rooms for one night. A real bed and good showers and some laundry time can do a lot to reset people and reset a trip.
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Old 06-19-2015, 01:05 AM   #10
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I was kidding. Sheesh. Who would want to take a shrink on vacation with them.
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