Friday, May 11, 2018

Road Trip, the Early Days

Let's go way back to the early days of our traveling, almost twenty years ago. The first winter we traveled in a Dodge Neon. We'd bought it second hand for one of my daughters to use for school in Florida. After her graduation she wanted a better car so we got the Neon.

Dodge Neons were cheap cars known for being unreliable. However, we happened to end up with one of the few that provided good service over many miles. Of course, we didn't know that at the time. It would not have been the vehicle we would have chosen for our travels. It was the one we had.

I put a trailer hitch on it so it could carry a cargo rack for more luggage. To carry our canoe we put on a good set of Thule roof racks. We had a lot of camping gear, our canoeing stuff, a huge cooler and a dog. Somehow we fit it all in.

We left northern New Hampshire and made our way south. In the moutains of Pennsuvania we encounted a freak snowstorm. It was much worse than predicted. The Neon was struggling with the load while fighting through the deep snow of unplowed roads. We were out in the middle of nowhere and running out of gas. To go a few more miles, I poured all our Coleman fuel into the gas tank. Even emptied the cookstove fuel into the tank.

That took us a few more miles down the road where we made it to an open gas station. That solved one problem, but the driving was terrible and we were still out in the middle of nowhere. We were really starting to question this whole traveling thing. Fortunately, about a half hour later we came upon an open hotel with an attached restaurant.

Imagine our relief. We went from horrible driving contions to having a safe place to stay and decent hot food. The whole travling idea was starting to look a lot better. We went on to have an excellent winter of camping.

By the next winter we were still in the Neon, but we'd pared down our gear to the point where the cargo rack could stay at home. It was much smoother going the second time around.

Thinking back, we've traveled with a whole variety of vehicles, including a couple of sailboats. We always figure something out and have a good time.



  1. Flexibility goes a long way to solving a lot of problems.

  2. It's great to know there are people who can adapt to any situation instead of giving up.

    1. You just tackle one problem at a time. If you are lucky, eventually you run out of problems.

  3. Regarding camping vehicle choices. Some of the newer minivans are quite civilized, get great mileage, have a ton of space with the back seats out so they make for excellent campers. I never considered one as a choice, but a couple of years ago a friend lent me his 2001 Odyssey while my truck was in the shop. As he no longer had any use for it, I wound up buying it from him for wholesale price and selling the truck. For years we used my pickup truck with a cap as a camper. Though it does present some inconvenience we made due. I have grown to love the van and found it makes for a much better camper as well as a convenient work vehicle. With all the doors and lower deck height it makes loading and unloading large power tools a much less arduous task. When it is given it last rites I will certainly look for another one.

    1. I did price some good used ones. Might be just the thing. Of course, it depends what our budget looks like in a couple months.