If you are just getting started as a road tripper here are some useful tips.
On the road, you don’t do campfires. A cheerful fire will alert the neighbors to your unwanted presence, and soon the local police will be visiting, and not for marshmallows. Movies you may have seen with people having profound moments in front of blazing fires are just fantasy. It’s best to pull out your ground cloth and poncho, roll up in your blanket, and snooze till the early morning diner down the road opens up. Being on the road is experimental art at its best. You won’t gather cobwebs or moss if you keep traveling smart.
Traveling smart covers a lot of ground. It’s about what’s in your wallet on your feet, and your back. Your appearance is the first thing. Take the opportunity while at the diner to clean up a bit; you are trying to get a ride. People’s first impression of you is as they drive towards you. Look too messy, and their next view will be in the rearview mirror.
Your wallet should have enough money in it to prove that you are not a vagrant. Right now ( 1965), about twenty dollars will do it. Your feet are next. You will do a lot of walking thanks to the cop car trailing you out of town and making sure that no one will stop to pick you up. Wear practical footwear.
What’s on your back could take up an entire article, but for now, let’s cover the basics: ground cloth, raingear, changes of clothes, travel food, spare footwear, towel and blanket. If you can afford it, a little propane or gas cookstove bolsters your alibi, “Officer, I’m just looking for a campground.”
Attitude will always be your best friend or worst enemy. So listening politely to the man with the tin foil cap talk about his alien abduction may be challenging. So instead, concentrate on the three hundred-mile walk he’s saving you and smile.
That’s all for this month’s “Journey On The Road.” Next month’s piece will be avoiding getting mauled by angry dogs, and the best road food.
*reprinted from the June 1965 issue of ” Road Trippers Magazine.”