On the Road Pt 1: Setting out

10:56 AM

We set out from Chicago to begin the long trek to Arizona. Overall, we were looking at 26 hours or so of driving. This was, of course, at a "normal car" pace and not that of the lumbering Condotron.

Here's our route:
(To answer what you're already thinking, yes Alleigh has been singing Route 66 the whole drive, and yes I do want to strangle her for it)

We actually left Chicago on January 28th, but it was so hectic that there simply wasn't time to post about it. 

With a Ford 460 engine, several tons of vehicle, two passengers, 4 pets, all of our crap AND Optimus Prius being pulled behind, it's understandable that we top out around 60 mph. The mantra is "well, we get there when we get there" and it sure is nice to have a portable apartment being pulled along with your vehicle. With adjusted time, it was safe to assume we'd be driving closer to 30+ hours...
Thankfully, we have a decent entertainment setup. I have a wonderful set of small Bose speakers that I plug into my computer so I can hear things over the cacophonous engine. All of this plugs into a power converter I got from a Skywalker kid I beat up a while back. It's been a lifesaver, having my cigarette adapter convert into 300 watts of 120v power (that's the 3-prong thingy for the rest of us). With two plugs, I can charge any combination of phone/computer/speaker as necessary.

We brought a lot of things to entertain ourselves of course. When I'm driving, I leave Alleigh  in charge of hospitality. Things like "throw a podcast on please!" or "water please" or "coffee!!" (the "please" being dependent on my having had some of said coffee already).

Driving a 35ft RV with a Prius behind (totaling about 45 total feet) is no easy task. It's a considerable isometric workout to simply keep Condotron in line with the road. Wrestling the wheel back into alignment proves challenging when trucks come whizzing past or the RV gets buffeted with wind, which happens quite frequently. I find it helps in the long run to have a small back support insert on my seat to keep my back from sagging over the hours of driving. My "captain's chair" is really just a plushy armchair that swivels.

It's a wonderful stroke of luck that Condotron has functioning CRUISE CONTROL! I don't know how many RVs in 1994 had this feature, but I'm damn glad mine does. Being able to just set the speed and then focus on the wheel lets me drive a lot longer and not have my foot or leg cramp up.

A lot of our driving time is spent in conversation, listening to podcasts (I prefer This American Life or The Adventure Zone, where three brothers and their dad play D&D for the first time and record their antics), tending to pets and napping. For active lifestylers like ourselves, it's incredibly rough to be sitting in one place for such a long time. After driving, I want to just jump on a bike or run around a lot or do a ton of ballistic stretching.

Provided that our 70-gallon gas tank matches up with our roughly 7.8 mpg, we can go quite a while between gas breaks. Fortunately this year, gas has been very inexpensive. This trip looks like an average gas cost of $1.40/gallon, which I can totally deal with! Add to that my proclivity for fueling up at Flying J's using my "RV Rewards" card (an older card they don't offer anymore), I am usually taking an additional 3 cents per gallon off. It's not a ton but it adds up over time.

We also use these truck stops to fill up on tire air and propane! This essential lifeblood of Condotron provides heat through my furnace as well as cooking gas. I have a 30ish gallon onboard tank that can't be removed, I have to fill up at a station. Fortunately, my RV card gives me 5 cents off per gallon of propane at Pilots and Flying J's and I only need 1 fill-up a year usually.

Overall, we find ourselves with a lot of time as we mosey our way across this great country. The huge windshields and high seats give us a panoramic, king-of-the-world view of our surroundings. We bring lots of things to entertain ourselves and keep plenty of snacks/water on hand. There's plenty more technical details I'll get into on other posts but this seems like a good intro to the experience of our travel.

More posts to come about the trip and travel to come!

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