From Patricia Vasquez + MHD59 . The 2016 USA Tour

2016 Traveling in the USA

Traveling V
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Rendering of the trip (Approximately)
Using vellum paper over USA Map to start a rendering of the trip
Patricia Vasquez taking a break
Inside the Honda Element
Cooking in the Back of the Honda Element
Using Large format road atlas and 2 GPS + Cell phone + Cellular iPad Mini for direction
Traveling route 66 in California, Arizona and New Mexico
Route 66 Sign (Nom any left)
Study, Point of interest by State (Approximately)
Some of the National Park Brochure
Study by state for destination and average distance (Approximately)
Magazine, flyers, Brochures from the trip
Magazine, flyers, Brochures from the trip
Florida, St. Petersburg, Museum Dali

A Few Tips

Have extra locks inside your car, a High Density flashlight, and cover all windows very well with metallic insulation sheet. If the windows of your vehicle are not tinted, put black cardboard (cut to fit the window) before the insulation to avoid flashy light reflection.

- Mapping / Directions:

We hardly ever got lost thanks to a combination of GPS and a U.S. Road Map Atlas. We had two GPS, a new 7-inch Garmin and a smaller older Garmin I bought a few years ago, just for backup. It is indispensable to have a large map book, brochures of the different sites you want to visit, and a phone or mini Cellular iPad with 24-hour internet to be used as secondary device for maps and directions, in case a planned site doesn’t show up in the GPS.

- About the Internet and Power / Battery:

You can buy for your vehicle many plugging devices to recharge your laptop, cell phone, battery, etc., via the 12v AC port and USB port, an external battery with AC power, 120vt, USB are great, power banks, etc. Take advantage of hotel stays to recharge ALL of your devices or restaurants, coffee shops with free WiFi such as Panera Bread, which has locations in 46 states. I did have a multi-outlet extension to recharge all our devices by maximizing a single wall outlet. So, when possible, we combined food and technology at our daily breakfast and/or dinner at Panera Bread.

- Eating While On the Road:

Finding food that suits your eating habits and needs can prove challenging during a long road trip. There’s plenty of poor quality fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Dunking Donuts, Taco Bell, etc. at rest stops and everywhere, even in the most remote areas! So forget about keeping a healthy diet on the road.

We recommend stopping at any “Panera Bread” (with locations in 46 states) for healthier and cleaner options or buying a few groceries, organic chips, peanut butter, low-sugar fiber bars at Walmart, Sam’s Club, Albertson’s, Costco, Trader Joe’s the like, and cooking at rest stops or making your own sandwiches with turkey, fresh vegetables, olive oil, and whole wheat/grain bread. Drink water. Lots of it! But keep in mind that you will have to master what we named the RIBS -Road Improvised Bathroom Solution!

We did stop at several restaurants along the way. Among them, worth mentioning are “Wildflower Bread Company” in Flagstaff, AZ with delicious bakery items, salads, soups, and sandwiches; “Common Bond” in Houston, TX offering what they describe as “world class food in a cozy cafe set-up”; a couple of BBQ places in San Antonio, TX and in New Mexico; and a lobster roll joint in Maine.

Checking the internet for recommendations or advice from Guy Fieri’s “Flavortown” was not a good idea, not really impressive…at least not for us. And believe me, I know when food is good! Truth is you have to be just lucky finding great places to eat.

I understand very well the frustration and it makes sense. If you visit Miami and want to eat a great burger or find a delicious Thai restaurant and don’t know where to go, GOOD LUCK! There’s plenty of mediocre places and you need time to learn about good food in your own town. Some locals know.

Overall, you’re better off making your own food while on the road because FAST FOOD IS NOT AN OPTION.

- Sleeping:

You can sleep in you car, SUV or RV most of the time in the parking lots of Walmart Supercenters (preferable those Open 24 Hours), Cracker Barrel, truck driver service stops like Pilot and Flying J. where you can get a shower for $12). I recommend checking your GPS/cell phone 12 miles before arriving at your next destination for two or three different options to stay the night. Some places are safer than others and you might want to change locations until you feel safe enough to spend the night.

Arriving before dark is better especially if you plan to stay in camping areas. I highly recommend to be very cautious and aware of the potential issues posed by your sleeping location. Be sure to park your vehicle close to other ‘sleepers’ (trucks, RVs, cars, SUVs), in a way that your license plate is not visible (so locals can’t tell you’re a foreigner).

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