Yesterday afternoon we conquered another state’s dusty highway and I realized that through all the chaos I haven’t been able to write a post in awhile.  With that said, this will have to be a short one as I am running low on fuel (coffee) and the days are getting shorter so I have to get on the road.  I will have to write a lengthier post in the near future to touch on the people we have met, like R.E.O the vet, Alexandra the grad student,  and Andreas from Austria with his optimism cookies and ill-equipped gear.  It will also be worth noting the places we have seen and stayed like Tribune, Kansas (city park with outlets and shower: 10/10 would stay again!), Bairoil, Wyoming and it’s eerie oil fields, Loves Truck Stop in Eads, Colorado and Colter Bay, Grand Teton with their fleeting wifi and $5.00 showers.

The quick update I wanted to share with you all is that we have struggled to keep the live stream, well, alive.  My phone just can’t take the battery draw and loses 1% life every five minutes (yes I tracked it) when playing offline tuneage or using the Garmin app.  Needless to say, it lasts about as long as gooey brownies at a bake sale.  So where does that leave us moving forward you ask?  I am going to charge it up whenever I can and when I know I have shorter rides or full batts I will get it going again.  If I am running low and the battery back I have can’t sustain the constant draw, live track will have to ride the pine that day.  In short, to live stream every day, I need to get my device replaced.  That is the conundrum though.  From what I learned from my numerous stops at various Verizon stores across the west is that phones are unbelievably expensive. (Surprise!)  The laptop that I am writing this post on cost $250.00 plus 4 GB of additional memory for a grand total of $300.00.  If I want a good phone, not even a top of the line one, my monthly payment is $30-$35, or more than double the cost of this laptop!  Ugh. I know I am preaching to the choir and this is such a first world problem but I am realizing how truly dependent I am on my cell.  Just yesterday, for example, I couldn’t think of the name of that book – you know, the one with the guy and the thing?  Well a few Google searches later I could find out that it was Ender’s Game.  Also, every time I need to find out if there is a brewery in the next town, whether or not the black and yellow snakes I’m seeing are poisonous, or where the nearest convenience store with blue and pink freeze pops is, I have that information at my finger tips.  What I am trying to say is that my phone’s battery life isn’t lasting very long and as soon as the Note8 and new IPhone come out and everything else goes on sale, I will be back up and running.  Until then, spotty live tracking moving forward.

 

On a similar note, I think we have many of you wondering about our seemingly ever-changing itinerary.  Although I am regurgitating some things that I have already written, here is what we have learned to prioritize in our evening accommodations (and why our destinations keep switching depending on the availability of these items):

  1. WiFi
  2. Showers
  3. Outlets
  4. Proximity to the next day’s starting point
  5. Safety (for you Mom)

With those things in mind we’ve had to frequently deviate from our planned stops.  We have become reliant on the Warm Showers and City Parks app and many of the cities that we originally picked have neither.  So as I gain more body muscle and decide that 90 miles isn’t “so bad” as long as I have a feedbag full of trail mix and apples, we change the schedule to put us in larger cities that check most of those boxes.  With that in mind, if you plan on joining us for any portion of the trip we really have only deviated by 15-60 miles from the original route.  Most days we are ahead of our first destination by 20 miles or so to give us leeway to find the right city, battle the elements (wind and heat), and take advantage of internet when we have it.

Now that I have started this post I am struggling to stop as there are so many intricacies of the trip that I could expand on!  Nevertheless, I need to get on the road so I am going to smear on my daily 2 lbs of sunscreen – my war paint – and get back to enjoying this Kansas headwind!

Lots of love and safe travels,

Team Mash

 

 

P.S. – This morning Libby had an opportunity to style her hair for the first time in five weeks and is currently dancing around the Tribune, Kansas gazebo singing a song that I believe she just made up called “Wisconsin Princess”. She’s feeling like a million bucks – amazing what a shower and a fancy hairdo can do!

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