We’re in Oregon now, and it’s lovely. Also? Still not much to report. Our first planned “roadside attraction” stop of the day is still a few miles down the road.
We don’t shut off the van unless it’s absolutely necessary, since that would mean Jordan would lose power to his computer system; essentially, that means we turn it off when we gas up first thing in the morning and when we park for the night. But you have no idea how difficult it is to remember NOT to turn off the vehicle. It’s second nature: you pull to a stop, you put your car in park, and you switch off the ignition. Shane and I therefore spend an inordinate amount of time reminding each other to leave the van running. We’re proud to say we’ve accidentally shut it off without thinking only once.
Having to leave the van running even when we’re not in it presents its own challenges. We’ve eaten all our meals during travel time in the vehicle except for lunch on an outdoor patio with a view of the van in Rawlins, Wyoming, because we’re just not comfortable leaving it running for more than a few minutes if we can’t see it. Our bathroom/stretch breaks are usually no more than five or six minutes. I think the longest we left the van running and unattended was during a 15-minute visit to a Best Buy to replace a digital camera cable we lost along the way.
We do have a little more freedom once we park for the night. Before we can shut off the van we have to switch everything over from running off the car battery (and through an inverter) to running through extension cords into regular outlets because there’s confusion with Jordan’s battery packs and the inverter; thus, we aren’t able to leave the van off without the potential for losing power. This whole process probably looks pretty hilarious to anyone who’s watching from the outside. I’m 4’11″ and can actually stand straight up in the van, so a lot of my job involves climbing over seats and wedging myself between the crate and the sides of the van. (Also, I’m 37 and therefore way too old to be doing this shit.) Shane, on the other hand, is 6’3″. Unfortunately, he’s the one who actually knows how to hook up everything, so he’s put in odd positions, too. I’m sure we look like a modern day Laurel and Hardy.
The hardest part of the trip so far has been finding appropriate lodging when we’re not staying with friends. Because we have to be able to plug into an outlet, we have to stay in motels with exterior entrances. And, of course, I have to explain to the desk clerk that we’ll be plugging stuff in and offer to pay for the extra electricity usage. (That’s how we end up staying at places like the Cabana Inn.)
That’s been a challenge, too, because I don’t want to flat-out lie about why we’re plugging in stuff, but I don’t want to give the motel staff any reason to be suspicious. I’ve thus learned to be appropriately evasive. Essentially, I say that we’re transporting items for an art exhibit from Arkansas to Oregon, explaining that the cargo is temperature-sensitive and therefore needs an extra power supply to prevent major fluctuations. Surprisingly, no one has demanded more of an explanation.
Our other major concern is that leaving the van running (but locked) when we’re taking a bathroom break (or with the cords running out of it into an outlet at night) while a huge, hard-to-miss museum crate is in the back might be a little too enticing to people who aren’t on the up-and-up. Shane and I are on pins and needles the whole time we’re not in the van, the idea that someone could break in and make off with the van always in the back of our minds. We drive as carefully as possible, but anyone who stole the van wouldn’t know about the exact nature of the, um, “precious cargo” in the back. So not only is there the potential for Jordan to be, well, stolen, but there’s also the chance he could be severely injured. The only upside is that any bastard who did that would be charged with grand theft auto as well as, we assume, kidnapping.
Then again, who knows in what kind of trouble Shane and I might find ourselves if we reported that someone stole a van in which we had locked a guy in a box and driven him across the country?
Daily Stats (July 5)
In Crate: 106 hours
In Game: 73 hours
Food Consumed: 16 protein bars
Water Consumption: 1/2 of total supply of 4 gallons
Hours of Exercise: 4 hours
Hours of Sleep: 24 hours
Computer Parts Lost: 1 fan blade
In addition, Shane and I have clocked 2075.1 miles of travel total.