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How (NOT) to Travel in the Back Country Issue I

After hearing about another of our great adventures, one of my co-workers mentioned that I should write a travel blog. I was thrilled to hear that someone loved my travel stories. Until she explained that other people should really know NOT to travel like we do. Hmmmm.

After feeling sorry for myself for all of 5 minutes while I pondered the many places we’ve been, and how those trips could have turned out, I decided she was probably right. So here goes - The inaugural issue of the “How NOT to Travel in the Back Country," starting with my top 10 rules of the road…

  1. Never tell anyone where you’re going (even if you actually know).

  2. Never remember to put in a map of where you think you’re going (but this is really just a guideline, because, well, #1 above), besides, you have GPS (see blog listed below regarding Good Idea/Bad Idea/Luck).

  3. When you see a road and don’t know where it goes, take it, even if you hear banjo music somewhere up on the hills around you.

  4. Don’t worry too much about the condition of the road. If there are ruts in it, it means someone else was at least as stupid as you, right?

  5. Don’t backtrack if at all possible, even if that is the only decent road you’ve seen all day.

  6. Notice all the beautiful flora and fauna, but forget you have a camera (or phone) right there to take photos.

  7. Never stop and peruse the National Forest or BLM signs that say “you are here” because, heck, you ALREADY know you’re there (you may just not know where “there” is).

  8. Never bring a phone charger because you’ll probably never have service (I’ve found this applies to cities, too, in case you were wondering).

  9. You don’t need any real food. Just throw in a cooler with ice, chocolate, beer, potato chips (we’ve found if you put those on top of the ice, they last longer), and chocolate (yes, that was intentional) are plenty. If you feel the need to include a bottle of water for the dog, it just means you’re a nice pet owner. Besides, ice is water (especially after a day or so).

  10. If you see a mud puddle, water crossing the road, or snow drift, don’t worry. You have four wheel drive, and that keeps you from EVER getting stuck (my dad taught me that, and it worked out just about as well for him as it does for us).

Our general modus operandi (sounds better than flip of the coin) is usually to just find a road and see where it goes. Sometimes the road fizzles out within a mile or so, and sometimes you travel for 8 or 9 hours and end up at a locked gate. By the way, there should be a law against a locked gate if you can get to it without ignoring any “no trespass” signs. Or it should be legal to break the gate after all that effort, but apparently it’s not (we never have, really). And especially it should be against the law if you can see the “real” road just 10 feet past that locked gate and your only option is to backtrack for another 8 or 9 hours (more likely 10-12 in the dark). But I digress, and also, you do have to have some form of tools to break a locked gate, turns out.

By the way, if you don’t hear from me for, oh, say 30 days, please check to see if I remembered to clean out the fridge before we left. Otherwise, the house is really going to smell when we get back (yes, I’m an optimist!).

Check out my other blogs “Why a Good Idea is better than a Bad Idea” and “Out in the Middle of Nowhere” for other adventures and hints to use when traveling in the back country. And stay tuned for Issue II of my “How NOT to Travel” blog coming soon!

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