Hello from central Georgia! We’re about an hour out from our stop for the evening just outside of Savannah. Greg took over driving for me a few minutes ago and I’m taking my first break since about 8pm last night. The last 36 hours have been a very interesting mix of uneventful and way too eventful. Here’s what I’ve learned in less than two full days on the road so far:
- Gas is expensive when you’re only getting 10 miles to the gallon. (Cheaper than a hotel by a million bucks, though).
- Ohio has the worst potholes I’ve ever come across. I recommend just avoiding the nightmare that is Ohio roads altogether if you’re traveling soon. I was so sure we were gonna pop a tire on one of the craters in those highways. Thankfully we escaped unscathed.
- Kentucky and Tennessee are like 85% mountains. Real nice to look at, but not good for our MPG or general anxiety level – going up and down hills and around corners in an eight thousand pound vehicle is a little unnerving.
- Sleeping at a truck stop is not nearly as terrible as you might think. We stopped just outside of Knoxville last night at a Flying J. It was literally as easy as just pulling in and parking in the back of the lot for 8 hours. Aside from some intermittent truck noise, it was pretty nice, albeit very cold inside the van even with our heater on (it was about 20 degrees last night). Plus it was free! We’re en route to another one tonight where it’ll thankfully be much warmer.
- Speaking of truck stops, here’s a sentence I never thought I’d say: the truck stop showers I saw today were really nice. Seriously. I expected a high school locker room type affair, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You basically get an entire private bathroom to yourself. The ones I saw were nicer than the majority of hotel bathrooms I’ve seen, unbelievably. Will report on this further if/when we ever use this particular type of shower.
- Atlanta traffic is NO JOKE. We drove through at about 1pm today and I’ve never seen so many people with absolutely no fear of death. People flying across three lanes of traffic with no turning signal, people weaving in and out between tractor trailers, people pulling out in front of me and slamming on the brakes when we were going 50mph (again, eight thousand pounds of van, we don’t stop on a dime..). Would not recommend. When we head back that way at the end of the month, I’m making Greg drive.
Two days in, we find the van easy to drive on the highway, and very difficult to drive anywhere else (for now). Case in point, we can look to the small scene we caused about a half an hour ago. We were running low on gas and missed the exit with a gas station right off the highway. We ended up in the outskirts of Macon way too far off our route with no choice but to stop. As soon as we pulled into the next open gas station it became apparent we had made a terrible mistake – the parking lot was WAY too small, and we immediately clipped one of the pylons at the back of the pump. We did manage to get the gas itself without issue, but it took us about 20 minutes to maneuver our way out of the parking lot, scraping up the van against the pillar and attached cardboard sign all the way. 😦 One gentleman in particular stood behind us the entire time and got a real kick out of our naïveté. In the end, the van has a fancy new battle scar down the drivers side and about a dozen Georgia residents watched us make idiots of ourselves. Lesson learned quickly and thoroughly – that’s the last time we underestimate the size of the van.
All of that being said, things have been going pretty well after over a thousand miles of driving. If we have fewer experiences like the one we had in Macon (read as: if we make fewer dumb mistakes) and more experiences like the unexpectedly pleasant truck stop in Knoxville, the next six months should be great. But I’m sure we’ll have plenty more of both before we’re done.
Our first gig is tomorrow! It also marks the end of full days of driving for a while, hallelujah. We’ll be taking the van into downtown Savannah for our gig at the Foxy Loxy and hopefully hanging out in town beforehand – I’ve heard so many great things about this city and I’m excited to finally get there. Here’s to hoping that the drive is easy, that people show up, and most importantly: that they like the music!