7 Things You Learn on a Long-Term Road Trip (LTRT)

As much as you think physically training for hikes is important, it’s not. Your most valuable asset is your mind. Fine tune that like it’s your job. So, to help you better prepare for your own trip, here are a few things to note if you want to be mentally prepared for a sweet adventure.

 

You Need a Killer Playlist

You think you have enough music to keep you jamming for miles after miles? You’re probably wrong. The playlist will repeat itself, and you will be stuck skipping every song since you’ve long grown tired of them. Pull together absolutely everything for this playlist. Those songs you only have as novelties, the songs you love to hate (eh hem, let’s be honest, Justin Bieber’s whole new-ish album) and the oldies you can’t help but sway with. Pro tip: don’t fear singing along because that is definitely what will keep you awake at the wheel on hour 12.

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Eat, Walk, Sleep: A Gear Review

Check out thoughts on a Big Agnes tent, Osprey pack, JetBoil Basecamp stove and Brooks trail running shoes.

Big Agnes Happy Hooligan UL2

Recommended

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I’ve grown up with dew on my face every single morning in the backcountry, but the BA Happy Hooligan gave me the gift of a dry face. Not that it made me any less smelly, but this tent made sure to keep the elements from ruining a good night’s sleep. We had it in snow, the desert and torrential downpours. We were protected with such a lightweight tent, it was amazing.

Quick overview:

  • Two vestibules (one on each side)
  • Pockets above your face while you’re sleeping
  • Fly vent with a small pole to keep it open during windy nights
  • Velcro tabs to synch fly to poles
  • Silicone treated nylon rip stop material
  • 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating

More details: The vestibules give both people ample area to protect their packs and footwear. Also, the tent without the fly is mostly mesh. Evan and I set up the naked tent in Death Valley and star gazed all night long.

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Meteorites and Mountains

Note from Cat: I’m a little behind on posts since the post trip relaxation has truly kicked in. Evan will claim it’s because I hate him that these posts are late, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Authored by Not Wanderlust’s head geologist: Evan Dismukes 

Quick Vocabulary:

Laccolith: when a pluton is created and makes the overlaying rock bulge upward
The remainder of our sojourn through Canada was spent visiting cities so this post is going to be short and sweet. It does involve engaging topics such as meteors, mountains and magma.

We entered Sudbury. I’m not sure if the depressed vibe was a result of the rain or because the Timmy Ho’s we stopped at for breakfast was entirely comprised of homeless people. Either way, it had the classic post-economic collapse of blue collar towns, an environment we are familiar with being from Pittsburgh. Despite all of this, Sudbury is the “Nickel Capital of the World.” The city is in the middle of a giant crater that was created by an asteroid impact about 2 billion years ago. It is the second largest confirmed meteor impact on earth. For comparison, the third biggest impact is the one in Mexico that killed off the dinosaurs. The rocks in this area are mostly gneiss and fragmented granite. The gneiss was granite from the Canadian Shield that metamorphosed into gneiss as a result of the asteroid impact. The fractured granite are the pieces of the Canadian Shield that were broken up and thrown into the sky as a result of the meteor impact. With the Canadian Shield’s rich minerals and the meteor materials, Sudbury was primed to be a booming mining town. It’s title of “Nickel Capital of the World” after the Big Nickel Company was founded in the area and became the largest producer of nickel in the world. Regardless how it seems, Big Nickel is actually the name of the company and not just what conspiracy theorists call the nickel industry in the town.

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Fin (Big Trip Days 45-56)

This is the “I had a case of the home-stretch lazies and didn’t write posts” post. So, here’s the truncated version of the last leg of our Big Trip. The gear review post will be coming soon, so stay updated if you’re interested in how things like our stove, tent and shoes worked out.

Day 43 and 44:

We popped into a family friend’s house in the ‘burbs of Toronto after I accidentally turned on the car alarm in the middle of the Canadian highway (you can’t win them all). From that base point, we took the train into the city for a day to catch the Hockey Hall of Fame and traipse around the lake shore. On our last evening in the ‘burbs, we got crafty and painted commemorative mugs (see below for the exclusive designs).

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