How I ride

A lot of these rules have been getting bent as I race towards interviews, but here’s my platonic ideal of travel.

  • Greet every animal.
    • They at least get a “Hi, deer!” Sometimes I go full on Marky Mark Talks to Animals on them. “Hey, bear! How’s it going? Your fur’s looking great today. Say hi to your mother for me, okay?”


  • Stop every time.
    • If something gives me joy, I stop. Even if I’m speeding along at seventy, and I have to flip around (safely of course) and retrace my path, I do it. Even if what gave me joy was a big tower.
  • Never travel the same road twice.
    • With an exception for the bullet above.
  • Never take the interstate.
    • Because it’s basically the same road, over and over and over and over, all across America.
  • Take every picture.
    • Okay, not every picture. But there are a few things that I have to take a picture of practically every time. You’ll never see most of these photos — they’re boring as hell — but man does it make me happy to take them. Someday I’m going to get all of these in one photo, and my head will just explode.
      • Water — lakes, ponds, rivers, waterfalls, especially when they catch the light just right…
      • Fields of wheat with perfect undulating proportions
      • Funny mailboxes
      • Trains
      • Rainbows
      • Ruins, esp. ruined churches
      • Cemeteries
      • A good looking road


  • Eat all the food.
    • Anything regional (Huckleberry ice cream sandwiches are heaven)
    • Dashboard-warmed cookies
    • Skittles to keep me awake
    • why has no one told me about Pepsi Fire
    • To combat all the above, a breakfast of Spicy Hot V8, celery, & Wisconsin cheese sticks
  • Check the oil every day.
    • Yeah, this is what I SHOULD do. Mountain crossings take a heavy toll…
  • Get lost.
    • Chuck the GPS, at least once in a while. It makes you more aware of your surroundings.
  • Travel mostly in silence.
    • I drive to think. That’s literally where I go, and it’s one of the few places where my habits still tend towards silence. So I maintain it, when I can.
      • That said, you can only think for so long. So another rule: when blasting Dixie Chicks (or really anything), sing at the top of your lungs.
      • And save podcasts for when you just can’t deal with travel anymore, and you’re on the interstate, and you just need to get to your next break.
  • Fiddle with your setup constantly.
    • My curtains have evolved literally every night. We’re pretty good now; I’ll probably still change something tonight.
  • Throw all the rules out the window when they start to feel like rules.



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