Oh hi, it’s been a minute. I have been the opposite of lazy but that’s no excuse because I am a BLOGGER and bloggers must BLOG.

I’m in full summer tour planning mode for Susan. We are headed up to Montana in July and August because it is going to be so unbearably hot anywhere South of Wyoming, in my guesstimation. I’m glad Susan figured out early that North is the place to go. We will be hitting up some of our usual places in Colorado and Wyoming and Montana, but also heading east to Washington and Oregon. This is great but I am having an issue called The Rocky Mountains.

Rearview Mountain

They’re gorgeous and big and you can’t really go THROUGH them, you must go around them. This makes sensical routing harder. But I will do it. We have to get from Portland, OR to Alamosa, CO in one week. It will happen.

Susan and Gary

Susan and her Amarillo Band played Homer’s Backyard Ball this weekend, which is a big deal up in the Panhandle whereupon folks like Jack Ingram and The Tejas Brothers and SUSANG! rock out in the Amarillo dust. The weather was perfect but man, was it dusty. I found a thin layer of it on my sunglasses in Austin later in the week…that’s well traveled sticky dust.

I like it when there’s another band I know on the bill for these festival things, and the Tejas Brothers are some of my favorite people ever. They are just NICE, number one, and great musicians, and fabulous entertainers. Check them out.

John Garza

Susan rocked it and her band was great…and Gary was even handed a Longhorn guitar to play. I know not who made this or even why…but it looked crazy. I would probably miss notes on it due to it’s weird shape.

Gary Thomason

It took about 3 days for me to regain the moisture in my body that the Panhandle sucked out of me, but I am sufficiently reconstituted.

It’s obvious, but we all say it and then it’s really hard to do. Of course, you’re packing light for the consideration of the other people on the tour who need room for their stuff, and there’s also the fact that usually you travel with a lot of gear and that stuff takes up space.

Then there’s the sheer practicality of…who wants to carry that much stuff all the time? Every time you want to unload the gear, you’ll have to unload your personal bags and then load them back in the vehicle. Then when you need to put the gear back IN, you’ll want to unload and load your personal bags again so they are up front and handy. This is a crazy amount of moving stuff around.

Many times, unless you travel with 3 vicious canines like we do, you will also want to carry your electronic gear into venues and such with you so it doesn’t get ripped off. This means, pack even lighter. Here’s a math equation:

The weight of your crap is compounded 2.5 times per day spent on the road.

——- MATH TIME! ———-

W2 = 2.5^2 W
with W0 being your starting weight and W 1 being the weight at the end of day 1 and W 2 being the end of day 2
SW = Starting Weight
CW = Current Weight

CW = SW X 2.5^day

——- END MATH TIME! ———-

(Math Time was brought to you by my friend Stephanie, because I could never figure that kind of thing out. Thanks, Stephanie!)

If you leave the house with 12 pounds of luggage for a 14 day tour, you will be lugging around 4,470,348.36 pounds of sheer dead weight by tour’s end. This is not accounting for you acquiring anything new…this is just the strange mathematical force of your existing possessions actually getting heavier as they sit in a moving vehicle.

The general rule of thumb is…if you forget it, you can buy it. If you think you might need it but you’re not sure, leave it at home and if you miss it you can buy it. Caveat: this does not include things like portable electronic devices and their chargers. Chargers are expensive, don’t forget them.

The less is more principle also means you stand a lower chance of losing your stuff. The more stuff you have in a hotel room, the more you will spread it around and the more likely you will leave something. (See caveat about chargers. Do I sound like I’m speaking from experience?) Anyway, it’s way easier to eyeball your bags and make sure everything looks like it’s there if there’s not 459 items stuffed in them.

My favorite road bag is a Timbuk2 messenger bag. I drug one around for about 3 years before it got a tiny hole in the bottom from being scraped along the floor/street one too many times (see above paragraph about packing too much and then consider the fact that sometimes I ignore my own advice). I promptly replaced it with another. Also, they look cool. Spend some time at REI or something and find a high quality travel bag, ideally one that can mush up against other stuff. Reinforced steel framed luggage is good for flying, but not so much for shoving in a trailer.

Booking Hat

Or you can just wear a tall hat and shove your stuff in it.

These simple tips and equations will help you have a breezy and successful tour, as well as save you from a lifetime of spinal issues.

On April 19th, about halfway through our 2 week tour, Susan and I decided not to speak to each other for a full day and only Facebook or Tweet at each other. I edited together some of the highlights, so that you can see how mundane life on the road actually is sometimes. It was fun, but so much better when you can actually speak to the person you’re sitting next to instead of @susannng’ing them!