Mar 142020

3/14  OKC to Albuquerque  – 543 miles.

To see the entire road trip visit

I’ve spent the better part of a year planning and organizing for this road trip. It was planned to facilitate TANSTAAFL Press’ breakout year. It is hard to see it as anything but an abysmal failure, something that is gnawing at my soul as I drive the seemingly endless miles back home.

As they said in Apollo 13, “You can forget about the flight plan. From this point forward we are improvising an entirely new plan.”

Based on the number of conventions being cancelled, and the fact that I make most of my gross at shows, this year will not be a breakout year but maybe a breakdown year. It will be difficult to keep things moving and I will have to make some cutbacks somewhere as a result. My initial thoughts include: No anthology this year or maybe next. Limited book releases (even if I may create the content for future releases).

But for its failures financially, the great road trip also provided some valuable data. I try to keep these things in mind as its other disappointments peck at my psyche.

  1. Travelling with my “hotel room” strapped to my back is totally viable. This was mere conjecture prior to this trip.
  2. I find my current trailer a bit too limiting, but it is doable. I’d like to upgrade to a point where my kitchen is inside and it has a toilet/shower. The first is more important than the latter. Heating / Cooling are a must as well.
  3. Truck stops are my friend, especially Flying J and Pilot (the cleanest and most consistent services).
  4. Travelling long distances is totally doable (for me this was a huge question mark) as long as I make frequent stops to stretch and break up the fatigue.
  5. SLC is not my demographic (sorry, folks of this region but three failed conventions tell me a great deal)
  6. My RAV4 is just not quite good enough to pull my trailer. Oh, it performs but strains like a toddler trying to pull a loaded wagon up a hill. The gas mileage is also abysmal. If I’m going to do this in the future, a pickup truck (something I said I would never do) will be in my life.
  7. My ability to successfully engage with customers isn’t diminished by the locale (SLC as an exception).
  8. Cooking out of the back of my trailer is difficult at the best of times (see kitchen inside above) for two reasons, weather and lack of time to dedicate to being out there cooking. If it is inside I can do other things while I cook.
  9. Be more prepared for failure cases such as colds or cancellations or both.
  10. Most importantly, that I can enjoy the life on the road (with the exception of not having my wife able to participate). I don’t get quite as much content created on the road because of driving hither and thither to set up my “hotel room” but I can still make it work.

On the whole, I planned well. My successes here way outstripped my failures. I’m pleased with what I accomplished as a proving ground for this type of trip in the future. But I sincerely hope my next trip (whenever that may be) will not be interrupted by another pandemic or similar natural disaster. It literally could be the end of TANSTAAFL Press. The only saving grace of this trip is the money I won gambling in Vegas – not a thing to base your business on.

Next: The Long Voyage Home

 March 14, 2020  Uncategorized  Add comments