Our trip from Milwaukee to Vegas for Christmas was tight and long. We had to arrive by a certain day; with the deadline and weather issues, there was no time go out of our way to sightsee. But we did have to break periodically for diesel or to walk the bark babies. It was on one of those quick stops that we discovered a mini Route 66 at the I-44 Welcome Center at Conway, in Missouri, at Mile Marker 110.
There are picnic shelters with Route 66-related “storefronts,” including a barber shop and a diner. An information area inside the main building near the restrooms and vending machines is staffed to provide tourist information and features more Route 66 memorabilia. With 75 truck parking spaces on each side of I-44, there was plenty of room for our RV with the Jeep behind it.
Although we were only there for a few minutes, it was a fun stop on a no-nonsense trip. It would have a cool place to take goofy period pics in nicer weather if you lived nearby.
When we travel between gigs, we boondock. It maximizes driving time and saves money on campground fees. We usually stay in rest areas, squeezed in-between the 18-wheelers. I always have trouble falling asleep on those nights. Part of it is the rumble of the trucks mixed with smell of exhaust. Part of it is a niggling worry about someone breaking into the motorhome in the dark hours.
But there’s something else. Something I’ve noticed happening after we’ve settled into our next RV park.
Post Traumatic Rest Area Syndrome
I wake up in the night, not sure where I am and feeling the coach swaying, even though there’s no wind… even though the jacks are down… even though we’re in a level, spacious spot with no trucks lined up beside us. In the morning, I’m disoriented and slightly nauseous with an odd urgency thumping in my chest. The feeling that we need to get moving overwhelms me for a moment before I realize where we are and that we don’t have any miles to put behind us.
It’s not as serious, of course, as the P.T.S.D. that plagues soldiers returning from combat. But it’s unpleasant and disconcerting. I suppose I’ll get past my P.T.R.A.S. eventually as I adapt to our new lifestyle. For now, at least I have a name for what I’m feeling.
When they say “see the country” in a motorhome, this might be what they mean.
Long days of driving can be hard on your body in more ways than one. The lack of movement is compounded by the urge to snack the miles away. We try not to keep junk food in the rig, and we focus on treats like unsweetened iced tea or bananas at the truck stops. I’m grateful that we have the bark babies because it means we’re out walking several times a day. If you don’t have dogs, park further away to add to your step count. Even better, turn your rest stop into an effective cardio and strength workout with just a set of stairs.
One a recent break, while Mike was power napping, I went up and down these stairs 20 times, did 10 triceps dips and 10 incline push-ups. I finished it off with a short jog back to the rig, which was at the end of the lot.
Besides those exercises, there’s a lot more you can do with stairs.
- Standing at the bottom of the stairs, bend your knees slightly and swing your arms back.
- As you swing your arms forward, jump up, land on the next step up, and repeat.
Go Up Backwards
- Be very careful doing this one. Make sure your whole foot is on the step before shifting your weight.
- Standing at the bottom of the stairs with your back towards them, step back on to the step and pushing through your heel raise up and bring your other leg up to the next step.
- Standing at the bottom of the stairs, bend forward at the hips, and place your hands on the step. Your weight should be supported on your hands and feet equally.
- Move your opposite hand and foot to the next step, remaining on all fours, and continue up the stairs.
- Start at the bottom of a set of stairs facing towards them, step forward with your right foot, and place it flat onto the first step.
- With a slight lean forward, bring the opposite leg from behind up and to the next step.
The possibilities are endless. So, rather than skipping your end-of-day workout because you’re too tired after hours on the road, build your workout into your rest stops.