We get asked a lot of questions as we meet people on the road. One of the most common is about the binoculars we use for birding. They are big, heavy, blue binoculars we bought years ago at West Marine when we went sailing with friends.
They’re good for distance. After all, they’re made to scan the horizon to avoid dangerous rocks, spot islands or otherwise avoid disaster/enhance the pleasure of being at sea.
Best of all, they have a compass inset across the bottom of the viewfinder. So when Georges spots a cool bird, he just tells me the compass number and I can quickly zero in on the bird, too, without the customary just-to-the-right-of-that-treetop-no-not-that-one confusion.
They’re less flexible for close-up birding. And I’m not sure I want to go on a long hike with that much weight around my neck. But we didn’t want to collect binoculars for different avocations like we already collect bicycles for different kinds of cycling. These binocs work for us.
Besides, they’re great conversation starters – even if I suspect more-sophisticated birders internally roll their eyes at our insouciance.
Another common question we get once people learn about our perimeter trek is: How do you pack for a whole year?
Actually, G and I have different answers to that question.
Here’s G’s answer:
Here’s my answer:
G packed seven t-shirts, a sweater, two pairs of pants, two pairs of shorts and one suit and tie. (Yes, just in case.) Three pairs of shoes and boots. He didn’t use all of his allotted space.
Me? I got my first-pass nine pairs of shoes all the way down to five (not including flip-flops and slippers, which aren’t really shoes.) I packed a few more shirts, sweaters, pants than he did. One dress (just in case). I used my designated oven-sized space, plus the unused portion of G’s – and finagled an extra box for clothes into the back of the Xterra.
So far, so good. I wonder what my stash will feel like in, say, August when we’re somewhere along the Manitoba-Minnesota border….
Far and away my favorite question so far, however, came at a photo shoot at White Rock Lake three days before lift off. As the photographer was setting up, a couple pedaled up on their bikes and asked: “Are you the perimeter people?”
The “perimeter people?” Why yes, I said. If you’re referring to our “Postcards from the Perimeter: A Year on the Edges of America” planned road trip, then that would be us. Did you read about it in The Dallas Morning News?
Yes and we want to do something similar in a couple of years, she confided – but probably in an Airstream. Their names were Sheryl and Kurt. We enjoyed giving them a quick tour of our home-on-wheels.
Before the photographer could shoot a single frame, another couple came by with similar curiosity – she avidly interested; he, tall and lanky, politely so. They admired the exterior of the Casita. We offered them an inside view, too, preening like proud parents.
Sheryl and Kurt have stayed in touch via this website. And judging from the hundreds of emails we’ve received since first revealing our plans in the newspaper last summer, it seems many people aspire to simple living and the adventures that come from seeing the country from the windshield of a car, trailer or RV.
Until they launch, we’re happy to be their “perimeter people,” providing postcard posts from the edges of America – with our heavy big blue binoculars.