I had lunch yesterday with Ann and Gerry at The Mountain Brauhaus. They are friends I made last summer while house-sitting nearby and caring for Fuzzy, the neighbor’s cat.
Gerry and Ann are originally from Texas, so I thought they would have important information for me, to help fill in my, “Places I’d Like to Go” spreadsheet. I am trying to locate the must-see things in each state, pitfalls I can avoid with a little insider knowledge, and planning my route to avoid what I am calling, the “No-go weather.” Like oh, say, tornado season, the you need tire chains season, totally impassable snow and ice, and extremely hot weather. I know that the best laid plans won’t avoid all chaos and adventure, nor do I want them to. But clearly, I do not want to become some kind of RV Storm Chaser-(or whatever is the opposite of that).
Ann told me, that since it can easily be 105 degrees in summer, I would need to carry “an awning,” to keep the sun off the RV if I’m camping in Texas. Some-how I can’t imagine finding one big enough. But, we thought maybe I could sleep in a tent, under an awning. That was until Gerry told me to watch out for a variety of poisonous snakes, Black Widows, and some kind of brown spiders, and scorpions. Tent camping? Yeah, no. Not so much.
I hate trying to sleep in the hot weather, so will be seriously avoiding Texas in July, August, and September, and I will be wearing long pants and boots when I do pass through there.
On a more fortuitous note, they have a friend from Texas who lives right on their road up here, who summers in Nova Scotia every year. I didn’t have a contact person for that portion of my trip. We will set up a meeting before the spring of the year when the friend migrates north, so I can gather more information about Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island—the things the locals know about a place, that the tourists drive right by.
And speaking of driving by, the spreadsheet Alyssa and I made is proving to be a very useful tool for getting organized enough to begin mapping-out possible routes. It is my answer to the “Traveling Salesman Problem” (TSP).
Here’s an excerpt from an article in Wired magazine.
The traveling salesman problem asks: Given a collection of cities connected by highways, what is the shortest route that visits every city and returns to the starting place? The answer has practical applications to processes such as drilling holes in circuit boards, scheduling tasks on a computer and ordering features of a genome.
The traveling salesman problem is easy to state, and — in theory at least — it can be easily solved by checking every round-trip route to find the shortest one. The trouble with this brute force approach is that as the number of cities grows, the corresponding number of round-trips to check quickly outstrips the capabilities of the fastest computers. With 10 cities, there are more than 300,000 different round-trips. With 15 cities, the number of possibilities balloons to more than 87 billion.
Yikes! Ok, so I really do not expect to have everything planned out to the most efficient routes between points A, B, and C, but I also do not have a magical free-fuel-card to push into the many gas pumps I will be visiting. At 10 or 12 miles-per-gallon, I may need to pass some destinations by because of my budget.