So you want to be a dirtbag? On her #lamoremontagnatour Sarah Keyes shares a day-in-the-roadtrip-life...
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Picture this; it’s almost dusk. Without cell service, you are relying on an atlas which shows only some of the web of dirt roads you're navigating. The afternoon is getting late and you’ve overstayed your welcome at the local coffee shop in town. You set out to find a camp spot for the night. By dinner time you’re slightly punchy when you roll the truck onto a flat spot, being sure to soak up the last rays of sunshine. First- crack a beer, then pull a soggy package of hot dogs out of the water in your cooler. If you’re lucky you might have some onion to fry up on your one burner stove. After eating 4 hot dogs and trying to scrape the burned onions out of the only pan you own, you opt for wiping it out with a paper towel, vowing to really wash it the next time.
You haven’t showered in a “few” days. After rinsing your face and hands with water from a jug, you sanitize your fingers with an alcohol prep pad to take out your contacts, being careful not to drop one in the dirt. Brush your teeth but don’t rinse your mouth, sucking the remainder of the toothpaste off your toothbrush. Hopefully you have floss and some mouth rinse, it makes all the difference in feeling like a real person. If you’re feeling really ambitious you might change into a designated sleeping shirt, most of the time you don’t bother.
You walk around your campsite holding your cellphone in the air hoping to get out one goodnight text to your loved one. It might take multiple attempts but the 8th one might will go through.
Crawl into the back of the truck making sure you have some toilet paper for the inevitable 2am pee, a good book or at least one that will put you to sleep, and some chapstick because if you leave it in the cab you’ll definitely want it. This is the time when the coyotes start piping up, alerting their pals of your presence. You won’t admit it to the dog at your side but they make you a little uneasy.
In the morning you try to squeeze your eyelids closed as tight as possible, praying for another hour (at least) of sleep. Afterall, it is only 6am and you have nowhere to be. Soon the sun’s first rays hit the truck and things start heating up- fast. You wiggle one toe and the dog assumes this means you’re warming up for some major recreational activity, pawing at the tailgate. Use that foot to push open the back window, feeling like the hydraulics might win the battle. Next, open the tailgate without falling out.
First- coffee. If you’re like me coffee is a food group. Being dedicated, you’ll hand grind your beans and use a french press. Don’t bother with additives, milk won’t keep and sugar will somehow solidify into a solid brick. Breakfast options include attempting something like pancakes, or scrambled eggs but remember you have one pan and it’s already charred with onion remnants. You settle for instant oatmeal and a banana that’s gone one day too long.
After breakfast, you do some organizing of the living quarters; brushing dirt out of the bed and sniffing clothes to see how many days you can go before finding a laundromat. Reserve one set of clothes that never gets worn in case you need to be professional. A clean shirt does wonders for your self esteem.
Dressed and out of the truck, it’s time to get moving. It’s unlikely you’ll be near a pit toilet but if so- lucky for you. Otherwise, you will need to have a hand shovel to dig a cat hole. Finding the perfect spot can be fun! Bonus points for a makeshift seat and a good view. Hopefully the ground isn’t rock hard and you can dig down the mandatory 6”. Do your business and don’t forget the hand sanitizer. Or go to the nearest gas station for real facilities, most also have donuts.
After packing up camp, assess the days necessities. It’s unlikely you’ll be near a Whole Foods anytime soon. Your diet consists of easily stored dry goods, think graham crackers, pretzels and previously cooked items that don’t spoil easy. Low on food, beer? If you are in Utah better hope it’s not Sunday. How much gas do you have? If the tank is less than half full head for civilization. Water? Always keep at least a few gallons on hand. Most importantly, where are you going running today? National Forest offices are a good place to start for intel. Lastly, how do you feel? If you can answer this question with one of the following you are doing it right; free, alive, fulfilled, happy.
I’m Sarah Keyes and I’m a dirtbag trail runner, part of the year. I’m a third of the way through a two month tour (#lamoremontagnatour) on my way to participating in the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run. While covering thousands of miles in my truck I’m also putting in 70 - 100 mile training weeks. Living the dream.
After just over a month living out of my Toyota Tacoma, here’s my list of absolute essentials.
Top Ten #trucklife Essentials
• Extra Spoons - Where do they all go? I can never find a spoon when I need it.
• Camp Chair - The tailgate is okay, but having a supported backrest is the best.
• Yoga Mat - Not only for yoga, I put mine just outside the tailgate as a doormat
• Extra Pillow - I'm so over camp pillows.
• Fresh Scent Baby Wipes - Girls best friend.
• Peanut Butter + Graham Crackers - Or just peanut butter on a spoon (see #1).
• Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap - Use as dish soap, body wash, shampoo, etc.
• Coffee - Basically a food group.
• Solar Powered Speaker - Jam out like no one is watching, because probably no one is.
• Mocha Pebbles, Co-Pilot - No explanation needed.
Preview Photo, Photo 2 & 3: © Shaun Ondak
Photos 1 & 3: © Sarah Keyes
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
SARAH KEYES is a member of the La Sportiva Mountain Running® Team.
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