Lessons of the Road

While traveling on the road as much as we do, we have developed a routine. We have found what makes the journey as comfortable for us as possible and stick with it. We acquired a pattern that is both convenient, and efficient. We also, learned a lot of what NOT to do while on the road. We want to share some of the lessons and patterns we have acquired in the last two years of traveling far and wide in hopes that you can either learn from our mistakes, or if anything, just have a little laugh at our expense. 

“The Schedule”
This first topic is not necessarily something we've learned, but it was more common sense than anything. Ever since the beginning of Jones & Fischer we have had a schedule!! The first thing most people think of when we mention the words "Band on Tour" is: messy hotel rooms, drunk performers, and always late to shows. Truth is, that never works. In this business, networking is everything. Nobody wants to work with someone who is late and disrespectful of their time, especially if you’re just starting out. That’s why we plan for the worst, and hope for the best. What does that mean? The road is very unpredictable and should never be underestimated. The fact is you never know what could happen whether it be traffic, accidents, detours, weather, gas, etc. One time we went 120 miles in the middle of nowhere at 3:00am in the morning with no gas station in sight. Luckily we made it to our destination with 4 miles left to spare in our gas tank. The point is, even if we did run out of gas, we still had plenty of time to recover and still make it to our show. 

“Gas $$$”
Spending too much money on gas can also be a big issue. I remember the first few times we went out on the road, and the one thing that really stood out to us was how expensive it could get if you’re not careful and more importantly, aware. We all know gas isn't cheap, however, there are places that are cheaper than others. Right now we have about 10 gas stations that we religiously go to while on the road in the west coast. We've learned to fill up the tank at these stations even if we don't need too because the price only goes up ahead. Finding the right gas stations are important in other ways too. The ones we go to have good restrooms, and that my friend you cannot put a price on. Trust us! 

Food also takes a toll on the wallet while on the road, and that is why we stock up at Costco before our trips. That doesn't mean we don't indulge at a few restaurants here and there along the way. With that being said, there are a few places we've encountered that will never be an option again, no matter how hungry we are. All I can say is that after eating at a small town Chinese restaurant, we got off at the next possible freeway exit. On the other hand, we do have our favorite places to eat that we know for fact has good food every time, one of them being Black Bear Diner. 

“Long Drives”
When driving for long hours, fatigue is your worst enemy, and that is why rotating drivers is extremely important. Our rule is that the driver should always have a partner no matter what hour it is. This rule only works though if the passenger stays awake with the driver, be that as it may, some people still fall asleep on the driver. I won't name who it is that does this, but his name starts with Collin. 

“Get Comfortable”
Being comfortable on the road makes the world of difference for a couple of reasons.
  1. It makes for a good performance once we get to our destination.
  2. (I think this is the most important) It keeps moral up which in turn, keeps us from wanting to kill each other.
This has a lot to do with the kind of rig your traveling with. For us it’s the 170” Mercedes Sprinter. At first we hauled all of our equipment in the back of that van, which left three passenger benches to lay out on, and the two captain’s seats in the front for the driver and passenger. That set up was "OK" considering we had space to lay out if we needed to, but all of our equipment barley fit, and the load in and load out really took a beating on our bodies. The bench seats were not meant for sleeping on, so we got a trailer for all our equipment, and then we were able to take out the third row bench seat and put an air mattress in the back. This allowed for better sleep on the road which provided safer driving rotations. 

Lastly, there are a few knickknacks that make the ride more reasonable like having a phone charger for everyone’s phone so there’s no sharing. Also, have a power converter to accommodate all the phone chargers. Blankets and pillows make a big difference. And last but not least, shower sandals. Sometimes getting a hotel is not logistically feasible, but a shower is. That’s why it's always a good idea to prepare for the truck stop. Stay clean, Stay fresh, and Stay safe! 

- Jones & Fischer

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