Firstly, we should introduce the Omimobile in all her wonder and glory. She's a 2005 Honda CRV in a lovely shade of silver that hails from the great state of Pennsylvania.
She is named after Sam's grandma, Theresa "Omi" Herbig, who also happens to be the owner of the car. Omi is a relaxed and fun-loving lady who splits her time between a house on Lake Wallenpaupack with her equally relaxed and fun-loving boyfriend, Jerry, and an apartment in Tübingen, Germany, where Sam grew up.
Because we lived in New York up until recently, we didn't really need a car to accomplish most of the things we needed to in our daily lives. Of course we missed having a way to get around on our own when visiting Virginia or going on various trips and oftentimes Omi or Mom-mom would offer their cars up during those times if they weren't using them.
Months ago when we were still planning the trip we thought we might buy an affordable used car and try to sell it again before moving to Germany, or that we would find a good deal on a long-term rental. Around the same time Omi decided that she was going to visit Germany in the spring of 2014 rather than over Christmas as she has in the past. She knew about the roadtrip and offered her car for us to use. Yes, she is beyond generous like this pretty much all the time. Thank you so much, Omi! We promise we are taking great care of the car.
So now that we had an excellent roadtrip vehicle, we did our best to make her road-worthy. We got her inspection done in Pennsylvania in mid-March and took it to a AAA shop in Virginia to get a few fluids replaced since the car is at 82,000 miles. We wanted to put the best wheel forward, if you will.
The next challenge was fitting all of our stuff into the car while still having room for two people in the back seat because there will be times on the road when we'll be traveling with extra people. Some had suggested getting a small trailer or a car-top carrier but we wanted to try our best to keep everything in the car most of the time to save on gas and make it easier to park in busy cities.
We wanted to have a storage system in our trunk that would allow us to easily access our clothes as well as our camp kitchen items through the back door and would put our tent, cots, sleeping gear, and art supplies in behind them so they can be pulled out from the back seat by reaching behind the seat or folding the seats down. We had storage drawers that we had earmarked for the kitchen and still needed clothing storage. After looking around at various options we found stacking shelves at The Container Store that would fit the back seat dimensions almost perfectly. Sam, being the resourceful guy he is, found a way to take the shelves from an almost perfect fit to a completely perfect fit.
We even worked it out so that we can see a few inches out of the rear window! Of course we had a few other miscellaneous things that we keep in the back seats most of the time but can be smooshed into the trunk space when we have extra passengers. All in all, we're feeling pretty confident that this system is going to help us keep track of everything when we're going around from place to place.
The last step was the rear wheel decal. We wanted to be able to get the word out about our trip as well as our work/abilities so we decided to get a giant all-weather sticker printed up to put on our spare tire. We priced it out with a few different printers (along with another design job that should be appearing on the website in a few months) and found that Color Service Printing & Graphics had the illusive Designer's Trifecta: Cheap, Fast, and Good. Everything is relative, but their pricing was the best, the turn-around took two days, and the quality is excellent. The people there were also really accommodating and guided us really well on projects using two materials we had never printed with before. We were really pleased with how it turned out. Our first day on the road was too rainy and the second too busy to adhere the sticker to the tire cover, so we were finally able to do it with ease today at Lake James State Park.
So that's about it for the "Pimp My Ride: Roadtrip Edition" . It wound up being a relatively dry post, but maybe it will help guide others who are trying to plan something similar. If you have any questions about the pack or logistics, let us know!