Crosswinds: Road Tripping

Fall road trips begin as a glimmer of hope in the author's mind


I’m thinking good thoughts these days. Happy thoughts. It’s not always easy, but I’m laser-focused on every silver lining I can find.

Here’s what I mean: Just a while ago it occurred to me that I haven’t made a single airline reservation for the upcoming waterfowl season. Not a hotel reservation, not a car rental. I don’t have a single lodge locked up for a single hunt. Not one. Typically, by this time of year, I have at least a couple big ducking trips on the books, and a few more cooking. Instead, my Expedia account is as empty as a football stadium.

But none of this means that I’ve given up on long-distance waterfowling, and here’s why: I just returned from a three-day-road trip for trout fishing during which I social-distanced from practically every living creature other than big river rainbows and wild small-stream browns. My buddy and I drove separate trucks and packed separate tents, but shared campfires, trout streams, and beers across two tailgates. And we had a blast. And now I am absolutely obsessing over how I’m going to dial up my camping road trip game this duck season.

I’m poring over maps for ideas that will loop me through great ducking spots. I’m keeping a running list of road-trip worthy gear that far outpaces any Christmas list I kept as a kid. Should I pack a small generator to power a vacuum packer? Can I get by with a truck-bed air mattress or should I spring for one of those fancy tents that perch atop the shell?

I’m already stoked about nights under the stars and camp coffee on a frosty morning. I haven’t yet figured out how to factor in a three-hour après-hunt nap on a comfy leather sofa into the plan, but I’m working on it.

That’s going to be my jam: A truck, a tent, a dog, and the open road. Adapt. Embrace. Get after it. Regardless of why we feel the need to shake things up, there’s something exciting about a new approach.

So, who’s with me? Have truck, will travel. And hunt. For duck hunters, sleeping in is not an option.