The Hitch
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Join Dan and Janice as they talk travel, dream big, and plot their next adventure in their 27' Airstream trailer, Evangeline. Back from 60 days on the road this summer with their 13-year-old, 3-year-old, and dog, they are ready to answer your questions, plan the next trip, and navigate through life's challenges. Traveling doesn't end when the trip does. It's a never-ending quest for freedom and fun. Listen weekly and come along for the ride!

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    The Handmade Teardrop Trailer (part one)

    Janice and Dan have stored Evangeline for the winter, so they thought they'd do something new: Talk to someone else about their love of trailers and camping!

    Today (and next week) they talk with Matt Berger, the author of the incredible new book (OUT THIS WEEK) The Handmade Teardrop Trailer.

    You read that right: Matt made his own trailer. What?? Exactly.

    Janice and Dan had so many questions that they broke the interview into two parts. This week they talk about his love of making and of camping, why he started started this project, and what he learned about teardrops as he researched the history of them.

    Matt's book is November 15 and is both super interesting and super beautiful. Pick it up!

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    Choosing a Campground

    Are you thinking about hitting the road, but aren't sure how to find a campground that's right for you?

    This week Janice and Dan answer questions about what to look for in a campground, the different types, and how to make the decision that's going to make the best camping experience possible for you and your family. Plus, they talk about some of their favorite spots both on big trips and small.

    From National Parks to Jellystone Park, join Janice and Dan for a look at what's out there and why it's right for you.

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    Anxious Driving

    Janice and Dan answer YOUR questions about anxious driving. They share their best tips for reducing anxiety while on the road, as well as strategies for motivating to take those drives in spite of fear and doubt!

    Buckle up, check your rearview, side mirrors, and backup camera, and let's do this!

    Thanks so much to our listeners who have written in. We love to hear from you!

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    The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway

    Come along, with Dan, Janice, and family as they take Evangeline out for one last camping trip of the season!

    Told over the course of four days in Madison, Wisconsin, where the weather is literally freezing and there is a football game they didn't know about that brings a lot of cold weather campers to their campground. Wander the blustery streets of Madison with them, looking for adventure, and then retreat back to Evangeline, where thankfully, the heater is cranking.

    Will it snow? Will pipes freeze? Will Janice remember how to tow? Hop on in and find out.

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    Getting Your Rig (part two)

    Have you ever wondered what the differences are between Class A, Class B, and Class C RVs?

    Are you having trouble deciding where to start looking for a new trailer or motorhome?

    Have you considered going to an RV show for fun? No, really.

    In this episode of The Hitch, Janice and Dan discuss all of these things, as well as some of their favorite trailers and motorhomes they have run across while looking. Remember, it's always free and fun to look and it's never too early to start! So grab your notebook and let's go!

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    Getting Your Rig (part one)

    How did Dan and Janice get their trailer--what was their decision making process like and how did it all go? And, more importantly, how can YOU get your rig together so you can hit the road?

    On this episode of The Hitch, Dan and Janice answer YOUR questions about their setup and how to get started making a trailer & tow vehicle purchase.

    Looking for (and buying) a trailer is a big task so today's episode is the first of a two-parter! Tune in next week to hear more about trailer types, things they've looked at before, and other ways of getting on the road too.

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    Traveling With Kids

    Janice and Dan are so excited because people wrote to them and they have questions to answer!

    In this episode, they answer questions about traveling with kids: When should you leave? What should you bring? How do you handle the screaming? What about privacy?

    Listen and find out what they think are the best tips for surviving and thriving with kids on the road.

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    Refueled

    They're back! Join Janice and Dan back inside Evangeline. No, they're not back on the road, just dropping off some bedding after a month away from the trailer but they're here to catch you up on how they've been and also to give you BIG NEWS on the future of The Hitch! Because after a month away, they're ready to hitch back up.

    That's right: Janice and Dan may be off the road (for now), but they're back to give thoughts, stories, and advice to get YOU moving on your own adventures.

    So get in contact with your questions about road tripping, about advice for embarking on adventures, and for thoughts on how to pick up the pieces after life's challenges have gotten the best of you!

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    Day 61: Unhitched

    They’re home. Sad and exhausted and recorded in the basement of their home (which feels huge) Janice and Dan look back at the last day and ahead at what’s next.

    It’s been an amazing sixty-one days full of struggle and triumph and errands and just life. Thank you for joining Janice and Dan in the trailer, and keep following to find out what’s next.

    It’s goodbye, but only just for now.

    Because, as they say in this episode: the best parts of their life are lived on the road, so it won’t be long until they’re back out again.

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    Day 60: One More Night

    This is it, the last night in the trailer. Tonight Janice and Dan are joined in the trailer by their 13-year-old who looks back on the last eight weeks with them.

    It’s a bittersweet goodbye punctuated by teenage humor, but there’s a lot to reflect on. There are the places seen, the people met, and the many, many lessons learned on life in a trailer.

    So it's the end of the road. Tomorrow’s the drive home and then Evangeline gets put in storage—until the next road trip. Say your goodbyes.

    Sob

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    Day 59: Live from the Mall of America

    With time running out, the crew makes a day of it at the mall! But not just any mall—join Janice and Dan under a roller coaster at the Mall of America, the largest, most overwhelming, mall you will ever know.

    Surrounded by all this excess, they start to think about how just last week they were in the middle of nowhere, where thrills were the stars at night and the stores were so small they didn’t have some basics. But now here they are!

    The three year old even gets in on the podcast today, joining in to talk about his favorite ride at the mall. Get an all-you-can-ride wristband and listen to The Hitch!

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    Day 58: The Days are Literally Numbered

    They’re back in Minneapolis and time is looping back on itself for Dan and Janice and family, as the time spent here two months ago feels closer than time spent in South Dakota last week. Time is a flat circle.

    But as their time in the trailer winds down, they start to think about how different things will be back at home, starting with the 13-year-old not being around all the time. He’s not around tonight either, now on his second sleepover in as many days.

    They know the time they’ve spent together is great, but also, that it’s now fleeting. Grab on to these last few days with Dan and Janice and don’t let go. Week eight--the very last week of this trip--begins here.

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    Day 57: How Far We’ve Come

    It’s almost done now. After a drive from Sioux Falls to Southwest Minneapolis, Janice and Dan pull into the last campground of the trip.

    Following the same route back as they did out allows them some perspective on just how much they’ve grown over this time. They’re no longer afraid to tow, able to make time and get gas and do all the things involved in pulling a trailer across America.

    Pulling into Minneapolis also gives them an opportunity to stock up on some things they’ve been unable to get in the smaller towns they’ve been frequently. But the land of plenty that is Minneapolis also makes them wistful for the simplicity of the places they’ve just left.

    It’s a mixed bag of emotions, hoist it into the trailer with Janice and Dan.

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    Day 56: Full Circle

    Dan and Janice return to the same campsite in Sioux Falls they were in seven weeks ago. And the contrast is striking: They know what they’re doing.

    Well, mostly.

    Janice does blow a fuse when cooking mac & cheese, but they just roll with it.

    And that’s how they deal with a lot of it now: They know enough to know that some things are no big deal and they don’t have to live in fear of all of it.

    Of course, there’s still the weather to fear, and rain in the future causes another change in their itinerary. Travel is about flexibility, so why not flex the trip once again.

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    Day 55: Ghost Town

    Janice and Dan spend the last wilderness day on the road driving down a long dirt road. What’s at the end? A little town called scenic. That sounds nice!

    Well, Scenic is not what the name might imply. It’s a ghost town, filled with ramshackle buildings and an oddly large number of metal cages. Oh, and an unfamiliar flag everywhere and brand-new banners advertising a worship service.

    Wait, what?

    Climb in the trailer listener, there's a story to tell.

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    Day 54: Live from Wall Drug

    Join Janice and Dan in the back yard of Wall Drug to hear stories of tourist traps and nuclear missiles. Wait, what?

    It’s true: This area of South Dakota is not just known for the Badlands, but also for being the site of 150 Minuteman Missiles. After the rain of yesterday, the crew sets out to find one of them.

    After a sobering visit with a missile, they wind up back at Wall Drug, where they decided to record today’s episode. Join ‘em cowboy

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    Day 53: Driving Rain

    The one unfaced fear that Dan and Janice have had in 53 days on the road was faced today: Towing the trailer in the rain.

    Just about 90 minutes before they had to leave the Black Hills for the Badlands, the rain started and it didn’t let up. Dan got wet hitching up, Janice truckered up, and off they went (after a quick picnic at the dump station that is).

    It was miserable work, but they made it to the Badlands and they learned they could do the one thing they hadn’t yet had to do.

    Get wet with The Hitch.

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    Day 52: Bittersweet Black Hills

    It’s the last night in the Black Hills, the end of their longest stay of the trip and the start of the road home. Both Dan and Janice don’t’ want to leave, don’t want to head back, and want to stay here in this place forever.

    But they can’t, so this is goodbye to the Black Hills, and a campsite that has been there for their family over and over again over the last decade.

    Goodbye to the Black Hills, hello to life on the road again.

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    Day 51: We’re Going to Rapid City, Rapid City Here We Come

    Dan and Janice and the crew head down from the hills for a day in Rapid City.

    What began as an errand run ended at the top of the highest mountain in town surrounded by dinosaurs.

    No, really, in 1936 the city elders decided to construct life-sized dinosaurs to bring in tourists and, nearly 100 years later, here come Janice and Dan.

    Week Seven starts here!

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    Day 50: Fifty Days Already?

    Today is Day fifty of the trip—less than two weeks from done—and it’s got Dan and Janice thinking about how time moves too fast.

    Despite living in a tin can with a three year old, a thirteen year old, and a dog, it’s just… worked. Only on rare occasions does it feel cramped and mostly it’s just a place that has felt so completely like home that the thought of leaving is a lot.

    Of course the trip’s not over yet, but the end is coming. Can they stave off the melancholy of the end? Can they make it the rest of the week without emptying the gray tank? So many questions that will have to wait until Week Seven for an answer!

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    Day 49: It’s Not Camping It’s Just Living

    Something’s causing Dan to sneeze and Janice’s eyes to burn and it’s probably the constant campfire smoke that hovers over this campground. Even though many of the trailers at this campsite are the size of a small condo (and have the amenities to match), for many it’s still “camping” and that means a campfire.

    But when you’re living on the road, it’s not so much camping as it is just life.

    And speaking of life, Janice and Dan are trying to slow it down some and, for Janice, that means realizing that relaxing actually takes effort too. But it’s a lesson worth learning.

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    Day 48: Water Conservation

    Join Dan and Janice at the campsite’s dishwashing station, where they’re cleaning up from the day. Why not just do dishes inside the trailer? Because they don’t have a sewer hookup at this site, so they need to try and slow the wastewater from filling their tanks as much as possible.

    Welcome to the episode of The Hitch you’ve been waiting for: how sewage works in a trailer.

    No actually it’s kind of interesting and it made both of them realize just how wasteful they are with water in the day to day.

    Added bonus: they’ve talked about it a number of times, but finally your wait is over: the Poo Cone explained.

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    Day 47: Black Hills Rodeo

    Dan and Janice are back in the Black Hills and there is a rodeo happening right across from where they’ve parked Evangeline! Recorded from outside under the awning (which they’ve figured out a fix for), listen to the sounds of the rodeo and tales from the day!

    And what a day it was! Dan almost broke his face on the hitch, and on their way over from Devils Tower they witnessed a truck lose both its rear wheels. Plus, 10,000 bikers some of which drove like dicks.

    It’s more than eight seconds and they’re not on a bronco, but climb on cowboy, and have a ride on The Hitch.

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    Day 46: Motorcycles Are Everywhere

    Janice and Dan and the family go to hike Devil’s Tower this morning, along with thousands of bikers. Maybe they thought there were a lot of bikes here yesterday, but today is a rally day down here and it means that there are bikes as far as you can see.

    The rumble of motorcycle engines is everywhere and if you thought that you could get gas, or go into a tiny town to buy some food, well, hundreds of your biker friends are doing that too.

    It’s bikes and Devil’s Tower and Janice and Dan and The Hitch. Let’s ride.

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    Day 45: Close Encounters of the Hitch Kind

    The trailer is parked in the shadow of Devil’s Tower National Monument, so of course Janice just got back from watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind with the 13-year-old outside. In fact, this campsite, which is built on the filming location of that movie, shows it every night!

    Aliens aren’t the only thing out there today: It’s the week of the Sturgis motorcycle ralley so the roads (and this campsite) are also filled with bikers.

    It’s the first stop in Dan and Janice’s revised final leg of the trip, and they’re both feeling pretty good about it. Or maybe they’re having visions implanted by aliens.

    This means something. This is important. Climb in for day 45.

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    Day 44: Mad at Montana

    The crew packed up from Yellowstone and drove all the way to… Billings, Montana. OK, it was less than two hours away but that was all they had in them. Plus there were errands to run and a replacement phone to (finally) procure. But it wasn’t exactly fun.

    And that’s part of the lesson: On any trip—in any life—there are low points, and this retreat from Montana, a place that Janice lived and loves, is the low point of this trip.

    And like any low point, it takes a little work to get out of it. But here’s Dan and Janice, doing the work.

    Week Six begins here!

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    Day 43: Road Weary

    The distances in Montana are huge and they’re starting to drag on Dan and Janice. A simple errand can mean a 70 mile round trip and when the major attraction, Yellowstone, is over 40 miles away and then hundreds of miles of roads inside, it starts to add up.

    Case in point: Today they drove down to Old Faithful. The whole drive was breathtaking and the geysers, and hot springs that are fed by the supervolcano below Yellowstone (really) are unreal, but it was about a 300 mile round trip. That’s a lot for a “day off.”

    Janice is feeling as weary as her post-surgery days and Dan is feeling more burned out than when he was working. What are they doing to themselves here? Both of them are in recovery and they’re decidedly NOT recovering. It’s time to make a change.

    Being able to travel well is about being adaptable, so it’s time to adapt.

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    Day 42: Moving Forward, Looking Back

    Dan, Janice, and family take a trip of a more personal nature today: A drive over to the tiny town that Janice lived in.

    Originally planned as a Yellowstone day, a faulty tail light meant a trip in the opposite direction, so they changed up and drove an hour to tiny McCloud, Montana. It’s a town with just a post office, a bar, and a school—and a place Janice lived in the late 90s.

    In a trip all about moving forward, this was a rare opportunity to look back. For Janice, it was a measure of who she is now against who she was then. For Dan, it was an opportunity to connect dots between a past he only knew in stories with the woman he loves now (and he gets a little emotional about it).

    Plus, it was an opportunity for everyone to drive 10 miles down a dirt road to try and find the homestead cabin with no heat and no running water that Janice once lived in, because of course she did.

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    Day 41: Birthday Surprises

    It’s Janice’s Birthday! And while you’d like a day of uninterrupted fun and awesomeness, you’re living on the road so who knows what might happen?

    As it turns out: a few things that were a bummer. First, Janice’s new phone died, which meant an unexpected 60 mile round trip to a phone store. Second, the power line going down last night did something to the water pipes in the campground and there's not any water, so no birthday coffee.

    After the long drive to Bozeman and a fruitless time at the phone store, they tried to make the most of it with a “quick” trip into Yellowstone. Though traveler, beware: there is no quick trip into Yellowstone, the place is enormous.

    Also, another huge storm blows through again, this time while driving through the top loop of Yellowstone. Janice, thankfully pulled over just before the sheer wall of water and wind hit but things weren’t so great for a guy in a car not far ahead whose car got hit by a falling tree.

    Between the live wire last night and the tree today, Janice is reminded: don’t take things for granted. It’s a good lesson to remember on your birthday

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    Day 40 Part Two: A Real Live Wire

    OK, so it turns out that power outage wasn’t actually nothing and there’s a live wire buzzing and hissing about 30 yards away.

    No, really.

    Also, in addition to the power being out the water is too.

    Shit just got a little too real.

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    Day 40 Part One: Beautiful Bozeman

    Recording in the dark because the power just went out moments before due to a wild rain storm that just blew through, Janice and Dan recount today’s visit to Bozeman, Montana, a town that—at least today—could do no wrong.

    Amazing indie bookstore? Great coffee? A perfect slice of greasy pizza? Yep yep and yep.

    Let’s face it: The whole town had their number. Even the 13-year-old was completely charmed.

    So hear tell of a great day and oh, that power outage? Surely it’s nothing. RIght?

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    Day 39: A River Runs Through It

    Finally having arrived in their home base for the next five days, Janice and Dan sit on a creaky swing on the banks of the Yellowstone River. Their campsite is located in an area called “Paradise Valley” And it lives up to the name: spectacular mountains rising up dramatically, with the Yellowstone river winding its way down the center.

    This campsite backs up right to the river, with uninterrupted views out the dinette window. Wait, did someone say “Backs up?” Yes, Janice had to navigate a 90 degree back-in site today. AND SHE NAILED IT.

    There are a lot of things to see in the next few days: Yellowstone National Park along with more personal siteseeing, as Janice used to live in this area 20 years ago and it’s her first time back.

    Listen to the river and let it take you down to the paradise valley, where the grass is green and the… oh forget it.

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    Day 38: Parenting is Hard

    Traveling with your family in a 27’ trailer can be wonderful, other times it can be tonight.

    After an easy drive day, the crew settles down in Buffalo, Wyoming a small town with not a lot more beyond Dan’s favorite gas station chain. It all seemed like it was going to be an uneventful day.

    And then the three-year-old just flat-out refused to go to sleep. Three hours later and Janice and Dan are exhausted.

    Oh also: The 13-year-old gets a mysterious cut on his head and keeps rummaging around the trailer trying to find a band-aid, because of course.

    Let’s say it again: parenting is hard.

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    Day 37: Back at it

    After a week trailerless in the Colorado mountains, Janice and Dan and family are back on the road, pulling Evangeline, and heading north.

    Dan’s out of a job now, which means the last third of the trip has officially begun. And it starts with a bit of a bang: they crew is loading out early to beat a severe thunderstorm that might hit their destination of Douglas, Wyoming which, the night before, had been hit by a tornado. NBD.

    Sure, the weather threatened to be a little more severe than expected but all in all it felt good to be back home in the trailer.

    Week Five starts now!

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    Day 28: Storing Evangeline

    Janice and Dan say goodbye to Evangeline for a week, leaving her parked next to a beautiful vintage airstream in an RV storage facility in suburban Denver.

    It’s a bittersweet goodbye: When originally planning the trip, they assumed they’d want a break. But they don’t! Leaving the trailer behind was heartbreaking: a loss of home and of routine.

    But, they are going to spend a week up in the mountains where they are WAY TO AFRAID to pull the trailer, so sacrifices were made.

    Recorded from Janice’s sister’s bedroom, this is the last time Dan and Janice will record for a week.

    TAKE NOTE: While Week 5 will come out next week as expected (because they timed releasing episodes in anticipation of this week break), BE PREPARED for a numbering jump, because a week away from Evangeline means a week not recording. See you back here next week for Day 37 and beyond!

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    Day 27: Full Timing It

    The halfway point of the trip is fast approaching, and nobody wants it to end. Which is why it felt like fate when Janice met a couple at the campsite truly living the dream: Living full time in their RV.

    Sure, they might be in year two on the road, gearing up to spend two weeks entirely away from hookups but in talking with them, Janice and Dan realize: They started not knowing what they were doing too.

    There’s a lot to learn and today you get to learn about RV terminology. What’s the difference between a fifth wheel and a class A? Gather round and learn something too.

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    Day 26: Laundry Day

    Look, do Dan and Janice talk about the laundromat for the entire episode? Yes, yes they do.

    But it was a really great laundromat. And not even because it was located next to a dispensary called “The Bud Depot.”

    When you travel, doing laundry really lets you see a town in a way that the people that live there do. In this case? With a wall of books, another wall of nonfunctional dryers slowly being covered in stickers, and a surprisingly clean bathroom, it’s pretty amazing.

    Grab your bag of dirties, grab a bag of quarters, and join us at the laundromat.

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    Day 25: Blackout

    Dan’s out with a friend from Denver when he discovers an increasingly urgent series of text messages from Janice: The power’s out at the trailer!

    Mistakes were made. Mistakes involving trying out the space-age wonder called the combination microwave/convection oven while maybe running the air conditioning a little too hard.

    This probably wouldn’t be a problem if anyone knew where the circuit breakers were. But guess what?

    Look, nobody claimed to know what they were doing.

    The quest for power is on!

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    Day 24: Always Free, Always Fun

    Dan’s working out of the tiny library in this two-street town and Dan and Janice sit by the banks of the rushing St Vrain river to discuss the many times they’ve used libraries on their travels.

    That is, they would if they weren’t interrupted by tubers floating by—and coming on shore. And did one of them say something about a snake?

    But back to libraries: They’re great!

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    Day 23: Sprint Hitching

    It’s a move day and while they’re only traveling a half hour away, Janice and Dan find themselves running late with park rangers circling. In the sprint to move, they realize something: They’re learning.

    Not a lot, but at least a little.

    Of course, on arriving in an idyllic city park campground Lyons, Colorado, they realize they have to back in to the space. Can Janice back the trailer in? Did Dan break anything on the rush out of the previous campsite?

    MMMMaybe.

    Welcome to week four of The Hitch!

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    Day 22: Lessons We Haven't Learned

    Mistakes were made. A weekend trip to one of the biggest water parks in America has left Dan with a bruised rib. Was the teenaged staff to blame? Oh most definitely not, just a bunch of full-grown adults making bad decisions. What else is new?

    Look: When you ride a novelty water slide that ends in rooms full of robot dinosaurs, don’t you want as many people in your tube with you? OK sure, maybe there are a lot of signs warning against it, but what’s the worst that could happen?

    Like a lot of life, that tube had two speeds: Dragging bottom or hauling ass. Hop on in—there’s plenty of room.

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    Day 21: The Club Nobody Wants to Be in

    Last year Janice joined a club: breast cancer. It’s a club nobody wants to be in, but once you’re in, sharing stories with other members is crucial to making it through.

    Today was one of those days, as Janice and Dan and the kids met up with another family that’s lived through the hell of breast cancer. That gets them talking about the year they’ve survived and gets Janice reflecting on what it’s like making the transition from cancer patient to cancer survivor.

    Plus, today was the day The Hitch was released into the wild (uploaded outside a library near midnight) and it was Friday the 13th. What could possibly go wrong.

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    Day 20: The Heat is Gone

    Join Dan & Janice outside the trailer for once, as the unrelenting heat finally relented for an evening! Instead of huddling on their bed, they sit around the picnic table at dusk to tell you this:

    That tin can they named Evangeline? Now they’re also calling it “home.”

    It helps that things have gotten very domestic: they’re commuting in every day, Dan’s getting dropped at a library to do his job, Janice is visiting family. It’s not a vacation, it’s just life.

    Sometimes, that’s enough.

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    Day Nineteen: The Heat is On

    Holy crap it is hot. Every day Janice & Dan have been in Colorado it has topped 100 degrees and while the AC is (thankfully) working in the trailer, everything else is really starting to heat up. Sure, it might be a dry heat but so is your oven on full blast.

    Living in a campground that’s cooking under an unrelenting sun brings in some odors. And some of them are starting to come from the trailer itself.

    Plus, the whole family beats the heat by going bowling and that gets Janice & Dan thinking back to how they first met. You want their origin story? It involves Mexican wrestling, cuts of meat, and bowling.

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    Day Eighteen: The New Normal

    Three weeks on the road and Janice and Dan have settled into a real routine now. He’s working, she’s heading out with the kids. Even the dog is heading to day care!

    It’s all starting to feel really… normal.

    But of course, when you’re recovering from Cancer, there’s a lot of “new normals” to contend with and Janice and Dan break down all the normals they’re learning to live with.

    There’s been a lot of upheaval, both chosen and unchosen, and learning to find “normal” again is part of the adventure these folks are on.

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    Day Seventeen: Poopgate

    Some days are pretty great, other days you find mystery poop smeared on your trailer cushions.

    There’s no nice way to put it folks: Dan and Janice find themselves embroiled in POOPGATE. It's not a controversy they want to be involved in, but here we are.

    Not only is there mystery poop, but Janice took a firm hit to the head from a broken awning before coffee and everyone had to go to Walmart. Twice.

    It was not a good day, but they share it with you.

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    Day Sixteen: Welcome to Colorful Colorado

    Janice, Dan, Evangeline, and the family arrive in Colorado, their home for the next three weeks (though not all in one place). It took the longest tow day they’ve had to get there and they also traversed the smallest highways they’ve been on. How’d it go?

    Surprisingly well! It turns out, there are some plusses to highways instead of the interstates one of which is everyone moves a lot slower so when you’re lugging 6,000 pounds behind you, you’re not the only slow moving vehicle on the road.

    But, the further they got from the Black Hills the hotter and windier it got so it wasn’t all smooth sailing.

    Climb in the trailer, week three starts here!

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    Day Fifteen: Old School Navigation

    It’s been five nights in the Black Hills and now Dan and Janice are gearing up to head to Colorado. But without internet, Janice falls back on pen, paper, and a good old-school road atlas to figure out the best route.

    Normally the best route is the fastest, but when you’re pulling 27’ behind you, there’s more to consider than that: are the highways single-lane, so you’ve got people winging out around you to pass? What about gas stations: are there enough to get you from one to the next when you’re only getting 10 MPG? Plus, Wyoming is famous for is cross-winds and the weather report was for 100 degrees. How to figure out all these different factors? Find out.

    Plus, climb down 300 steps while carrying at toddler to explore Wind Cave National Park. It was amazing, also Dan’s arms hurt.

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    Day Fourteen: Calm-bilibrium

    Janice is feeling something she hasn’t felt since before her cancer year: is it… relaxed? Having spent the day visiting sites in the Black Hills, she’s found a level of calm she hasn’t felt in a long time. It’s well deserved.

    And speaking of those sites, it was an amazing day visiting Crazy Horse (another mountain they’re blowing up into a sculpture but it’s taking a lot longer), driving through Custer National Park (BISON BABY ALERT. BISON BABY ALERT), and taking the Needles Highway.

    What’s the Needles Highway you ask? Janice and Dan didn’t know either, but it turns out it is amazing provided that you: (a) know the width of your car in advance (b) know the height of your car and (c) don’t almost run out of gas before you’ve climbed the whole thing. If you don’t know those things, it’s maybe a little stressful.

    But potentially getting the car wedged in a 9’ wide tunnel or running out of gas at the top of a mountain isn’t going to stop Janice from reaching that perfect state of calm-bilibrium.

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    Day Thirteen: Offline

    Living in a 27’ aluminum tube is hardly roughing it, but this stay in the Black Hills has proven to be more rustic than Dan and Janice anticipated. With campsite WiFi that bursts into tears if you try and connect to it and cell service that drops to no bars miles away, they’re left stranded at the side of the information superhighway (sorry).

    Since Dan is supposed to be working and the holiday is over, they go in search of internet. How far do they travel? All the way back out of the Black Hills to Rapid City. That’s not sustainable.

    It’s a day spent searching for modern conveniences and talking about some of the unexpected pains of life on the road.

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    Day Twelve: Hope on July 4

    Janice and Dan started this trip with a two year old, but today—July 4—he’s now a three year old. Happy Birthday America and also the kid!

    They celebrate by going to Mt Rushmore, that most American of blown up mountains. There’s a bit of hesitation on their part when it dawns on them that the MAGA hat crowd may make it a less than welcoming experience.

    But, instead, they walk away from Mt Rushmore with, of all things, a glimmer of hope of what American can be.

    Light some fireworks (if there are no fire bans in effect at your campsite) and celebrate the 4th in the trailer.

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    Day Eleven: Buckets of Rain

    It’s time to put down roots for a bit as Janice and Dan pull Evangeline into a campground just outside Mt Rushmore. But they’re not outside enjoying the (massive) campground’s many amenities because the sky has opened up above them.

    Get outta that rain and climb into the camper to hear what it sounds like when hell breaks loose above an Airstream (hint: they repeatedly wonder if the recording will actually be audible) (spoiler alert: it is).

    But hell isn’t just breaking loose in the skies, it’s also broken loose at home, as the 13-year-old goes running off to find ice cream seconds before the storm hits and, with no cell service at the enormous camp site, he’s just gone!

    It’s tails of rain and tales of familial woe tonight.

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    Day Ten: Into the Badlands

    Another day, another cross-state trek buffeted by crosswinds. Did you know that pulling 6000 pounds behind you gets trickier when wind is trying to push it the other way? It’s true. This time Dan & Janice are pulling Evangeline across South Dakota. Next stop: The Badlands.

    Having made it, hooked up, and detached. The family loads in for a trek across the incredible vistas of one of the more amazing places on earth. Following a brief (OK long) digression into World Wrestling Federation T-shirt designs, Dan talks about the Ancient Hunter’s Outlook.

    Then, everyone goes to Wall Drug. What’s Wall Drug you ask? Well Janice already thinks you know. But it is an enormous tourist trap that’s equal parts shitty Disney and all the worst parts of walking around Ikea. But they do manage to walk out with a great shirt.

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    Day Nine: Back at it

    After a week in Minneapolis running a conference, Dan, Janice, and family are back at the EZ Air Park and then on the road—though not without a significant rain delay.

    It’s Dan’s first time pulling the trailer on the highway, and there’s significant crosswinds as they make their way across Minnesota for a brief overnight in Sioux Falls South Dakota (not to be confused with Sioux City Iowa, which they both did).

    Get back in the trailer with this bunch. The real adventure starts now.

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    Day Three: Somewhere In Between

    Beaten by reverse, Dan and Janice left their trailer hitched to the truck and parked on the street last night. Neither one of them slept well and today they needed to find a new place to put it. Plus, the dog was not calming down at their friend's place and so she needed to be stowed too.

    Did they get the trailer stowed? Is the dog happy? Can they finally start de-stressing?

    This is the last act in a three-part prelude to the big trip, as tomorrow the whole family will move to a hotel and Dan will shift into conference mode. It was supposed to be an easy transition, but that's the thing about traveling: you never know.

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    Day Two: Backward

    So it turns out there's a lot to learn when you're driving a trailer. After an uneventful three hour drive from the Dells to Minneapolis Minnesota, Janice and Dan pull in to their friend Jeff's house where they're going to store the trailer for a week while Dan helps run a conference. It should all be fine, right?

    Wrong! It turns out driving a trailer backwards is a whole different thing than driving it forwards. Add a very thin alley and too many garages and it becomes a game of angles and inches. And it's a game they don't win.

    Janice and Dan sit down exhausted and utterly defeated by the reverse gear.

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    Day One: Forward

    It's day one of sixty and Dan, Janice, and family are in the Wisconsin Dells. A midwestern town full of tourist traps and water slides, they're partaking in none of it: it's just a useful stopping point between A and B.

    It's a day of firsts: It's the first time they've pulled the trailer on the highway, the first time navigating construction, the first time driving more than a few miles and a few minutes. How did it go?

    Surprisingly well actually! And it gives Janice and Dan a chance to reflect on past travels and to look at the road ahead.

    Climb in to the trailer, it all starts here!

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    Welcome to The Hitch

    Welcome to the Hitch! The podcast where Dan Sinker and Janice Dillard navigate life's challenges from the back of an Airstream trailer, while traveling for 60 days through America.

    In this intro episode, we learn about the big hitch they navigated over the last year: breast cancer. Dealt a blow like that, they tried to focus on something more positive: finding a trailer and hitting the road after the hell of cancer had been defeated.

    Join Dan and Janice on the road by subscribing to The Hitch today!

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