As a graduate student, I don’t get much time off. I distinctly remember the horrified faces of undergraduates when I tell them “no, I don’t get fall/winter/spring/summer break off. I still have to do research.”
Grad school, at least getting a Ph.D. in a natural science, is this odd combination of work and school. Technically, I’m a student. I am working towards a degree. But I don’t get school holidays, I’m not actually taking any classes, and I’m getting paid. Much more like a job, if I’m honest.
I decided to take a few days off work around the holidays. I had a hectic fall, applying to several fellowships and other such things. It was time for a break. Tyler and I waffled on the idea of going on a short road trip between Christmas and New Year’s. I wasn’t sure that I liked the idea of doing more driving after driving around all over to visit family for Christmas.
I thought it might be nice to have a break and just relax at home. But, I forgot that I am a terrible relaxer. Staying at home doing nothing is not relaxing. For a day, it’s alright. Two days? Forget it, I’m going stir-crazy. That’s not to say that I couldn’t do anything between Christmas and New Year’s based at home but, as I mentioned before, I have limited time off. It seemed a waste to not go adventure somewhere. It is after all, my favorite thing to do.
So, Tyler and I planned a last minute trip to Florida. And by we, I mean that I planned the trip and told Tyler, “Hey there are these cool places I’d like to visit. Wanna go?” and he agreed.
Two days before our trip, I picked Tyler up in the evening after he finished watching football with friends. He got in the car and announced that he wanted to build a sleeping platform for the Fit before our trip. To be fair, we had talked about this previously. I had just imagined we would to that sometime farther in the future.
We got home and started talking about plans. Mostly, Tyler based his design off of this website. He made some measurements that evening, but he did the bulk of the work the next day.
Tyler’s dad enjoys woodworking. He has all the tools for cutting wood and whatnot, so Tyler drove to his parents’ to build the platform with help from his dad. I wanted to go help too! It sounded like fun, but alas, I could not. I had to stay home to pack and finish dehydrating our food. (More on that in the next post!)
Setting up the car for sleeping is super easy! First, you push the front seats all the way forward. Then you fold down the front hinges and slide the extra support into place. You roll out the sleeping pads and sleeping bags. Finally, roll down the front windows and hang up the bug net. Ta-da! Camp is all set up.
That is the biggest advantage of this system. Setting up and breaking down camp is super easy! In fact, Tyler did it all on his own the whole time on our trip. I was usually washing up dishes or preparing breakfast while Tyler handled the car.
In the future, we’ll use the sleeping platform for trips where we are only staying one night in any one place. On our summer road trip it was such a pain to set up and take down the tent every day. However, if we were going to stay in the same campsite for more than one night, we would probably opt for the tent.
I think Tyler and his dad did a fantastic job on the sleeping platform. I can’t wait to go on even more trips!