We Have an Issue: Happy Trails

In this week’s issue, we look at the logistics, and emotions, behind plotting a cross country road trip mid-pandemic

Cover photo by Pat Curtin

The itch to roam hasn't gone away. If anything, the urge to roll down the window, feel the wind in your hair, all the other stuff Bruce Springsteen likes to sing about – that urge has turned positively primal now that we're all trapped in our tiny bubbles.

Breaking out of the bubble and hitting the road is still doable, it just takes a lot of careful planning to mitigate risk of exposure to COVID-19. Everybody's No. 1 (and No. 2) concern? Planning where to do your business in order to avoid public restrooms. During backyard hangs, my friends now swap notes on female urinating devices; another pal, bless her, bought adult diapers just in case for a long drive to visit family. (She got there in time.) Staff writer Kevin Curtin ended up buying a used toilet off the internet and installing it in his van. That was just one of many logistical hurdles Kevin encountered in preparing for a cross-country trip. Me, I got a little misty reading Kevin's emotional account of introducing his newborn son to two sets of grandparents, but prospective road trippers will find loads of practical information in the piece, too.

If you've been thinking about buying an RV, check out the accompanying story by Gerald and Patty McCleod. Gerald – aka Captain Day Trips – has been penning his popular travel column for the Chronicle for decades now, but this is the first time his wife has shared the byline. Hats off to Madam Day Trips. We wish them both many more happy trips to come.

The First Step to Doing Your Civic Duty

As this issue hits stands, we're down to 74 days until the November election, and a mere 53 days until early voting begins. Are you registered to vote? The deadline to do so is 30 days prior to the Nov. 3 election, but what are you waiting for? Go to countyclerk.traviscountytx.gov/elections.html to register, or to verify that you're already registered. You'll also find info on how to request a ballot by mail, and who's eligible to do so in Texas. And remember, even if recent efforts to hobble the U.S. Postal Service have been suspended – Trump appointee (and Trump donor) Postmaster General Louis DeJoy will sit for Senate and House committees in coming days to field questions on that very subject – you can give our overtaxed postal system a break by getting any essential correspondence into the mail early, with lots of lead time. Your vote, in this election – that's about as essential as it get.

Online This Week

Random Acts of Violence

Behind the Scenes of Two New Horror Films: Screens Editor Richard Whittaker speaks with writer/director/star Jay Baruchel about his comic book-inspired slasher Random Acts of Violence, and with director Egor Abramenko about his period sci-fi horror Sputnik.

Socially Conscious Theatre Takes the Stage: The Breath Project is now accepting submissions for performances of eight minutes and 46 seconds by theatre artists of color.

Courtesy of Hopfields

Gastropods From a Gastropub: Learn how to make Hopfields' escargot in red wine shallot butter at home.

Sue Foley (r) and Mike Flanigin

The Apocalypse Jam Mix: Doomsayer Ryan Pankratz of Zyclops and Skycrawler reveals his top five albums in heavy rotation, while shredder Sue Foley – who recorded boyfriend Mike Flanigin's live album West Texas Blues mid-pandemic – shares the early Texas and Chicago blues that keeps her powered.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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pandemic road trip, female urinating device, register to vote, Day Trips

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