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  1. #1
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    Question Looking ahead: hiring vehicle support for 2021 thru-hike.

    It seems 2021 is the best opportunity I have to do a thru-hike, but even then I will be in the middle of an off-trail project that will demand a lot of my attention, thus making regular, reliable communications and internet manditory. Not to mention I simply will not have the time to deal with devices that have no charge, hitchhiking, walking all over towns for resupply, or much else... Subsequently, I want to hire an individual (perhaps couple) to handle all that for me. I'll provide an RV for us, and you'll be a dedicated trail angel for me and any other hiker who happens to be there. Mad chef skills are ideal cuz I'm gonna want you to feed me. I'll probably do a lot of slack pack'n so one can expect to be bound pretty close to the trail throughout the season.

    Anyway, figured never too early to start fishing on that, so there it is.

    Edit:
    I cover your cost of living: food, camp sites, hotels (when I sleep in one), gas, laundry, beer...covered. On top of that, I throw in a decent salary for running my errands, being my chauffeur, and being my chef. (-a good home cooked breakfast up to 5 days a week, and up to 5 dinners a week. I'll mostly fend for myself for lunch, providing there's leftovers. I like to eat out a lot, so we'll be doing that a fair amount too, particularly when I can find some decent sushi. Bottom line on that is you're on the hook for 10 meals a week, but it will probably look more like 7 or less meals most weeks.)

    I've hiked a third of the AT. I have well over 5k "trail" miles on me, though much of that was off trail in true wilderness. I also have over 5k miles experience in kayaking expeditions, and another 5k+ on various bike tours, so I kinda know what I'm getting myself into, as well as how to best meet my needs throughout it. ...While I appreciate the different approaches, I've already settled on this one; thanks though.
    Last edited by Rift Zone; 12-19-2018 at 01:04. Reason: expand
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible." -Feynman

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    Sounds like a wonderful opportunity for a Netflix documentary IMO.
    Just curious, what kind of salary/ compensation would you be paying?
    Food for employee included in the deal?
    Hotel/ hostel stays included?

    I think its a really cool idea and you seem to be prepared to do it.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Hikes in Rain's Avatar
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    Some days my wife insists this is why I think we got married. We've found this book useful sometimes. https://smile.amazon.com/Exploring-A...an+trail+in+rv

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rift Zone View Post
    It seems 2021 is the best opportunity I have to do a thru-hike, but even then I will be in the middle of an off-trail project that will demand a lot of my attention, thus making regular, reliable communications and inernet manditory. Not to mention I simply will not have the time to deal with devices that have no charge, hitchhiking, walking all over towns for resupply, or much else...

    Anyway, figured never too early to start fishing on that, so there it is. Let me know if you'd like to share some more thoughts on that.
    Will you have time to even enjoy your hike? Sounds pretty stressful and expensive. If you can afford an RV, your own thru hike, and a personal valet, maybe you can afford to take a leave of absence instead?

    i think Miss Janet does something like this, might want to contact her.

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    I thought about this once. Then I realized I wouldn't be willing to do it for the price I'd be willing (or able) to pay so decided others probably wouldn't either. Then there's the reality of finding someone trustworthy and reliable with the ability to take 5-6 months off. I don't have an RV but was thinking even car support would work. If you read about people who've done similar ventures/adventures the support person is usually a family member, typically a spouse or parent.

    I recall years ago reading about someone offering this sort of service but don't recall the details, except that it was pricey. $12,000? Not bad for what one gets but still a lot of money and I don't see how an individual could make that profitable. Of course I don't recall all the details of what was provided and I may be off on the price.

    There are books out there on the topic:
    Exploring The Appalachian Trail By Rv, Sort Of
    The Don's Brother Method: How I Thru-Hiked the Appalachian Trail and Rarely Slept in the Woods

    My current plan has me starting a southbound AT hike in July, 2021, right after I retire. If you're going my way I might be persuaded chip in until you hike too far ahead of me to make it practical.


    EDIT: It might be more practical to line up 10 or so people along the way and as you leave one person's area, the next picks up. This way the person need only work weekends and the long term time commitment is much less. It'd still pricey though.
    Last edited by perrymk; 12-18-2018 at 10:46.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit McCrae View Post
    Sounds like a wonderful opportunity for a Netflix documentary IMO.
    Just curious, what kind of salary/ compensation would you be paying?
    Food for employee included in the deal?
    Hotel/ hostel stays included?

    I think its a really cool idea and you seem to be prepared to do it.
    Thanks. Yea, I've been prepared to thru-hike for a long while... Circumstances have never been right. But I could pull it off if I did it that way. It is so on. I'm gonna be out there '21! =)

    I'm gonna cover everything: food, gas, campsites, motel rooms (when I stay in one! -if I'm camping out, so are they), laundry, beer... Thus I offer a 6 month camping trip that's covered outright. On top of that, I throw in a salary. Salary is negotiable... not too extravagant, but worth it.
    Last edited by Rift Zone; 12-18-2018 at 11:03. Reason: Typo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hikes in Rain View Post
    Some days my wife insists this is why I think we got married. We've found this book useful sometimes. https://smile.amazon.com/Exploring-A...an+trail+in+rv
    Lol. You're a lucky man! =).

    Thx for the tip.

    Quote Originally Posted by Traffic Jam View Post
    Will you have time to even enjoy your hike? Sounds pretty stressful and expensive. If you can afford an RV, your own thru hike, and a personal valet, maybe you can afford to take a leave of absence instead?
    Quote Originally Posted by Traffic Jam View Post

    i think Miss Janet does something like this, might want to contact her.
    Oh yes, I will be enjoying that. Expensive? Yea. But I don't know about it being stressful. Seems like having logistics handled for me will make for a very pleasant hike.

    Unfortunately, I'm the driving force behind the project, I don't have the option of leaving it alone for a while.

    I've crossed paths with Miss Janet before. Looking forward to seeing her again. Yea, she is good for that sort of thing, but mostly in and around Erwin,TN.



    Quote Originally Posted by perrymk View Post
    I thought about this once. Then I realized I wouldn't be willing to do it for the price I'd be willing (or able) to pay so decided others probably wouldn't either...
    Quote Originally Posted by perrymk View Post

    EDIT: It might be more practical to line up 10 or so people along the way and as you leave one person's area, the next picks up. This way the person need only work weekends and the long term time commitment is much less. It'd still pricey though.
    Yea, it's not for everyone. But I could see it working quite well for those who prefer to live life close to the earth/trail... I imagine I'll find the right match, or matches. -looking for more than one is a decent idea, thanks for that.
    Last edited by Rift Zone; 12-18-2018 at 11:13. Reason: Expand...
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible." -Feynman

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rift Zone View Post
    Lol. You're a lucky man! =).

    Thx for the tip.


    Oh yes, I will be enjoying that. Expensive? Yea. But I don't know about it being stressful. Seems like having logistics handled for me will make for a very pleasant hike.

    Unfortunately, I'm the driving force behind the project, I don't have the option of leaving it alone for a while.

    I've crossed paths with Miss Janet before. Looking forward to seeing her again. Yea, she is good for that sort of thing, but mostly in and around Erwin,TN.
    No one is indispensable. Feeling that way is how we remain enslaved. I’ve learned that the hard way. You’ve gotta do what’s best for you.

    Regarding Miss Janet, I’m pretty sure she has been shuttling hikers all along the AT, up to Maine, in recent years. At least that’s how it appeared from my sporadic visits to her FB page.

    good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by perrymk View Post
    My current plan has me starting a southbound AT hike in July, 2021, right after I retire. If you're going my way I might be persuaded chip in until you hike too far ahead of me to make it practical.
    I fully intend to share my angel(s) and whatever wonders they offer.
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible." -Feynman

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    Quote Originally Posted by Traffic Jam View Post
    No one is indispensable. Feeling that way is how we remain enslaved. I’ve learned that the hard way. You’ve gotta do what’s best for you.

    Regarding Miss Janet, I’m pretty sure she has been shuttling hikers all along the AT, up to Maine, in recent years. At least that’s how it appeared from my sporadic visits to her FB page.

    good luck!
    Innovation tends to come from isolated individuals. There are circumstances where one person does it, or it doesn't get done. As such, I argue "no one is indispensable" is not absolutely always the case. At any rate, I know what I'm doing, have a healthy relationship with it, and do appreciate your concern.

    Cool about Miss Janet! I didn't know all that. Of course, it's been many, many moons since we've crossed paths.
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible." -Feynman

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    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rift Zone View Post
    I've crossed paths with Miss Janet before. Looking forward to seeing her again. Yea, she is good for that sort of thing, but mostly in and around Erwin,TN.
    I don't know about Miss Janet just being in TN. She picked me up me up in July of this year a couple of miles from the AMC Highland Center and gave me a ride there. She was driving a van that was filled with her belongings. I think she follows the bubble northbound. Nice lady by the way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ldsailor View Post
    I don't know about Miss Janet just being in TN. She picked me up me up in July of this year a couple of miles from the AMC Highland Center and gave me a ride there. She was driving a van that was filled with her belongings. I think she follows the bubble northbound. Nice lady by the way.
    Yea, I'm getting that impression. It seems my information is seriously outdated. =)
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible." -Feynman

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    I've always wanted to do something like this for my eventual PCT thru, but with my family following me in an RV.
    While searching for that unknown edge in life, never forget to look home. For the greatest edge you can find in life is to stand in the protective shadow of those who love you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rift Zone View Post
    Innovation tends to come from isolated individuals. There are circumstances where one person does it, or it doesn't get done. As such, I argue "no one is indispensable" is not absolutely always the case. At any rate, I know what I'm doing, have a healthy relationship with it, and do appreciate your concern.

    Cool about Miss Janet! I didn't know all that. Of course, it's been many, many moons since we've crossed paths.
    Good for you. I've met a few folks over the years who did something similar (sorta).
    One of the more successful was an accountant who put in a long three day shift once per week. She was semi-self shuttling which may be a better option for you too actually. She only needed a laptop so she used a combination of rental cars, bounce boxes and shuttle drivers to assist her in getting her 'office' to follow her. That got her hiking for 2-5 days at a stretch, and caught up on work. Granted her job was less interpersonal than your project may be on a daily basis... but she was able to get a nice balance of hiking and working out of it.

    Just a thought... FKT attempts struggle with frequent contact or critical contact logistics all the time. And many stretches of the trail are difficult to navigate with a van, let alone an RV.
    If you set yourself up with a small van and then used local shuttle services or hostels to assist in moving said van... might be more realistic logistically to accomplish if you can be on trail for a few days at a time.
    Ask any of those who have done logistics for a speed hike and they will express the difficulty of 'crewing' the AT... it is tough finding each other and there is a little secret knowledge of the trail required to reach many portions by vehicle if you are looking for frequent contact. Though if you're mainly slack packing (or doing 48 hour stretches) I'd think a satellite phone plus cell phone and a charger would be a more useful 2lbs to have on your back than trying to get someone to get a vehicle to you reliably in a hurry.

    Something to consider/research. In the meantime though you're probably a bit to far out for a real commitment.
    My recently retired mother may be interested in something like that... or even one of the folks here who don't NEED a salary but might enjoy the opportunity (and be reliable).

    Janet is doing her own thing but off hand Odie from the hiker yearbook may be a perfect candidate to assist with something like this when the time nears provided he's still doing what he's doing now.

    Good luck!

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    One further thought... if your project is critical... and you have the means/budget:
    Why not enlist someone from your team?

    That would mean your crew chief would not only assist with your hike, but also with your project. Possibly even being able to cover for you so you don't have to 'rush back to the office' for every call. They could also download/upload relevant information or help sort critical tasks that you could work on when you finish your hiking day/days so you were more efficient in your downtime. They would also be more understanding and cooperative knowing what you're working on.

    If there truly is an emergency; you'll stress out your volunteer who thinks you're just a self-important jerk and bails on you.
    A teammember who knows how important your project on won't do that.
    Last edited by Just Bill; 12-18-2018 at 11:59.

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    As usual JB, a well thought-out and informative post.

    Forgive me, Rift for being negative. I followed a blog last year of a guy trying to work and hike who didn’t make it past GA. Also camped with two guys, one an attorney who had to be on a conference call the next day who wasn’t going to make it and didn’t have cell service. I’m not exaggerating when I say there was yelling, cursing, and a near fist fight. It doesn’t sound very fun to me.

    I sincerely hope you are successful.

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    Put this out on Workamper.com

    RVers are always looking for opportunities like this

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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
    One further thought... if your project is critical... and you have the means/budget:
    Why not enlist someone from your team?

    That would mean your crew chief would not only assist with your hike, but also with your project. Possibly even being able to cover for you so you don't have to 'rush back to the office' for every call. They could also download/upload relevant information or help sort critical tasks that you could work on when you finish your hiking day/days so you were more efficient in your downtime. They would also be more understanding and cooperative knowing what you're working on.

    If there truly is an emergency; you'll stress out your volunteer who thinks you're just a self-important jerk and bails on you.
    A teammember who knows how important your project on won't do that.
    Great thoughts! Thanks for them. You're right, it's a bit early to be committing to much right now, but I would like to develop contacts that might be interested. I figure we could at least touch base every now and then, and then start getting serious about plans mid 2020.

    Good point about the vehicle... a sprinter sized van might be the way to go.

    The rest of the project's crew would be more effective with established roots in civilization, so bringing one of them them aboard for this is a great idea in general, but probably not the best course of action for this situation. -thx though.

    Edit: the project goes public late 2020... by the time I start hiking, what I'm up to can be known. It's my hope my vehicle support has appreciation for the project, and is subsequently understanding about any demands it places upon us.
    Last edited by Rift Zone; 12-18-2018 at 13:46. Reason: Left something out...
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    Doesn’t sound like a fun camping trip to me, good luck finding someone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Traffic Jam View Post
    As usual JB, a well thought-out and informative post.

    Forgive me, Rift for being negative. I followed a blog last year of a guy trying to work and hike who didnít make it past GA. Also camped with two guys, one an attorney who had to be on a conference call the next day who wasnít going to make it and didnít have cell service. Iím not exaggerating when I say there was yelling, cursing, and a near fist fight. It doesnít sound very fun to me.

    I sincerely hope you are successful.
    No worries Traffic Jam! I do appreciate the concerns. I'm no stranger to long distance hiking, or kayaking (like from Montana to St. Louis), or bike tours... I've got a real good idea of what I'm facing, and how to best handle it. I think what I have planned is gonna work perfect for me.

    Thank you very much! I'm looking forward to it.
    Last edited by Rift Zone; 12-18-2018 at 12:23.
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible." -Feynman

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