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Never Drive Empty! Show Us Your "Trapline"

 
pollinator
Posts: 626
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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I have a mantra: Never Drive Empty!

Country people have to drive farther and longer to run errands. Driving is dead time, and gas costs money. So it's natural that we save up a list of errands and plan to do them in one "town run." I jokingly call this my "trapline."

For example, my Northern trapline:
- fill car with recycling, deposit recycling, trash, and thrift shop donations
- unload at county transfer station; peruse the "take it or leave it" section
- take deposit recycling to bottle depot
- fill now-empty bags/containers with free sawdust/wood chips at adjacent firewood business
- drop of donations at charity thrift shop; chat up manager to see if they have extra kitchen knives (they don't sell them publicly for safety reasons, but they sell them to me for cheap); quickly walk through for items on the watch list
- visit hardware store(s) for needed supplies and flyer deals
- quickly walk through the big for-profit thrift shop, because "if you don't walk through, you don't get" (no donations for these guys)
- stop at bank etc. for transactions that can't be done online
- visit bulk grocery store and supermarket (the big list; I do most of the shopping, because I can go at quiet times of day)
- pick up a few beers or bottle of wine
- fill gas can if needed (2/3 full only, and squeeze the sides while closing so I don't get gassed to death in the car; we use plastic cans here)
- pick up mail at community mailbox, and drive home to unload and start supper

You get the idea. I have a Southern trapline also, and an Big City one.

So, what's your "trapline?"
 
gardener
Posts: 1788
Location: southern Illinois.
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Hi Douglas,

The list has been getting shorter all the time.  I havent been out for maybe 3 weeks now.  But, we do make an effective use of a shopping list and our trips. First we examine the shopping list to see the items tobe purchased.  No matter what direction we head off in, it is a 60 mile round trip drive.  We have some ever changing Covid hot pockets in my region.  My first step is to check to see if there are significant changes in trends. Once a community went virtually overnight from 5 to 50. The 50 was across all age ranges.

Anyway, the normal run is mail letters, feed stores, lumber yard, and groceries.  Nothing too elaborate.
 
gardener
Posts: 3111
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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My "traplines" consist mostly of dumpsters near where I have to go anyway.
Some dumpsters have really good stuff on the regular,  so I try to stop by when I can.
I even have a place around the corner from my shrink.
Back before covid,  I would often see a friend I knew from church on her way to her car.
She would stop to talk with me,  old hippie that she is.


There is a resale shop that's on my way home from work.
They have random lumber for a dollar a stick.  
They joke with me when I show up anytime other than a quarter till closing.

The stereo shop down the street from them has pallets for the taking.
Pallets and cardboard for the garden are important filler.
Leaf bags take precedence!
Piles of leaves make for happy chickens.

The Saint Vincent De Paul thrift store helps pay for their charitable pharmacy, an organization I have benefited from directly.
They get my money and my donations.
Really good dumpster swag that I don't need goes directly from the dumpster to them.

I hit Harbor Freight for free flashlights,  but I know better than to wander around.
My daughter and wife brought a huge delicious haul from their dumpster,  so that gets me out of the store and around back faster.

I actually need to cultivate some new spots for up north of me.
I will go out of my way,  up north to Menard's for some significant purchases , but my nearby spot for high quality pallets has dried up.

I want to sharpen my game so I can make great use of the Aldie dumpster, but right now other things take precedence.

I love going out for groceries and coming back with a minivan full of homestead building materials.

 
pollinator
Posts: 405
Location: Vermont, USA
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You guys are awesome!

But I learned about squeezing the gas can.  Now I'm willing to buy the gas.  Thanks!
 
Anne Pratt
pollinator
Posts: 405
Location: Vermont, USA
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Today's trapline:  Don't put anything in the oven today without other things in the oven.  Today, chicken, yams, and possibly oven fries.  If I can't fill it, I'm not going to run it.  88 degrees F.
 
Posts: 106
Location: Saskatchewan
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I dont really travel anywhere other than work and home and both are in the country so I get to avoid town for weeks at a time.

I haul our water for our house though and I take the tank to work as the municipal well I use is on the way home. So it doesn't really take me any longer than normal to stop and get water.

In the winter though I actually do set some traps between home and work so my commute does actually become my trap line. I dont set very many though and I won't go out of my way as at that point you spend more in fuel than the fur is worth.
 
gardener
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Location: South of Capricorn
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I pretty much only go out once a week, in a car that just gulps the gas, so I try to put it all together.

What helps me is to keep a running list of things I need from whatever stores (specified) on a list on the fridge. That way when something does come up in town, I know that we need XX from the pharmacy or YY needs to get dropped off at my daughter's place, we need ZZ from the feed store, and I never feel like I "wasted" a trip.

(Anne, since I bought a "doublewide" oven I also can't fathom using it to make just one thing. Which often obliges me to make cake, oh the horror!)
 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
Posts: 626
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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Anne Pratt wrote:Today's trapline:  Don't put anything in the oven today without other things in the oven.  Today, chicken, yams, and possibly oven fries.  If I can't fill it, I'm not going to run it.  88 degrees F.


Nice! That certainly fits the philosophy.

But your post is making me hungry. Mind if your virtual neighbour stops in, tunes up your kitchen knives, and stays for supper?
 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
Posts: 626
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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Marc Dube wrote:In the winter though I actually do set some traps between home and work so my commute does actually become my trap line.


Hahah, that's awesome. :-)
 
Anne Pratt
pollinator
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:

Anne Pratt wrote:Today's trapline:  Don't put anything in the oven today without other things in the oven.  Today, chicken, yams, and possibly oven fries.  If I can't fill it, I'm not going to run it.  88 degrees F.


Nice! That certainly fits the philosophy.

But your post is making me hungry. Mind if your virtual neighbour stops in, tunes up your kitchen knives, and stays for supper?



Please!  That knife offer is too good to pass up!  I’ll put on more yams.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1563
Location: Victoria BC
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I went out once most weeks pre-covid. One of my goals for the year was to cut that down to every other week. Covid helped motivate me to exceed that, I am going out about every third week at most.

To be fair, my sister comes out to the farm most every week, and usually picks up some odds and sods for me.



I like the idea of never driving empty, but I'm really shooting for 'never arrive home with usable space'.. I believe in setting the bar high, so you really feel the bruises when you lose your grip on it.



A typical run would entail:

At least one craigslist find or critical item to trigger the trip

Dump/recycling every 3-4 months

80 litres of diesel for the equipment, top off truck
Fill propane tanks

Drive-through ATM to keep cash topped up

Grab any truck-sized items my sister needs, drop them at her place; grab my mail and maybe an indoor shower while there

re-store; tools, plumbing parts, occasionally cheap lumber

Between one and three lumber yards: check for pallets, buy some lumber; generally building something, or planning to..

At some middle-ish point, junkfood to keep me moving, unfortunately

Fastener store; somehow always end up needing exactly the bolt that I don't have..

Irrigation store, or as I like to call it, the irritation store.

Maybe a grocery store

If I'm early, or right by one, used book store

Farm store on the way home; check for pallets and salvage in burn-pile; good place for plumbing if not hitting irrigation store





I'm still getting familiar with the area after two years, hopefully some better pallet sources and decent dumpsters will be spotted.. but as it stands a town day is usually ALL day, maybe 7-10 hours.. a lot of this is being fussy about what lumber I buy, but the other 'small' errands really add up.

I end pretty much every town run with a splitting headache if not a migraine... I hate town days.




I am now frequently maxing out the cargo space of my fullsize pickup, including all cab space, and making use of the cab-height stake sides... so the next step in improving 'trapline efficiency' is this side of things.

To that end, I am looking for a flatbed for the truck, to be paired with an over-the-cab rack, and a front bumper rack to help support really long items. I figure I can integrate something like a hitch-mount cargo box into the back of the flatbed to get 10+ft of deck when needed. Also looking to finally invest in a transfer tank; as I reduce town run frequency, the jerry-can system to refill the equipment is no longer practical.



The real fly in the ointment of trapline efficiency is a social life. If I ever decide to get one of those again, it becomes pretty easy to tack an errand or three onto pleasure trips...
 
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