Monday, August 01, 2011

Fuelling History:
Tips on Diet, Health and Driving
from the History Road Warrior
(by Brenan Smith, M.A. Candidate in History)

After driving from Saskatoon to Abilene, Kansas, and spending a solid week researching at the Eisenhower Library, I thought that I had at last mastered the arts of travelling amongst Americans and archival research.  One of the most important research strategies that I discovered was forgoing lunch in order to keep up my research momentum (and which allowed me to leave half an hour early each day--when my concentration was waning anyhow, of course).

Protein bars helped in the absence of lunch (N.B. no tiger's milk included)
 Nutrition is obviously important in daily life, but doubly so during a research trip as the long grind can quickly wear one out.  Luckily the fabled In n' Out Burger was not ridiculously far from the Library, and I quickly made a vow to have nothing but two "Flying Dutchman" and a diet Coke for supper every day until I left.  Such a vow was also cost effective:  $8 American.
Flying Dutchman Burger (N.B. no bun included)
Since Los Angeles is a rather warm location, it was important to stay hydrated.  I found that the $3 bottle of Voss, an imported Norwegian water, had the distinct advantage of looking like a rather large vial of cologne, but otherwise it tasted oddly similar to tap water.

Fancy, overpriced water (N.B. tap water cheaper and better)
On the topic of heat, people in L.A. can spot a Canadian rather easily: while 23 degrees (celsius) may be shorts and sandals weather for any Ice-loving Saskatchewanian™, it is apparently considered a "cold snap" in June, and thus jeans and shoes are recommended.

Californian Flora during cold snap (N.B. no cold included)
I like to try to stay healthy even when traveling (diet notwithstanding) and I find that a good work-out relieves the stress of a long day of sitting and scanning dusty papers.  Fitness centres abound in Los Angeles, few of them affordable, and some of them not actually fitness centres as I found out when I poked my head into Fitness Grill only to be asked if I'd like a table.

Fitness Grill (N.B. no fitness included)
Driving in L.A. was a challenge, but I found that unless Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, the Dakotas, and California are the exceptions, American drivers conduct themselves in a much more polite fashion than Saskatchewanians.  I will admit that while in L.A. a local strip club manager was randomly gunned down on a South L.A. freeway, but I doubt that it had anything to do with his driving...

Coming up tomorrow -- the final installment, "The Road Warrior's Tales from the Archives"!

Editor's Note: The History Department is not promoting any of the above-mentioned products.  In any case, the thought of a bunless burger horrifies this editor.