So where were we? Boise, of course, as we finish off a near-complete sweep of the market (minus a couple of FMs whose morning shows didn’t legal while our tapes were rolling) and get ready to move on along to Twin Falls.
We’re also continuing our little series of notes about how we do the whole Big Trip thing, and this week we’ll mention a few things that can go wrong, and why the aftermath of the Big Trip can last much longer than the trip itself.
First, what can go wrong: if you’re still using cassettes, as I am, IDs can be lost in two ugly ways: first, the cassette can be running off-speed (fixable, after the fact) or warbly (not so fixable). Regularly cleaning tape heads and paths can help with the latter; religiously changing batteries before they’re entirely dead usually fixes the former. Lately, I’ve been down to only one or two unusably warbly IDs out of the several hundred I record on a Big Trip. That’s not bad. Second, IDs can be overwritten. This can be the result of accidentally flipping a tape more than once (whoops, we’re back on the A side again!) or of accidentally rewinding a tape mid-trip. Using the “lock” switch on my Sony recorders and popping the battery packs off my Aiwa walkman recorders when not in use has reduced these problems, but I still get bitten by them on occasion, as witness the recent DC trip in which I recorded over a side and a half of IDs before I figured out my error. It’s helpful to hit “play” just before recording to make sure you’re really writing over blank tape. I suppose I could make use of the erase-prevention tabs, too.
(Wow – I just realized that for many people these days, “helpful cassette tips” are about as useful as “how to properly cut a transcription disc.” Yikes.)
As for the aftermath? The first step after returning from a Big Trip is always the same – sleep, and lots of it. We’ll cover the rest next week – but go check out Tower Site of the Week in the meantime to see why we don’t get much sleep on the trip itself.