Hitchhiking Tips

Hitchhiking was once one of America’s great pastimes. Young and Old people alike traveled across the country in strangers’ cars and trucks. Now, hitchhiking is looked upon as a dangerous game that few people should attempt to play. There have been movies and books written about the horrible happenings of unlucky hitchhikers but is it really as bad as they make it out to be? There are certainly risks involved in hitchhiking but there are also many benefits as well as ways to avoid dangerous situations. Hitchhiking is a great way to travel long distances on very little money. It also creates a way to meet new people. Many artists and musicians enjoy hitchhiking because of the inspiration their travels brings to their work. Meeting people is a good way to hear new stories as well as old stories from a new point of view.

Drivers are also weary of picking up hitchhikers because they fear the person may be dangerous. The easiest way for hitchhikers to present themselves as unthreatening travelers is to dress appropriately. Few drivers will pick up people that look like street urchins. A nice shirt and a clean haircut go a long way in impressing drivers. Another trick for getting picked up is to present a reason or destination for traveling. A hitchhiker that has a sign that says “New York or Bust” is much more likely to be picked up then somebody that simply has there thumb stuck out. Drivers also like musicians. Even if you are not musically inclined you might consider keeping some of your stuff in a guitar case to create the image of a traveling minstrel.

That danger is hitchhiking is half the fun but there are also ways to minimize the risk. Traveling with another person is always a good idea because you can lend each other support and protection. Together you can make better judgement calls. Do not get into a vehicle that may have a dangerous person at the wheel. The absolute best way to protect yourself is to carry a cell phone. Let the driver know when you enter their car that you have a mobile phone and they will be much less likely to do anything illegal. Often times drivers don’t have water or drinks so grab yourself the best ceramic coffee mug to make everything go easier.

Hitchhiking is a dying sport but it doesn’t have to be! The majority of people in this country are still good and with rising gas prices and global warming there has never been a better time for a carpool trip across the country!

Conair GMT 175R Beard Trimmer Review

The GMT 175R is an economical, all-in-one solution when it comes to men’s grooming. Though this model isn’t loaded with all the bells and whistles, it does get the job done. Beyond doing well with the beard and mustache trimmers, it also exceeds expectations with the nasal and aural cavity trimmers that come with the GMT175R as a separate attachment. The separate ear and nose trimmer attachment snaps on to the base once the beard trimmer attachment is snapped off. That functionality makes this model a worthy purchase as it removes the need to have separate gadgets for different functions and can function as the best mustache trimmer.


The Basics of the Conair GMT 175R

The Conair GMT 175R comes with the trimmer, a comb, three beard guards, a five-position hair guard and the ear and nose trimmer in the box. It also has a cleaning brush and a vile of lubricating oil, and comes with a soft pouch for everything that packs nicely for travel. Just know that it is a soft pouch with a tie, and not the boxy type with a zipper. This model also is not the kind that you plug into the wall outlet or set on a charger cradle. It is powered instead, by two AA batteries, making it a simple grooming solution to take on the road, even to places where there is no 110v on the wall, just make sure you carry spare batteries.

Think of the handle, or the base, as a multi-use handle, with all the attachments mounted on it for different uses. The snap-on, snap-off format of each attachment makes it very efficient, and in the event one attachment breaks, as long as the motor is working fine, the other attachments are still going to serve a purpose. For less than $12, that’s a hard bargain to beat.

The lubricating oil that comes with it, is designed to work well with this specific model. It has just the right viscosity and thermodynamic properties for ideal heat absorption to keep the trimmer working right. When you refill the tube, make sure it’s with the proper grade. With the various attachments, the trimmer is a good option to trim the hair on your head, the stubble on your cheeks and the growth on your chin, all with the well-suited attachment.

I’ve been around beard trimmers for most of my adult life, so I know how to treat one. It doesn’t need to be gently handled, but at the same time as long as you don’t slam it and throw it around, most of them are going to keep chugging. Like this Connair, although it’s clad in plastic and is lightweight, as long as you use common sense when handling it, it’s going to do its job. The beard and hair guards are not steel, they’re light plastic. If you use it with an ounce of care it’s going to last a long time, because plastic does not rust or oxidize, but it will crack under force.

The ear and nose trimmer attachment, is a welcome feature to include in something this affordable. I hardly use it but for those who need it, the attachment provides a handy way to have everything in one pouch, especially when traveling.

The trimmer is powered by two AA batteries. The batteries are not included in the box. I use a pair of rechargeable AA batteries and have them chargeing when not in use. The good thing about this is that there is always a way to get juice into the trimmer.  Since I travel a lot and many countries outside the US use different voltage that we do, using two AA batteries is a lot easier than trying to get a transformer for the trimmer.

Remembering that this trimmer costs about ten bucks, the thing that pleasantly surprised me, is that the motor runs very efficiently and fast on a fully charged battery. This is essential for a painless shave. On models where the motor is weak, the trimmers tend to yank hair instead of cutting it. That can be painful, especially when you’re using the nose trimmers.

The Downsides to the Conair GMT 175R Beard Trimmer

There are a couple of things that weren’t so good with the Conair GMT 175R. First off, I couldn’t get the battery covers open. The instructions that came with it didn’t help much and the battery covers required a little coaxing in the right angle before it would come off. It took some practice, before I was off to the races. The folks at Conair need to either redesign the cover mechanism, or be more explicit with the instructions.

The other thing I didn’t like too much was the fact that they had the blades locked into the base in a way that was not easily removable. My initial experience with it made it feel like I was about to break the flimsy casing. But eventually I managed to get it open and it worked perfectly. You will have to get used to it. If you have problems with your fingers then maybe this is not the model for you.

While it is acceptable to run it in water after detaching it from the base, there is a problem with that. The springs that are part of the blade mechanism get rusty after a while and the blade plates stop oscillating. The key is to run it in water infrequently and wipe it dry after each rinse.

The Nice Additions

The trimmer is fairly light and easily maneuverable. The knobs and switches are in the right place and they are not the small little ones that get lost if you’re not looking directly at it. The power switch is large and designed to get your tactile attention, sight unseen.

The plastic shell looks inexpensive, and that’s fine with me. It’s not meant to impress anyone and I use it all of three minutes everyday. I think of it as a disposable electric trimmer that I am willing to discard every few years and get another one to replace it. When I do the math, a twelve-dollar trimmer that lasts three years, works out to about a penny a day. At that rate, who am I to complain about what it doesn’t have or could do better. As long as its keeps my beard trim as advertised, that’s all I can hope for. IN conclusion the Conair GMT 175R has
to be one of the best beard trimmers on the market for less than $15 but as always you get what you pay for, this is a functional beard trimmer that will last a few years but won’t give you the longevity of some of the more expensive (read better!) beard trimmers.