This is a transcript of Episode 45: What’s it Like to Give A Lyft Ride in 65 Different Cities? (Transcript). You can find show notes, comments and more by clicking here. You can also listen to the podcast in iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.
Announcer: Welcome to The Rideshare Guy podcast, the site that’s dedicated to helping drivers earn more money by working smarter, not harder. So whether you drive for Lyft, Uber, Sidecar or anything in between, we’ve got you covered. And now, here’s your host Harry Campbell.
Harry: What’s going on everybody? Harry here, and welcome to another episode of The Rideshare Guy podcast. We’re all the way up to episode number 45, and today we’re gonna talk about what it’s like to give a Lyft ride in 65 different cities. So, sounds like a lot and it definitely is. And I should probably also add that it’s actually 12,000 miles too, but that might make for a little bit too long of a title for a podcast.
So, just wanna say hi and let you guys know what’s going on on the show. I’m actually back in my office in Long Beach. So the last one that I recorded was basically my parents’ bedroom. I call it my office, but it was my parents’ bedroom in LA, and my wife and I were living in LA for a few weeks while she did a rotation at a hospital. So I just wanted to say, if you guys notice any sound changes or anything like that, now you know why and feel free to let me know which one sounds better.
Today’s episode’s a cool one. We’ve actually got a fellow Lyft driver, Uber driver, and now he’s actually doing a lot of Postmates and delivery driving too up in the northwest. So you guys may have actually heard of his site, he runs a blog called Rideshare Dashboard. So he’s a fellow driver, fellow blogger, and he actually recently embarked on this pretty cool trip where he traveled all around the country and he went to 65 different Lyft cities and did rides.
So we’ll talk all about his whole journey sort of why he did it in the first place. Kind of some of the cool and interesting, and some of the not so cool situations he encountered. And I think a lot of you might be wondering first of all how that’s even possible. So we’ll answer that question since, obviously, he was driving in multiple states for Lyft. So we’ll answer a little bit how that’s even possible.
In which cities you can do it, which cities you can’t do it, and then talk about just some of the specifics of his trip. It’s definitely a cool story, and I wanted to highlight it because I think a lot of you guys out there might learn from it, might just think it’s an interesting kind of point of view. And also, he did it to kind of raise some money for a cool cause. So we’ll definitely mention all that and more.
Wanna give a quick shout-out and thanks for all the five-star reviews in iTunes. You guys are really been putting in some good work in iTunes, so I appreciate it. I think we’re all the way up to 102 5-star reviews, which is awesome since it helps me book basically better guests, and more guests, and inspires me to keep on going with the podcast. So I really do appreciate each one of you who’s left a review and I read each and every single one. And then also if you leave a five-star review, I’ll give you a shout-out on the podcast. So thanks to Girl Chicago Rideshare driver, big el pitcher 27, Raver Mom, Johnny Sweet Ride, and Dru Angel. So like I said, big thanks to you guys and girls for leaving that review.
And I also wanted to quickly read off one of the top reviews that I’ve gotten recently. So this one comes from Johnny Sweet Ride, and he says, “First of all, Harry is a wonderful person that replies to everyone that reaches out to him. The few times I have, he has been quick to respond. As I approach my 2000th ride given in the Santa Cruz area on the Uber platform, I find this podcast to be an invaluable resource as well as a fun listen. Subscribe to it if you’re a partner for Uber and/or Lyft or anything in between. You will not regret it. Thanks, Harry.” And I like this review because I do actually remember getting an email from Johnny. And if it’s the same Johnny that I’m thinking about, I believe he actually emailed me about Uber or retroactive referrals.
So if you guys are brand new driver, it would probably be a good thing to look into. Basically it says, “If you’ve signed up for Uber but you forgot to include a referral code, you have 15 days from the day you were activated as a driver to add someone’s code, and you can still get a sign-up bonus.” So that’s sort of a cool little thing, and I can definitely help you out with that if you’re in that position, feel free to shoot me an email, and I can help.
But really the reason why I like interacting with these drivers and you guys in general is that if you’re out there doing your research, listening to the podcast, reading articles, or whatever it may be, you have someone who’s there who can really provide that voice, who can provide that guidance, whatever it may be. And then I can go out and create content whether it’s articles or podcasts or whatever it might be that is going to help address those questions in the future for everyone else.
So without further ado, let’s get started with the episode. As always this episode and show notes can be found at therideshareguy.com/episode45. Make sure you stay tuned to the end too, because if you’re thinking about doing a similar road trip or you wanna learn a little bit more about what it’s like, Simon’s actually gonna give you his top couple tips for doing a road trip across the country, whether you do it on Lyft or whether you do it in general.
I know a lot of you guys out there are like me. You like to drive, you like to do road trips. Hopefully, you like being a driver if you’re out there. Liking to drive sort of a key element to being a driver. But if not, you can still make it work. And Simon will share a few tips for that, and also a couple of things that you shouldn’t do. So definitely stay tuned to the end and let’s hear from Simon.
Interview with Simon
Hey, Simon, how are you doing today?
Simon: Doing good, Harry. How’s everything going on your end?
Harry: No complaints. Back in my office in Long Beach, so hopefully the audio is sounding good. Did the last podcast from up in LA at my parents’ house and now I’m back home.
Simon: Oh, it sounds great.
Harry: Awesome. So let’s get into things. So why don’t you tell my audience a little bit about who you are, what your background is, and what makes you special? Why are you on this podcast today?
Simon: Sure. So my name is Simon Quak, I run a little website called Rideshare Dashboard. My background was in mechanical engineering, I believe that’s the same as Harry, I think. And I got into ridesharing about maybe two and a half, three years ago. And I’m on the podcast today to talk about my 12,000-mile road trip from Boston all the way out to Seattle and doing a Lyft in every city possible in the United States along the way.
Harry: Awesome. And so, exactly, right off the bat. Yeah. When you told me about this trip, I thought it was pretty cool idea. Now that, I guess, that it’s done and over with, I think you mentioned that you did 12,000 miles and I’m trying to think like how many miles I drove in the last year. It may not have even been 12,000 miles, but probably and I think a lot of drivers out there are putting a lot of miles on there. So maybe that’s not as impressive, but definitely impressive to me. How long did the trip take?
Simon: Sixteen days.
Harry: Yeah, 12,000 miles and 16 days is definitely pretty impressive. And I often joke that rideshare drivers put a lot of miles on their car. But I think you sort of took that to the extreme, right?
Simon: A little bit. I think year in and year out I average about 12,000 miles and that’s including like trips from New York and Boston and back. So normally, it’d be like 8,000 or 9,000 in entire year. With ridesharing I think I did like maybe 5,000 or 6,000 like last year or something.
Harry: Definitely. So what was the impetus for this 12,000-mile journey across the country? Why did you do it?
Simon: Well, for a long time I really wanted to drive across the country and everyone did it, and you know, it’s just something that everyone says you all really have to do, and I totally agree with that. And I also…my site was doing pretty well last year and, you know, I was always thinking about a way to kind of give back to the local community and things like that. And that’s how it came together. Then there was another person, Jane, who did Lyfting America. And that kind of got me thinking like, “Oh well, maybe I could do a Lyft in every city.” And I knew, you know, some drivers don’t drive in other cities, and so I kind of pushed that a little bit to see how many cities you could possibly drive in.
Harry: Yeah. You definitely pushed the envelope.
Simon: It was a lot. And I think, unfortunately, some of the regulations are really coming down in some states. So I think over the next maybe six or even like three months, I think a couple things are gonna change in various cities. I won’t really be able to do it anymore.
Harry: So how many cities did you end up doing?
Simon: I believe it was 60, I believe. Somewhere in that neighborhood.
Harry: Got you. I mean, I guess when you get up to 60, it’s sort of hard to keep track, right?
Simon: It is, but…I don’t know, like I…for some reason I just remembered like a lot of them. I remember talking with you when I was down in LA and just mentioning random trips on our video, and you were really impressed. And I was impressed that I remembered it because it was like five, six days ago and I’m remembering all these trips. Writing about it on my blog really helps. It really helps me detail a lot of stuff that I would probably forget by now.
Harry: Definitely. I mean, I guess it’s sort of like taking a journal down to your blog. It seemed like you were taking a journal down basically on your blog and that’s sort of, obviously, putting pen to paper, I guess, keyboard to internet or whatever the digital saying might be. You were able to kind of record it and also remember the trip, because I think that’s probably an important part too, right?
Simon: Yeah. So luckily now Lyft updated their dashboard so you can actually go in and see, like, where you drove and like…
Harry: Yeah. That’s cool. Yeah, for sure.
Simon: Yeah. So they didn’t have that maybe two or three months ago. Uber had it for what? Like about a year or so where you can kind of go in and see where you’ve been. But now Lyft did it, and I was actually kind of pleasantly surprised that they did. I thought that the trip will come out, yeah, but then when you clicked on it, you could see a map which was something you couldn’t do a couple months ago. So that kind of jogged my memory, I was like, “Oh, yeah. I think I remember this place and who I picked up,” and things like that. So that definitely helped a lot to help me remember.
Harry: Yeah, definitely. I’m thinking like a cool memento for you would be sort of like a map of the U.S. and then little different colored lines for all the trips that you did, although it might be a little small but still. It’s definitely cool that you can sort of also get that visualization aspect. And for those who aren’t following me on Facebook, that’s right, we did do a Facebook Live because I was actually your technically Orange County ride, right?
Harry: I was your ride in Orange County for Lyft.
Simon: Yeah. And I know we…You were in the middle of doing something and I really appreciate that you took time out of your busy schedule to slip me in last minute because my schedule kept changing, and we like bogged it down to like the edge of Orange County with all the traffic and stuff, and then we did a quick Lyft back up. So that was really cool.
Harry: Yeah. It was funny how we did it because…I’ll just explain quickly. You picked me up actually in the LA area. I think it was Redondo Beach. We drove into Torrance, which is technically part of Orange County. So we were in, like, the first street of the Orange County area code or whatever for a Lyft, and then we requested the ride there and did it and drove back to LA.
Simon: Yeah. Because you had another meeting to go to right afterwards. So it was just kind of crazy.
Harry: Yeah. So it worked out well and it was cool. So I’ll definitely leave a link to that Facebook Live so people can check it out.
Driving Across the US
But that also, you know, kind of makes me ask a question because it does seem tough, right? I mean, as far as scheduling this because let’s say you wanted to meet up with certain people, or see friends, or something like that along the way. I mean, if you’re tired one day and you can’t, you know, you wanna sleep in or something like that, you might lose a few hundred miles on your trip and be in the completely wrong state or wrong city. Did you experience a lot of that, like scheduling issues?
Simon: Yeah. Especially when I was leaving the northeast, it was…I had a horrible time on the Cape Cod trying to get a ride. And that threw like my whole schedule back. And I didn’t even know how many miles that we drove every day. Was it 400? Was it like 600 or 800? It makes a big difference when you go in 16 days. So I was kind of figuring out along the way and I would know, like, maybe a couple of days out where I would be, so I was trying to…so the only person I really met up with was…okay, well, in Texas, but then I took a day off in Austin. And then I was trying to stop in Las Vegas to visit my wife’s cousin. But I think I knew like a day or two out, and they lived there, so it wasn’t too bad. I think the worst was with you because I thought I was gonna be there, I think it was like Friday, and I ended up getting there on Thursday and that threw a lot of things.
Harry: Yeah. It’s definitely a good point because I think you sort of set these…when anyone, you know, I’m trying to think if someone’s out there thinking, “Oh, this sounds pretty cool. I wanna do it.” And you set these probably somewhat ambitious goals to hit 800 or a 1,000 miles a day or more or whatever it might be. And then you get caught up or something happens, and then it sort of throws off your schedule for the rest of the entire trip. So if you’ve made plans along the way, it sort of messes up those plans, right?
Simon: Yeah. And I was trying to do it as fast as I could. So conceivably if you pushed it out to even just three weeks, I think would have made a huge difference. I mean, 16 days, it’s 2 weeks and 2 days. But just pushing it out a couple of days would have given me at least another, you know, hour, maybe about two hours a day at least, or three hours a day. So that would make a huge difference. You can actually get a meal somewhere, you can meet up with somebody, you have a nice couple of 100 mile cushion.
Harry: Yeah. So let’s talk a little bit about the actual Lyft rides because I’m sure that, kind of like you mentioned, when you’re going to these places, you’re going to them to visit, I’m assuming. But the main purpose of going to these cities was so that you could do a Lyft ride, is that right?
Harry: And you kind of mentioned right off the top that when you were in Cape Cod, for example, you sat around for four hours waiting for a Lyft ride. I guess Lyft hasn’t quite caught on there yet.
Simon: Yeah. And I went there on a Thursday afternoon which is probably not a great time to go. I mean, it’s probably better than Tuesday, but you know. I didn’t know the market very well, so it was just kind of like trying to see where I could get a Lyft ride and you know, it’s very…it’s busy on the weekends, but you know, I don’t think a lot of people really do it full time down there. They have other jobs and stuff, and they do it on the weekends.
Harry: Gotcha. So basically what city did you give your first Lyft ride on this kind of road trip?
Simon: Okay. So luckily it was the city that I was living in. It was in Boston, and that was like the most northeastern city that they had Lyft in. I think that they’re trying to do something in Portland, Maine, but when I started, it was in Boston. So I gave my very first ride to my wife from our…you know, we were just moving out of our place so I just drove her to the post office. So that was our official first ride.
The Driving Route
Harry: Kind of a gray area, but yeah, I’ll count it as a first ride. Okay. So first one was in Boston. Why don’t you tell us too a little bit about…you don’t have to maybe say every city because there are 60 plus, but what was kind of your general route? You started in Boston and then headed where next?
Simon: So generally, I made it a north-south route like about three times. I went from Boston down to Miami. And then Miami up through Atlanta to Ohio. And then Ohio all the way down through New Orleans, and then going as far as Texas, so like Dallas. I think Dallas was the only city that I was in, or Dallas and Austin. And then making my way up through like Oklahoma and Kansas to go to Chicago. And then I looped around Minneapolis to get back down to Nebraska, and then I took a little pit stop in Mount Rushmore, so that was always kind of cool and on the 4th of July.
And then going straight south through Salt Lake City and Vegas down to Arizona. And then the last leg was really, you know, from Arizona…from Tucson really all the way out to San Diego. And then, you know, through LA where I met up with you Harry, and then all the way up to…up through actually like San Francisco and Lake Tahoe. And then going around to Spokane, and then to Seattle because I found out when I met up with Jay got Lyft, Lyft headquarters that I wouldn’t be able to do it in Portland. So I made…it’s kind of a shorter trip around straight through Spokane. And I couldn’t even do it in Seattle either because of local regulations. So Spokane was officially my last city that I could do.
Harry: So Boston to Spokane. And it’s funny because you make the trip seem so quick. “Yeah, you know, I popped down, went through Mount Rushmore, and then I was in Arizona.” But I’m assuming that probably was like a whole one or two days’ worth of driving to get from place to place.
Simon: Probably about three days, yeah, from also the places that I mentioned. It’s probably like about three days or so.
Harry: Okay. So I’m sort of picturing, basically I would say like a down, up, down, up, down, up sort of route across the country, which is not the most direct route. And I mean, so I guess other things to point out too is that you did this trip because you were moving to Seattle, is that right?
Simon: Yes. It was kind of a one way trip so it made a whole lot of sense. If I was moving to like Texas, probably wouldn’t have made a lot of sense because I would have to like drive another 3,000, 4,000 miles, about 3,000 miles back. But it just really worked out really well that I was happened to move to Seattle, and Seattle happened to be like the last city I would need to go in.
Simon: And I moved from Boston too. So yeah, it made a whole lot of sense.
Harry: So did you talk to your passengers about this trip that you were doing or did you just kind of get them in, get the ride done, and then put them on their way?
Simon: I tried to tell almost every passenger I could. There were sometimes, you know, you just didn’t…the ride was so short you couldn’t really get to it and things like that. But for the most part I did, I talked to a lot of my passengers about it. And you know, varying responses. Everyone seemed to be pretty positive, and there was a couple of people who spoke about like some personal stories that they had with mental illness, like people that they knew or, you know, organizations that they’ve even volunteered for. So that was really cool to see.
Harry: Very cool, yeah. And I think you mentioned too that you basically also, I guess another one of the reasons you did this was to raise some money for mental health, right?
Simon: Right. So, you know, the goal of this trip was trying to raise money to donate to various mental health organizations around the country. So, and I’m still trying to get through, you know, finding out where these organizations are, which ones are good. I’m thinking about donating, it’s like a national campaign, but for now I’m focusing on more local places. And then I was gonna donate a dollar for every mile that I drove.
Harry: Very cool. Are you still accepting donations for this campaign?
Simon: Yeah. So I have a GoFundMe page, I believe it’s RSD Mental Health, I believe, or Rideshare Dashboard Mental Health. So it’s still up.
Harry: Yeah. We’ll definitely…
Simon: Of course, I only got a couple of donations, but…and then also every, you know, all the money that I got from the Lyft ride, which is only, I think it was like $300 or something including tips and all that kind of stuff went straight to charity. So that was pretty cool.
Harry: Okay. Cool. Yeah, we’ll definitely leave a link in the show notes and hopefully my audience can step up with me, along with me, and we’ll contribute a couple of bucks for sure. So we’ll definitely take care of that in the show notes.
Awesome, you know, it sounds like you had a pretty good experience as far as the passengers and kind of doing these rides and all that stuff. Were there any experiences, any trips, I guess you would say, that really stood out in your mind?
Experience Driving Cross Country
Simon: Yeah. There were definitely two. I guess I always gravitate to the worst ones.
Harry: All right. Let’s start with the worst.
Simon: Yeah. I forgot which city I was in. I think I was in Nebraska. I think it was one of the cities in Nebraska and it’s slipping on which one it is. It’s not Omaha, I think it’s the other one but…
Simon: It could have been Lincoln. It’s on my blog somewhere. So what happened was I picked these two people up, two, like a couple. I picked them up from like this…it looked abandoned, this motel. It was like, everything was run down, there’s was no cars in the lot and I’m like, “Okay. This is a great start to this ride.”
So I picked these two people up and she said like, “Oh, it’s my uncle who requested the Lyft ride. Could you please not tell him that I’m with my boyfriend?” I’m like, “Okay,” it’s kind of an odd request. So they said, “Okay. We’re gonna make two stops, one at Walmart, and then one at this place I’m just picking something up.” I’m like, “Okay.” So I go to Walmart and I find out that they’re trying to get money out from somewhere. So this takes, you know, probably about 20, 30 minutes, it’s a Saturday, it’s Walmart, so. And I have been on that line a million times and it’s just…it always seems way too long.
So luckily, it only took about 20 minutes. I thought it was gonna take 45. So they get back into the car and we drive into our next destination. I said, “Where?” “I’m just gonna go pick something up really quickly.” So we drive up to this house. She tells me one address, but she goes into another, and I’m thinking, “There’s something weird going on here.” And for some reason I’m just curious. I’m watching the door. Well, more like I’m just trying to get the…you know, I’m trying to get this right over with. I’m just trying to see what’s going on. And the door opens like a crack. I’m like, “Okay. This is kind of interesting.” And then after about 90 seconds, the person from inside the house slips something to this girl and she’s walking back and I’m just staring at her. And she makes an active effort to hide what it is in their hand. I’m like, “Okay, there’s definitely something fishy going on here.”
They get back in the car and I believe I heard like a rapper sound and they’re just, you know, whispering to each other like something went wrong or something. And then she was like, “Oh, can we go back?” And I’m like, “All right. Well, I’m gonna have to stop the ride here because I know what’s going on. It’s something drug related.” So I circled back dropped them off and ended the trip, and then I wrote into, you know, Lyft support saying like, “This is what happened. Blah, blah, blah,” and then I drove off. And then I just drove. I believe that was like…I drove to Chicago, that was the next stop that I was gonna be going. It wasn’t necessarily scary, it was just kind of like…
Harry: Your one run in Nebraska was a drug run.
Simon: Yeah, pretty much. It was a complete drug run from start to finish. They got the money, they went to the drug place.
Harry: And you’re just thinking like, “Dude, I’m on a cross-country road trip. I can’t afford to get arrested right now.”
Simon: I know. I was totally gonna get arrested with drugs in the car, and out-of-state plates and stuff like that. It was so bad. So I think I did like a quick thing and my face was like, “Yeah. There’s a drug deal here, got to go.” And I just left. But all right.
So and then flipping to one of the better stories. So I gave a Lyft in Lake Tahoe which, you know, I didn’t think was gonna be that hard. But it’s kind of like Cape Cod where it’s kind of like a seasonal type of place and there are not a whole lot of residents, a lot of tourists and stuff. So I was kind of…had another freak out like, “Oh man, this is…” You know, luckily, I believe it was like a weekend, like a Friday night, I believe. So, you know, at least I had the party crowd there and I’m like, “Okay. Well, where I’m gonna pick people up?” I was starting to really, really worry how long I was really gonna be here for.
And then I picked up…it was like one of the aunts and then two of her nieces, I believe, and they were just going to a casino over on the Reno side. So I was like, “Okay. So that’s how the passenger flow is here.” A lot of people go over to the, you know, to the Reno side or Las Vegas side which is literally, you know, the Lake Tahoe borders between California and Nevada. So that’s where they were going. And she was telling me how she has a lot of close friends, you know, who have mental health issues because they are LGBT and how they either struggle with their image, or they struggle with how they interact with society.
So mental health is like a huge issue in the LGBT community. And she knows a lot of people who are affected by it. People that she unfortunately lost to suicide, to mental health problems and a lot people who still do. So that was really touching to hear. She was like really excited about my trip and, you know, how she’s so close to these various people.
Harry: Very cool.
Simon: Yeah. So she’s from Sacramento, and I believe she had like participated in one of like the LGBT events just like the past week that I picked her up. She was like, you know, she had a lot of fun, she has a lot of friends like that. So, you know, that was definitely one of the highlights of my trip.
Harry: Cool. Yeah. I think one of the cool things that stood out when you told me about the trip was that sort of did serve a few different purposes and kind of the mental health side of things allows you to or allowed you to really, I’m sure, connect, and it sounds like with this passenger able to really connect with them which was probably, you know, a cool feeling. Because obviously, you get like some drug deal in Nebraska, but then your next passenger might be someone who can totally connect with you on this mental health issue. And the hope is that those kind of good rides always outweigh the bad rides. Right?
Simon: Yeah. I mean, I took a lot of risks, you know, just driving to some random community, even in Detroit, Toledo, Yale, and some more sketchy places in, you know, other parts of the country. But, you know, I’ve always had pretty positive interactions on Lyft. That was probably one of the worst ones with the drug deal in Nebraska. But for the most part, it’s always been very positive no matter who I picked up.
Harry: Yeah. Awesome. Cool. So what was, you know, kind of going back to the actual mechanics of the trip because I wanted to just ask a few questions for maybe people who are thinking about doing this or they may not do quite the journey that you did, but maybe they’re thinking about doing something similar. I mean, first right off the bat, I mean, maybe just explain a little bit about how it’s even possible. A lot of people don’t even realize that you can do Lyft in other cities, right? I mean, with Uber you can work anywhere within your state, but you can’t work outside of the state. Lyft is the same, but they also allow you to drive in other cities. Is that right?
How to Drive in Other Cities
Simon. Yeah. And I don’t know where this knowledge came from, but I think it was just people who just when they’re vacationing, they open their Lyft app, you know, because they’ve been driving, you know, 50, 60 hours a week. You know, it’s just a habit to turn on a driver mode in other cities. They found out that like “Oh man, it actually works in other cities.” So through trial and error a lot of people are like, “Oh man, we could do this all over the country.” So, you know, maybe about like, you know, when they first started, you can drive anywhere. You know, there’s very little regulation or it was a regulation gray area about rideshare. So you could literally turn on your app and actually accept requests. It’s hard to, you know, fly across the country and drive because your car needs to match in.
You know, I really didn’t wanna break any rules or anything, but being that I was driving my own car across the country, then that allowed me to open the app and actually accept requests in a lot of places. And I think the first hurdle that I encountered, you know, years and years back or probably like a year ago was, you know, I wouldn’t be able to accept requests in New York City because you needed TLC plates and stuff. So that was probably the first time I had encountered, “Okay, well, there are local regulations that may prevent me from driving somewhere else.”
I knew about Nevada because they’d have certain licenses and things like that. And I thought I wouldn’t be able to drive down in Miami because, you know, they’ve had some issues with local regulations and things like that.
But I drove to a lot of these cities with the intention of driving and luckily most of them had worked out. The only one that didn’t really work out was…the one that surprised me was in Minneapolis where they have a local regulation about, I think, like in-state plates and license, and I think they needed a certain, you know in-state license as well. So I believe that started in May, so I had literally missed it by about like a month or two. So if it wasn’t for that I would have been able to drive in Minneapolis. And that took me like 200 or 300 miles out of the way down to Nebraska. So that’s why I was kind of a little upset about it.
Harry: So when you go online in a…were you able to go online in a place like Minneapolis or you can’t even go online?
Simon: No, no. The Lyft app works everywhere, but I just noticed something like…I just noticed that I wasn’t getting any requests even though…
Harry: Well, that’s annoying.
Simon: Yeah. And it’s kind of weird because you wouldn’t really know otherwise. Like you just sit there online and not get requests. So that’s what happens in New York. So you know, I visit my parents down in New York, I’m like, “Hey, let me see if it works,” and I’m online and, you know, I wouldn’t get requests for like 30, 40 minutes. I’m like, “Okay. I think something is going on here.” But luckily, I was smart enough to actually get a second phone on this trip. I wanted to record like a time lapse video of the trip. And so I stopped the time lapse and I’m like, “Okay. Let me just fire up my Lyft app, my passenger app to see what was going on.” And that was how…
Harry: So you used your wife’s account or something like that?
Simon: Yeah. So I actually…because I was in Cape Cod for so long, I was trying to see where the other cars were. And then I quickly realized that, you know, as soon as I logged in with the same account and different phone, it logged me off. So then I asked my wife for my wife’s account. And so I logged in to see where the other cars were, and I did the same thing here. I had everything set up now. I had a lot of time in Cape Cod. So I got to Minneapolis, I started up the passenger app, and then I noticed that my car wasn’t there. And then, you know, I watched my, you know, own car for probably about, like, three or five minutes just to make sure it wasn’t any GPS issues. Because I was in downtown, a lot of tall buildings, so you could easily be a block or two away. But I confirmed that I couldn’t see myself, you know, online in Minneapolis. So I knew something was going on, and I think after about another 5 or 10 minutes I just left.
Harry: Gotcha. Okay. So that’s a good tip for, I guess, anyone looking to go out and do this with Lyft. It’s not just about being able to go online, you sort of also need to see your car on the map. So I like that kind of that tip of having a second phone and, you know, your friend, or your wife, or your brother’s account so you can track and maybe do a simple role requests to see if it’s working or not. So that’s definitely a good tip. So kind of wrapping up here. I’m just curious to know like what was your typical day? What did your typical day look like when you were driving?
Simon: It was a long day. For the most part I actually slept in my car because it saved a lot of time.
Harry: Oh, really?
Simon: Yeah. I think I got a hotel room maybe a couple of nights to shower and things like that. I was in my car, you know, all day…
Harry: So it probably smelled pretty good in your car by the end of the trip.
Simon: Yeah. Definitely a little odor, definitely what I got to see, I’m like, “Oh, man, I got to wash these seats.” But for the most part, I woke up probably like around 7 or 8 local time, and then I would drive almost all day up until probably like about midnight, midnight, 1:00, and then I would pull over somewhere to sleep, and then wake up again at 7 and drive. And that was the only way that I could get in like roughly about anywhere between like 600 and 800 miles a day. Typically about like 800 miles a day.
Harry: Wow. And you don’t drink coffee, right?
Simon: No, no. I didn’t. And I…
Harry: So how did you do it, man?
Simon: Yeah. I actually got really worried because, you know, I had a bad habit of falling asleep when I drive, or like, you know, dozing off which is really bad. I’m like, “Man, I’m driving like 800 miles and I don’t know how to survive.” So the one great thing I found out was that snacking on a road trip really keeps you awake. So my wife does that, but even with that she kind of starts, you know, losing concentration about a couple hours or so. So I picked up that little tip on like day two or three, and then after that I’ve been eating like potato chips, beef jerky and, you know, salted pretzels throughout the day. And, you know, the pretzels kind of served as a kind of, you know, nutrition for me for some of those days. That’s all I would eat is like beef jerky and pretzels all day, pretty much. So it kept me awake and it kept me fed too.
Harry: Man, you’re making this trip sound pretty glamorous. Sleeping in the back of your car, eating beef jerky and pretzels.
Simon: Yeah. It’s a great way to spend 16 days of a summer.
Harry: Awesome, awesome. So the real question is would you do it again?
Simon: I definitely would actually. Actually, I have been thinking about doing it again, but like on a much, you know, on a slightly slower timetable. So I could actually go and see some parts of the country, and like take a little side trips to see, you know, like the biggest, you know, a head of corn or something like that. I definitely passed some of those tourist shops, but you know, I couldn’t…yeah, I didn’t really have a lot of time to stop. But yeah, I would definitely look forward to do it again. Not really in the winter because, you know, all the roads in the mountains need like snow chains and all that kind of stuff. But, you know, definitely in like the summer months, you know, anywhere between like May, or maybe like early fall like in September would be a great time.
Harry: So what month did you do your trip?
Simon: Oh, okay, yeah. So I left like the end of June, and then I got to Seattle like the second week of July. So like right in the middle of the summer. Even through the 4th…you know, drove through the 4th of July too. But luckily, there wasn’t too much traffic that I hit in the middle part of the country. You know, mostly…just mostly in like San Francisco, LA, and then on the upper part of the East Coast. Boston down to Virginia. And then after I left Virginia, it was like pretty easy sailing from there.
Harry: Yeah, definitely. I mean, yeah, I like to drive a lot too. It definitely sounds like something, you know, this type of trip would be something that would interest me personally. I think for me though more so than the monuments and tourist traps and things like that. I would probably wanna go on try all the different foods. Like, you know when you watch “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dash” or whatever that show is and they say like, “Man, here’s the biggest burrito ever in New Mexico.” I would love to stop at all those places in every city. Did you get any really good meals when you weren’t eating beef jerky?
Simon: Yeah. So that was the one, you know…in a couple of states I made my way to like actually eat some real food. So I think the first stop I did was probably in New Orleans. It was, you know, I got like a po’ boy which is like a thing down there. It’s like a deep-fried clam sandwich on like a hero bun. And then the other thing were these beignets which are like these little donuts, which are very similar to zeppoles, like Italian zeppoles. I believe it’s very similar. They just call it different. The shape is a little different. And then I stopped for some barbecue in Austin, and then also in St. Louis as well. I like barely made it to St. Louis before everything closed. So I got some like really good barbecue there.
And I think that was pretty much it. I didn’t really do too much food, but I knew I wanted to stop in New Orleans for food because that’s the one place I really wanted to go to. But I think next time I’ll make a more of an effort to do like barbecue and stuff in the south. Like more states and more places.
Harry: Cafe du Monde, right? Right in the heart of New Orleans for those beignets.
Simon: Oh yeah. And I was so lucky I got…I actually got a parking spot like two blocks away.
Harry: Nice. Is that where you went?
Simon: Yeah. And then I was in New Orleans. I had the app on and you could do Lyft in New Orleans, and I was like, “Man…” And there was like Lyft drivers everywhere. I mean, it was such a busy, busy city that kind of took me by surprise. And I’m like, “I’m driving off like 15 minutes,” I’m like, “Man!” It wasn’t that there was not a lot demand, just a lot of cars.
So, you know, I pulled over and I turned my app off, and then, you know, I went to Cafe du Monde, get the beignets. And I’m walking back to my car and I’m eating these beignets which are like completely covered in powdered sugar. And both of my hands are covered in powdered sugar. And I have the app on, I’m like, “All right, this is gonna take me another 20 minutes.” And of course it doesn’t. It takes like 15 seconds. And I get a request and I’m like dripping with powdered sugar everywhere. And I’m like trying to use the app, trying to open my car door, trying not to get the powdered sugar all over my car, while trying to accept the requests and find out where she is and things like that. So that was a fun experience for sure.
Harry: There you go. So, awesome. Well, my last question for you, Simon. What do you recommend to drivers who are considering doing something similar? Whether it’s like a Lyft, doing a little Lyft ride in another state, or doing kind of a similar road trip or even the same type of road trip that you did. What would you recommend? What would be kind of your number one piece of advice to them to make sure they have the most successful trip possible?
Simon: So in terms of Lyfting, you know, looking up local regulations in other cities would be like the first thing you would do. I did look up in some places, but I generally kept to the rule of not displaying my emblems very clearly, and being that I was only doing one Lyft ride per city I knew the risk was pretty low. But if you try and do it for like a day or two days, definitely, you know, talk to drivers and your neighboring states or cities and finding out like what they do. Do they put the emblems on?
This is a transcript of Episode 45: What’s it Like to Give A Lyft Ride in 65 Different Cities? (Transcript). You can find show notes, comments and more by clicking here. You can also listen to the podcast in iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.
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