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A New Journey After Fifty

This blog will document the events of this journey, good or bad.

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Here we sit, stunned and confused.  No work…not again.  No freight to transport, no money to be made.  This is not the first time work has dried up for this couple.  It happened about seven years ago during the housing crises.  It was a time for a change then and once again, time for a change now.  We drove as OTR “Over the Road” truck drivers in the expedite trucking world.  Over the road for five years delivering “just in time” freight.  All kinds of freight.  You name it, we hauled it.

It was a sort of a precursor for what we are to embark on this go around.  Life on the road.  This time will be different.  We won’t be sharing an 8×8 sleeper.  Not that it was all that bad.  Although cramped, it had all the comforts of a small camper a refrigerator, microwave, TV and can’t forget the Xbox.  We’ve done this before.  This time we’ll gain regular sleep and an eating schedule on our terms.  This time it will be a camper’s life on our schedule.

After three weeks of fighting off anxiety and mild depression, we came out of our stupor like a waking giant.  It was time to make a plan.  How did we wish to live?  It was our choice this time.  What were our dreams and ideas the last time this happened?  We muddled with the idea of Workampers before.  Before the job offer of OTR trucking.  How would we make it work, what would be our income?  It took many, many hours of online research to make the decision a reality.  We could do this.

So here we are, selling our home, pick up, the straight truck and anything that we can.  There are many people who have given us courage and well wishes.  Even those that wished they could do the same.

This blog will document the events of this journey, good or bad.  All truth and nothing but the truth.  There are many other fellow travelers who only tell the happy end of the story.  We are real people with real encounters.  We will tell it like it is.  Hope you will join us, cheer us on and leave us constructive comments as we “do this one more time”.

Life is a Detour

It’s been a crazy ride since March 2017, eight months of non-stop changes.  Here are my thoughts on the whole experience.  

When I started this blog, I committed myself to being honest concerning the experiences we endured during this camper life journey. The good, the bad, and the indifferent. It’s been a crazy ride since March 2017, eight months of non-stop changes. Here are my thoughts on the whole experience.

Confined Spaces and Cabin Fever.

Cabin in WinterEven the hardiest people of sound mind will find it difficult to create enough entertainment to keep yourself busy. There is only so much reading, crafting and internet activities to keep the mind active. There will be days when you will question yourself, “What am I accomplishing here”. Not to say the solitude is bad, but it will run its course over time. Human beings are social by nature. Look out for extended periods of time when you are feeling blue or indifferent. These could be precursors for mental health issues in the future.

The O’ Mighty Dollar.

As frugal as we may be, there will always be a need for cash. Finding enough income dollar-726881_960_720to buy food, clothing, medicines, or fix breakdowns is inevitable. The majority of the population is depended on the Capitalist way of living, no matter what your personal political beliefs are. We need service providers and stores to make it month to month. In order to make the camping lifestyle a success, there must be some form of residual income to depend on. Be it retirement, pensions, social security and the likes. Don’t think you will make a dependable income from the mass amounts of people out there wanting your services. Yes, you will make a little, but a little won’t cut it. It takes much more than you think.

What about all those successful YouTubers you’ve been watching? They all have their own story to tell. If you pay attention, many of them have residual income; are they receiving a disability check, food stamps, other forms of benefits? How do you know? You don’t. Many I have watched have not given up their homes. They have stability, or they circle back to their familiar stomping grounds, aka hometown.  They are not going it alone. Enough about that.

Creature Comforts of Home.

Pink_and_black_bathroomHere is where we get down and dirty. Are you willing to forgo your daily bathing routine? Yes, I have heard, “I have a shower and water hook up”. What happens when you can’t find suitable utilities, aka campgrounds? Don’t kid yourself, it will happen. Do you know how many gallons of water it takes to bathe in a bucket, not a shower? I do… five gallons if you have short hair. Add a couple of gallons for long hair. It takes a half a cup of water to brush your teeth. How about using the toilet?  Have you ever pooped in a bucket? You say, “WHAT”! Yes, a five-gallon bucket with a Lug-a-loo.  What if I have to pee? Well, ladies…an empty gallon jug and a plastic funnel works just fine. Guess you never thought you would stand up to pee. Now you can. Disposal is always an issue. One word of advice, don’t go digging around in trash cans and dumpsters. Ask any truck driver, they can teach you a lot. Enough said on this subject.

Food Preparation and Choices.

We have a decent size refrigerator in our motor home. It holds approximately a weeks worth of food for two people. With that said, it does not leave enough space for cold soft drinks and the top shelf is used for a large block of ice to keep everything from spoiling. That doesn’t leave room for fresh veggies. Meal planning has changed 3345850330_f85ba44d10_bdramatically, more canned very thing. Not that it is bad, but it does get mundane after a while. Not to mention trying to get the nutrition that is needed to keep one healthy. How many ways can you cook hot dogs, eggs, canned veggies till it doesn’t appeal to you any longer? I long for my kitchen gadgets.

Moving, Moving, and More Moving.

The four M’s. Is this really realistic? Sounds great in theory, but every story has an end. For us, the end is no more moving. I may have told you all before that my husband and I drove an expedite truck across country for five-plus years. We were paid to move freight long distances. We saw almost all lower 48 states multiple times. Lived in a 96-inch sleeper, slept at truck stops and rest areas alike. 100_1097I’ve showered and laundered our clothes in so many small towns across North America it would make your head spin. I have enjoyed fine dining and greasy spoons from Laredo, Texas to Minot, ND. So our need to see the country has been fulfilled, our adventurous streak has run its course. This Camper Life was just another extension of that lifestyle that needed to be explored, and we did it. One more check mark off the bucket list.

Recommendations:

So you still want to give this uncertain lifestyle a chance? I’m not here to convince you otherwise. We did it, we survived. Who am I to tell someone, “You’re crazy” for trying. If there is a burning desire for you to get out there and experience an adventure then do it. Just know what you’re in for and plan accordingly. You may find yourself right back where you started from.

For us, we are putting roots down again. Our curiosity has been quenched and our longing for permanency has taken over. We’re on a new path, new career, and a new start. I wish all of you the best of luck in your adventures and God Speed.

Laura at San Refael Reef, Az

*In the near future, this blog will be incorporated into my personal blog, Dotty’s World. I will continue to write about new experiences mixed with my interests, events, and hobbies. I hope you will enjoy reading my discoveries because there is always something to be said.*

 

 

 

Long Road to Recovery

 O’Lord, this wasn’t going to be easy.  I needed help right a way.

A Crash Course in Nursing.

Picking up where I left off in my previous post, Crash of the Titan, a very long night was ahead of Bill and I. First challenge was getting him up the front stairs.  O’Lord, this wasn’t going to be easy.  I needed help right away.  I heard my neighbor outside, running around the house, I called out for assistance.  Thank God someone was there to help me lift and push Bill up the stairs.  He could barely move.  The morphine had worn off and every movement created sharp cries of pain.Toon Nurse

Now in the house, do I sit or lie him down?  Every movement caused him so much anguish.  Laying down caused the most pain and getting him back up was almost impossible.  It was a terrible idea. This is how I got him off the bed and my first failure as a nurse.  I gently placed the palms of my hands on his should blade and pushed.  Oh NO, NO, NO…and the screaming commenced. Jumping to the lower part of his back I forget about the eleven broken ribs.  Oh NO, NO…wrong move, more screams.  There was nowhere to place my hands to pry him off the bed!  One big push and he was up, gasping for air.  I remember falling to my knees and crying…uncontrollably.  It was the most helpless feeling I had ever experienced in my life.  Hurting the one I loved thinking I was helping him.  Sad Heart

Now I knew he was going to have to sit in an upright position for weeks.  Staggering down the hallway to the living room we went, searching out the biggest, comfiest chair we had.  This is where he slept for many weeks ahead.  I took to the couch to keep an eye and ear on him throughout the next week.  The children were old enough and available to assist me with taking care of Bill’s needs.  Our son, Ray, placed cinder blocks under the comfy chair raising it up enough for Bill to get out of it with ease, good idea.

The following morning our next challenge was bathing.  You know, they don’t give you a shower in the trauma unit, so to the shower, we go.  Bill was still covered in blood from the night before, he smelled like iron.  It seems like forever trying to wash away the dried blood stuck in his long hair. I gently avoiding the fifteen stitches in his head trying not to disturb the sutures.  What a nasty scar this is going to be.  The rest of the day was filled with scheduled medications, bathroom runs and making sure he was eating and drinking a lot of fluids.  Sleeping was his main activity, mine was watching him sleep.  cat eyes

Nothing changed much that day, it was the following day that raised an alarm.  Bill began to cough.  Coughing with broken ribs was more than enough to deal with but he was coughing up brown mucus.  The dangerous dark brown sorts, I then knew he was in danger.  Infection was settling in his lungs.  I had to get him to a doctor and quick.  

 

To Be Continued

 

 

This Life in a Camper

No matter how much strategizing life has a way of doing its own thing.  This summer has proven that to be true.

The Best Laid Plans Goes Astray…

No matter how much strategizing life has a way of doing its own thing.  This summer has proven that to be true.  I would like to get real here for a moment or two.  Sharing our setbacks and changes in plans.

Here is the truth, we are getting older.  At fifty life is much slower and (not to be a downer) less exciting.  The things that used to excite and move our emotions just don’t do it for us anymore.  Every morning takes a little more effort to motivate.  Life is not anew, it’s that same old hat. old_age_quote_3 I now understand how elderly people become crotchety, the grumpy old man syndrome.  I feel it peeking its head out every now and again.

Reality set in when we realize there is no way of getting around some type of permanency.

A stable place to call home.  Whether it be a campground, small piece of land, even BLM land (semi-permanent).  It’s still quasi-permanent.  Even nomadic people had a migration pattern.  So do we.  Knowing we needed a steady income in the near future, we had to back up and punt.  We are not pensioners, collect social security or independently wealthy.  There has to be some form of income at some point. Here is where the problem lies.  How to put down roots as cheaply as possible, remain somewhat mobile and reduce expenditures in today’s economy.

I frequently read on Facebook group posts (full-time camping threads) questions concerning making a living.  How does one do it, traveling the country and making money?  I won’t say it’s impossible, however, if you’re a prideful person I will say you will have a tough go at it.  Changing jobs frequently is stressful, wondering if you are going to work today or tomorrow is stressful.  thumb_stress_reductionDo you have enough money for the limited bills you do have, is stressful.  Our age doesn’t provide us with the flexibility to constantly change our situation on a whim.  We are on a two to three-year cycle.  Not bad for our age.

So we have stayed put for the past couple of months taking care of multiple doctor visits (old age got us again).  Battling out the aches and pains (where did that come from?) and learning what we can and can not do.  Our YouTube site has been stagnant due to lack of content. Permanency doesn’t provide for interesting videos.  Neither does waiting on doctor visits and surgery.  Life is rather boring that way.  It does allow for reflection on what is to come.  Now we are back to the permanency thing.  A ‘Catch 22’ or a full circle quagmire.  We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

quagmire-word-nerd

Limitations of income don’t allow for rent payments or mortgage (not that we want them).  Moving to an area that allows full-time camping removes us from the labor force. So now what?  What is good for the goose may not be good for the gander.  This goose doesn’t want what comes along with brick and mortar housing.  We like our simplistic life with all its navigational problems.  This is most likely the most challenging change we have made yet.  As the seasons change maybe we will have an epiphany that will set us on the right course.  Until then more waiting and more reflection on this life in a camper.

 

Oscar Wilde     “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
― Oscar Wilde

Crash of the Titan

That eventful day started off like any other day, with a kiss good-bye and a “be careful”, he was a carpenter after all.

Our marriage started out pretty much as most newly wedded couples do with the exception of a horde of children.  Busy days of working, cleaning cooking, paying the bills.  My husband career choice was building houses, it was his passion.  It paid the bills and he enjoyed working with wood.  This was in the early 2000’s and we were in our early thirties.  Not thinking much about the future only living for the day and feeding hungry children.

That eventful day started off like any other day, with a kiss goodbye and a “be careful”, he was a carpenter after all.   I went about my daily routine of cooking and cleaning until… the phone rang.  It was his business partner, Bobby.  I knew something was wrong by the sound of his voice.  It was quaking, he sounded like he was going to cry.  Then he told me, “The building collapsed, Bill is hurt!”.  I think that’s what he said, I blanked out at that point.  All I knew was my newlywed husband was being airlifted to the nearest trauma unit in Atlanta.

 

What Happened??

Bobby tried to explain the best he could, “The storm from the previous night torqued the building’s frame out of position”, “We were trying to straighten the frame and the trusses (roofing frame) broke from under Bill’s feet.  He fell 16 feet to the concrete and the rest of the build fell on top of him”.  “I thought I killed him!”

BookOfNurseryRhymes_p119b

As soon as Bobby could get to the house, we drove to Atlanta.  Bill was in pretty bad shape.  Eleven broken ribs, broken collar-bone, twelve stitches to the head.  I never once thought how I was going to take care of him, only how I was to get him home.  I thought I would have a day or two to figure that one out, but silly me, this is Bill we are talking about.

As Bobby and I were driving to Atlanta, Bill and the Doctor had made an agreement.  Bill wanted to go home and the Doctor wanted him to stay.  The Doctor told Bill if he could walk to the counter and check himself out he could go home.  Well…that’s exactly what he did.  After bumming a cigarette from the nurse on duty,  having a brief smoke, he dragged his butt back into the hospital.  The orderlies poured him back into the bed.  That’s my husband.  Is he a Titan?  I think he would have made a good one.

Clash of the Titans
Struggle of the Titan

Juiced up on more morphine then most people could possibly handle, he waited for us to bring him home.  I was utterly surprised when the hospital released him.  I had no clue how I was going to take care of 6 foot 3 inch, 225 lb man with a ba-gillion broken bone.  This was the start of our new life together.  This was our first challenge.  Could we handle it, would our marriage make it?  I had to make sure he would survive his injuries now and those to come.

 

 

Honeymoon at Belle Acres Resort

I researched secluded camp grounds in North Georgia and there I found, Belle Acres Resort, a camping resort for nudists!

Our First Experience Camping…Going Nude.

In my last post A Start to a Healthy Relationship I ended my memories with possible ideas for a honeymoon spot.  We were both married before and we were looking for a new experience, something totally different.  We both liked the idea of a mountain retreat and camping.  How could we create an exceptional memory that was unique, memories we would never forget.

I researched secluded campgrounds in North Georgia and there it was, Belle Acres Resort, a camping resort for nudist!  Ok, this piqued my curiosity.  How many people did I know could say they spent their honeymoon with nudists?  I loved the idea. However, it took a little more effort to convince my husband to forgo his clothes and enjoy the forest, naked.

We had all sorts of misconceptions of what we would find when we got there.  Would people stare, would we feel awkward or would there be unwanted attention?  None of those things happened.  I will admit it took a six-pack on the drive up ( I drove) for my husband to calm his nerves before we checked in.  We were greeted with the most gracious hospitality we could have expected.  The owners made us feel so welcome and at ease.  They were tickled that we chose their piece of heaven to spend our honeymoon.  They nick-named us the “honeymooners”.

It took me no time at all to strip my clothes and enjoy all that campgrounds had to offer.  Bill, well…he took his time.  I will never forget the image of my husband dressed only in flip-flops, a towel around his neck and a cooler in hand.  Of course, there was a six-pack of ever calming liquid hidden in that box.  We were making our way to the community pool.

This is where all our preconceived notions of what we would find became unwarranted.  We were greeted by other camp guests with warm welcomes and the utmost respect.  Never once did we feel uncomfortable in the presence of other nudists.  No one starred or gawked at us.  Holding a conversation, there was direct eye contact, no wandering over body parts, it was not what I expected.  We were both pleasantly surprised.  How many people can say they played pool naked?

If you’re wondering about the facilities,  well it was almost 18 years ago.  At that time there was a huge community pool, activity center ( with pool table), and the largest hot tub I have ever seen.  While preparing to write this post, I went back to Belle Acres Resort’s website and was pleasantly surprised that the owners have made many great upgrades to the grounds.  It looks great, makes me wanna go back and experience my memories all over again.

So would I do it again, yes?  Would I recommend others to try the nudist lifestyle, sure? Don’t be timid or shy.  It’s totally natural and invigorating. An experience I wouldn’t trade for anything in this world.

Guide to Successful Boondocking

This is our top 10 boondocking tip for the inexpirenced boondocker. This guide helped us have a safe and enjoyable stay where ever we parked.

10 Boondocking Tips for the Inexperienced Boondocker

This is our top 10 boondocking tips we recommend for the inexperienced boondocker,  We used these tips on our 2600 mile journey this past Spring, on our road-trip to Georgia and back to Michigan.  Not once were we asked to leave our parking spot.

Here is our list:

1:     Ask permission – Just don’t assume it is legal for you t to park in any public parking lot.  Ask the management of the anchor store if they would allow you to park overnight.  Many times they will agree and direct you to the best area in the parking lot to park.

2:     Don’t lie about why you are there – Be honest about your need to park.  We were never told no, even when it was posted “no overnight camping”.  We were just honest about it.

3:     Never set up camp in the parking lot – We have seen campers take advantage of the kindness of store manager and their parking rules.  Don’t pull out your grills and chairs as you would if you were at a campsite.  It’s rude and just plain tacky.

Rude

4:     Never overstay your welcome – One or two days stay at best.  You don’t want to attract attention to yourself and ruin other traveler’s chances to boondock at the same location.  Share the love.

5:      Spend a little money  – Even if it just a gallon of water or a bag of ice.  Patron the store will make the manager more willing to let you stay longer.  It’s also being considerate of the situation.

pitch in trash image

6:     Keep it clean – Pick up your trash and clean up your surrounding.  It’s very sad to see full trash bag and tons of litter surrounding the parking lots.  Be a good guest and pick up after yourself.  It will make management happy too.

7:     Be quiet – This is not a time to have a party.  Keep your noise level down, again don’t attract attention, it’s rude and you may get a visit from the police.

8:     Vehicle Presentation – You don’t have to have a new camper to be overlooked while boondocking.  Keep your rig clean and in good working order.  It draws less suspicion.

Traveler, Motor Home, Travel Journal, Bonndocking

9:     Consideration parking habits – Plan your parking on the outskirts of the parking lot.  Don’t park up front and take up multiple spaces.  You’ll only make management and customers angry.  Be considerate of the space your rig will use.

10:    No major repairs while parking – Many stores have a policy that states no repairing of vehicles in parking lot. If you have major repairs in the future, plan accordingly and drive your rig where you can repair it or have it repaired without harassment.

Live by the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have done to you” (Luke 6:31) and you should have no problems boondocking on your travels.  You can also save money on the way too.

Being different

Such a nice post on being different. Don’t judge. Just enjoy.

April's Gypsy Life Part2

IMG_7320It’s never right to judge People. You don’t know what People are going through, so it’s always best to be kind. If people choose to be different and or live differently don’t judge or make fun of them. Everyone is going to see life differently, there’s no wrong way to live. There are just different ways to live. For example: My Parents and I travel across America and Canada and we don’t plan anything, we just go wherever we feel in that moment. Some find this odd while others say it’s extraordinary that we are choosing to Live this way. It’s still hurtful when People say  it’s silly to Live the way we choose. We choose to be different because this is what makes US happy.

So instead of making fun or using hurtful words to look down on how someone who chooses to live differently….just acknowledge that there are…

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