Thursday, July 31, 2014

My Sister Ship Has Arrived!

Another glorious day is starting. Nary a cloud in the sky and the sun is soon to poke it's flaming head above the Arby's across the street. Imagine my surprise this morning, when I rubbed my sleepy eyes, gazing our over the parking lot I saw myself. Well at least a very similar facsimile anyway.

There across the parking lot was another 93' Pace Arrow Turbo Diesel motorhome.  How do I know it was the same vintage you ask? Well after some online research I discovered that this model of Pace Arrow was only built for 18 months before taking on the new brand name of the American Tradition. I'm sure there are many still cruising the highways, but this is the first duplicate I've run across so far.

Business picked up at the Walmart RV Resort last night. This morning I find all manner of rigs taking up all my favorite spaces. The quantity has jumped up markedly. Yesterday I think the reason behind this uptick in traffic drove through. A motorhome towing a Kettle Korn concession trailer.

At first I thought it might be the Head Of The Lakes Fair, but turns out that is still a few weeks away.

Maybe it's the Superior Raceway? Na, races are on Friday nights and showing up this early doesn't make sense. There must be something going on in the area.

I dug a little deeper and surprise, there is a lot going on in these port cities this weekend. Spirit Valley Days, The Howling Moon Festival in Bay Front Park, with the Guess Who!  These and a whole lot more make this town a hopping place to be right now. Makes sense that Walmart would see more visitors as well.

Looks like I better sit tight, I've got the best parking place around.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Poor Man's RV Life Has Gone Uptown With The Upper Crust Tonight!

It was a busy day today. AT the local U-Haul store to rent a trailer the minute they opened at 7 AM. Then off we drove down to the cabin. This is the last step, hauling the last of the furniture and yard equipment to the auction house. The place is now completely empty and, but for an hour or so of cleaning, ready to be turned over to the new owners.

Kind of a load off my mind since now all we have left to do is collect the money.. I think anyone would be happy to do that part.  At the same time I picked up a couple checks from the Auction company as payoff for the first batches of good that have made it through the system. Though a fraction of what new cost was, I'm pleased to report the return on sales far surpassed my expectations.  A number of things went for close to original sales price... Though some were a clear give away too.

If you just need to let it go, I highly recommend finding a local on line auction company. Sure it's painful, but the ability to just drop the stuff off and sit back and collect the check in many ways makes their 30% take seem a bargain.

Upon returning the U-Haul, I hitched up and headed up to the hill to secure my spot at the local Walmart. later than  usual imagine my surprise upon arrival to find my spot taken by not one, but three large diesel pushers. There is some serious money living at Walmart tonight. A total of 11 rigs visible out my side window with 4 motorhomes close to $350,000 a piece in value.  The Poor Man's RV Life has moved uptown tonight!

I won't let it go to my head, tomorrow is just another day. A stop at the bank, and off to dump my tanks, and by early afternoon I should be back at the Walmart on the Superior side of the harbor.

At least I have the satisfaction of knowing that my to do list before closing on the cabin is basically done.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Just Your Typical Summer Saturday In Rural America!

For my friend Tammy who was bemoaning the lack of a produce stand in Gettysburg this morning, you just happened to be in the wrong state. I no sooner read your message than saw this row of ripe tomatoes stacked in perfect order just across the street from me.

Stands like  this are everywhere around here this time of year. Sweet corn, fresh picked, is being hawked at most every street corner, or gas station.

Across the street, where I was, is the local Danbury WI laundromat. For a community the size of an intersection, this is one classy place. All new machines, with the latest in credit card readers so you don't even need to bring your piggy  bank with you.

While my cloths took a spin I took the time to plan out the rest of my day.

First I thought I'd go for a drive, the weather being warm and sunny. I headed south on hwy 35. First little town along the way is Webster.

Of course I had to collect the water tower. This little town of about 650 was having a good old fashioned county fair this weekend.

I think the whole town was there, as well every town nearby. Lots of cars, lots of people.

It's been a good while since I've taken the time to stop and check out a small local festival, something that happens every weekend around these parts. Each community taking their turn to draw visitors in and help keep the economy growing.

Plus it helps keep the kids busy during summer months. Nothing like rural America to keep the old ways of life and inherent value system alive and well.

When I was younger belonging to the 4-H organization was just what youngsters needed to get them started in showing pride in their local farm roots.

There were even a few classic cars running around the area this weekend. I saw two Dodge Vipers in the space of an hour... Even for modern hot rods they are rare to see.

I stopped at the local casino for their Saturday evening seafood buffet. A treat I will miss as likely this is the last weekend I will be spending in the area.

After I got back to the cabin, which is practically empty, and the comfort of my rolling residence, the weather alerts started. 1/2 dollar sized hail 20 miles south...Time to head out a little earlier than expected. I headed north back to my Walmart sanctuary in Superior. With the storms well south, and the coolness of Lake Superior, I slept much better.

For the effort of driving 50 miles I wasn't expecting I
was rewarded by some spectacular cloud formations as the setting sun reflected on them in the background of this small and mobile community.

I drove through some decent rain on the way back to town, as it was clearing a beautiful double rainbow formed off to the east.

The picture I took wasn't nearly as beautiful so these cloud formation shots are more impressive.
All in all it was a good day living a Poor Man's RV Life.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Walmart...The New Country Club?

After taking Max for his morning constitutional, where he had stop and chat with all his canine buddies, I was kicked back in the passenger seat just enjoying the beautiful morning. As the neighboring RV's packed up and moved on, I was in no hurry with no where to go just yet, the lot opened up and things started looking more like a store again.

This silver Dodge pulled in, whipped around and slid into a parking place way down here in the corner where generally only us transients hang out.  A well tanned, by Minnesota standards, mature lady popped out from behind the wheel and headed for her trunk.

I may have expected her to be seeking a warmer jacket, what with her age and apparent very light clothing, but no.  In a second or two shes hefts out this full set of golf clubs and her visor cap and takes off her sweater and stuffs it into a compartment on the gold bag. She parks her paraphernalia neatly by the curb and sits back down on the front seat of her car.

Well I know Walmart is pretty accommodating these days, especially for those of us taking advantage of their no cost resort, but I wasn't aware they had laid in a back nine for the golf enthusiasts.

She looked around, like she was impatiently tapping her toe. Looking at her watch like she was expecting the porter to come around with the golf cart shuttle to take her to the club house.

About 10 minutes later the rest of her party showed up. In a flash they all loaded clubs and bags into one SUV and off they went to the golf course I presume somewhere else.

There was a class C parked near me that I knew had a car on a tow dolly too. When I finally got ready to move on, I noticed the dolly was empty, so he too had dropped his rig for the day to go wherever.

My first stop was to top off the propane tank for the first time. I knew it was about 1/2 full, but wanted some idea of what it would cost for a full tank.  $32 brought it back up to full...I better prepare for a hit the first time I run it low.

Next to the diesel pump where it took $120 to top it off from 3/4 of a tank. That I expected. The good news is this weekend will be the last trip to the cabin for the motorhome. I have a U-Haul trailer lined up for Monday morning so the day will be spent hauling furniture and lawn tractor to the auction house.

That will be the last step  before closing in about 1-1/2 weeks. My freedom from the system is getting close!




Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dinner With Some New Friends

Having received a generous invitation to dinner from a couple who have been following my exploits, last night I put on my best bib and tucker and headed down to Park Point. Now understand, for me, my best amounts to a decent pair of shorts and a pull over Polo shirt. I just don't do fancy.

I left the Pace parked safely out west and crossed the rumble of the Aerial Lift Bridge headed to the Lakehead Boat Basin Marina located just a few blocks further down Park Point.

This is the pricey part of town for sure, a weeks stay at this RV park right on the harbor will set you back $250. Brent and his lovely wife Tracey met me at the door of their Damon Outlaw toy hauler motorhome.

They're full time RVers, hoping to get established in some manner of online enterprise that will be sufficient to support their desire to travel. Of course, learning that I manage to scrape a few dollars together with my writing, they wished to compare notes so to speak.

They have a blog titled "How I wrecked My Life"  more or less a play on words indicating that the rest of the world thinks they have wrecked their life by down sizing and becoming mobile Gypsies of sort. Funny, they seem perfectly happy with their living arrangement.

You will have to pardon the fact that I didn't take any pictures. I'm a stickler about privacy these days so I only post links to what other people establish as available to the public.

On my way back, as usual, I got bridged. That's Duluth vernacular for a ship came in and the bridge was up so there I sat in traffic for about a half hour.

 There are occasions when they raise the bridge on the hour, then two ships approach while it is up and the total time lapse where you are going nowhere fast can add up to close to an hour.  I know, it's happened to me.

It was an enjoyable evening of pleasant conversation.  Thank you Brent and Tracey for inviting me. I hope you find success in your ventures, and enjoy many safe miles of travel.

Next I returned to the Pace, hitched the Jeep to the back, and headed up the hill to secure my nights spot at the Walmart in Hermantown MN.  So far no backlash for showing up on a regular basis. Last night was a good nights rest too. No trains, no machinery cleaning the parking lot, and a very nice cool breeze.

With accommodations like that I just might be back...probably sooner than I think.






Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Straight Line Winds Take Their Toll!

It was a wild night, for a few minutes at least. Hot and humid all day, of course it had to all culminate in a good old fashioned thunderstorm. The Pace rocked back and forth, the wind howled, the rain came down in sheets. Good thing it only lasted about 20 minutes.
If you notice down the line, there are a number of young stumps left from previous encounters with high winds. I had thought that vandals had been the culprit, but after witnessing this healthy young specimen snap off, I see this is a spot prone to such winds.

When it was done, the humidity was less and the temps had dropped enough that finally I could get some sleep. Except for the rumbling in my stomach. Yes, a touch of food poisoning, or just too much of a bad thing. Like the commercial said, "I got into some Baddd Chicken"! Left over cold  fried chicken for supper was obviously a bad choice. Maybe it was the big piece of German Chocolate cake that topped off the meal. Either way, I paid the price for over indulging.

Company last night was a bit sparse. One other lowly class C was the only other visitor. I noticed how clean and nice his rig looked and this morning soon discovered why. Must be a newbie!

First thing this morning he is outside, walking around with a rag and a spray bottle of cleaner. Catching each drip from under the windows, and checking things over from top to bottom. Then he opened up his large storage compartment and let the cat out of the bag.

It was completely empty. Not so much as a BBQ, or a lawn chair to be seen anywhere. Either they had just picked it up from the dealer, or for some reason this elderly couple needs a sizable rig to go grocery shopping at Walmart.

There is just something inherently wrong about having a large storage compartment empty. A true RVer will have it crammed to the seams with more stuff than they could possible put to use in 5 years of wandering the byways of America.  Maybe I should go over there and enlighten them about proper travel etiquette.

Na, better I spend today getting ready for my evening treat. I've been invited to join a couple of my faithful readers for supper this evening. I've never met them, but they were kind enough to look me up upon finding I'm close by to where they are enjoying a vacation outing.





Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Moth's Swan Song

Good morning all! Another calm beautiful sunrise at the Walmart Ramada in Superior WI. This time I chose the far side of the parking lot and succeeded in minimizing the late night train yard maneuvers. Much quieter!
I also felt a bit safer as my previous roost had me just off the main traffic pattern for arriving semi's loaded with the latest in fashions direct from Chinese sweat shops. A semi alert driver might wander off course a matter of feet and bingo, it would have been a head on right into the front of my motorhome.

Arising this morning there were two car dwellers parked right in front of my rig and a new assortment of units scattered about the rest of the lot. This time there was a drive-a-way truck headed toward an RV dealer with a couple of new travel trailers attached. One on, and one behind. You can pick him out as the center rig at the far back of the pack.

My morning walk about discovered a large colorful moth hunkered down against the rock guard behind my rear tires. I moved him up onto the hood of the jeep for a better shot. His coloring seemed to blend well with the orange of the hood. A closer inspection showed his wings to be a bit tattered, and he was pretty much on his last leg.  At least there was only one leg that seemed to have much movement to it.  After posing for the picture I placed him carefully on the grassy stretch that ran alongside the Pace. Best wishes Mr. Moth.

Yesterday I learned another valuable lesson about living the mobile life. There is no logical reason to have real glass containers when traveling. I should have remembered an experience from 1996, my first time on the road. I had a set of three real glass mixing bowls,
carefully tucked away in an overhead cupboard of my travel trailer. Apparently it only took the right corner for the cupboard to pop open and all three bowls shattered, spreading glass shards all over creation. This time around it was one drinking glass that decided to bail when I unsuspectingly opened the kitchen cabinet.

Hitting the ceramic tile counter, bits and pieces flew everywhere. Max seemed to understand my tone of voice when I  sternly instructed him to stay in the living room, he obeyed like he actually knew what I meant. Usually his obedience is totally controlled by his own whims.

After all this excitement I started the day with a robust breakfast of french toast, hash browns, and bacon. Yes, I know... Too many carbs. I'll make up for it later.

Well this post proves a point. Even on the most mundane of days, I can find something to write about. No matter how simple and ordinary the subject, I bet you made it to the bottom of the page.  Thanks for reading!








Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My Home Town...A Tour!

Often, when we are hell bent on getting away from the same old thing, we overlook our own home town as a scenic and wonderful place. Today I pay homage to Duluth Minnesota. It was a beautiful sunny and comfortable day, one of only two per year we are allowed, so off I went camera in hand.

Funny, even with no thoughts of snow going through my mind, only in this town will you see a pickup truck driving down the main street in the middle of July with a 9' snowplow shining in the afternoon sun. Wish I could have gotten a picture of that, but it passed by too quick.

Instead I stopped to take a shot of my old Alma Mater...The original Duluth Central High School. Imagine, they condemned it as a school back in the early 70's, and came close to tearing it down. Now it has served as the Board of Education building for an additional 40 years with no problem.  The replacement Duluth Central was built, lived it's short and unspectacular life, and is now on the auction block as well. I have no idea what the heck these people are using for brains that are running our school system here.

Another point of interest on the crest of the hill that
serves as the backdrop for the city is Enger Tower. This nifty stone structure was given to the city by the King of Norway many years back. It's the center piece for a lovely little park that offers great views out over the harbor and the St. Louis River.
The next area of the city I explored was right down on the water front. The Canal Park tourist district. All sorts of little gift shops and trendy restaurants line the streets of what once back 40 years or so was the industrial center of Duluth.

Now that tourism is the mainstay of the economy, you can scarcely find a parking place. Needless to
say, there are plenty of rooms for visitors though. Lots of Hotels and Inns lining the water front, and extending beyond the other side of the lift bridge going out onto Park Point. Park Point is a long thin stretch of land that extends across the harbor, separating the big lake from the inner workings of the grain and iron ore shipping industry.

Boats and ships, the distinction being that boats ply the great lakes only and ships come from anywhere in the world, can enter the harbor from either of two ways. Under the Duluth Ariel Lift Bridge, or through the Superior Entry at the far end of Park Point.

As you can see, the boats that use the canal range from the very large, to the tiny...If you can consider a couple of stand up paddle boards boats.

For the sake of my designated collection, I included a shot of my trusty Jeep poised in front of two water towers signifying, yes indeed I was there.

Parking is rather expensive for one like myself who's only intention was to snap a couple pictures. I was very lucky to find a vacant meter, allowing me to only pay my quarter for 20 minutes worth. A bargain as lot parking just a block away was $2.00 minimum
for up to 2 hours. That 20 minutes worked out perfect for my needs.

The drive out to the end of Park Point, a distance of maybe 6-7 miles, is like driving  through a quaint resort town. Known for artists and the rather eclectic population, the area is home to many an older cottage or beach house. It's all about the water here because on the lake side of the now island, once peninsula, is the only stretch of high quality sandy beach found on Lake Superior. For the most part the beaches consisted of well washed river stones and very jagged rock formations. I did make
a stop at Brighton Beach, just out the east end of the city. You can see the beach is all stones. Great for skipping on the placid water, something you don't  find every day on this, known to be stormy, lake.

On the harbor side of Park Point, where the water was very calm today, sailing, kayaking, and the like was in full swing. Not often are the temperatures this nice, though the forecast for next week is even warmer. The month of August is the best time to make use of what this end of Lake Superior offers in the way of entertainment.

On the  far side of the harbor is the still active industrial base of the area. This cement dockage is of interest because once back 40 years ago my best friend and I set out from the Park Point dock for a spring cruise in one of the boats he was preparing for delivery. He was an Outdoor Sporting Goods dealer, and it was his custom to make sure every new delivery was water tested first.

Upon shifting from reverse to forward, after backing away from the dock, the propeller immediately spun off the boat. Sinking immediately to the bottom of the bay.

This was in April, a month that still has plenty of snow, and wicked weather. The three of us on board, each with a canoe paddle, worked like crazy to steer the 18' boat across the harbor, as we drifted toward disaster on the rocks of the apposing shore.

We managed to safely moor the boat along side this shown cement hauler, and hitch hiked to a nearby dealer to purchase a replacement. Once again we got underway, and safely returned to our starting point with not even a scratch to be placed on the new boat.

I watched some visitors getting rudimentary instruction in the art of paddle boarding, something better reserved for those much younger than myself. The kayaks are appealing, but standing as I slowly work my way across the bay sounds like suicide to me.

At one time I was fit as a fiddle with no fear of long distance swimming. Now, knowledge that the lake core water temperature only varies about 5 degrees year around tells me that I don't do well swimming with icebergs.

Driving back toward town, I passed the Duluth Rowing Club. It's been around many years longer than I. Imagine a teem of 8-10 people rowing these skinny little boats across the harbor at a rip roaring speed. It would sure have to be calm before I would feel very comfortable in something so insignificant when I know full well how rough it can get with no warning.

Yes, what started a kind of a boring day really lifted my spirits. I hope you enjoy my quick tour of my home town, Duluth Minnesota. Days like today will be missed.  Not so much come the middle of January when I'm nice and comfy in southern Arizona.













Monday, July 14, 2014

Welcome To The Community!

It's an interesting life, living at Walmart. Last night on Facebook there was a somewhat heated discussion about the proper etiquette one should use while partaking in a free spot to spend the night. Slides in or out, landing gear up or down. My personal opinion is slideouts are fine, but jacks should remain retracted.

As an example, the 5th wheel that was parked directly in front of me had his slideout extended out over the curb and above a grassy area so that he in no way hampered the parking lot or took up anymore space on the black top than someone without slides. A gentlemanly thing to do in my book.

For myself, this is a mute issue because I intentionally avoid owning RVs with slideouts for both this reason and the fact that over time they become a maintenance headache.

As you can see by these pictures we had most common versions of RVs represented here tonight. I came early and secured the most level spot, but during the afternoon others trickled in and by morning I found a reasonable crowd had grown.

If you look close, there is an older gray Cadillac parked behind the cones and 2x4 barrier. It's a young man who appears to be living in his car. Yes, I've been a repeat customer at the Walmart Waldorf Astoria Inn, and every time I've been here, so has he.
There was one more car dweller of sorts as a man was sleeping behind the wheel of a pickup just out of camera range.

During our stay, I witnessed people headed into the store from most of these rigs. I spent a good $20 on supper and a few other supplies myself. This is all Walmart asks in the way of payback for the convenience. They even supply garbage cans in the lot so you can properly dispose of your trash.

No, it's not luxury accommodations by any means. There is a railroad switch yard just the other side of about a 50' deep stretch of brush, and the noise of cars banging continues throughout the day and night. But it's a clean, nice neighborhood, and a person can feel safe here.

Some choose to stay at Walmart because it's what they can afford. Others like myself are either passing through or right now, just waiting to finish up other business before moving on. Yes it's a matter of choice, no one person or group is right in how they view staying for free in a commercial parking lot.

One thing for sure, when you have spent a long day on the road knowing that you can find a safe place to stay, without worry of reservation or exorbitant cost, you come to appreciate what Walmart camping offers.

I know as I start my journey across the country, I will be a regular in every small town that happens to have a Walmart on the outskirts. It's the best way I know to be able to see what each little town has to offer.

Learning about the people of a place in many ways surpasses just looking at the scenery. But then at some point I will be staying for free on BLM land out west, and my $10 Senior Pass will let me into any National Park.

Many don't realize that often right outside the gate of most National Parks are surrounding BLM land. All of which is likely open for free camping. I stayed in a beautiful scenic spot not a 1/4 mile outside of the Grand Canyon last fall...And it didn't cost me a dime.





Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Curing My Low Voltage Problem

All I wanted was a simple $3 extension cord, but no... I left the store poorer by about $120 with the bulk spent on a Peak Power Inverter rated at 1200 watts. True this may have all the earmarks of an impulse purchase, in reality it's a practical solution to an electrical problem.

I have an older 1500 watt inverter. The problem being it has no remote control capabilities. Being it's some 20 odd years old, I also question the quality of it's output. I'm sure technology has improved both their efficiency and frequency stability over the years, so with touchy computers being the norm even for travelers, I thought this a prudent purchase.

The nice part is the kit includes everything. Battery cables, correctly sized. Even the remote switch and wiring is included. This weekend project will solve a number of issues for me.

I have a smaller 400 watt inverter that is sufficient to run most electronics. My motorhome is equiped with 12 vold DC plugins near both the front TV and the bedroom TV. When I plug the smaller inverter in at the bedroom outlet everything works fine. Battery voltage stays well within the required level.

When I plug into the front TV receptacle it's a different story. Because the batteries are some +30 to the rear of the motorhome, the inverter sees about 10 Volts going in. Too low, and the low voltage alarm buzzes.

Sure this one time high class coach came standard with a Trace power inverter sufficient to run everything on board but the air conditioner. Problem is it doesn't work. Removing this big boat anchor of a box will take some time, then with shipping and labor rates being well beyond reason, the feasibility of sending it in alludes me.

For a whopping $90 total, I can remove the disabled Trace unit, and install this much cheaper and likely better operating inverter and still retain use of all electronics that matter most to me. My TV's and my computer.

With 4 house batteries, and a solar panel on the roof, I have the power available. I just need to make it usable and avoid the line lose of running 12 volt wiring from one end of the coach to the other.

Now you know what I will be doing this weekend at the cabin. Just one more step in getting ready to be on the road permanently.




Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Malls, A Bad Use Of Good Real Estate!

Nothing like scouting out your next nights roost at about 9 AM in the morning. Back to shopping center cruising, though this time I was on a mission. The radio mounted in the wall of the bedroom was minus a knob, and the other knob was loose and damaged. Time for a trip to Radio Shack. I might as well find a spot to park for most, if not all of the day too.

After nailing down a nice level spot on the perimeter,
and waiting out a short sun shower, I quickly secured two perfect candidates for my radio redo. While I was in the Mall, and having been a bit lax in my exercise lately, I thought it was a good time to take a lap, and click of most of a mile in air conditioned comfort.

Being it was just the start of the business day for most stores, the place was empty but for a few clerks unwrapping their goods and freshening up
their displays. It's been at least 10 years since I stepped inside a mall of any sorts, and probably close to 20 years since I made it a regular habit.

I guess I was kind of taken aback at what I saw. Glitz and glamour galore, shiny objects, pretty colors, the whole place was one continual assault to my eyes with every step. I just can't imagine what draws people to be so easily  separated from their hard earned cash for this endless supply of crapola.

It appears the one thing that malls universally have in common is, nothing contained within their kiosks, cubicles, and store fronts can be classified as essential goods. The place could evaporate into thin air and the consumer would be just that much better served.

The only thing I saw worth even giving a second look was two displays containing the latest offerings presented by the Harley Davidson Company.

Having ridden motorcycles for 20 years, back some +20 years ago, and with my last steed being the then brand new on the market 883 Sportster, at least that was one product I could identify with.

Sadly my riding days are long past me, so beyond snapping a quick photo for this chronicle, even that shiny new highway cruiser is no match for the comfort and ease of rolling down the highway in my twenty year old Pace Arrow.

I guess I have just outlived my consumerism past, the Mall has nothing for me any longer. Instead I will mosey down the highway a couple miles and settle back in where I belong. Good old Walmart. At least I can look forward to finding something good for supper.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Transition Is Well On Its Way

For those of you coming over from the Stealth Van Dweller, this is the start of my new life. For those just signing on, I started this journey building a one man camper of sorts from a retired Chevy Express van back about 5 or 6 years ago. Throughout the process I documented my progress with various articles and pictures. Sadly much of that material is about to disappear. Yahoo, in their infinite idiocy, had determined that portion of their offering is not longer profitable and will be disabling access by the end of this month.

The timing is ironic because it is this month that I start my new life as a full time RVer in my upgraded dwelling. Hardly stealthy any longer, I am a bit at a lose as to what to call my rolling home, but with input from you and others, hopefully something worthwhile will stick.

More recently I used a 2013 Dodge Caravan as my solo traveling dwelling. More minimalistic, but then newer, it provide a secure and economical way to see the country. In the past year it has traveled about 19,000 miles reaching from coast to almost coast as I spent time during my first year of retirement visiting friends and relatives. Taking in some, unseen to that point, sights along the way.

Getting a solid +30 MPG on the open highway, economy made this a great way to clock up a lot of miles without going bankrupt.

This was a simple setup that was completely stealth. With the windows blacked out with panels, it looked like a normal Mom's soccer van no matter where you parked at night.

All this while I was still living in a sticks and bricks home, only traveling when the whim hit me. Now life has taken on a whole new direction. The sale of my cabin is set to close by the beginning of next month. From that point forward, home is my 1993 Pace Arrow Turbo Diesel motorhome.

Yes it's older, but it is very solid. No slideouts, and no wear and tear on major mechanical systems that affect the integrity...If you note I am not a fan of slideouts, you would be correct. Inevitably as they age they become a maintenance headache and very likely a source of water infiltration.

Everything I own is tucked away in this 37' highway cruiser. It's been a summer of drastic downsizing. If I haven't used it in 6 months, I got rid of it. All the trappings of maintaining a country home, gone at pennies on the dollar. Having done this a number of times, the physiological adjustment that many would find hard, was nonexistent for me. It was nothing more than a good house cleaning. I always did like a simpler lifestyle.

Of course, at 10 MPG, this doesn't make for an economical around town grocery getter. I had to add a couple things more to my entourage. There is my spare tire. A Yamaha scooter that can be used around campsites, and for short distance errands. My primary toad will be a 2012 Jeep Wrangler.


The Jeep was a compromise between economy and fun. Yes, it gets over 20 MPG on the open road, but more importantly it will allow me to explore off road most anywhere I could dream up of going. Arizona ghost towns, Colorado mine sites, and Minnesota Northwoods. This thing is the pack mule of the automotive world.

Over the past few weeks I've been scrambling to get things all ready for the road. I installed a towbar on the Jeep, and rigged extra lights on a cargo rack on the back.
A simple rack was made to carry the scooter on the back of the motorhome, and now I can travel with everything very easily.

The premise of this blog will be to dis-spell the Wall Street notion that a person needs to have $1 million in the bank to have a fun and full-filling retirement. I manage just fine on an annual income of around $25,000 with very little in the way of cash reserves.

If you want to travel and do it in comfort, even on a modest budget, it is entirely doable. Just get off  your butt and do it.