Sunday, October 31, 2010

Report for October

My goal is 20 grand by Xmas 2011 - right after graduation.  I figure this will represent a 35% down payment (estimating a purchase price of $55,000 for a used 24-ish foot Class C or B+).fundraising ideas                        

No contribution to the RV fund this month due to car repairs ($900) and yet another root canal ($915) note: the second one in six months.  My dentist gets to go to Alaska but I've never been (she said, pouting, with a mouth full of gauze).  My savings has stalled a bit since August. 

14 months to go ............

Boy - seeing this savings graph really reinforces the wisdom in the decision NOT to buy the bug:

Next month looks iffy as well with tuition, onboard cruise spending, and car insurance due.  Oy!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

My (Somewhat) Unconventional Life

This blogging enterprise is most interesting!  I’m becoming less shy about sharing my life with strangers.  Does anyone else feel this sort of public disclosure comes easier than with people you know?  I find the cool thing about getting older is looking back and seeing your life as a series of decisions, steps, pieces of a puzzle.   One thing I'm loving about finding this RV/Travel/Blogging community is hearing your unconventional choices. 

Here's some of mine:

Help Me! 

I grew up in the military - nomads surrounded by other nomads.  It was a great childhood.  That must be why, when I can’t travel, I feel like an unwatered plant.  A droopy, withered, gasping plant. 

As a result, I’ve always tried to arrange my life with a built-in roaming option.  It doesn’t always work out that way because I also have the conflicting ambition gene   (which I curse from time to time).  The following is a list of critical steps I’ve taken that got me to today.

Step One.  Choosing nursing as a career.  I know I’m supposed to say that I wanted to be a nurse to ease suffering.  Well, yes, that is rewarding but my primary reason was that nursing is a flexible way to earn a living.  Part-time, full-time, on again, off again.  I’ve been doing it for 25 years and have never ever taken this particular perk for granted.  I’ve had 2 major career tracks changes in nursing and have taken 4 travel jobs - memories of which I wouldn’t trade for anything on earth.  (More on them later).

Step Two.  Saying no to parenthood.  The second adult step in my unconventional life was the early decision not to have children.  That crucial decision has enabled me to live a life with an exponential number of options.  I’ve taken full advantage but ... I remain greedy and (at the time when I might well have been a grandmother) I want to go more, do more, experience more.

Step Three:. Choosing the right partner.  (Actually, this was dumb luck).  My wonderful husband of 27 years has always respected my independence even though, at times I’m sure, it has made his life more difficult. 

Step Four.   Living deliberately.  I’ve always avoided debt and this has earned me a lot of “freedom points”.  In 1995 we left our jobs, sold everything, and moved to our alma mater town that we love.  We have lived small and (mostly) happily ever after.  We own a very modest home that we may stay in for the rest of our lives (more on that later, too).  We live below our means.  And when we do spend, we prefer experiences over things.  Our investment in this lifestyle pays ever greater dividends as we grow older.

Well, those are my pivotal choices.  At the risk of sounding smug, I like them.  (I made some bad ones too but, well .... let's just stop here). 

 Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
 I took the one less traveled by,
 And that has made all the difference

- Robert Frost -

Friday, October 29, 2010


Jennifer, the talented blogger of Living in My Car, has started a new discussion group.
A description from the homepage:
I get a lot of questions on my blog, through YouTube, and via email about fulltime solo travel for women, so I've created this group for women who are aspiring to be fulltime RV travelers.

I hope women who are already fulltiming solo also will join.

Hopefully this will create a forum (and useful archive) where women can ask questions in a comfortable environment and learn from other women who are already on the road. (Women couples are also welcome.)

Basically, if you are a woman and drive and maintain your own rig, this group is for you.

I look forward to meeting you!


Click to join womengosolo

Click to join womengosolo

Thursday, October 28, 2010


     As you know I am saving for a small Class C or Class B rig with a target purchase date of December 2011.  I am halfway to my $$goal$$ but this sort of sustained effort could very well stall should I become shrouded in the unfocused fog that is everyday life.  (You grown-ups know what I mean).  I’m sure that being mindful regarding my progress will keep me motivated (also the reason for the existence of this blog).

   Maybe it will help if I keep a list of sacrifices small and large.  Here’s the latest struggle.  It was pretty large.





     I’ve always been absolutely buggy about VW bugs.  I grew up (pretty much) in the 60’s and my Dad always had a bug.  Every few years he would trade for a different color.  The last model he owned was the final model for the original Beetle – a bright oranget Superbeetle.  On the verge of my 15th birthday and acquisition of my learner’s permit, it was stolen from a movie theater parking lot.  It wasn’t really my brother’s fault but you know how that goes….  I blamed him anyway.  So ended the Beetle era for our family. 

   Fast forward 20-something years and the introduction of the New Beetle.  I continued to lust after one of my very own the way some women yearn to have children.  I really can’t explain why I don’t have one – my head turns every time I spot one (frequently) and I have test-driven them (occasionally). 

    Last week, my husband informed me that one of the last New Beetles – the Final Edition of which only 1500 were manufactured – was for sale in our little town!  A 2010 convertible with barely 6,000 miles on it for $21,998 - a very good price.   Here she is (#1142/1500):

I promptly drove it and decided my time had come. I was going to finally own a bug! 

But over the next several days, while playing hard-to-get with the salesman, it occurred to me that I would be setting my RV scheme back some $6,000 - $8,000 (depending on the final purchase price).  This would translate to about 6 – 8 months or 3 - 4% of my savings goal.  Yikes!
    Today I’m sad but proud.  Sad to report that I’m still not a bug owner but proud to say I stayed on track.  One week later, I still feel it was the right decision.

Unless ...........  Is there a compromise solution?

    I’m certain there are many more temptations in the future to chronicle.  I hope they won’t all be that tough.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"The Long Long Trailer"

     Who can resist the 1954 comedy “The Long Long Trailer”?  Well, maybe a lot of people but ... I'm not one of them.  In fact, I have to watch it every time it’s on TCM.  If Netflix offered the movie via instant watch, I’d see it even more often.  Great script, director (Vincente Minnelli), sets, stars (DesiLu, of course) – all in delicious 50’s Technicolor.  

For anyone unfamiliar with the film, here’s the link to TCM’s in-depth synopsis:  There are some wonderful black and white photos of the production as well.  And don’t miss “The Long Long Trailer” trailer! 

Book Jacket
    The film was loosely based on a book with the same title by Clinton Twiss.  It was published in 1951 and has been out of print since then, I believe.  A few weeks ago, I finally obtained a copy through interlibrary loan.  In the late 40’s Twiss and his wife of many years quit the rat race and, although completely inexperienced, bought a 29 foot trailer and set off to see the USA in their Chevrolet.  There may be earlier accounts of full-timing adventurers but I’m sure none so completely charming. 

Clinton Twiss

    The story was modified a good bit after it reached Hollywood but the material proved to be an excellent, um, vehicle for Desi and Lucy.  The movie made a lot of money for the couple at a time when “I Love Lucy” was in its fourth season and their popularity was unmatched.    

    Sadly, the author died soon after the book was published and never saw the film.  His widow – Merle – continued to live in the trailer until her death.

If you are a fan of the movie (and can find a copy), give it a read!   

Monday, October 25, 2010


Are you familiar with the National Park Service's "Passport to the National Parks" program? 

You can purchase the passport at any NPS visitor center.  The spiral-bound book resembles an official US passport but contains pages for dated stamps for each NPS site you visit. 
I've been collecting them since 2003.  I now have 56 cancellations and 7 bonus stamps from 6 of 9 regions.  Here I am receiving my first stamp (kinda like first communion only the ranger wore a way cooler hat and he was smiling).  The scene was the Andersonville National Historic Site.  They have a POW museum - a moving and memorable experience.   

So many blank pages - so little time!
The cancelation stamps are a lot of fun to collect and make great souvenirs.  And ... it's a highly addictive hobby!  What more could you want? 

I intend to keep "stamping away" every chance I get. 

Here are a couple of links if you are interested in finding out more. 

Wikipedia's entry about the program:

This is an avid group of collectors.  The website includes an exhaustive list of all NPS sites and all the stamps available for each site:

Happy Stamping!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

To blog or not to blog?

    OK -  I'm having some abivalence about starting this journal and should be wary about beginning another project until I'm through with school.  Especially since I'm not traveling yet - which makes the title of this blog completely misleading. 
    But I realize that there are other bloggers out there no doubt just as busy as I who also aren't traveling yet but are in the planning stages.  They have inspired me and I have a feeling they may also be instrumental in keeping me motivated.  So .... I want to be part of this community.

     My plan: to purchase a gently-used Class B+ or small C motorhome in order to fill all the holes in my travel resume.  For example, I've never been to the Pacific Northwest and after passing the age of 50 a few years ago, this just eats away at me.  Daily.

1967 Buick
      While growing up, my family took road trips for vacation (in cars like this)   and those are among my best memories of childhood.  Maybe that's why I have always loved to roam.  I love my home, job, husband, and life very much and the only thing I would change is to travel more.  The sands in the hourglass are running out and there is much left to see. 

Between family, home, and work obligations, I don't yet know how I'm going to pull this off - exactly - but I'm confident that I'll figure it out soon enough. 

Winter Home

Summer Home

(Actually, it's the same house)

John & Doris 


Thanks to all of you out there who inspire (mainly envy in) the rest of us!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Testing ...Testing ...

Doris the Exploress

Just testing some of the blog features. 

At the top is Big D taking a break from her duties protecting us from the small furry (and apparently dangerous) animals that populate our yard. 

The following photos evoke happy memories of solving the New York Times crossword while enjoying a Manhattan on the balcony of a ship somewhere in the Carribean in April.

Life was is good.