Back In The U.S.A.!

The last of the furniture was toted out of the Ecuador house around 2 pm on April 15 but I had to wait until 4:30 to be picked up & taken to a friend’s house for my last night in Ecuador.  There was nothing to sit on except the toilet or a cement ledge out in the front patio!  Strangely enough, the cement ledge was more comfortable.  We spent a nice night back at Jani’s place in Paute and then left for the Quito airport at 10 a.m. on the morning of April 16, arriving at Charleston, SC airport at about 10 a.m. the following morning.  UGH!  Hope to never have to  have another long long travel day like that one. It was pretty uneventful though except that I accidentally left my carry-on bag at Customs in Atlanta. Turns out they really hate when that happens, LOL!   I had to  wait about 15-20 min. for a Delta employee to escort me back to Customs to retrieve it.

We’ve been staying in a big borrowed tent at Hunting Island State Park in SC for 2 weeks….the weather has been pretty good overall, and it’s great to be among my camping friends again.  We spend time at the beach reading and chatting, eating in restaurants, going to town.  . I have a one burner electric hot plate that’s been named “Christine” (after the famous unruly car) because she’s so unpredictable and diabolical!!  She pays no attention to what temperature her knobs are set, she heats madly or not at all, and one time I set her on top of my ice chest and she leaped off onto the ground, all on her own!!  Sometimes it takes 5 minutes to heat water for morning coffee, sometimes 15.  In order to get her to turn off completely, I have to unplug her; I can’t just turn the knob to “off”.

We are leaving here on Saturday to spend 3 nights at a campground in Asheville, then I’ll be parked at two friends’ house in Asheville for the rest of May.  I will be house-and-dog-sitting for them from May 16-31, and then I’ll be starting my Summer Adventures!   Can’t wait.  I am picking up my dear little camper on the way to Asheville…with my NEW CAR!!  I bought a 2006 Toyota Highlander which will be a much more appropriate tow vehicle, with more engine power (6 cylinders instead of 4) and better braking power, not to mention a whole lot more cargo space than my little Subaru.  I’m going to need it if I’m to live full time in the little camper.  The prospect of having car payments again is a little daunting but it’ll be fine once I get used to it.   It seems to be a great car that looks & drives like new! I guess I’ll have to TRY to be better about keeping it clean than I did the poor Subaru.


Getting Ready

Well things are just skipping along here and things seem to be falling into place… weird is that!  (Any of my friends could tell you I am NOT a lucky person)

As of yesterday I’ve sold nearly everything in the house here in Gualaceo, Ecuador. And the really nice thing is, people have agreed to wait until April 15, the day before I leave, to pick it up. So right up until the day I leave I’ll still get to use my stove, fridge, beds, etc.  What a relief to have all this stuff taken care of!!

I will be moving back to the States with just 2 large suitcases and a carry-on. And of course Princess Roxie, in her little Sherpa travel bag!   I’ve run into a little snag in the plans; I bought a ticket from Cuenca to Quito on LAN airlines, since they do allow dogs in the cabin.  I wouldn’t fly Princess Roxie any other way!  Well I’ve flown with her a number of times and her travel bag fits nicely under the seat in front of me, so I neglected to look at LAN’s requirements.  Turns out she’s too big; only teeny-tiny dogs can fly on LAN.  So now I have to find someone to drive us to the Quito airport, which is about a 7-8 hour trip and will cost around $250.  I could take a bus but that takes about 9 hours with no possibility of stopping to let the dog pee, and that just sounds too mean.  So I’ll get someone to drive us there and then we can stop whenever we like to eat or go potty.   I am looking forward to seeing the scenery between here and there, it should be gorgeous.


I’m A Camper From Way Back

I’m a camper.  I have been a camper since I was a little girl, happily spending most of the day with picture books in my cozy “tent” made of a blanket thrown over a card table in the living room.  I graduated from that to a big canvas tent in the back yard, camping out with my big brother until he’d make things too scary and I had to run back to the house.  And then camping in a huge tent in my friend Cindy’s back yard, knowing the boys would come to throw little green apples at it and make us scream with delicious fear.  Sometimes the tent would be crammed full of neighborhood kids.

On it went….I loved camping, and I loved going away to summer camps, so much that I even saved up my own money to spend an extra week at camp a few times. (I think it cost a whopping $50 a week!)  I was a girl scout for as long as they’d let me…all the way through high school, when it DEFINITELY was not cool! After high school I backpacked and car camped on vacations by myself. For awhile I had a converted Ford van that took me all over out West.   I moved to NC when I was 30 and lived in an 8×10 canvas tent for 4 months while building a small cabin with hand tools (no electricity), and did some backpacking there too.

I eventually bought an ALiner hard-sided popup camper and met a bunch of fantastic women A-frame campers (WACS) and started camping pretty regularly with them; that was way more fun than my solitary camping!  Our little bunch in the southeast would camp nearly every month.

All I ever wanted to do after I retired was travel.  Well things happened, plans changed; savings had to be used for day to day living.  I couldn’t afford to live in the U.S. so I moved to Ecuador and have spent two pretty contented years there. I don’t travel here in Ecuador because I don’t feel I speak Spanish well enough and it’s very hard to travel with a dog on the buses. And a lot of hotels here don’t accept dogs.  That’s not the way I want to travel; I want to do Road Trips!  In a car!

So one day it just wasn’t working for me any more, and I realized that I really missed camping, and my camping friends.  I pinched and prodded the budget until I made it work (I think) and got an offer of a free place to park my camper! The only way I could move back was to live in my camper which, on the inside, is 6.5’ wide and 9’ long.  Can I do it?  I think so.  I hope so.

My ALiner Sport has a narrow bunk with room for a couple plastic storage bins under it, a little kitchen with 2-burner gas cooktop, 1.9 cu ft. refrigerator (no freezer) and a microwave.  It has a little A/C and a porta-potty which serves double-duty as a dining chair (the drop-down microwave cabinet door is my table) What more could I need?!

Most everything I own is going to be either in my car or camper.  It feels very freeing to not have any specific place to live, and no ongoing bills left behind. The world is my oyster! Well, the continental U.S. anyway.  My plans are to spend this summer in Michigan (mostly the Upper Peninsula where it’s nice and cool) and next winter-spring-summer in AZ-CA-NV-NM. Oh BIG plans indeed!  And after that, who knows?


A Little About Us

I am a retired lady living  with a cutie-pie Havanese named Princess Roxie in an ALiner Sport camper….a hard-sided popup that is just 6.5’x 9′ long!  We are moving back to the U.S. from two years in Ecuador and hope to have lots of fun adventures to write about soon.