Sticks & Triangle Lake

Had a very buggy night; I wish I knew how the mosquitoes are getting into the camper!  I cover up so all that’s exposed is part of my face, then I keep hearing them buzzing around my ears.  Why is it, you just can’t help but slap yourself in the face when you hear that???!!  I did a lot of slapping last night.  And then was completely shocked to wake up at 11 a.m.  I never sleep that late!  And Roxie never lets me sleep that late!!  Maybe she had a bad night too.

We had torrential rains all day yesterday, off & on.  My Press N Seal “fix” is still working great though, no leaks at all!

I found an awesome campsite all on it’s own in the middle of nowhere….Triangle Lake #1!  It would involve backing in about 100′ but then you’d be within 15′ of a beautiful crystal clear lake with nice sandy bottom.  There’s a fire ring and pretty nice outhouse there, and the price is $4 a night with the Geezer Pass.

tri lk Triangle Lk1


Today I had to go to town to do laundry, it’s been more than 3 weeks!  Also I have to go to town every day to see if the realtor has sent me the amount I need to take to the Closing for the cottage.  I’ll need to drive to the Wells Fargo bank in Escanaba to get it wired to the title company as soon as I get it.  Anyway, I headed out and got almost 2 miles from camp when I ran over a stick and then heard something dragging under the car.  It was a BIG stick, about 1.5″ in diameter, and one end was stuck in the axle somehow and the other end pointed at the road.  So driving would force it farther and farther into where it was stuck. I tried and tried and could not pull it out of there, so then backed the car almost 2 miles back to camp so the neighbor men could help me! Boy, craning my neck backwards for that long was painful.  I got back to camp and got out of the car…and the damn stick was gone!  I don’t know where it fell off!!  Grrrrr


Cookin’ at Cookson Lake

Phew, it’s been really really hot!  Highs of 85 and bright sun for 3 days straight…..which translates to mid-90’s inside the camper, even with the vent fan running!  I don’t do 90’s.

There are just 4 campsites here, it’s considered Dispersed Camping so is only $4 a night.  The sites are huge, and only one has shade….#2.  I’m in #1.  The lake is pretty and has a nice sand bottom so wading is easy, and it does help to cool off a bit.  My neighbors say there are a lot of snapping turtles in the lake, and they even saw a bunch of them come up and lay their eggs last week!  Then something came and dug up most of the nests and ate the eggs.  Raccoon?  They also say this is a popular spot for bear hunting in the fall (gulp!).  And last year there was a pack of wolves that were killing local dogs, and even grabbed one while it was running next to it’s owner who was on a bicycle!!  Yikes.  They trapped the alpha male and dispersed the pack, thank goodness.  It’s bad enough to have to worry about a hawk swooping down and grabbing Princess Roxie, let alone wolves coming out to snatch & grab!  Yes, a friend’s dog (twice as big as Roxie) was grabbed by a hawk, but she was too heavy so the hawk dropped her. I’m sure Roxie would not be too big, so she’s never outside without me being right with her.

Cookson Camp

Cookson Lake

The first day I was here, a couple came to the lake to kayak fish.  The lady came up to me and said she had an ALiner at home, then she said “Hey, I know you”! She’d been with our WACS camping group at Hunting Island 2 years ago, right before I moved to Ecuador!!  (Donna from Cincinnati, who was with Jeanie)  I ashamed to say I didn’t remember her, though she did look a little familiar.  But how weird is that, to be out in the middle of nowhere and find someone who knows me!

My only neighbors are two couples in big 5th wheel & a big travel trailer, complete with generators, ATVs, boats, etc.  The women invited me over to play cards the other night but have not invited me back.  Maybe I should not have won.

It’s pretty nice during the day, there are some deer flies and some giant biting flies. Do those suckers have real teeth, or what?  They SLASH and blood runs down from their bites!  Then at dusk, the mosquitoes come out and even though I’ve stuffed every teeny crack and crevice that I can find on the trailer, they still are able to get in and torment me.  It’s kind of creep to look up and see dozens of them buzzing around the vent fan, slavering at me.  Hey maybe I’ll lose some weight from blood loss?

Yesterday to escape the midday heat I went driving around the area.  It’s just a bunch of 1 1/2 lane wide sand forest roads, but there’s an amazing number of lakes & campsites all over the place!  I love this little roads where the trees meet overhead.


The other day I was sitting at the point in Grand Marais and this gorgeous boat purred into the harbor.  Oh man!



My Perfect Mate

Yesterday I went to the West Bay Diner in Grand Marais for some pie; they have GREAT pie. (The raspberry is best, but yesterday I had the triple berry) And also to use their free wi-fi, since I had temporarily lost my mobile hotspot.  There was a couple at the table next to me having lunch.  The woman ordered the daily special and the man ordered just an order of bacon and french fries.  Oh man, my perfect mate, and someone had already nabbed him!  Just my luck.  Oh well, I don’t wanna be around when he has his stroke; I’m not much of a nurse.

My Ecuadorian check got deposited successfully yesterday and the money’s in my account this morning!  Yayyyy!!!


Hurricane River – Pictured Rocks

Yesterday I left my campsite at Lake Michigan and headed to the Brevoort Lake CG where there is a dump station.  I turned on the wrong road and ended up way the heck out in exactly nowhere.  I decided to just forget about dumping and just head up to Lake Superior.  Then I happened to look down and noticed the little Low Fuel light was on. I’m pretty sure my eyes bugged out of my head a couple of inches then, as the indicator was on the E!!!   And gas stations are few and far between up there.  I slowed down to 40 mph and and kept driving.  I didn’t know what to do; I know it’s really bad (and expensive) to let it run completely out of gas. So if you stop at the first little hiccup, is that OK, or that already too late???  I saw a man working in his yard and stopped to ask him for directions, and boy, somebody was watching out for me because there was a gas station less than a mile away!!  Crisis averted.  And the place where I came out on Hwy. 2 was also within a mile of Brevoort Lake campground, so I went to the dump station anyway, it just took me an extra hour to get there!

I went to Grand Marais to pick up a few groceries but the shelves were nearly bare; looks like the 4th of July crowd cleaned them out!  I found a nice campsite at Upper Hurricane River and as soon as I got out of the car, the mosquitoes attacked. LOTS of mosquitoes, though I’ve seen worse.  These guys are different though, they actually like my herbal insect repellent.  They think it’s some kind of tasty glaze on their dinner ham (me)!

It rained most of the night and got down into the low 40’s I think, as it was only 51 degrees inside when I woke up this morning.  I was glad that I didn’t have to move today, and had time to make sausage and blueberry sourdough pancakes for breakfast.

There are paper signs on the restroom doors that warn of recent bear activity in the area. Yikes, maybe I won’t cook any bacon.   I put my solar panel out this morning when it was really cloudy so I don’t know if I have it oriented to actually catch any sun.  It’s been nice & sunny so I hope so.  This morning it was quite windy so the bugs were not bothersome at all.

I’ve spent the whole day in Grand Marais today; didn’t mean to, it just happened. We walked on the beach looking for agates, and as soon as Roxie’s feet hit the sand she did her usual Beach Run-Like-Hell Dance; she’s so cute!  Here’s a photo of her this morning, hair a bit mussed up from sleeping under a fleece throw all night:

Roxie Camping

Lake Superior was beautiful today, though REALLY windy.  So many different shades of blue!  It looks inviting but of course it’s freezing cold.

Lk Sup

I am still struggling with trying to get the insurance reimbursement for my eye surgery. I finally got the check sent to NC from Ecuador and now my bank is not wanting to take it. I’ve been on the phone with Customer Service and also the local Hendersonville  branch, and friend Sharon is going to try and deposit it again this afternoon.  So I’m waiting in town here for her call.  There’s no cell service at the campground at all. No weather radio service either, or any kind of AM or FM radio station, even right in Grand Marais!


Camping at Lake Michigan

This morning I moved up to a Hiawatha National Forest campground, Lake Michigan at St. Ignace.  The Mackinac Bridge crossing went fine; I stayed in the right hand lane which is paved the whole way, unlike the left lane which has open gridwork for part of it, and it makes the tires want to do squirrely things.  I was happy that a guy towing a big boat who cut me off to change lanes right before the tollbooth had been stopped by the police! Shame on me but hahaha,  justice was served.

I have site #9, right on the lake.  It’s a bit of a hike through deep sand, up and over a dune to get to the lake.  The lake level is very high right now so it laps at the bottom of the dune instead of having the usual 20′ of beach.  I was surprised to see the lake bottom was very rocky, I expected sand.  Lots of skeeters here, but they are manageable with my herbal skeeter spray.

Tomorrow we’ll be making a run for Hurricane River CG near Grand Marais, part of the Pictured Rocks National Seashore so it’s first-come-first-served.  If we can’t find a site there or at Twelvemile Beach, we’ll have to go to a nearby state forest CG.


Exciting News

I am now “camped” in a friend’s driveway in Elk Rapids, MI.  I moved here from another friend’s house which is inside the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park (!), right on the Platte River.  We floated the river one day and it was serene and relaxing, and played marathon card games.  I have had a miserable cold the past 2 days but after sleeping for 15 hours, I am feeling much better today. Love that Nyquil!

I was looking for some cheap wooded land in northern Michigan where I could legally park my camper for summers, since it’s much cooler here than in NC or SC.  Instead, I am buying a cute little cottage for only $7900!  It is in a subdivision of cute little cottages in Harrison, MI (population 2250), with deeded lake access to Arnold Lake.  Have not yet seen the access site, but I hope that lake is good for fishing, especially perch.


It is just 350 sq. ft.   One bedroom, living room, kitchen and bath.  There’s an electric wall heater in the living room in case I ever do have to live there year-round, but let’s hope that does not happen.  I’m not a big fan of that white stuff that comes in winter.   It was built in 1950 and has already been gutted and has all new insulation and nearly all the new sheetrock done and painted.  There’s an electric range in there and a lot of building materials…..the rest of the sheetrock, kitchen cabinets, well pump & pressure tank, water heater, carpeting, etc.

So that changed all my summer plans.  Closing is on July 17 so I’ll be coming back down from the U.P. for that, and will immediately move to the cottage until Aug. 9, when my friend Jeanne joins me and we’ll go back to the U.P. and start more touring, and when that’s done I will go back to the cottage and stay til late October.  Hopefully I can get a lot of stuff done on the cottage, though I won’t be able to spend any money on it; I am really scrambling to find enough money to buy the place!    I was very relieved to find that I could get the electricity changed to my name without any deposit.

I think I can get a bunch of free furnishings & kitchen stuff for it, too!  A friend’s neighbor died and they are looking to get rid of a houseful of stuff, and we think they will be willing to give it away, since most of it is from the 60’s.  (Think ORANGE) I don’t care what color it is!  I am keeping my fingers crossed on that.

LivKit Kitchen LivingRoom Cottage1


Au Sable River Camping

I’m back in “civilization” after 11 days of primitive camping at Dispersed Campsite #3 on the Au Sable River in the Huron National Forest (near Glennie, MI)  It was only $5 a night with the Federal “Geezer Pass”, reservations required.

AuSable1    No cell or wifi signal at all!  Somehow when I pictured myself doing this boondocking, it did not include being completely cut off from civilization!!  It was ¼ mile back off the paved road on a little rutted dirt track, but the campsite was right on the river in a pretty little clearing.  I set up my solar panel and then could not get it to work at all!  So I didn’t use the battery the whole time, except for a few 10-second bursts of the Fantastic Fan to clear out hot air after cooking.

There were hardly any mosquitoes there, just a few at dusk, but lots of (non-biting) flies. I’d sit in my lawn chair with flyswatter in hand and whap the ones that were brave enough to land on me.



It did not get fully dark until nearly 10 pm, and after that I used a headlamp to read by. Ugh. Did I tell you that I had quite a herd of little moths in the camper? Well once I strapped the headlamp on, those harmless little moths become crazy kamikaze dive bombers, all aimed at my face!  I ended up having to just hold the light close to the Kindle. I was able to use my power inverter to charge the Kindle, laptop and cellphone while driving in the car, and found a little public library with a free wifi signal in the town of Glennie, about 8 miles away. Just a couple miles away was Alcona County Campground, and I was told I could use the dump station and drinking water for free!  I drove around the campground and never did find a place to dump my garbage though.  There’s a nice little grocery store in Glennie and an Ace hardware that sells propane, fishing licenses, etc. The grocery store has a $1 section where everything costs $1.25.  Hmmm.

One day I went as far as Gaylord looking at some properties for sale but all 7 on my list were already sold! What a disappointment.  Two realtors told me for some strange reason, wooded lots were selling like hotcakes this summer.  Figures.  On the way home I went to check out Pine River CG in the Huron National Forest, and it was also only $5 a night with the Geezer Pass but there were picnic tables, water, trash cans and nice outhouses!  No riverfront sites, but I think I’d have traded that for having the other goodies.

Every day I watched the mergansers come and play, diving for whatever they dive for…minnows?? And there was a bald eagle who went upriver every morning and downriver every night.  Of course it could have been MANY bald eagles using the river corridor, I don’t know for sure.


There were some pretty wildflowers, especially the wild roses, but LOTS of poison ivy also, so we did not do any tramping through the woods!  Flowers Au Sable
My friend Judy gave me a pretty apron that she made, with a Dammit Doll in the pocket! She’s much to cute to whap around though.

Dammit1 Dammit2

I’m now camped in a friend’s driveway in Brighton.  There’s new house construction going on 3 doors down and those workmen arrive & start banging awfully early, around 7 a.m.!


6th Annual US Marine Corps Mud Run

Lots of excitement at our campground this morning, starting around 6:30 a.m. with blaring music, drum cadences (I think!) and loud speak announcements.  Soon fire trucks and emergency vehicles and lots and lots of people starting pouring in.  The races started at 8 a.m. and our campsites were pretty close to the finish line.  Right before the finish line though, the racers had to go through about a 30′ long, chest-deep mud puddle while Marines along the side splashed them with mud & threw mudballs at them, yelling “Hurry Up! Get out of my mud puddle!”

IMG_0767  IMG_0766

Along the way were lots of obstacles, ponds, hurdles, etc.  One place had a bunch of big bags with sand in the bottom, and racers had to run through the middle of the bags.


And at the end of the race, the fire trucks provided water for these amazing showers!


Looked like everyone had a great time.  We sure had fun watching it all.


Jomeokee Campground Pinnacle, NC

We moved to the Jomeokee Campground in Pinnacle, NC on June 3. This campground is hard to rate….it’s really small, maybe 15 sites, and it only has 15 amp electrical service and no dump station, only about half the sites have elec. and some sites require a longer cord. I think the longest camper that would fit in here would be a 15-16′, and some sites are not completely level. But it’s in a wooded patch in the middle of old farmland and has million dollar views of Pilot Mountain!  The owner is a really nice guy who’s told us the history of the farm and the area.  We have the campground all to ourselves and it’s peaceful & quiet (except for the birds who wake up way too early). We are loving it here! The view from my camper window:


The farmland part of the campground also hosts events like concerts, weddings, etc. We’ve been watching them prepare for a US Marine Corps 5K Mud Run on Saturday.  It’s touted as a “fun and muddy, crazy and filthy obstacle course race”. They have to run through several  big mud holes, streams, over logs & hurdles, and right before the finish line is a huge mud wallow that’s chest-deep!  We can see the finish line from our campers so unless a bunch of spectators stand in front of it, we’ll have a good view. They are expecting 2800 participants!!

There’s a good little home-cooking restaurant called EJ’s Restaurant right at the exit off Hwy. 52.  Hand-patted burgers are $2.80, when’s the last time you saw prices like that? And they were really good, too.  Be sure to get the homemade chips….thin-sliced potatoes fried with crispy edges (but not hard and crispy all the way through)  Mmmmmm!!  They serve them with ranch dressing on the side if you like.


Kayaking the Dan River

Today we kayaked the Dan River, through Hanging Rock State Park.  It was a 6.5 mile paddle, supposed to take 3 hours but somehow it took us 4 1/2 hrs.  Maybe because we kept getting hung up on rocks!  I think the river levels were low and there were really a lot of places where we had to really read the river to figure out how to get through the rocks. My old whitewater experience came in handy but we still all ended up stuck on rocks at times, and Marilyn even took an unscheduled swim!  It was supposed to be a nice calm, easy paddle but it was more technical than that, and even had some standing waves that came close to being Class 2!  It was a fun day anyway, and we are all pleasantly worn out.

DanR1 danR3 DanR2DanR14DanR11DanR12

And now we are back for our last night at the campground, and there’s a lot of activity here!  We no longer have the campground all to ourselves; there are people everywhere, lots of ROTC kids tent-camping, fire trucks bringing water to flood more mud-pits for the race, people yelling & horns honking.  We have a bird-eye view of all the excitement but I hope the kids quiet down at some point tonight.  Well I think we are so tired out from our river adventures, it might not matter if it’s quiet or not!


Day One

My first day on the road!  At first it was like I’d never pulled a trailer before, I was really nervous that I’d hooked it up wrong, or I’d do something really stupid and get in an accident, etc.  After an hour or so I relaxed and was just driving along when….something DID happen, just 8 miles from my destination! I had a blowout on one of the camper tires!

DSCN1115 I was able to pull off the road right away, into the start of a farm drive. The tire has a HUGE hole in it, but luckily it did not destroy the flimsy wheel well, which often happens.  I called for the Good Sam service and was told it’d be 90 minutes before he would arrive.

An old guy pulled up behind me and got out and asked if I needed help, so I told him I had help on the way but he didn’t leave!  Weird.  Finally I figured out that it was the farmer who owned that field, and my rig was blocking it. He was nice about it & said he didn’t really need to drive in.  Someone had broken the padlock off the gate and there was an abandoned yellow ATV at the edge of the woods in there, probably stolen.  He called the police and apparently that was the most exciting thing going on, because soon there were 4 police cars and 7 officers milling around.  Several of them asked if I needed help and seemed really glad that I didn’t.   Finally the guy came and had the spare tire on in a jiffy and I was on my way again.  What a way to start my epic new journey!


Got to our little campground in Damascus, VA.  And I do mean little!  There are only 6 sites here! (Creek Side RV Park) It’s right across the road from the bike rental/shuttle place and on a really pretty river that runs through town.  So tomorrow we bike  the Virginia Creeper Trail…17 miles, all downhill!  I’m worried about the bike seat being uncomfortable so we’ll see how it goes.


The Countdown Is On!

Only 4 more days til I leave here, and surprise surprise, I’m not ready!  I got a new Group 31 AGM battery that has more capacity than my old one, plus doesn’t need any maintenance or venting.  Jenni wired the quick-connect for the 100 watt solar panel and even installed a special little hatch through the wall for the cords, where the battery vent exhaust used to be!  I’ve ordered some memory foam to make the bed more comfortable and am in the process of making a new canopy and a little wire storage shelf for over the kitchen.

I dropped the camper off at the trailer place last week to get the wheel bearings repacked and two new tail lights installed.  (I thought I could do the lights but I couldn’t figure out how to access & remove the wiring on the old ones)  Then went back yesterday and waited while they wired the new car for the 7-way plug and mounted the brake controller.  Yay, brakes!  I haven’t been able to use the brakes in about 3 years because of some weird electrical problem.  Got all hooked up but when I got on the road, the brakes were not working. So I drove back and they found a wire broken at the magnet, and had to order a part.  I left it there again and hopefully the part will come in as planned, and I can pick it up on Friday.  That’s cutting it really close, it leaves me just 2 days to finish fitting the new canopy to the camper, cut the foam for the bed, and do the final packing, etc. I am pretty sure I still have too much stuff but I don’t quite know what to do about it.  I think it’ll fit, but the car will be crammed full, and I was hoping to avoid that with the larger vehicle.

I even have my cute scooter back now, and it’s looking VERY huge!  It’s an E-Zip 400, little battery-powered scooter that can go up to 15 mph for 8 miles on a charge.  When I moved to Ecuador I sold it to a friend, who sold it to another friend, and now I was able to buy it back.  It’ll come in handy since I am not able to walk very much.  This is just like mine except mine’s blue. It’s a really fun toy!


On Monday I leave here and meet 3 other WACS (Women A-Frame Campers) at Creek Side RV Park in Damascus, VA for a biking adventure on the Virginia Creeper Trail, which is probably the ONLY bike trail I’ll ever do!  It is 17 miles, all downhill!  I think I can handle going downhill but I hope the rented bike has a good cushy seat.  After that we’re moving to Pinnacle, NC and will kayak the Dan River through Hanging Rock State Park and maybe do a calm stretch of the New River too.  Then on to Michigan!

It is Princess Roxie’s 8th birthday today; Happy Birthday Roxie!


Home At Last

Ahhh, it’s good to be back in my little camper.  I am Luxury Camping at friends’ house in Asheville, NC; parked under their carport so completely out of the weather, with use of the laundry & shower facilities and frequent invitations to dinner!  Yesterday Jenni helped me with some much-needed repairs.  And when I say she helped me, I mean that she did all the work while I stood by looking helpful (I’m sure).   I thought my battery was dead so we (she) removed it and then noticed the fuse & fuse holder were completely melted!  Yikes!  I went to the auto parts place and got 2 new ones and she installed one, then put my battery back in thinking maybe that was the  problem.  It charged for several hours, then the stupid CO2 alarm kept going off.  Why is it that when that happens, we automatically think it’s a false alarm?  I placed a fan right in front of it so it stopped screeching for a while, but then I couldn’t make it stop.  Then I noticed, there WAS a strange smell.  I opened up the compartment where the battery is and it was SUPER hot, and sending off toxic fumes!  So we (Jenni) removed it and put in a spare battery they have.  That one did not get hot but I’m not sure it’s a viable battery either.  I unplugged the electricity this morning, turned on the Fantastic Vent and watched the battery amperage decrease fairly quickly. Is that normal when using the fan?  I’m not sure. Next time I’ll just unplug the electricity with no load on the battery and see if it holds up.

We also tackled the Fantastic Vent problem.  Last spring when I was towing the camper, a deer came out from the side of the road and leaped completely over the camper, but it’s back feet touched down and broke the vent lid, then the wind grabbed it and broke it off completely.  I taped a generic lid down to keep it out of the weather and now have a new vent lid.  Turns out the deer bent the arm that opens & closes the lid too, and it wouldn’t straighten so this morning I ordered a new lift arm assembly.

And the third thing was changing the defective Fastec door locks.  I got one lock cylinder changed out with no problems at all but the other one just wouldn’t stay in place.  Jenni figured out the problem and fixed that!  So we’re batting 1 out of 3 project completions so far.  I still have the solar panel to do; need to wire in a quick-connect for it.

And today I need to empty the new car and go get everything out of the old Subaru.  I’ve sold it to the folks who were storing it for me; yayy!  That sure was easier than advertising it & dealing with “lookers” who might possibly be ax murderers!

I have WAY too much stuff.  I’m trying to pare down but it’s really a tiny trailer. I knew that…..but living with the reality is hard.  More paring down to come when I get all the stuff out of my old car.


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?