Thursday, April 30, 2009

My first 18 days on the road...what an adventure!

Okay, I am not going to start this off by saying ALL was wonderful, I still have a lot to learn, but here it is, great times and some others...

Let me start off with April the 2nd, my first official day as a full time RVer. I have no home other than my little 16' Scamp trailer.

From Descanso, CA to the Superstition Mountains where I stayed from April 2nd until April 14th. While I was there I had no hook-ups (known as dry camping), no water (exept what I had in my tank and got from my ice chest), no power (except from my battery on the trailer, not much power) and no way to empty my tanks. The wind blew hard most of the time and when it wasn't blowing it was about 95 degrees, HOT! The upside of this part of the plan was that my man come out to see me about every other day and showed me all about how my trailer worked. One of the propane tanks was full, so I had a refrigerator and could cook inside on my stove. He taught me about how hook ups worked (hard line electric, water, etc) and how to light the propane on my refrigerator. He built me a cool step as my trailer did not come with one, and brought ice, alcohol and steaks. The down side was, every other day or so I would have to drive and hour into town to my friends house to shower and do laundry...good thing that was only temporary.

So...on Tuesday, April 14th, I left CA headed in a fury to get to Livingston, TX. Livingston, TX is where Escapees is ( ) , Escapees provides a permanant address for RVer's on the road and domicile so we can vote and all that. They forward mail, etc. So, I was die hard to get there and get "settled", register my vehicles in TX, get a TX driver's license, effectively becoming a Texan (so ashamed of CA right now!). Well the first day was very windy and I had some sway problems with the trailer (never felt sway? very freaking scary!). I stopped in Eloy, NM and stayed the night in my trailer parked in the parking lot of a Motel 6, not a bad night at all. The next day, the 15th, I drove all day and stayed the night in Van Horn, TX in the parking lot of a Super 8 motel, another windy, tense day on the road. On the 16th I was heading to San Antonio when I kept hearing storm warnings on the radio. I was tired, in dire need of a shower and scared to death to be towing my trailer in a bad storm in the middle of TX, so I stopped in this cute little town called Junction, TX. I pulled into a Motel 6 and got me a really nice room, nicest Motel 6 I have ever seen. I showered and got a good night's sleep. The next morning I left my trailer in the parking lot and decided to see this really cute town...the storm had blown through overnight. As I was cruising along, I saw a sign for South Llano River State Park and decided to check it out. ABSOLUTELY beautiful park! Now, just for those of you who do not know (I didn't know!), TX has some beautiful "Hill Country" (that's what TX calls it). I fell in love with this State Park! I decided it was time to slow the hell down and enjoy my retirement, so after my dog and I spent the afternoon (Friday), hiking and swimming in the river, I stopped at the front desk (soaking wet from the river) and paid for two nights. I headed back to the Motel and picked up my trailer, hit the liquer store and grocery store (where I bought two steaks that were "manufactured" right in Junction, really fresh), and headed out to claim my spot.

As I arrived at my site I noticed (to my great surprise and facination) a Casita directly across from me. Casita is another brand of molded fiberglass travel trailers (a rare breed) and the type that was my first choice actually, but a Scamp (my second choice) came up for sale at the right time, in the right place and for the right price. So, as soon as I got settled (successfully backing up my trailer for the first time), I went over and introduced myself to Renee. She is also a single female traveling with her two dogs, Honey and Harley. She was stoked to check out my Scamp and me her Casita. After checking out her Casita I was really glad I ended up with my second choice, my Scamp. Not that her Casita was bad, but I really just liked my Scamp better. The refrigerator in my Scamp is twice the size, I have way more storage space and many other minor things. So...Renee, Honey, Harley and I and my dog, Goof, became fast friends. We shared stories and ideas regarding camping, campers and being on the road in general. It also turned out that she owns a 280 acre cattle ranch near Livingston, TX (where I was headed and have planned on staying for about a month). She invited me to camp on her ranch once she gets back on the 28th. Way cool, can save a lot of money and hang out on a real TX cattle ranch, I will be calling her around the 28th!

On Saturday (yesterday), Renee and I took all the dogs down to the river to go swimming, we all had a great time, but had to head back kind of early because she was "checking out" and had to be gone by 2pm, bummer, she was way cool!

BUT, we exchanged info and I am sure to be in touch with her again. After she left, me and Goof went into town, got more ice and headed back to go get one last swim in in the river. We finally got back to camp about 6pm, all was going very well, I felt really good about slowing down and my decision to take my time in getting to Livingston after all. Then the one minor problem...

As evening approached I realized that my outlets (I had power hook-ups) were working fine, but my lights were dimming greatly...what? Well, earlier that day I had met the guy camped next to me when I was on my way back from the restroom, he has a daughter living in San Diego County and wanted to know what part of CA (license plates on my stuff) I was from. So, before it got too late, I decided to go ask him if he knew something I didn't, maybe I hooked up my trailer wrong??? Turns out he was an electrician (seriously, lucky me!), he brought his stuff over, spent about 45min checking out my electrical and finally figured out that I have a bad converter (about a $200 fix), okay, cool! I got really lucky that this nice man took his time and figured out where my problem is, easy for me to switch out once I get a new one (almost like switching out a fuse) and I didn't have to pay to have the problem figured out, another great person I have met so far! So I cooked my steak, potato and onion that night by lantern light, no big deal. Thank you to that nice, nice man!!!!

So comes this morning! I am finally learning how to load my trailer where all my stuff does not end up on the floor (due to basic travel conditions) and did a great job of packing in my stuff. Very proud of myself! Soooo....I get to where you empty the tanks (both grey, sink water, and black, toilet water, were pretty full). No matter what I tried, my black water (the grossest one) would not empty. I have a clog or a bad pump, not sure. Upside to that, lots of tongue weight, no sway. Down side is pretty obvious, I have to get something fixed. That's fine, I can do that, will learn stuff in the process as I plan to watch how they fix it so I can do it all myself later if need be. So I head out on SR 290 for ????

I stopped in Fredricksburg, TX, a small, cute town and had lunch and looked over my map. Yep, there was the perfect campground on Lake Sommerville, TX that I would hit right about sundown, perfect! My goal has been NOT to be on the road too much at night in case of a break down or flat tire, etc. Well...

I ended up getting to Lake Sommerville about a half hour after dark, after driving down a long (15 mile) road to an empty, creepy campground. Only creepy, I am sure, because it was dark and empty (Sunday night). So, my gut feeling was to move on and not stop there as I would be completely alone and there was no cell phone coverage. I got back to Hwy 290 about 9pm, way after dark....I called my friend Vicki who has been tracking my progress on line, living vicariously through me, and she got on line. She let me know that (me being all freaked out by the creepy park and that it was getting close to 10pm) there was a Best Western Hotel coming up soon, my next choice for camping was 100 miles away. So...hating the fact that I was once again going to stay in a Hotel when I love my trailer, for both our good, tonight I opted for the Hotel. I feel a bit guilty, but I am still new at this and just did not plan well. I thought I would be in Livingston today, but the route I took was slow, not a freeway, but a highway with lots of stop lights in little towns...I took longer than expected and ended up in a pickle. Being as I, and Vicki, were already freaking out a bit (dark, late at night), I chose to get a room...again!

So, here I sit, more learned about planning and the time difference (and many other differences) between Freeways and Highways, in my room. I am self disappointed, but safe, that is the most important thing I suppose.

I have to say that my dog, Goof, has been quite the troooper! She is sleeping soundly now and I am about to get a shower and get to bed. Hopefully by the time I write another blog, I will have better stories of adventure, but for now, just a bunch of learning and meeting some cool people...thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. I love that you started out on April 2nd. I became officially nomadic on April 1st, 2006. I was 33 when I hit the road.

    Are you still in Kansas?

    We are right now workamping for the first time - at the Amazon warehouse in Coffeyville. It is always great to meet other younger full-time nomads.

    Check our website at


    - Chris



About Me

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I got smart when I got fed up with the day in and day out of "regular" life. I retired at age 37 and bought me a truck (well, an SUV, but who wants to say that all the time?) and a 16' Scamp travel trailer and my dog and I hit the road! These blogs are about my travels, my experiences and the people I meet. I am so far loving it!