Unfortunately, one cannot avoid the Gas Bandit. In preparation for my trip, I got a Murphy Gas credit card which gives you 3 cents off at all Murphy's at the Walmarts. I get 10 mpg and will fill every other day for about $100.
For me, it still beats any other way to go!
I am in turbo-mode packing the house up in preparation for my absence for 3 months. It's payback time for several months of home maintenance carelessness and procrastination as work now becomes a 1-month crush of chores. Additionally, I must completely set up a parallel household in my new RV but that part is mostly done already.
OK here is a shortlist of some precautions I am taking for traveling the country alone with a poofy white princess pooch:
1. I have a gun, ammo and a permit
2. NRA sticker prominently displayed
4. When checking into campgrounds, I carry small amount of cash in Frank's wallet, with the Police Benevolent Assn wallet card easily visible.
5. When speaking to people casually on the road, I refer to "we" and "us".
6. When leaving the RV to go somewhere, I will bang on the window and yell "See ya later!" or reopen the entry door and yell "Whaaaat?"
7. An inflatable man will be propped up in the passenger seat (just kiddin')
8. When parking, I always keep an exit path and never allow a vehicle or other structure to prevent me from pulling forward and away.
The NEW SueMobile pictures by MovinSue - Photobucket and it will give you some idea of how I'll live for the next few months.
I have to say that I am deliriously happy with this vehicle. It is quiet inside,
has a great cabin entertainment center with surround sound (my privacy curtain is up in this pic),
a cozy bedroom with a TV and dimmer lights (see the headboard I built which completely obliterates the annoying window behind your head!)
and a secure place for Cassie's crate so she can ride next to me. She has 4 inches of memory foam under the crate and her pillow!
And, only one rattle! That is amazing--one little rattle that I cannot find (but I suspect it is the entry screen door).
Here is my attempted fix; the gasket was partially dislodged and I am reglueing it.
As I mentioned in my previous blog, I have (with the help of our resident handyman, Brian) completely Eternabonded the roof, slides and windows. Took 4 hours. Easy. Not expensive. And, I don't need to climb up on the roof or recaulk again...ever.
My first destination stop is Gulfport MS where I plan to meet my friends/colleagues at Passport America's headquarters. After many years of my whining at them about the inaccuracies in their geolocations (GPS coordinates), they finally decided they might as well work with me. It has been a very pleasant business association and we have all decided to meet and say hello in person. They are hosting me with a nearby campsite and it will be my first "serviced" stop after leaving Florida.
My second stop will be to visit friends near Albuquerque, NM--friends from way back when "Tuna" was a Conk in Key West and we were all hippies. He is all grown up now and began a brand new family a few years ago who I enjoy immensely. He is an accomplished interpretative artist of Native American culture. If you are on Facebook, check it out. Richard Rohe's Albums (1)
My next major destination is a scenic stroll in south central Utah through tiny rural mountain towns like Big Water, Kanab, Bryce Canyon City, and Escalante on Route 12. I plan to take a REAL photo of my feet here (yup-photoshopped!)
I promise not to go off hiking by myself and get stuck in a rock ravine and have to knaw my arm off.
I am planning to take a half-day whitewater trip out of Marysvale. I have always wanted to do that (and skydive too). The rapids have enticing names like: Rock of Shock, Satan's Gut, Room of Doom, Hell-to-Pay and Sock-it-to-Me.
After I've dried off and had my fill of odd-shaped red rock formations called "hoodoos", breathtaking canyons and lake vistas, I'll continue north around the Wasatch Mountains toward Grand Tetons and Yellowstone NP.
I'll arrive there just in time to watch the spring birthing of bison, elk, pronghorn, moose and if I'm lucky--some bear and wolf cubs. The bison calves are cute and very entertaining; they interact with Mom and each other much like young puppies except they practice butting heads and kicking.
I will rent a car for a day or two to roam around the park and oogle cowboys whilst drinking Moose Drool beer at my favorite Bullwinkles Saloon in West Yellowstone.
While I am there, I will visit Frank's place and am actually looking forward to that. I didn't think I would ever want to go back.
On my way north out of Yellowstone, I will meander with my RV and do some serious grizzly bear/wolf watching on road pullouts in Lamar Valley with the other wildlife photog fanatics. This is very serious business in YNP and is a great chance to meet other folks who love the same things I do.
Next destination depends entirely on the weather--Glacier NP. One of the most drop-dead beautiful places in the US and steeped in history of the Blackfoot Indians. There are many things to do here as their season is short and ramps up full steam June 1.
The park trolley bus system is a carefree way to enjoy this area, as the Going to the Sun Road is tortuous to drive. It is plowed out weeks in advance in anticipation of a normal weather pattern, but if it snows and a new avalanche shuts down the road, I'll have to make another plan.
This takes me to the second week in June. My next stopovers include friends in Washington state near Crescent Bar, relatives in Portland OR and possibly a girl gaggle with my sister and her friends somewhere along the Oregon coast.
Eventually, I'll park my rig in my sister's backyard under a 100 year old Redwood tree. I'll have to peek my head out every morning to make sure there are no bear visitations before I take Cassie out... I look forward to fresh ground coffee in the mornings (the northwestern folks take their coffee very seriously) with my sis and enjoy a long visit with her. It is her busy season--she owns an RV park and I told her I would earn my keep and help her out.
Some of you wonder about all the "alone" time and how do I manage? There are days when it seems like my only constant companions are Cassie and the Gas Pump. I worry if I start talking to the pump, so if you should get a surprise phone call from me, it might be because the pump talked back and I need a reality check!
One of my strategies is to stop frequently and pick places I'm likely to run into other travelers and not be shy about starting casual conversations. I also walk Cassie a lot when I want company--and I usually meet another soul walking their dog and end up sipping wine and telling tall tales at their rig.
I also am active on RV-related forums and have online buds to compare notes with--for me--internet is essential to feeling connected.
Generally, people on the road have a mind set that welcomes transient encounters. You never know when these "on the fly" associations become a pleasant memory or a lasting friendship (it has happened!). In all honesty, it sometimes requires effort to magnify experiences when traveling alone and pleasure is measured as "a good day because my rig didn't break down or I didn't get mugged!" But other days the "highs" really soar!
Things I will miss: the serenity of my community during the summer season (population: 130) and the family-sized potluck suppers with friends, pedicure in the massage chair by my non-english speaking "guy" (lotsa smiling, nodding, no conversation Yeah!), the gangs of noisy sandhill cranes taking over the park and... my red power sofa-recliner.
Things I will not miss: hearing the meaningless pop culture phrases "at the end of the day" and "that having been said" during business meetings, sweeping/blowing tree crap off my car/golfcart/driveway/entry steps and the heart-stoppingly hot and humid summer air.
I plan to return in August for the peak of hurricane season; I know it's an odd time to want to return to Florida but I would rather be nearby if there is a problem.
I will have almost uninterrupted internet service except when blocked by mountain terrain and will keep up my blog at MovinSue's RV Travel Blog
My cell is (239) 247-1655
My MagicJack phone is "always on" and taking messages which it drops in my email at 772-882-6859.