So yesterday, sometime in the late morning, 5 years earlier in 2009, we began our journey to nowhere and everywhere in a 1973 Dodge B300, Brougham, Class C RV.
We started out fast, beginning with my mother and her cats hitching a ride to New Mexico to her new home. We broke down in Tonopah, Nevada for a week when the alternator went out, the first of many problems the old Brougham would have, and eventually made our way to New Mexico. From there our official travels began but it still took us a few months to learn how to slow down.
We started out by going straight to Slab City for Halloween where we met up with my friend Lisa from Santa Ana, California. We tried to stay there longer, but at the time we were on AT&T and couldn’t get a decent signal so we could work. We spent some time replacing the starter then headed north, boondocking on the stinky shore of the Salton Sea at a “town” called North Shore. *If you want everything you own to smell like dead fish for a couple weeks, stay here!*
After that we took a jaunt towards Joshua Tree to find out it was freezing cold, turned around and drove straight into LA and visited Lisa one last time. We passed through Big Bear on a Saturday night and while coming down the mountain, our u-joint almost went out on us. We stopped in El Cajon to find we weren’t allowed to park anywhere in the city for the night and had to get a hotel (before 10pm – city ordinance), but we were able to take the RV in to Sears in the morning to get it worked on (on a Sunday even!). When we finally moved on, we found nowhere to stay near San Diego – we searched for one place that no longer existed, found some overpriced beach (parking lot) camping and one place that was “members only”. Fed up, we drove all night, getting the hell out of Southern California.
We found a great state park south of Alamogordo, New Mexico but after a few days we found ourselves with bald tires in a hilly, snowy campground, and running out of propane fast. As soon as the roads dried up a bit, we left for Pecos, then the Monahans Dunes, and by Christmas we were in Fredricksburg. We spent New Years in San Antonio, ambled around southern Louisiana for a few weeks and finally ended up in New Orleans.
We realized while there that we were halfway across the country – and yes it took a few months, but we had missed so much in the process of trying to get our bearings. Then we realized that summer was approaching fast and we had no air conditioning. If you’ve been to Louisiana in the Summer, you can imagine why that matters. Lastly, the big realization, we would miss the spontaneity of the Brougham, but we wanted to make traveling a full time, long term commitment. This is when we upgraded to our previous trailer, and a month or two later, bought a truck and sold the Brougham – for a guitar, amp, and a 1980 Honda Twinstar. It was probably a pretty good trade.
Ever since then we’ve been traveling much slower, maybe even too slow for some people to stay interested, but we’ve never claimed to be on vacation. This is our lifestyle. We work weekdays, we sleep nights and we see new and interesting things on the weekends.
After 5 years, it’s surprising how normal traveling starts to feel. We’re never surprised by ‘strange’ foods, hard to decipher accents, local customs, or how badly people drive, and staying a while in each place, we really get to know the areas. It’s not everyone’s style of traveling but when you think about the 5 day work week being a part of our month or so at most places, that’s still only 3 to 4 weekends (and one for travel) a month – where we also have to fit in normal stuff like grocery shopping, repairs and errands. We get just 5-7 days a month to explore an area when we stay a month. When we go out, we try and do as much nature stuff as we can and reserve some time for meals out, and checking out downtown. Now that we have the motorcycles, we’ll be doing a lot more trail riding and less hiking, which is both sad but also extremely fun – when the snow starts to fall we’ll be back to hiking – this winter, in the Smokey and Blueridge Mountains.
After our last trailer was destroyed by a tree last winter (as you may have read), we finally upgraded to what we’ve wanted for a long while, a toy hauler. We’re slowly evolving into something much different than we were when we started and it’s definitely for the best. As always, I’ll try and keep up with the blog – of course there’s at least 500 things I could have posted about but didn’t, so if I start playing “Throwback Thursday” don’t get too confused – the most up to date travel and adventure stuff is on our facebook page!
Thank you for being with us on our travels!