Archive for June, 2011

How I arrived

Perhaps I should take a moment to comment on the journey that has so far landed me here.

I’d been inspired by a small quiet road in the Sierras in those moments when the trees seem to speak aloud. I’d parked, touched by the glances of hidden animals and the sound of afar off water cascading into thirsty niches. I wanted to stay, to spend the night or the week simply listening and watching so I began to search. . . two years later I purchased my 1996 Dodge Freedom Wide Class B 19′ self-contained Leisure Travel. I had twice inspected and rejected this vehicle, certain I could find what I truly wanted, a compact, economical go-anywhere (affordable!) camper that could sleep 4 or in pinch at least 3. It would be off-road capable and enable me to be independent of the built environment and allow me the freedom and comfort to roam in the panoply from highrise city to desolate wilderness. Something like this would have been my dream: The Earthroamer or a Tiger

In the beginning I knew nothing. I didn’t know motorhomes were a type of RV and that not all RVs are self-contained or that they come in different classes. I didn’t know that what I wanted was in short supply and high demand and that my dream vehicle was at the top of the line. I didn’t know that the NADA guides–the RV version of Kelly Blue Book–was only going to frustrate me. I started to back-down on what I wanted, adjusting, capitulating and probably doing a lot of whining. Salesmen took me under their wing explaining the facts: as the economy collapsed home-dwellers were drawn to the RV — it was mobile, comfortable, and to some, offered the lure of exploration and salvation from failure. Small requires precision craftsmanship, that means you pay more, add that to the history of RV travel on the West Coast with big roads, long distances and cheap gas creating the demand for spacious RVs–gas guzzlers with room for the whole family and all their toys. The global picture changes; empty-nesters and solo singles, the new class of vagabonds, the lost and the adventurous sharing the frustration with the rising pump and the fear of ruining the family vacation has turned ‘little and economical’ into precious and expensive.

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Quote for the backup camera was $1,600, the awning $1,100 … so they’re scrap. The blue-tooth radio $400, I may still do that but will try a few more places in town and see if I can bring that price down. Oh, the awning would be nice…but… Am gonna look into creating a makeshift awning with a tarp and somewhere I saw a backup camera that attaches to the rear view mirror… if there’s time to order it maybe it would work? No word yet on the sewer line and other repairs….

Tired for an hour or so – maybe longer to post an image of Olympia as a puppy…  she was adorably orange …   but so far no luck. It’s gonna be harder than it seems. I’ll need to dig out Photoshop to create images by pixel size or better, my favorite image editor, IrfanView.

The Solstice Parade was the best I’d seen.

The van is in Oxnard at Bills RV Service  Am hopeful that this will be the shinning moment and all the little things I almost forgot (like servicing the generator, replacing the water filter, replacing the outer trim that fits on the seam between van and RV extension, replacing the burnt out floor lights, repairing the privacy door so it doesn’t fall off every time its extended, removing the defunct cell-phone antenna, etc.) and bigger things like an awning and of course the sewer hose  will be repaired to perfection. Well, one can dream. I didn’t hear from them today – a call would have been nice. Spent $90 on gas, but it wasn’t too bad as gas has dropped to $3.85 a gallon. Of course when I got home I had to fill the tank on the Ford, that was another $40. I remember when $130 was a lot of money!

My First Blog

Bear with me as I learn my way here. There’s a good bit of computer lag as well; nevertheless, I’m ready to start up. We’re not on the road yet ….  one more thing to fix….  the pre-attached sewer line leaks like a sieve so a trip to an RV shop is scheduled for Monday. Maybe it will enable me to get that awning to provide shade and a dry spot in the rain – am also hoping for a radio upgrade so I can plug in my android for music and talk on the road.

Okay am off to watch the Santa Barbara Solstice Parade in the sunshine.