Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Freedom to roll

This will be my fifth Fourth of July celebration since I became a full-time RVer again. I don't have a toad so when I need to go to my nearest bank branch, I travel 25 miles to Healdsburg. That means I crank up the motorhome and drive there.

Some of my neighbors offered to give me a ride in their car the next time they travel but I politely declined. Lucy needs to go and so do I.

Early Monday morning, I pulled out of the site and around the circle to the entrance road. Then I drove to the freeway and headed south. It was a cool morning with high clouds and no smoke from the fires tinting the skies brown. No smell of smoke either. There was a semi far ahead of me and I was alone on the winding stretch of Highway 101.

Then it hit me. I was smiling. I was on the road again. OK, I wasn't going very far for very long, but I was going. The RV was running smoothly and I thoroughly enjoyed the drive.

After banking and shopping for groceries, I had the gentleman who bagged my groceries help me load the bags into the RV. He peeked inside and smiled. "You got it good, lady." Yes I do.

I drove north to Cloverdale to fill the gas tank. There was a tiny gas station along the main street and I pulled in. This station had an attendant and no pay-at-the-pump yet. I walked to the small office (no store either) and handed the woman my credit card. "I bet you're glad to see me."
She looked a little confused. "Yes? I guess I am."
"Now you can pay your rent. I'm sure the manager was worried until I came along."
She laughed.

I was filling the tank when I noticed signs atop each pump. Instead of the prices, there was "Yikes!" "Ouch!" and "Whew!"

A man in a Jeep pulled in on other side of the pumps and went to pay. He returned and started pumping. I was still smiling when he said, "Boy, I bet you hate to fill that thing. How big is the tank?"
"72 gallons."
"Wow! What's your mileage?"
"Nine and-a-half."
He shook his head.
"Yes, but it gets great mileage for a house. I live in her."
"Yes. And you know what? I didn't even look at the pump for the price. It doesn't make any difference."
"It doesn't? Sure it does. Gas is expensive."
"Yes it is, but it's the price I pay for this RV to take me wherever I want. A tank of gas gives me the freedom to roll."
"But it must cost a lot to fill it up."
"It does. How much is your freedom worth? Mine is priceless."
He turned away to finish pumping and I could see that he was nodding.

The pump stopped at $174.80 and the tank was full.
I pulled out of the driveway and stopped at the orange cones on the main street where a side street was closed for construction. I made eye contact with the flagman, folded my hands in prayer and pointed north. He pulled a couple of cones out of the way so I could turn and waved as I went by.

I drove to the park and backed into my site. Five minutes later, the water and electric were connected, the coffee was brewing and I was balancing my checkbook. In a couple of weeks, I'm going to take a short road trip (70 miles) to the Larkspur ferry, sail to San Francisco, take a bus across town and have lunch with a friend. Lucy will have some exercise, I'll be on the road and I will again appreciate the freedom to roll.


  1. Sounds like heaven! I'm still tied to a stick house and have to work at my teaching job. My trips out with the trailer are my 'mental health' excursions. Funny how even a weekend out seems to really energize me.

    I love reading your column, too, and dream of doing the same as you are doing one day. Now that will be heaven on earth, won't it?


  2. This one makes me drool. I've been wanting an RV since I retired, but as a single now 70 y/o there is much that is daunting, including cost of gas and the more than 1000 miles between members of my family. (And I've never owned nor driven and RV.)I am so ready to downsize my stuff and take my two cats on the road. I need practical encouragement. Can you offer some?

  3. For Gailmarie: Today is July 5, 2008. If you change nothing about your life, where will you be on July 5, 2009?
    You'll be a year older in the same place doing the same thing and wishing you were traveling.

    Lee Snow drove her 27-foot motorhome towing a VW bug until she reached age 89 before hanging up her keys. Alone. Can you imagine the stories she can share about the places she's been and the sights she's seen?

    Well, as my mother used to say, what are you waiting for? An engraved invitation? Here it is: join your local chapter of RVing Women, ride along on a weekend trip, ask your questions and see what kind of RV works best for you.

    Then GO!

    For taz: be sure to define "one day." You can't achieve a goal if you don't set it. Make those weekends more frequent. An overnight at a local park won't hurt either. While you're RVing, make some plans: where will you go? What will you see? What do you want to learn? Put up a map of the U.S. and highlight your first, second and third choices of destination. Investigate the routes and discover what there is to see while you drive. Post in the RV Travel forum about your plans and there will be several to respond with the information you need.

    It is heaven on earth and you can share it.

  4. Hi Adrianne
    Met you at Life on Wheel/Tucson.
    That was my first venture in the rv. As a new widow it was frightning and exciting and what a sense of accomplishment when I reached my destination. I put 6100 miles on my rv last winter and am looking forward to this year.

  5. That is such an invite for anyone to hit the road. I know your feeling,as we are fulltimers. Everytime we hook up the fiver we are just happy to be o the road. It cost us about $130. to fill our diesel truck, but it is a lot cheaper than maintaining a stick house. . My friends are still paying last years heating bills. The part about getting things done and making a pot of coffee is just inviting. Happy trails. Lois

  6. This one makes me drool. I've been wanting an RV since I retired, but as a single now 70 y/o there is much that is daunting, including cost of gas and the more than 1000 miles between members of my family. (And I've never owned nor driven and RV.)I am so ready to downsize my stuff and take my two cats on the road. I need practical encouragement. Can you offer some?

    Gailmarie, go to www.RV-Dreams.com
    you will get a lot of encouragement. There is a SOLO section in the forum. They even have a chat room about 8.00pm Central with other Fulltimers, Solos, Gonnabe's and Wannabe's there. Happy Trails, Penny, TX

  7. For taz and gailmarie - go for it! I laid my retirement plans to full-time amid mixed responses from family and friends. Dog and I moved into our 5er 6 months before retirement and sold off all the stuff. Although I'm much younger than gailmarie [only 67 (0=], we hit the road a month after retirement and never looked back - freedom, peace, a dream come true. Unexpected bummer stuff happens, of course; that's when you will draw on the wonderful well of experience you bring to your travels. And you will meet wonderful, helpful, non-judgmental people all along the way - as I did, you may even run into Adrienne in some beautiful, quiet spot along the way. Best to both of you.


  8. Your reasons to keep RVing are a soft breeze blowing across my face. We love our RV and I am never happier than when the wheels 'neath me are going round and round to possibly an unknown stop or destination. We are currently in the process of planning (and putting into action) sorting, purging, and storing our belongings, renting our house and hitting the road. Like you, that freedom is priceless, and we must do it while we can. Higher gas prices simply mean we will economize in other ways.

  9. I researched RVs for @ 6 months while mulling it over, then bought the used class A that won my heart, went home packed everything I needed into it and drove away leaving my son and daughter-in-law everything else including my car - my recumbent was hooked on the ladder. I listed my house on line, sold it the next week and closed with my son as POA & I have NEVER regretted a single minute of being a single, 60 year old full timer. Not quite true, I VERY much regret not having made the choice years ago. I'm less than 5 months from total retirement & am looking forward to full time travel. I upgraded to a new class A last year & I only put about 10000 miles this year since I'm still working.