|USFS volunteer Carole Paulett returns each autumn. (Julianne G. Crane)|
U.S. Forest Service volunteer Carole Paulett of Virginia is a retired university administrator. (Well, not quite retired, she still substitute teaches for her old school district -- "Everything except math," she laughs, "that's my weak subject.")
For the past eight autumns the 70-something solo RVer has packed up her purple and gold 1983 VW Westfalia (more about that later) and headed for her favorite campground near the Blue Ridge Parkway on the George Washington National Forest, to volunteer for a month.
|"Missy" aka Mistletoe Noel|
Now, back to the purple and gold VW van (custom painted with the colors of James Madison University). It seems that ten years ago, a charity was holding an online auction. "I saw this Westfalia as one of the items and put in a bid," recalls Carole. "To me the van represented 'independence.' I realized that if I had a camper van, I could volunteer for the forest service and travel south to visit friends in the winter."
However, others also wanted the van and the bidding went back and forth. "Finally it was getting close to the deadline and I was about to give up," she says, "but, I put in one last bid of $1 more than the previous bid." Her timing was perfect because the auction closed right after she hit the send key.
To read more of Julianne G. Crane's writings, go to RVWheelLife.com
Photos by Julianne G. Crane.