Safety First

How safe is it to travel alone?

Actually, pretty safe. One thing I saw over and over during my research phase was that Rv’rs and truckers are the friendliest and most helpful people on the road. If you ever need anything, ask a nomad!

But there are several tips about being safe on the road. Here’s my list.

  1. Remember the RV maxim – “My house has wheels.” Pay attention to your intuition. If a place looks dicey, if a person seems dangerous, listen to your inner safety director and leave. Keep your keys with you, even when you sleep.
  2. Be prepared. Remember the first aid kit, extra flashlight and batteries. But even if you forget something,  getting supplies is easy. I think every small town with a population of at least 500 a has dollar store. And a Subway!
  3. When you don’t want to pay for a campground or motel, truck stops are good for parking overnight. And, as I’ve said before, Walmart welcomes travelers for overnight stays. Both are well lit and since they’re open 24 hours there are always people around.
  4. Use your electronics.  Get the apps that will help you. I use Allstays which pinpoints on a map all the places an RV or camper can spend a night, campgrounds, Walmarts, truck stops, etc. It includes reviews by other users so you can pick the one that best suits you. For directions, use Google maps or Waze.
  5. Pay attention to the weather. Be aware of severe conditions by using the weather app on your phone or other devices. Most them have weather maps you can use to determine which direction to go in.
  6. If it’s hot, stock up on water. Your air conditioning won’t help you if you get out of the vehicle. Always carry a water bottle with you when exploring.
  7. And speaking of exploring, know your limits. Unknown territory is always risky, even if it looks easy. Tree roots, mud holes, and sticker bushes are plentiful everywhere. Use a walking stick or pole. It helps when going up and down steep hills. Wear walking or hiking shoes or boots, long pants, and sleeves, even when on a path.
  8. When you’re traveling, always let someone know where you are. I text a sister and a daughter every night and tell them where I’m staying.
  9. Cell phone coverage is NOT continuous throughout the country. Carry a hotpsot from a different company than your phone or a cell booster.. To find out about using electronics while traveling I think a good source is the blog of  Technomadia.com. They are a nomadic couple who run an online business specializing in this field.
  10. And if you’re afraid of being mugged out there in the wilderness, just remember: criminals are not going to go wandering around in the woods to find someone to rob, they’ll stay in the city where there’s big opportunity for little effort.

So that’s my list. If you have anything to add, please do so in the comments. I love hearing your ideas and suggestions.

Time to Get Busy

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I’m in Fort Wayne, getting ready to clear out the apartment. I’m trying to think of it as THE apartment instead of MY apartment because I’m leaving a place I’ve enjoyed living in for the past nine years.

Change is always hard. Retirement, the big change, was relatively easy, I’d been planning for it for 40 years LOL. The change in living locations has only been on the list for a couple of years.

When thinking about living in a vehicle as opposed to a building, I kinda made a pro and con list in my head.

Pro – I won’t have rent to pay, I won’t have utilities to pay, I won’t have house maintenance tasks, I can live anywhere

Con – I’ll need to find a place to sleep every night, I’ll spend more on gas

People ask me what I’ll miss about living in a house Not much actually. Being in a van I will be able to do everything I already do  – eat, sleep, read, surf the internet, watch movies and TV shows, write.

Here’s what I won’t miss – house cleaning.

All in all I believe this change in lifestyle will be good for me. During the past several years I’ve spent a lot of time in a kind of limbo, sitting around doing a whole lot of nothing. Not what I want my “golden years” to be.

So, time to get to it!

 

Back on the Road

Texas is boring. Driving across the state I realize that “everything is big in Texas” means the state itself. Thank goodness I have CD’s cause out in the middle of nowhere there’s no radio. Listening to The Doobie Brothers improves my mood.”…oooooh, rockin’ down the highway.”

You know that thing about the faster you go the more gas you use? Texas speed limit on the highway is 80 mph.  Hmmmm….

Here’s a shot from the Trinity River Wildlife Refuge. I think the white thing over the water is a heron. Saw lots of those.

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Going across Louisiana in Interstate 10 is interesting. Lots and lots of water. I lost count of how many bridges I crossed. Some of them were ten stories high! And part of the highway is a bridge over swampland that runs for 15 miles.

I’m tired of driving all day. From now on my trips will be shorter so I can have some of the days to explore.

Last night and tonight I am overnight parking at different Walmarts. It’s safe and easy. And free! I’ve got everything I need, including a bathroom. What was the name of that movie where a girl lived in Walmart?

I should start heading north by tomorrow afternoon, so I guess it’ll be back to motels. Too cold to sleep in the van.

 

Rainy Day

Jan 20 We had a morning session on boondocking. That’s what R V’ers call dispersed or dry camping, meaning setting up a campsite on public lands where there is no electricity, water, or bathroom facilities. Out in the boondocks. You can do this on BLM land, in National Forests, and other government owned land like wildlife refuges. These lands are mostly west of the Mississippi River, not much in my neck of the woods. The seminar was on how to find such land.

We also talked a little bit about overnight parking. That’s when you park somewhere while you’re traveling just to get a night’s sleep. Walmarts are very friendly to nomads, so are Cracker Barrels and truck stops. Sometimes you can even spend a few hours at a rest stop.

The rest of the day it rained, so I stayed in the van reading. It gets quite windy during a rainstorm and a couple of times I had to jump out and fix the tent that the wind had blown in. I quickly learned to park my van on the side that the wind was blowing from to keep it up. I have an app on my phone that tells me where the wind is coming from.

This was the last day of the RTR so I will be doing a post soon with all my thoughts about the event.

What’s Cooking?

January 17
Three classes today, the first two on cooking.

The morning session was a show and tell on favorite cooking methods. Everything from cooking oatmeal in a thermos to using a pressure cooker on a camping stove.

The second class was specifically on pressure cooking and solar cookers. The solar cookers are what interested me. One lady demonstrated how to make one yourself from items bought at the dollar store. Cost less then $10.00 and works just as well as the $300-$400 ones. I think I have a project!

The last class today was on making videos and how to upload them to You Tube. Ehhh, maybe I will, but don’t count on it soon. I’d rather do landscape photography.

It’s going to rain Thursday or Friday. Yay! Why? Because Vincent is so dirty. Saves me a trip to the car wash.

Oh, and guess what I’ve stopped doing? Drinking coffee all day. Yes, me! I drink a cup in the morning and sometimes at night if it’s cold. I don’t know if it’s because I’m running around all day, or just that I’m out of my old routine. No desk here, ya know.