It’s that time of year again when the RV'ers can be seen winding their way out of the valley back toward homes or other destinations all over this big country. This yearly exodus is usually complete by October, with some getting a jump on it leaving first of August.
The early departures are due to grandkids starting school and anxious grandmothers light a fire under "old George,” and get him packed up and on the road so they don't miss the first piano recital or football game for little Johnny or Susie.
They load up their belongings into the modern day Conestoga wagon and before you know it, the highways become a complicated morass of elderly people heading east. A shopping trip to Alamosa indicates that east is where most of them are going. Highway 160 morphs into an obstacle course as we must dodge camper drivers who believe their half of the road is best taken out of the middle of the highway.
By September, the mass exodus is in full swing and you are taking your life into your own hands to even be on the road especially early in the mornings. Anxious to get going, most of these campers start at 4 or 5 a.m. even if they are only going a short distance that day. This is from a lifetime of getting up for work at the crack of dawn and old habits die hard. Most of them are so happy to be going back to their abodes, they don't sleep much the night before the trip anyway so they might as well get up and get outta Dodge.
This month marks the one year anniversary of my being on the road full time in my RV. It’s been an adventure filled with surprises fun, and, luckily, no major issues.
I have found campgrounds full of happy, fun loving female retirees who are willing to cook me a meal and fill my tummy while their husbands fill my ears with tales of their own lives both real and imagined. You will find that if you stay too long in one spot, the stories become so familiar you are unsure if you heard them or actually lived them yourself, so moving occasionally does have its merits.
Trixie, my girlfriend, works on the West Coast so I live this nomadic life as a single person. It’s a bit challenging on the road as you don't have anyone to talk to except when you stop at parks or campgrounds. Thankfully, folks in those places are very friendly and accommodating so you find friends fast and they remain friends for life.
There is a common thread in all campgrounds, though, as I have to maneuver my way past all the well-meaning couples who seem to have just that perfect "someone" who will make my life complete. I met a really nice man last year and "Bill" was so anxious to get me to South Texas where there are dozens of 75-year-old women just waiting for a good man like me. Those conversations are usually a good indication of it being time to move on and so I remind myself that my "Trixie" is only a plane flight away and hit the proverbial road.
Last winter I was able to make a huge circle which included Kansas to Texas to Florida and back. On the way to Florida I got to see the Civil War battlefield at Vicksburg, MS and it was just amazing. Visiting other friends along the way made the trip not too long and finally I ended up in a campground near Mobile, Ala.
I had been offered seven free nights there for taking a tour and well you probably can guess the rest of that story. Yes, it was like a timeshare and I barely escape with my wallet intact. I did get bored there one night and went to the bingo game. Of course it was filled with the regulars from the park and they were both kind and accommodating UNTIL I won both blackout games. At that point, the park manager had to assign me an armed guard to get me safely home in the dark and even then, I could see the headlights of several scooters following me. Nothing like a scary biker gang in a RV park.
Tuesday of this week finds me winding across the great San Luis Valley, the mountains reaching up to the sky. Their snowy peaks and golden aspen groves are long set in my heart as home and I know that come spring, they will send their siren call to this old RVing Ulysses.
Cooper and I are off on a great adventure of seeing my kids and old friends, a welcome respite to the winter’s cold chill. We will keep you informed of our travels and the funny and not so funny things as we spread the message of Trout Republic at the heads of the Rio Grande. Come along with us through this column and also on my blog and enjoy the antics of an unskilled bachelor and his Yorkie. It should prove to be interesting, at least.