I’ve camped much of my adult life. While stationed in Germany in the 60’s, we tent camped on the beach on the Costa del Sol and in the forests of Germany. Many years later, my ex-husband and I were stationed in Alaska and we tent camped on many trips. We finally bought an unimproved tract of land on Deep Creek in Ninilchik, AK. At first, we cleared just enough trees to put up a tent, then gradually built a trail to the creek bluff. After 20 years of marriage, my husband divorced me to marry a younger woman. I was devastated but decided the best way to heal was to let him have the house and let me keep the land to camp on to renew my soul. As the years went on, I continued to tent camp while clearing trees to build a real road and a place to park a travel trailer. I saved up my money and bought a used travel trailer. Later, some friends and I trenched in electricity…my goodness! What luxury! Indoor plumbing and making coffee without having to start a campfire first!
I worked for 32 years for the Federal Aviation Administration as an analyst. My retirement dream was to purchase an RV to travel between the lower 48 states and Alaska. Originally I bought a larger travel trailer, but as I got older, Class A became a more attractive option since it is easier to set up and feels safer to me. In May of 2017, I bought a 2004 36’ class A, drove it to Alaska, and moved into it full time while I got my home ready to sell. I retired at the end of August 2017 and left Alaska to begin my retirement adventure. I drove through Canada by myself and down the West Coast. After stops in California and Albuquerque, NM to visit friends, family, and go to the balloon fiesta. I attended a High School reunion and ended up in San Marcos, TX for my first retirement winter. My house in Alaska still wasn’t selling due to an unscrupulous realtor, so I did not have a car that first year. But uber and kind neighbors helped me get to doctor appts, church, and grocery stores.
In late April 2018, I began my trip back to Alaska arriving in Fairbanks in time to show my Golden girl at the Fairbanks show. After that show, I drove to Ninilchik to camp, fish, train, and show my dogs. The house finally sold (I changed realtors, but lost $52,000 to the crooked realtor). My 11-year-old grandson and I flew to Hillsboro, OR to purchase a new car. We drove back up the AlCan together and had wonderful adventures on that trip. I rented a tow dolly in August to tow the car on the drive back to the lower48. When I got to Sioux Falls, SD, I camped for a week while a flat tow system was installed. Then drove to Austin, TX via the Golden Retriever National Dog show in St. Louis, MO.
I was in a Sweet Adeline competition chorus and also began showing Golden Retrievers. Both were expensive hobbies, so I had to choose between the two. Since my Golden was also my camping buddy, he won the toss. I found that I loved training and showing dogs. My second Golden became an American Grand Champion, Canadian Champion, Therapy Dog, and eventually my Service Dog. My next Golden has been trained in agility, obedience, and conformation. We are still working on finishing her championship along with higher titles in agility and rally. I love training her and we have a lot of fun together.
I just bought a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel show puppy for a 70th birthday present to myself. We’re currently training for his first show here in Austin in February. Our plan for next year is to drive to the Cavalier National Dog show which will be held in Hyanas Port, MA April 15, 2019. I hope to drive through MS, AL, and GA before turning north to go to the shows. I’ll be looking to see what shows we can hit on our way up there. One of the cool things about going to dog shows along the way is that there are often lots of other show folks who RV. Many of the show sites allow dry camping or even may have hookups for nominal fees. Weather permitting, we have nightly tailgate parties and we talk about dogs and camping experiences. My two favorite subjects.
After the Cavalier national, I will hang out on the East Coast until school is out in AK so my grandson can join me for another adventure. We will explore Boston, Washington D.C, Williamsburg, then camp at my uncle’s farm in MO. Eventually, we will make it to Mt. Rushmore where we plan to lead a caravan of FRVW through Canada to Fairbanks, AK. We’ll eventually make our way back to Ninilchik for a summer of camping and fishing. Other than planning to drive back down the West Coast, I haven’t decided where I will spend the winter. The only requirement is that there are plenty of dog shows and training opportunities within driving distance. I plan to train the Cavalier puppy to become a Therapy dog so we can visit teenagers with behavioral health issues and maybe some people living in nursing homes. I’m looking forward to lots more adventures before I decide to get old. Hope to meet many of you FRVW on the road.