And … we’re off! The cross-country road trip we have been planning for the last six months has officially begun.
The last time we did this we were in our late twenties. My husband built a simple camper shell for our little Datsun truck, we threw in our very basic camping gear and headed for the Florida Keys. It was a wonderful opportunity to explore this fascinating country of ours.
That trip never lost its charm. In fact, it was such a memorable experience that some 38 years later, we decided to embark on a similar adventure, this time heading north, passing through parts of Canada and finally ending up in Prince Edward Island.
But a few things are different some 38 years later. (Aging does that, doesn’t it?) This time around we’ve changed more than the route for our road ramblings.
For starters, our accommodations are far more comfortable than that tiny Datsun. At first we considered buying a teardrop trailer. But after looking at one inside and out, we realized that the likelihood of two people, both six feet tall, being even remotely comfortable in a space that small was zero to none.
Instead, my husband, master builder/wood worker that he is, crafted a delightful little travel trailer for us. While we won’t rival any RV on the road, the “Prairie Schooner,” as we call her, as everything we need. The entire space, all 9’x5’x5’ of it, actually reminds me of our boat’s pilot house. Sporting mahogany double doors on the back, the interior is finished off with beautiful wood. Every inch of space is utilized. It even has room for two essentials — and the dog and a port potty. My husband also built a useful storage box for the truck which provides secure space for a few more crucial items.
I know this kind of trip doesn’t appeal to everyone. (I told one woman we’d be camping for the next six weeks and she looked at me as though we’d lost our minds!) But after a decade of boating, paring down to the basics is something we discovered we enjoy. Simplicity truly has its merits. It is a nice way to regroup, to think about possessions and how they may or may not be adding to our happiness.
Another major difference from our first cross country road trip is our budget. Where we pull in for the night probably won’t be determined by the fee. We can also easily snag a motel during bad weather … or a burning desire for a king size bed! Meals in restaurants won’t be the exception either.
Best of all? We now have our lifetime National Parks Golden Access Pass Senior Pass. The benefits of this little card are amazing. It offers us free access to any of the National Parks and other federally managed recreation areas that have entrance fees. We’ll also get 50 percent off the regular price at federal government-operated campgrounds. (If we were traveling with others in our vehicle, they would also receive free entrance to the parks.)
We’ve found this pass to be worth its weight in gold. Regretfully, the price was recently raised to $80 but if you can afford it, it will save you money in the long run. Go to www.store.usgs.gov for more information.
The last difference between these two road trips? This time around, we have a larger house, a cat, and a garden that all need tending. Fortunately, that problem was solved when a dear friend was interested in house-sitting for us. With that arrangement finalized, we were good to go.
You may or may not hear much from me over the next six weeks. There’s a part of me that thinks camping, hiking, exploring, reading, painting, and needle work might be all my brain wants to do. (Oh, I am enjoying this whole semi-retirement phase!) Then again, I think about the places we’ll see and the people we’ll meet and I just may be inspired!
Finally? If you see a dark gray Chevy truck, carrying two happy geezers and a Golden Doodle, pulling a teal blue ‘tiny house’ trailer, please honk. It’s always a pleasure to have positive connections with people, wherever we might be!