Friday, December 27, 2013

Blog Update - Where in the hell did the RV idea come in to play!

I have been asked this many times in my travels and via email from several of my followers, so I figured I would relate the story on how I decided to get rid of everything and start full-timing in an RV.

We need to go back to 2010...When I left the Lodge in Alaska in September of 2010 I took a very unique journey home. It started my yearning for travel and I figured that the next part of my life was going to be "on the road"!

I departed Ketchikan on the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry and took a short overnight trip to Prince Rupert Canada...I over-nighted there and then boarded the Canadian Railway for a two day trip to Jasper Alberta on the "SKEENA" a wonderful train ride! The train stops in Prince George where you disembark for the night at a local hotel, then you board again in the morning to head to Jasper.

A good friend from Montana drove up and met me in Jasper - we hung out there for a couple days then drove back to his place in Montana...we had a wonderful time and it made me realize how much of our country that I had not seen the wheels to traveling started turning in my head. The rest of the winter was spent beginning to liquidate and downsize...I was interrupted in my plan when the Lodge asked me to return to Ketchikan early and man the office in town in February of 2011. So my house in Florida was a little less full, but not empty. But the plan was set in motion. I spent the early spring shopping on line for an RV. I knew it had to be fairly small and decided on a 5th wheel because I wanted the bed to be separate from the living quarters, didn't want to have to make the bed back into the dinette everyday and vice versa.

From the Lodge about mid-summer I found and RV I was interested in online, it was in Tacoma Washington and through several emails I got the full details and decided that this was the one I wanted. I put a call out on a photography forum I am active in for anyone from Tacoma...was contacted by a guy who lived in Tacoma and as it turned out just 4 blocks from the RV Place. He agreed to go by and see the RV and take some pictures for me, so I could be certain that the pictures were recent and all was above board. After he confirmed the trailer was in pretty good shape and no water damage or huge issues, and I saw his pictures - I finalized the deal with the dealer and made the purchase sight I needed a truck and close out Florida at the end of the season. One of my customers from Yes Bay happened to live in Oregon just about an hour South of Tacoma and they had a good 5th wheel hitch and gave it to me and even took the time to deliver it to the dealer in trailer and a hitch was waiting for me in Tacoma. Dealer agreed to store the trailer until I could return with my stuff and a truck.

When the season ended I returned straight to Florida looking for a truck there and in Seattle / Tacoma. I was lucky to find my truck in St Petersburg and traded my Isuzu Trooper for the truck....then set about trying to decide what to keep and what to get rid off and used the truck to take furniture to the Goodwill and a consignment place and had two yard sales etc...the end was in site...

On December 19th of 2011 I had the truck loaded with all my crap and headed to Ohio for the holidays....only one small truck issue, it had no heater!! Holy was a cold drive to Ohio in the winter...

Trust me the truck was FULL!!

While in Ohio I bought a heater and installed it in the truck along with a tonneau cover for the bed of the truck for the trip west! After the holidays I repacked the truck and headed West towards Tacoma...with a short stop in Denver and a short stop in Moab and a stop in Salt Lake City. I left Ohio on January 4th...arrived in Salt Lake on January 10th. Rested a couple days and headed for Tacoma on the 13th of January. I arrived in Tacoma at the RV Place on the 14th - saw the RV for the first time and unloaded a few things into the RV, however they could not schedule to install the hitch for a few days so I headed on down to Oregon to my customers who gave me the hitch to unload the truck in their garage so it would be ready for the hitch to be installed. Well the weather gods were not smiling and on the day I was supposed to get the hitch installed and pick up the trailer it was the Snow Storm of the century in Seattle and Tacoma...never fear I am an Alaskan and have 4 wheel drive...I easily made the drive from Boring Oregon to Tacoma and things were a mess...

The electric was off etc...and no employees arrived at the RV Place...spoke with the owner and was delayed back down to Boring for another couple nights and also made a weekend trip to Tillamook to see Kicker my partner in Alaska....went back for scheduled appointment on January 24th a full 10 days after arriving in Tacoma the first time...but things were finally starting to go right. Hitch installed and trailer hitched up and I drove all of 6 miles or so to Puyallup for a Sportsmand Show for the Lodge...worked the show for a couple days and "camped" in the RV at the fairgrounds....until the 30th of January.

I drove back down to Boring and retrieved my belongings from my friends garage and got ready to travel. They kept asking when I was going to leave...wonder why!!

I left Boring again for the last time on the 31st of January headed for Salt Lake City - where I went back to my buddies and proceeded to get the trailer set up for long term living. Installed electric hot water heater and a few other niceties and got things re-arranged in the trailer to make it more comfortable. Wore my welcome out there and headed South around the 14th of February and the rest is pretty much history have been full time in the RV ever since then...gathering stories of traveling adventures....and of course photos.

Since that time I have visited Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Zions National Park, Glacier National Park, Fire Valley State Park in Nevada, Lake Mead national Park, Colorado Grand Mesa National Park, Monument Valley National Park, Denali National Park and several others....and more to come!!

A few photos of the rig and it's travels!

With this past summers trip to Alaska and last years roaming I am over 20 states visited and about 20 thousand miles with the RV!!

Stay tuned for more adventures!!!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

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