There have been many events and people who inspired me to decide that I wanted to live in a motorhome full time and travel the country. First, I think I was born with the travel bug. I was a voracious reader as a child and loved Sunday travelogues on television. Detroit, where I grew up, had several I remember, way back in the 50s. One was George Pierrot’s World Adventure Series. If you lived in the Detroit area in the 50s and 60s, you remember him. http://www.hourdetroit.com/Hour-Detroit/May-2013/George-Pierrot-1965/
One of the guests on the George Pierrot show was Don Cooper. His travelogues were a combination north woods lumberjack meets the Marx Brothers slapstick. (If you are from Michigan, you might remember that his films featured his brother, Dennis, and partner, Arnie.) http://www.traveladventurecinema.com/blog/Don-Cooper-Travel-Adventure-Films-Funny-Man-Dead-at-89/ Another funny traveler was Stan Midgely, who rode a bike all over the country. I remember that he used to carry sugar cubes instead of granulated sugar for his on-the-road coffee so it wouldn’t spill and mess up the rest of the stuff in his pack.
I also blame John Steinbeck and the last book he ever wrote, Travels With Charley. According to his son, Steinbeck knew he was dying, so in 1960, he bought a pickup camper and borrowed his wife’s standard poodle, Charley, as a companion for a trip around the United States. I was a high school senior when it was published and it left a strong impression on me—hence the name of this blog. It is likely that Steinbeck used a lot of “poetic license” in writing this rare work of non-fiction, but that never mattered then or now to me. (Last time I wrote on this blog about this book, a writer who has based his career on showing the book to be fiction and a lie commented, which amazed me that someone would even bother caring about that after all these years!) Here is some of the history about the book. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travels_with_Charley. The book is still in print and available on Amazon, by the way.
Much more recently, about five years ago, I discovered a man named George who started writing a blog in May 2003 about his adventures with his motorhome, Ms. Tioga. He had survived cancer and decided he wanted to live the rest of his life as a vagabond, so he spent his savings on a used Fleetwood Tioga, installed solar panels, and took off. He had very little income and had spent most of his savings, so he invented a kind of boondocking that suited him. You can read about these early years and how he lived on the archives of his old blog: http://vagabonders-supreme.net/Archives/Archives.html . The best way is to start at the beginning and work forward. He spent many years living in Mexico and posting wonderful photos and experiences.
His “Magazine” is well worth reading, just on its own. This area is where he has collected articles on various things of interest to anyone wants to full-time as he did. George had an enormous following on his blog. Unfortunately, a couple of years ago, George had a heart attack and drove Ms. Tioga off the road, smashing it into pieces and losing everything he had. He is now living in a senior apartment in California, and says he is very happy riding around on his electric bike and enjoying his new life. He still posts, but admits it does not make for as interesting reading as his old life was.
Next, I am going to write about what it is like to drive a big vehicle.