Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

What Price Knowledge?

Cap't Bob guides the discussion at a previous meeting.

Cap’t Bob guides the discussion at a previous meeting.

Originally posted 1/13/2013

As I mentioned at Thanksgiving, there’s a group of campers, the vast majority full-timers, who’ve gathered together for camraderie, friendships, and knowledge. Nearly all of these folks make me appear to be Mr. Luxo Tubby in my 26′ travel trailer, because most dwell in vehicles ranging from class-C motorhomes, to smaller travel trailers, to converted small cargo trailers, to converted vans. They’re more than willing to trade a lifestyle based on affluence and comfort for one of freedom of choice. That’s a vast simplification of course, but each person I talk to has a depth of presence and satisfaction that’s hard to find anywhere else. Most folks are waiting and planning for the day that they might be able to do what they like, and perhaps experience living rather than merely putting in time for the day when they can. There’s a sense of joy and enthusiasm in this bunch, even among those whose financial circumstances don’t allow too many other options. Unlike me in my big luxo trailer, they can go where they like and stay where they like, be it open desert at the end of a rough trail, or urban area.

The gathering is called Rubber Tramp Rendezvous, hosted by Bob Wells, an avid vandweller and blogger. Unlike many clubs which have gatherings and charge money to offset expenses or to provide profit opportunities for vendors, Bob’s gathering is free and from the heart. He often provides the ingredients for meals that are offered to anyone present, and organizes others that are a communal effort. At any rate, a couple of days ago I attended a meeting centered on the topic of budgeting and maximizing bang for the buck. I’m no stranger to living on a conventional tight budget, but full-time RVing is a slightly different animal, and many of the people there had discovered handy tips, services, and sources of info that they were happy to share.

Today’s gathering was a “Tin Can Seminar”, which meant that anyone with a question could write it on a slip of paper and drop it into a can on the table. One person read each question, and the group volunteered what they knew. That was quite a bit, I must say.

But I don’t want to stray too far from my usual topic of me, me, me, and so I’ll admit that I was about a half-hour late in getting there. I wanted to save on the gallon of diesel fuel it would take for the round trip, and use my bike to run the 6.5-mile route to the RTR campsite. That’s shouldn’t be a big problem, even though the temperature had climbed to a blistering 36 by the time I left. My bike’s water bottle was still frozen solid of course, but I wouldn’t need it until I got to my destination. Having previously driven the route in the truck, I hadn’t realized that the last 3.5 miles was a very consistent and hard-to-notice uphill grade. I sure noticed it on the bike, though. So, crawling along in low gear, I still managed to burn my lungs and reduce my no-longer-mighty thighs to a mealy pulp. Going Eco isn’t always easy. Being a cheapskate isn’t, either.

When I finally arrived, I was surprised to find the lawn chair I’d left still empty (this is a good-sized group). I discreetly added my two questions to the can, collapsed in my chair, listened, and took notes. When the meeting was over a couple of hours later, I returned home to die in peace. And yes, because of the new seat and grips, my nether regions were fine, and my hands were just starting to tingle because I need to tweak their positioning on the handlebar just a bit. As the Grinch exclaims in the film The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, “That’s what these tests are for!”

I’m not sure whether my lungs can take an earlier departure when it’s still 32 degrees out, but I won’t miss the next meeting on Tuesday, that’s for sure. There are 5 more that I don’t want to miss, regardless of transport. Good stuff!

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