About

For awhile now I’ve had a dream of traveling full time in an RV, seeking out some of the beauty of our earth-mother, seeing some old friends, meeting new people, and maybe doing some volunteer work at animal sanctuaries along the way.

Soon I’ll be retiring from the 3-11:30 world of nursing at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula’s Family Birth Center, so the time has come to bring the dream alive!  This blog will be the story of the adventures that Joy, Shiloh and myself encounter along the way….and the thoughts that are evoked as a result.

Update!  Life in “Wandering Spirit” began August 10, 2014, and we spent the first night under the beautiful full moon.

My trailer is a 2011 Casita, Freedom Deluxe, which I bought used in October, 2013.  Peggy and Doug owned it before me and did wonderful things to it, including putting a solar panel on top, putting in a nice sound system, many other nice mods, and they also included a Honda generator, 2000.  Since then a friend built a wifi antenna for me, that we fondly call the ‘Joel Pole’.

Wandering Spirit is pulled by “Joy Ride”, a 2012 Ford F150 EcoBoost.  That’s a lot more power than I need to pull a Casita, but I feel better knowing the extra power is there.

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39 Responses to About

  1. Well I, for one, am excited for you…and I’m tagging along!

  2. Hi Cindy, thank you for tagging along with me! I went to your blog and was reading a few of your entries, which led to the purchase of your book, “Evolution of a Stir”, Kindle edition. Looking forward to reading it when I’m on the road and have some time to relax and enjoy it. 🙂

  3. Debbie Gill says:

    I am so excited for you and to read about all your adventures!

  4. edlfrey says:

    If you are still shooting and get down to Yuma I invite you to join me at Sprague’s indoor range. I need to do some familiarization shooting and have never been much of a handgun shooter so it would NOT be a competitive match.

  5. Hi Ed, thanks for the invite, and I sure do need the practice. Yuma isn’t in my plans right now though. I’ll be in Q most of Jan and half of Feb as far as I know. Not sure where I’ll head after that…guess it will depend on the weather.

  6. Sandra says:

    Saw your link thru RV Sue. Love your blog and would like to follow. Wishing we were fulltime too. Can’t wait to roam out west

    • Hi Sandra, I’d be very happy to have you along with us for the ride! Yes, we have such a beautiful out west, don’t we? I’m just amazed most every day, at the beauty that surrounds us.
      How your wait to roam is a short one, but no matter, it will be worth whatever wait you have!

  7. Linda says:

    RVSue also brought me here! I will be headed out full time this winter in my 16 ft Scamp, with my three dogs, Geordi, deaf and blind Aussie, Moxie, deaf Rat Terrier mix and Mojo a Chihuahua mix. Looking forward to reading all your past and future adventures!

    • Hi Linda, so happy you are joining me for the ride. It will help to pass the time until you get on the road with your amazing crew!
      When people seem surprised to find two big dogs and myself live in Wandering Spirit, I tell them, ‘yes, it’s a little tight sometimes, but it works because we love each other’. It will work for you too. I’m excited for you…time flies, and it won’t be long before you are on the road!

  8. Linda says:

    Thank you for your words of encouragement

  9. Barbara (Nashville) says:

    I bookmarked your blog from RV Sue as well. Read posts back to casino forward. Will read more as I have chance. Love the scenic photos of the Grand Canyon. I want to go there so badly, but we are kind of stuck in TN for now.

    • Hi Barbara, I think I remember you from comments on Sues blog. I could be wrong but I’m thinking you are a teacher, looking forward to retirement?
      But anyway, welcome to this blog, I’m glad you are here…along for the ride!
      So glad you enjoyed the Grand Canyon photos. I hope it’s not too long until you see it with your own eyes.

  10. bess in oregon says:

    i will join the gang of RVSue members and let you know that i enjoy your blog very much. your descriptions and photos are great! i love your candid descriptions of the roads into Yosemite and the unlevel campsi
    we have a vintage 1955 Rainbow trailer that we pull with our 2010 Subaru Outback and are not full-timers. this June we head out on a one month trip to Yellowstone and we will make a big circle from Eugene to get there. we are excited. have you any good information about Idaho, Montana or Wyoming to share? keep on having a great time and if you ever want to explore Oregon, we can give you some great ideas.

    • Sounds like a great little rig Bess, and an exciting adventure that you are planning to have with it!
      the area you are traveling will have have lots of mountain driving, so one thing I’d suggest is that if you aren’t on an interstate highway to plan carefully so you are comfortable on the roads you driving on. The mountains are a big part of what makes it so beautiful, but it can also be nerve wracking to drive in them.

      Hopefully you will be spending some time by the Tetons as well, just south of Yellowstone. Another place I like in Wyoming is the SW area by the Green River and Flaming Gorge Reservoir. Ashley National Forest covers some of that area and also down into Utah. Some very nice camping in Ashley NF.

      In NW Montanna there is Glacier National Park, a very bucket list worthy destination. That area exemplifies the beauty of the Rocky Mountains in every way.

      Those are my thoughts off the top of my head!

      • bess in oregon says:

        thanks, i will use these ideas for our trip.

        let me know if you want some ideas about camping in Oregon. i am in Eugene and am familiar with the whole state, which is called “Pacific Wonderland”. i too love Big Sur!!

  11. ChrisAnn in Fl says:

    I will be following you as well, just found your blog am looking forward to catching up from the beginning. Hoping to be on the road starting next spring, maybe I will see you out there. If all goes well with inspections on the 17′ Bigfoot I found that’s what I’ll be in, still have to find a tow vehicle.

    • Hi ChrisAnn in FL, welcome! I’m happy to have you here. Sorry it took me a day or so to see your comment. The first time someone comments I have to ‘approve’ it, and other times on occasion for some reason. I can’t figure it out.
      Anyway…I well remember the days of getting ready and planning. For me it was fun, adding fuel to the fire of my dreams. I hope you feel the same.

      A Bigfoot! How cool is that! Have any ideas about what you are looking for in a tow vehicle?

  12. Larry L. Cooke says:

    It was such a pleasure meeting you yesterday at Lyons Ferry KOA, along with Joy and Shiloh. We enjoyed talking with you and learning about your travels. Hopefully our paths will cross again soon. Larry & Polly.

    • Hi Larry and Polly, it was so nice to meet the two of you and chat while the sun was setting. I keep finding the nicest people as I travel, and you guys are two of them.
      Well I made it through 120 miles of wheat! 😀 Wheat everywhere as far as the eye could see. Hope you enjoyed the falls today and have a safe trip home.

  13. Susan L. says:

    I wish you well in your journey! Hopefully soon I will be on my journey to see this beautiful country!

  14. Just found yr blog thru RV Sue! Live in East Tennessee and do lots of camping. Hope to follow yu. Thanks

  15. Hi…. Found your site a couple days ago… totally confused on how to contact you. I’ve two therapy dogs (see photo). We visit nursing homes and other facilities. I want to get a Freedom…cause it’s the only way my dogs will fit.

    Since you’ve already modified yours… as well as probably personalized it further than removing the chair… can you share (or link to) some additional information?

    Finding a used Freedom will probably take some time (so far I’ve not been successful)… so I’m hoping to do some traveling in 2018.
    Thanks
    ~joseph

    • Your dogs are precious Joseph.

      It is a challenge living with 2 larger dogs in a Casita, but when people ask me about it my answer is “it works because we love each other.”

      Yes, I took out the first chair…the one closest to the doorway. That gives us some turn around space when we come in and out, and I put a dog bed there for their convenience. 🙂
      That way they can both sleep in my bed or one can sleep on the bed on the floor.

      The large table in the back is always in the bed position and I sue the side table. I have 2 dog beds that I keep in the back of the truck that I use when we are camped as their outside beds. Not for at night of course, just for daytime use.

      If it’s rainy or very cold and they can’t go. Out, that’s when things can get a bit crowded, depending on how long the bad weather lasts. Unless it’s really bad weather I feed them outside. I keep their dog food in a bin in the closet.

      Joy and Shiloh are 13 and 10 years old now, so that actually helps since they aren’t as active as they once were.

      They always ride in the truck, never in the Casita. Apparently Casitas bounce around something awful. I have the shocks on mine, and it still bounces. I would never want them to ride back there. My Ford F-150 has the large crew cab which I’ve fixed up just for the dogs. I’ve done various things with it but have always made it level allthe way from front to back (no floor drop). Also I have a ramp to get them in and out with. When I’m driving it is propped in the front passengers side.

      When I camp if there is no grass I use a 9×12 blue mat in front of WS which helps keep at least some dirt out. Oh and I have the trailer with the vinyl floor option.

      When I bought my FD…used…I wasn’t really sure which one I wanted, but it just worked out that I got the one I did and I’m SO glad because I think it would be a lot harder to manage with two big dogs in any other model. Having that bit of extra room by the doorway just makes
      all the difference.

      If you are talking about other modifications in general check out http://www.littlehousecustoms.com
      This is Larry Gamble and he works exclusively on Casita’s, doing mods mainly. If you go to his ‘store’ on line you can get an idea what can be done as far as modifications. He will send you the stuff to do it in most cases or you can go to him in Texas and he’ll do it. If you are closer to Arizona, Konrad can’t do a lot of the mods, but he doesn’t do everything. http://www.littlehousecustomsarizona

      Probably the #1 mod I’d recommend is get some solar. Doesn’t have to be much, but it’s wonderful to have. My Casita had some on it when I bought it and they guy included the Honda 2000 generator in the sale too.

      Google The Casita Forum and join it if you haven’t. They are the most helpful group of people and will help you with any question. And/or join Casita Owners on FB. It’s for people interested in owning a Casita too. On the Forum there is always a list of Casitas for sale.

      Hope this helps!

      • Hi again… I’ve a question about how you wash and care for your dogs. Because my dogs are therapy dogs, I must keep them clean. I take them to the groomer every Tuesday. They are washed and every 6 weeks they get a full grooming.

        How do you keep your dogs clean, nails trimmed and so forth? Do you coordinate a trip to various groomers, just like you schedule your other errands (grocery shopping, etc)?

        Sounds like a simple question (perhaps it is)… but one that I need to plan for.

        Thanks…..~joseph

        • Well Joseph…my dogs have never been to a groomer. Never in their lives.
          I do a lot of brushing, nail trimming, hair trimming, ear cleaning, etc, and when I have to, I give them a bath, but for me, that’s never easy! I have taken them to do-it- yourself doggie washes, washed them at friends houses, or just used water from the hose.

          I’m thinking you will need to Google dog groomers where ever you are and look for reviews. But I’ve got to tell you, camping can be messy!

  16. Yes, your information is great. We had a Casita SD, thus I knew only the Freedom would work with my large dogs. We traveled with 3 small poodles. Never put them in the Casita when towing down the road. We were set up for full-time with generator and solar.

    Had great plans but within 2 years my wife died (5 years ago). I sold the Casita. So now I am starting over…or at least I hope to. I joined the Casita Forum and am following it. I ordered Casita A-Z Guide and anxiously wait for it to arrive.

    Thanks for Larry’s information. I’m 78 (I use that excuse to outsource mod improvements)

    I have 2003 Toyota SUV, fully equipped to tow the Casita. I built a rear seat platform to fill the space where rear seat passenger place their feet. The remainder is the only space to carry all camping needs. (will be a tight fit).

    Must do lots of research… including finding my Freedom.

    Thanks, again
    ~joseph

    • Hi Joseph,
      It sounds like you are moving forward in life and following your dream and that’s good to hear.
      Glad to know that you have had experience with Casitas and are familiar with their size limitations first hand. Sometimes I think ‘ just a foot wider would help so much!’ , but then I think about how nice it is to tow a trailer that is no wider than my truck, and that thought always wins!
      Carrying enough stuff for full timing is a challenge for me even with the mid sized truck bed. I have things with me that I don’t really need, even though I’ve downsized many times, and then I find there are things I need that I hadn’t used in 2+ years so I got rid of, and now I have to buy again.
      I’m still learning, and hope I always will be as long as I have life.
      Best wishes finding your Freedom. I hope you will keep me up to date on your progress!

      • Hi again…. Well, you asked for it with your “I hope you will keep me up to date on your progress.”

        I’ve been writing about my progress. I just finished #5 and I am submitting it for your thoughts.
        I’m seeking feedback on how this GREAT IDEA can work for us.

        #5 Where to go?
        This Casita search concept has captured most of my thoughts this past week.
        I’ve only shared my Casita thoughts with three people. Well, I guess it is more than three people because I did post my intent on the Casita Forum. However, only a couple folks on that forum responded to my initial query.

        Today, while taking the garbage out (it’s garbage collection day on Thursday at Sunflower RV Resort) … I thought about a single word one of those three people had penned in her response to my email.

        The word was ‘ministry.’

        I’ve been fixated on myself while doing Casita research. Specifically, I have been trying to understand what is so important that is driving me to want to travel. I’ve been a nomad all my life. Thus it’s easy to understand getting itchy feet when I sit too long in one place… and I’ve been here for seven years.

        But deeper down, when I analyze my daily lifestyle pattern, I’m a loner. Although I was ‘with’ lots of people at campgrounds and RV rallies, I wasn’t a ‘joiner.’

        That’s important because I’m doing exactly the same thing at Sunflower RV Resort. I am not involved in any of the two dozen individual hobby groups and clubs. I keep to myself. The only thing I do is take Bernie and Chris to nursing homes and senior centers. These therapy visits are welcomed by the residents.

        A huge question I’d yet to answer was how I was going to spend each day and where would I go?

        I wasn’t interested in visiting all the tourist places. I’d traveled all over the world for twenty years in the Navy. Sixteen years spent in Morocco, Germany, Spain, Japan, Iceland, England, and another half-dozen place. I’ve served on a surface ship and a submarine. After all that military travel, I retired and spent another twenty years working on the road. Living out of various RVs and covering our country from ocean to ocean. I even worked in Alaska. That was a fun trip. We lived in the Leisure Travel. It’s a 17-foot motorhome, and we had three toy poodles living with us.

        I’m used to cramped space. We also had a Casita, fully loaded for full-time RVing. Had a generator and solar panels. Then, within two years Cricket, my wife, died.

        Everything stopped.

        Now, suddenly five years later I have this powerful urge to travel.

        I acknowledge doubt of my decision… although I haven’t fully committed to it. That’s the reason for the research. I have a lot of questions I must answer.

        One of the biggest was… Where to go? And why?

        I’ve decided not to play tourist. I didn’t do it before and didn’t care to do it now. I accepted my ‘loner’ status. I am selective when it comes to being with people. I knew I wouldn’t do the group ‘pot-luck’ and join with dozens of folks in a large circle… pulling their chair up around a bonfire.

        That bonfire image triggered the word ‘ministry.’ Here’s how it happened.

        So far, everything had been about what was I going to do. I thought about me sitting in one of those chairs, staring at the bonfire with people on both sides of me.

        Where were Bernie and Chris? What were they doing? Were they just passengers riding in the car? How are they going to have any fun?

        I thought… why not plan our travel journey around the dogs. Specifically, having the dogs visit… ‘out-of-the- way’ nursing-type facilities.

        Like all my great ideas, I was running before I learned to walk. A dozen logistic questions flooded my brain. I’d never coordinated or organized a ‘Therapy Tour.’ I didn’t know anyone. What documents would I need?

        The mental list exploded like bursts of sparks from a camp bonfire… quick flashes fading into nothing. I couldn’t capture all the thoughts.

        But I knew it was worth exploring. I just needed some help. I would start by sharing my Therapy Tour concept with the key people at the facilities we visited. I’d need to print out an idea of how it could be done.

        What kinds of logistics would be involved? What official documents would I need to present? Would I have a formal presentation or would it be a casual visit where Bernie and Chris would work their magic on providing comfort and joy while being petted?

        Where would I camp? How long would I stay? Is this even feasible? Is anyone else doing this?

        I’m seeking your thoughts.

        ~joseph

        • Wow Joseph what a creative thinker you are! The life you are creating in your mind seems perfect for you.
          Have I heard of this before… no I have not but it seems doable… with a lot of planning.
          Yes I think talking to the people at the place or places where you take Bernie and Chris now is a good start. They probably have connections with other facilities.
          Also researching places on line to see if they seem to be somewhere you would like to take your boys. There are so many small towns out there with small facilities. Then there would also need to be an RV park or somewhere that you could stay for as long as you (and the boys) comfortable with, fairly nearby.
          Maybe the people who do therapy dog training or Canine good manner classes would have connections to places that allow therapy dogs too.
          Then you would also like to be somewhere so that on your free days Bernie and Chris could do some frolicking, like a dog friendly beach or park, or nice walking trails.
          Sorry about these unorganized random thoughts. I’m just typing what comes into my head.
          Oh and you would need access to a dog groomer.
          Sounds like a lot of requirements but really there are nursing home type places, rv parks, and dog groomers all in a LOT of small towns, I’m sure. I see dog grooming businesses everywhere, and some kind of extended care home in most small towns… well depending on how small the town is. In some areas there are a surprising amount of city and county camping places. Usually there is a limit on how long you can stay though, like a week or two at most. I noticed lots in North Dakota for instance. Many times free or for a donation, too.
          I use the Allstays app on my tablet to check out camping places, it’s pretty amazing. Get the one that costs $10. It’s well worth it.
          So those are my thoughts for now….

          • Joseph I see that you wrote this awhile back and I missed seeing it till just this morning!

          • Good Tuesday morning (82 degrees at 5am)
            I just responded… so I guess this is a public so others can view it… That’s great… if someone wants to provide me some thoughts about my ?plan?… wonderful.

            Bottom line, finding a groomer is no harder than finding a laundromat… (no, I’m not tossing the dogs in the washer)… but when you travel, you just automatically adjust your lifestyle. My guys are very frisky (only 4 and 5 yr) so my biggest problem is finding space to exercise them off leash. I have remote collar equipment and they are very well trained… but off leash can only be ‘displayed’ when the public isn’t present. (waffle-wording that one)

            ~joseph

          • Yesterday it was 111 and this morning at 4:30 it is 82. I’ll be taking the dogs for their exercise in an hour (I like to watch the sun rise). Another piece of our life. I’ve spent the last 3 years writing about the dogs… A Chronicle from how I got them, the emotional rollercoaster of training them and all sorts of therapy handler tips and stories. My editor just returned some of the 125 stories so I am busy tweaking. No idea how I’ll publish… probably eBook. (or when).

            Got the Casita A-Z Guide book yesterday… need that to research what I will need. I’m not full timing, just maybe a week at a time… unless I can financially pull it off. (I don’t believe I can)…and I haven’t committed to buy a Casita (yet)… However, if/when a great deal happens… I’m pushing for a positive reaction I’ve got March 2018 as a goal.

            Until the decision is made, I can’t contact anyone. I have contacted the facilities we visit with a “What do you think about…?” but I didn’t reach the right people. They are only local. My plan is to find a place to go… and then research the local area for facilities and write them or call them, introduce myself and send them some sort of promotional information… what we have done (with photos) and what we would enjoy doing with their folks. I’;m only talking about an hour of their time… and i’m only talking about being in the community for a few days.

            I’ve a huge RV history (more than 40 years) in every type of RV… more than 20 years working out of the RV in the USA. So fulltime would be a piece of cake (at least it was when my wife was alive and we had 3 small poodles). Now with 2 large dogs and a lot older it is a whole different ballgame.. plus we had travel money.

            But… it is exciting to consider… and I want my life to have something to be worth living
            ~joseph

  17. Well, the planning will help keep you busy. For me, planning things is half the fun. Well, maybe not quite half, but it’s fun and interesting. Sounds like you are all over this stuff…you have lots of great ideas, and have had lots of experience with what you want to do. All that needs to happen is for all the pieces to come together, and you have a time frame for that too.

    Wow, it’s way hot where ever you are! If I were in that weather I’d be heading for the hills!

  18. Surprise, AZ 105 at 10:50 in the morning. Leaving now to pick up the dogs… Tuesday is groomer and wash time. I’ve got a 1 pm dog therapy visit with a great group of folks at an enrichment center.

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