Another Fulltime RV Season Begins

 Another Fulltime RV Season Begins

gamble7I’ve packed up, I have said my goodbyes to my family, and I have tidied up the loose ends of projects I’ve been working on, both of my Roadtrek and on other vehicles. I mowed my sister’s grass for the last time this year. No more pushing a lawnmower and wondering if the mailman has come. No more mail service. I’m on the road.

This is the sixth spring I’ve watched the orange blossoms and azaleas come out in northcentral Florida, and hit the road on my annual circumnavigation of the continent. I follow the good weather as it moves north, visiting the mountains or the oceanside as our whims dictate.

sandhill1But it wasn’t always like this. I spent fifty summers in northcentral Florida, and as I approached retirement age I just knew there was a better way.  I knew because I watched the sandhill cranes. Northcentral Florida is where the sandhill cranes spend the winter. You can see them if you go down to Payne’s Prairie, a giant drained lakebed south of Gainesville. They’re magnificent birds, four feet tall and gray with a red cap on their head, and a rattling, penetrating call.  They don’t have an inside voice – I remember one in a display at a shopping mall, and you could hear it from one end of the mall to the other.

sandhill3
Still driveway camping, but it’s a new driveway – staying overnight in Gainesville, FL with friends on our way west.

Every spring, as the weather improved and the trees and flowers would come out, right about this time of year, a few sandhill cranes would sense the change in the weather and get restless, circling high overhead, calling to the others, until they would all form up and fly away north. They head up the Mississippi flyway, some out over the plains, some up to the Great Lakes, some out west, some all the way to Alaska. I have seen them in the upper peninsula of Michigan, along the Rio Grande in New Mexico, all over the place. But back then I would watch them disappear out of sight, their calls tapering off to nothing. And then I would turn around and head back to the classroom or office or wherever I was going to be stuck for the summer, promising myself that one day, I too would spread my wings and fly away on a warm spring wind, out across a vast and mysterious continent.

And now I’m flying. Six years and counting. It’s spring again, and it’s time to move on out. Fly  away while you still can, because one of these springs you won’t be able to.

campskunk

"campskunk" is a blissfully retired former public servant who has left the challenges of how to run the government to younger and less cynical hands, and wanders the continent in his Roadtrek Class B RV with his wife and cat. In addition to his work in the public sector, he has also at various times been a mechanic and delivery driver, skills which come in handy in his new role. Because his former job involved the forensic evaluation and sometimes the subsequent detention of some not-so-nice people, he uses the name campskunk instead of his legal name on the Internet. His was not the type of job where customer service feedback would be welcome.