Posted January 19, 2016
If you’d rather listen to the podcast, click the play button below.
“Welcome Beauty, banish fear,
You are queen and mistress here.
Speak your wishes, speak your will,
Swift obedience meets them still.”
– Beauty and the Beast
Jeanne-Marie LePrince de Beaumont
Over the years, we’ve had at least a dozen vehicles and, from the red ’65 mustang convertible, “Chauntecleer” to the 2001 Honda CRV, “Nubs,” we named each to suit their personalities. So when last year we acquired an Airstream trailer and a Ram truck for our 40th anniversary we named them Beauty and The Beast.
The Google-honest truth is, we’re not the first to call our rig Beauty & The Beast – a story not so much about beauty as it is about relationship. No wonder. The perfect symbiosis of a big ol’ truck gettin’ hitched to a long, pretty trailer is mighty sexy imagery and, for us, the french tale wraps it all up in a double beau.
Christening these enormous machines – which we know next to nothing about – doesn’t come cheap in California. All the way to the DMV we were asking ourselves why. What does it matter? Why do people put names to things, places, events, everything … even a weather aberration that can flatten a trailer like ours into what resembles a giant chewing gum wrapper? (Whew! There I said it: Name the fear and it won’t come true). All I know is, whether it’s a charm to protect or a secret language, naming is ritual folks. Don’t judge.
We’re newbies to the RV community. I didn’t even know a trailer is a vehicle until the DMV straightened me out. Though Beauty is dependent on an auxiliary motor for transport, her wheels are a method for conveyance. And, we certainly do find her moving – so much that she will soon be our exclusive home while traveling full-time.
Two years ago, Jim and I began a discussion about going lighter through life – holding fewer and dearer possessions. As care-givers for over 13-years, our travel had been limited to staycations for Jim, and Carmen traveling alone to visit her folks in Mississippi. When, within months of each other, our mothers passed we decided to plan a period of serious long-term travel and saw nothing in our way except our jobs, two houses, our own health issues, and a four-car garage packed floor to ceiling with things we somehow forgot along the way to donate or sell … We had to lighten up. The plan was not to stress over it or put a strain on our daily lives but to slowly and steadily release enough ballast to shake up our wieldy nest and nudge ourselves gently into flight. Do not mistake this transition for bravery. We’re running toward a simpler life.
We do not expect the vagabond life will increase our days, but it should give us more time to do what we want. Last I heard, hiking, cycling and kayaking are preferable to the burdens of home maintenance and repair. As we hit the 40 year mark this April on home ownership – that’s four fixer-uppers since 1976 – we’re ready to try something else for a while …
Other than five boxes in storage and thousands of personal documents and photos which are now all scanned and in the cloud, our worldly possessions will be limited to a truck, a trailer and what we can fit into or onto them.
As for towing thousands of pounds of steel down the road, do not fear for us or for yourselves. We have been practicing! Since last summer, we’ve logged 2,500 towing miles and completed several campground site tests.
Full-time launch is imminent. In Summer of 2016 we will drive away from Coronado, California – our home for the past twenty years, and get a move on. Our public communication to friends, family and interested parties about our location, future plans, well-being, activities and adventures will be found here. The most important fact you should know is: no matter how far apart we are, this blog is a way to keep up with you. Who knows, we might even grow closer. How big’s your driveway?
Where are we going? We don’t have a clue. This is our version of a walkabout – a path to discovery – a way to usher in our senior years. Of course we hope our journey leads us to the Wisdom of the Ages, but until then, interesting watering holes are a high priority: microbreweries, wineries, distilleries. Go ahead, call it a Long, Long Happy-Hour but natural hot springs and public and private gardens are also entered into our GPS. Depending on the weather, anywhere and everywhere is up for grabs. We may venture north to Canada, Alaska or down South to visit our ancestral lands of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and, if I can talk Jim into it … maybe even Mexico! But, I suspect we will be drawn toward places we somehow missed in our youth. Your suggestions are our ongoing request. Check in from time-to-time or enter in your email address and click the “follow” button at the bottom of this page.
Our jobs never required much travel and when we were young, we usually spent our get-away time and money hopping cheap flights over-seas for cycling vacations – tent camping our way around the Loire Valley of France
and Canada’s Prince Edward Island.
To us (snarky youngsters that we were) the RV life was a clumsy, extravagant road-hog way to kill cyclists quickly by clipping them, or knocking them off slowly with diesel fumes. As good cycling, re-cycling citizens from the early 50’s in our early 60’s we had planned this year’s big purchase to be an electric car … but Beauty changed all that. At least our 2014 Ram 2500 has clean diesel technology with seat and steering wheel warmers to earn him a more-than-generous parking place in our hearts, even though everywhere else in town is quite a squeeze…
If you can’t see over or around us in a traffic jam, please accept our apologies in advance. Peace and understanding.
Beauty and The Beast (The B&B) isn’t just a way to haul our bed, WC and coffee press behind us.
The 2001 Airstream Excella provides a radical way for us to live small and range wide – to venture out in an intentionally disconnected, ungrounded and directionless way while remaining connected to our careers (board work for Jim, voice-over for Carmen) and active in our education and vocations. She’s is our liberation machine (LIB:Living in Beauty), our Rancho La Plata – a 30-foot SilverSanctum decked out in solid oak, stainless steel and aluminum appointments which somehow manage to address every inconvenience, ritual and pleasure of living-while-human … beautifully.
She’s precisely what we need in these exciting, yet vulnerable days … an AlumaMama.
We can easily see ourselves living in Beauty for as long as she’ll have us.
*Special thanks to Larry Cook for his advice, generosity and support, Denise Jones for blog consultation, and Long Long Honeymoon for giving us feedback and advice when purchasing our Airstream. Also, thank-you Allen B. Perry (my daddy) and my brother Chris Perry for towing the rig from Alabama to Mississippi- It wouldn’t have happened without you.