The Rig

Posted January 19, 2016

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“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.

Jim and Carmen Beaubeaux
Jim and Carmen Beaubeaux

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.

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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.

Camping in our own back yard. Silver Strand State Beach. Thanksgiving 2015
Camping in our own back yard. Silver Strand State Beach. Thanksgiving 2015

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.

Our keys as they came with the trailer.
Our keys as they came with the trailer.

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 …

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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.

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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.

Avery Island, Louisiana - July 2015
Avery Island, Louisiana – July 2015
Passing through Arizona, July 2015
Passing through Arizona, July 2015

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.

Daddy's front lawn at his house in Decatur, MS. Daddy says, "Howdy!"
Daddy’s front lawn at his house in Decatur, MS. Daddy says, “Howdy!”

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

Just outside Blois, France

and Canada’s Prince Edward Island.

Prince Edwards 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…

The Beast, parked in the alley behind our house in Coronado
The Beast, parked in the alley behind our house in Coronado

If you can’t see over or around us in a traffic jam, please accept our apologies in advance. Peace and understanding.

Christmas in Aqua Caliente Desert State Park
Christmas in Aqua Caliente Desert State Park

Beauty and The Beast (The B&B) isn’t just a way to haul our bed, WC and coffee press behind us.

Cozy through the 2015 Thanksgiving storm. Silver Strand State Beach
Cozy through the 2015 Thanksgiving storm. Silver Strand State Beach
Still life with life guard tower. Silver Strand State Beach
Still life with life guard tower. Silver Strand State Beach

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.

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She’s precisely what we need in these exciting, yet vulnerable days … an AlumaMama.

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We can easily see ourselves living in Beauty for as long as she’ll have us.

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*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.

21 thoughts on “The Rig

  1. Good luck on your journey, may your libations be cold and the wind at your back. I would go to Key West in the coldest months of Jan and Feb. If you go back to PEI go to Twin Shores , maybe get yourselves a spot on the ocean. I am jealous.

    1. Great recommendations. Thank you! I’ve signed up for more info on Twin Shores. PEI is where I tried my first beer. Beamish Stout shipped kegs from Ireland to a pub in Charlottetown. Amazing stout. I’ve been looking for it ever since … I lived in Florida as a child, but Jim’s never really experienced The Gulf. Can’t wait to spend some time there. – LIB, Mike!

    1. You are closer to The Dream than you may think, James. Five years is nothing. Here we are at 6 mos. till we drive away and we’re wondering how we’re going to get it all done … So wish we’d started preparing 5 years ago. LIB James!

  2. We have a 19′ Bambi Airstream and love camping! Maybe we’ll meet up with you somewhere on your adventure. Utah has some spectacular parks. I’m assuming you have your National Parks Pass. You’re going to love your Airstream!

    1. Oh my gosh! Reminds me of the Amalfi in southern Italy!!! Every Spring my parents drove us up it from Pozzuoli where I laid myself down on the unbelted rear floorboards of our Plymouth Fury Station Wagon and prayed like a trappist monk!!! Never saw a doggone view, but I credit my devotion to the survival of my entire family.

      1. Haha fantastic. Though the idea of driving Beauty & the Beast on that highway sounds just a bit scary… 😄

  3. 1-20-16
    Gonna love reading this! You are precious folks and we are excited for your adventures! Do keep us posted. Hugs! ❤️

    1. Nothing to envy here … many younger folks doing what we are doing with less. In this lifestyle, we feel flush when many retirees would say that we’re underfunded.
      and Jim’s numbers have Captain Crunch walking the plank.

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