Road dogs

November 7, 2017

This morning when I took Lola out, the guy parked behind me apologized for the ruckus he’d caused so early in the day.  He was a younger guy, maybe mid-thirties, in a motorhome.  He introduced himself to me yesterday.  His name is Christian and he’s been on the road for five years in his 1979 motorhome.  He’s from New Jersey but spends most of his time in Arizona now, as he’s got two kids in the Phoenix area (as he explained, “I met a girl, our kids are here, so I stay in the area most of the time”).  He does a variety of things to earn a living, including training dogs to help injured veterans, handyman work…repairing RVs.

This morning, Christian’s fridge malfunctioned and began spraying chemicals (Freon?) everywhere.  He couldn’t get it to stop, so he decided to rip the fridge out of his rig.  Literally.  Ripped the damned thing out.  The problem was that the fridge was wider than the motorhome door, so after he got it out of the interior cabinet, he had to rip off the framing around his motorhome door to actually remove it (I’m resisting the urge to comment here about how that’s not likely a scenario a woman would find herself in… ).  He explained this unfortunate situation to me as he pointed to the old, broken fridge on the ground outside.  He also showed me the framing that had been ripped off.  His attitude about the whole thing was refreshing – peculiar even – but I kind of loved it.  “Hey,” he said, “When you’re a road dog, you just gotta learn to fix things. It’s part of the life.”

A road dog, eh?  Is that what I am now?

Road dogs, as Christian called them (us?), are a breed of their own.  I’ve been on the road for nearly three months (a veritable newbie, no doubt), and have met quite a few people who are full time travelers.  And although plenty of couples in gorgeous rigs with price tags in the hundreds of thousands of dollars live in their rigs full time, they aren’t quite road dogs.  Road dogs are more minimal, some by choice, some because they are living on a shoestring budget.  Road dogs know about solar.  They understand how precious water is.  They consider electric hookups a major luxury.  They have calculated how much power they can get out of their batteries.  Some are super friendly and social, some choose to keep to themselves.  It’s always interesting to me to see who sets what up outside their rigs – the different kinds of chairs, water bottles, rugs, flags, etc.  Some people, like Chris, stay on the move and don’t set things outside.  Other people set up for longer periods, like I do.  When I first got here, there was a woman in a motorhome who had set out several little solar stake lights around her front door.  The guy across from me right now has a yellow lab, and he set out a full-sized pool chaise lounge (you know, the kind made of PVC pipe and vinyl straps), which is just for his dog.  He’s also got three large dog bowls near his front door (his dog is well fed).

The type of people I meet in free boondocking spots, or even national forest campground where there are fees, seems to differ a lot from the people I meet at RV parks or more posh state parks (I consider them posh if they have amenities like laundry and a dump station).  There was part of me that was a little hesitant about free camping, concerned about the type of people I would encounter… but truly, I think I prefer the rough and tumble free campers.  I also have come to realize that I create my own experiences, and I choose not to attract in anyone with ill-intentions.  Only awesome is invited to this party 😉

Chris headed out yesterday, so it was just Lola and I on today’s hike.  It was really nice to have someone to hang out with for a few days and I look forward to catching back up with him at some point.  I’ve only got a couple days left in Sedona and then it’s south to Tucson where my Florida friend, Nina, is flying in to meet me for a few days.

It’s a good life. I am grateful.

Here are a few pics from my hike today near the airport.