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Old 03-03-2012, 10:04 AM   #1
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Just Speculating...

Many things will change after the destating tornados that ripped through our nation. Along with the heartache of lost loved ones, homes, and jobs will come the immediate need for folks to find shelter and incomes that will help them get back on their feet. Many of them will probably embrace the RV lifestyle as they search for solace and regain perspective on what to do next. Workamping offers many solutions to their needs, and those of us already living the dream can be of help and comfort to those coming out of a nightmare. Many of them will have just the "bare bones" needed to sustain their family, so I appeal to the veteran workampers to look around you in the coming days and weeks. Have compassion on these folks, and be willing to share your time, money, and possessions with them. Accent the "United" in the name of our country, and show them what true Americans are all about. Thank you.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:23 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by retiredmsgt2 View Post
Many things will change after the destating tornados that ripped through our nation. Along with the heartache of lost loved ones, homes, and jobs will come the immediate need for folks to find shelter and incomes that will help them get back on their feet. Many of them will probably embrace the RV lifestyle as they search for solace and regain perspective on what to do next. Workamping offers many solutions to their needs, and those of us already living the dream can be of help and comfort to those coming out of a nightmare. Many of them will have just the "bare bones" needed to sustain their family, so I appeal to the veteran workampers to look around you in the coming days and weeks. Have compassion on these folks, and be willing to share your time, money, and possessions with them. Accent the "United" in the name of our country, and show them what true Americans are all about. Thank you.
What you say is true. these people are going to need help, now more than ever. Storms like this change lives. Some people are never able to recover mentally, physically, or finacially from something like this. I know. I've been there. I never intended to become a fulltimer. Until 3 years ago I had never heard the word before. It was a lifestyle that was thrown on me curtsey of Hurricane Katrina. I tell people about the flood and being homeless and and all, but not having survived Katrina, they have no idea how hard it was to go through the years following her.

Most people on here (iRV2) spend weeks, months, years even talking about plans to sell their house and fulltime. The hopes and dreams of one day traveling in an RV. Me? I never planned on not living in a house, and even after Katrina took the house I planned on going back into a house again. I never dreamed of living in an RV. I had no idea how much I would change in such a short time! I didn't have to worry about selling everything or finding a place to store stuff, because a hurricane took care of all that for me. It came through, leveled the house, trashed everything inside, and left me with absolutly nothing.

For me a motorhome wasn't a fantasy dream of adventure travels, for me a motohome was grasping at the only straws I had left to hold on to. It was a way to have a roof over my head again, a warm soft place to sleep after 6 years of sleeping on the cold hard, and often frozen ice coated ground. It was a way to survive.

I lived in a house for 27 years. Than Hurricane Katrina came dashing through and took the house with her. She hit so hard in the South that those of us who were hit in New England got completly ignored in the aftermath - in other words, no FEMA or Red Cross to help us - they were all volunteering down South. Unfortunatly an ice storm followed Katrina's tail and Maine got hit by a -48F blizzard in October, the sub-zero temps froze the hurrican water and did more damage than the hurricane itself had done. Here I am the next morning after the blizzard - me, 1 dog, and 9 cats, living under a 8x6 tarp buried under 3 feet of snow, with -48F temps. It was the coldest winter in Maine history since 1817.



I survive 3 blizzards and 5 hurricans while living under that tarp.

I lived under the 8x6 tarp/tent-thing for the next 3 years, lived in a car for the following 3 years, and finally after 6 years of homelessness had saved up enough money for a motorhome.

Originally I had planned to go back to living in a house, but 6 years without a house, I kind of can't see myself ever going back to a house now. I'll explain. See there was a short while, where I moved out of the tent and into an apartment. I moved in, thinking "At last, I'm back in a house!" Only, it wasn't that great. I couldn't sleep - I had gotten used to sleeping on the beach in a tent, listening to the waves and gulls. I got used to falling asleep as soon as it got dark and getting up at 4AM with the sun. I got used to cooking over an open fire. I got used to sleeping in a sleeping bag. I could not readjust to beds, stoves, or having a roof over my head and walls all around me. I found myself getting all clastrophobic over the idea of roof and walls! I felt like a wild animal trapped in a cage and all I wanted to do was escape and get back outside to my tent! It freaked me out, because here I was, I had spent 3 years doing nothing but "wanting" to get back in a house and when I finally got back in one I couldn't stand it because I missed the close connection I had developed with living outdoors with nature.

So I moved out of the apartment and into my car while I tried to figure what the heck I was going to do next. I knew I could not continue living in a tent full time because, well after 3 blizzards in a tent, if I had learned one thing it was that Maine is damn cold in the winter and I at least needed a way to get out of the rain and wind.

It was shortly after that I was visiting my dad and he wanted me to watch this "wicked funny dvd" he had found. It was "RV" staring Robin Williams. I watched it and it was like a light went off in my head, I was all "OMG that's it! That the answer! I'm buying a motorhome! I can have the best of both worlds, my close connection with nature, sleeping in a tent, cooking outside, and still have a place to get out of the snow and rain!

So I spent the next 3 years living in my car while searching high and low for "the perfect" (for me) motorhome. I found her 2 years in when I found a 1975 Dodge Class C, unfortunatly the owner disagreed with me and insisted she was his pride and joy and he would never sell her. So I spent another year searching and trying out motorhomes, but couldn't find one, because in the back of my head I had this old Dodge stuck in my brain. Than after last week I was doing my usual Craisglist search, and there she was: the 1975 Dodge he "would never sell". Knowing where it was, I immediatly drove all the way to his house and bought it on the spot, without seeing the inside, test driving her, or even knowing wether or not I could drive her home or would she need to be towed! LOL!

Now I have my MH and am glad I choice this life. Funny looking back though, because I was perfectly happy living in a house all those years and the thought of living in a tent, car, or rv never would have occurred to me. When the flood first happened I thought it was a bad thing, but looking back today, I'm glad it happened because it opened up a whole new lifestyle for me that I never would have considered otherwise.

I'm going to copy and paste the blog post I wrote the day I bought my motorhome:


No Hurry
or
How I Came To Live in a Motorhome


The day started like any other day. It was warmer and wetter than usual, seeing that a hurricane was currently trapped in the Gulf of Maine and spending the week flooding rivers, washing out sand dunes, and uprooting trees. It was the first day of no rain in more than a week. My first chance to go out in the garden and examine the damage. I had no idea that when I stepped outside of the house that day, I would never step inside it ever again. The house was in one corner of the farm, and the garden was in the opposite corner, over a steep hill and across a dangerously swollen brook. The farm being boarded by beach on one side and swamp on the other, with a brook crossing though it, meant even without the hurricane we live in a very wet area. The swamp could no longer be seen, as the flood waters had risen over the top of the grass, making it look like a small lake had surrounded us. I had been examining the damage in the garden less than 3 minutes when my 14 year old brother came running down the hill and across the bridge, his eyes wild with terror as he said: “There’s something wrong with Daddy and the house is full of water!” The rest of the day was a blur of police, EMTs, and ambulances. Daddy was in a coma and the house which had stood there only minutes ago, was a pile of rumble, crushed by a flash flood which had came and went in only seconds.

What we did not know was Daddy had taken out a “reversed mortgage” on the house, which stipulated, he could live there until he died or was unable to take care of it. Daddy had only been in a coma a few days when the bank came to us and told us the farm was theirs, by being in the hospital over a certain amount of days my dad had forfeited the loan, and me, my mom, my 3 teenaged brothers, 2 dogs, 3 birds, and 9 cats suddenly found ourselves not only houseless, but now landless as well.

It would be another 2 months before Daddy would be pulled off life support, because his medical insurance said they refused to pay another day of the $13,000 a day machine my dad was hooked up to. We were not given a choice, we were simple told one day by the doctors: “We took him off life support last night, because his insurance was cut.” By some miracle he continued breathing on his own, and would be in the hospital another 6 months. Nearly a year after the flood, he was sent home and found out what had happened. Now disabled, barely able to talk or walk, my dad, a life long poultry farmer, suddenly found himself crippled and living in his car.

Meanwhile, my mom had gotten a divorce, remarried and left taking my 3 little brothers with her. Me? I have Autism. I was 30 years old. I had never been to school, never driven a car, never really had contact with humans outside of my family, and had barely spoken a word most of those years. I had been removed from school at age 8, told I was too retarded to be worth teaching anything to, told I would never amount to anything, never drive a car, never have a job, and college was out of the question. No one attempted to teach me any of those things and my childhood, teen and young adult years, had been spent gardening, and rescuing animals.

Fortunately we still owned part of the land, as my dad had divided it up before taking out a mortgage. Here stood the last remaining barn and enough land for me to pitch a tent, only I had no money and no idea how to get any. The concept of a job had never been taught to me. I built a tent out of a 8x6 tarp, and that is where I would live for the next 6 years, including through 3 blizzards and 5 more hurricanes. I was alone for the first time in my life. My dad was in the hospital and who knows where my mom had run off to. By October 2006 I had my first job, at age 31. By December I had my car, a $900 1992 Volvo 240GL, which I have since found out was so cheap because it has a bad habit of falling apart, usually while driving down the road. Though I had the car, I was not yet able to drive it, but it was a place to live in on days it was too cold or wet to stay under the tarp.

I discovered that if I had a college degree, I could get a better job, so college became my next goal, though to jump from Grade 3 to college 27 years later, with no schooling since I was 8 years old, meant I had a huge challenge to hurdle here. Math was than and still is, my biggest challenge, but I finally received my GED in December 2010 and my driver’s licence August 2011. September 2011 I started my first semester of college at YCCC. I transferred to SMCC in the Spring 2012. I had now completed nearly everything the psychologists had said someone with my kind of Autism would never do: I had a job, I had and was driving a car, and I was in college. The last step was to be able to live on my own, in a place of my own, without the help of shelters, soup kitchens, and food pantries. I had to move out from under the tarp and find a place to live. This has troubled me for the past 6 years. See, while I can work, my Autism limits what I am able to do, and also limits who is willing to hire me. The result is I make $7.75 a hour for only 14 hours a week, which barely pays the $40 a week gas I need to get to college, not to mention the constant repairs needed to keep my car running. Thankfully I can eat at the college for only $5 a meal, otherwise I’d still be eating only 1 or 2 skimpy meals a week at soup kitchens. I can barely afford to eat and drive to college, how can I afford an apartment when prices are more per week than my income is per month? After searching high and low for a solution, a solution presented itself one day when visiting a relative and watching Robin Williams (than) latest movie: “RV”. My tarp-tent is pitched on the boarder of The Powderhorn Campground. I spend each summer surrounded by thousands of RVs in all shapes and sizes, but I never once thought of them as anything but vacation vehicles. I had never been inside one, and I had no idea that nearly 20 million Americans live in them full time. I could not afford a house. I could not afford an apartment. I could however, if I saved enough money, eventually afford an old motorhome. It took me three years to do it, but I finally saved up $4,000 and set out to find myself a motorhome.

Yesterday, February 21, 2012 was a very big day for me. A milestone. Yesterday I bought a 22 foot 1975 Dodge Sportsman F40 Class C Motorhome. Her previous owner, a race car driver, had used her as a rally car, and painted her to match his race car, a Sublime Green 1970 Dodge Charger. He called her “No Hurry” because she moved so slow and never seemed in a hurry to get any place. She is bright fluorescent, metallic lime green, with flat black racing stripes, and covered sides and back with race car sponsor stickers. Inside she has NASCAR decor and a 2 inch thick shag carpet. And now for the first time, I am at school today, as a person who is no longer homeless. My house may be small, just 22 ft long by 9 ft wide, and it may be on wheels, but it’s a house, none the less. Once again I have a bed and a toilet, a full kitchen, a dinning room, there’s even a bath tub (a rare thing to find in an old RV). A place to wash, a place to eat, a place to sleep, and for the first time since I started college, I can do my homework at home, no more coming to college early and staying late, trying to get all my homework done all in one day! And more importantly it’s warm and dry. Everything is small of course and being 40 years old it has it’s problems, but still, it’s a house and for the first time in 6 years, I can finally say, I am no longer homeless.
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Old 03-03-2012, 02:43 PM   #3
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God bless and good luck on your quest.
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Old 03-04-2012, 08:35 AM   #4
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God bless and good luck on your quest.
Thank you for the testimony to the tenacity of the American Spirit, and giving new perspective to those of us who dream but never follow up on it. Sometimes circumstances force us to push ourselves to the limit, and we become surprised at what we can accomplish if we just stick with it. The harsh actions of those in authority caused hardship for you and your family, but there was another force at work here. Our nation, as diverse as it is, provided the freedom for you to survive, plan, and succeed in obtaining your version of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We need folks like you to be there for others as the next hurricane, blizzard, or tornado will again disrupt the plans of mice and men, and challenge them to become better than they ever thought possible. Again, THANK YOU, and I promise to say a prayer for and in support of you.
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Old 03-04-2012, 09:04 AM   #5
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Thank you for sharing.You are a tough gal.

I run a Mobile Home and RV park in Southern California. I have 11 empty spaces. I thought for sure during this recession with all the people losing thier homes and alot of those folks having RVs that I would fill up. This has not been the case. I'm sure those affected by these storms are not going to want to come to California, but their are those other RV park owners that might want to offer help around the country and closer to where the need is. Those of you on the road might help and network with the Parks you are staying in.

Mark
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