It’s coming up on the 2 year anniversary with my Roadtrek RS Adventurous, “Olga” (which stands for Old Ladies Get Around). I’m planning on celebrating with a toast and some high calorie cake for me and a bottle of winter diesel additive for Olga. She has changed my life in ways I never imagined.
I have done what I’ve dreamed of my whole life, roam around the country without itinerary or time constraints. I’ve taken a few great photos, learned and seen amazing things, eaten wonderful food, visited friends and family and was even able to take my dog along sometimes.
Best of all, and the big surprise, was meeting a whole new host of friends. Some of them like family.
When I bought Olga, I joined Roadtrek International and saw a link for Solo Trekkers. The moderator put me in touch with Trudy, a single gal who also lives here, in the Kansas City area. We met for lunch a couple of times, hit it off and decided to take a trip. Trudy’s had her rig longer than I and brought me up to speed on a Facebook group and some chat rooms that pertain to RTs.
While on our wonderful trip to the Natchez Trace, I experienced a mysterious engine problem and she suggested I post on Facebook for advice. This was a Saturday night, and wouldn’t you know it- Jim Hammill , president of Roadtrek, happened to see my post and helped me out! I was a Facebook RT member from that moment.
There, I began to “virtually” get to know several of the regulars and where they were traveling. In addition, I picked up several good tips about my rig.
Then came the Branson Corporate Rally last May, where several of us met in person, (including my knight in shining armor, Jim). Presto! Instant family and we had a heck of a good time. Yes, I learned about the generator and saw some shows, but my new friends (Facebook and other attendees) were the best part of the rally.
Like other clubs (dogs, stamps, ham radios, etc.) we have a common interest so conversation is easy. I also am not shy about walking up to other RT owners I see. Where are you headed? How long are you out? This has been a habit since my first trip out.
Almost without fail, I heard, “If you’re ever in_______, stop by for a few days and we’ll show you around.” We’ve put together weekend meet ups or just met for dinner while passing through. Folks have become great friends who travel together in pairs or caravans. We’ve swapped stories, recipes, rig modifications, travel and maintenance tips, photos, jokes and life in general. When I had another problem in Idaho, a fellow Roadtreker on Facebook offered help.
I have since been to meet-ups in Michigan and Oregon where I’ve made several new friends and reconnected with others. I’ve visited homes (special shout to Dan and Ann in McCall!) and parked in driveways for a few days. These folks were generous local guides who became wonderful friends.
Last week I hosted my first guests, Lisa and Bill G., whom I’d met in Branson and kept in touch. They came to visit me and see the Squaw Creek National Wildlife Reserve migration. Our friend Ginny (also from KC with whom I traveled in Oregon for a couple of days) joined us. I really hated to see them go and hope to visit them in Alabama, a state I’ve not yet been. Plus, Lisa is a hell of a baker!
In a couple of months, I’m going to Florida to hookup with Laura and Ken who hosted me in Michigan. Laura was my tour guide last summer and we had a marvelous time. She left Ken at home after a fun 3 day meet-up with some other RTers, and we took our respective rigs down the west shore.
Later, we’ll meet again, with some of our other compatriots in Mississippi. The list of people and places keeps getting longer and I’ll never catch up. I’d like to see Jim and Carolyn again, James, Sharon, Kathy S., Sandy M. ,Susan A., Cheryl, Nancy, Kristi, Shari, Dan H. Tim, Carol. I want to meet Jeff and Leesa and Janet A. among others. I’d like to see Campskunk, Sharon and Fiona the Fearless again (and beg for a big helping of Campskunk's mac and cheese). My photography mentors, Larry, Brian, Tim, Michel, William and Kevin. I want to follow Yan and his family, as they backpack, trek, camp and generally over achieve. I want to keep tabs on Bliss and Brian. I’d like to see Kitte and Laura in CA.
I want to name everyone, but don’t have the space- you know who you are. And for those of you I haven’t yet met, I’m looking forward to it!
However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my friends Mike and Jennifer Wendland. If we hadn’t met on line, then Branson, again in Michigan and soon down south, you wouldn’t be reading this! You never know what opportunities await!
It’s a fellowship that I never expected, that fateful day at the RV dealer. I still like traveling alone frequently, and don’t limit myself to meeting only Roadtrekers, but there seems to be a special camaraderie with the RT gang. I now have a keen eye for class B’s and the 3 little windows.
So a toast and happy anniversary to my traveling ice-breaker, Olga. May the wind always be at your back, few bugs on your front and the welcome mat out at camp!