An Open Letter To New Full-timers About Fear

Photo by Ethan Lin

Photo by Ethan Lin

Hello,

I remember being where you are now, about to take the plunge and hit the road. You’re excited for this new chapter in your life, glad that the day is finally set and can’t wait for the experiences you’re about to have, for the feeling of freedom to wash over you.

But it’s also very scary. What was once a daydream of days on the beach, nights under the stars and trips to tourist destinations has become a logistical quagmire. There are still so many details to take care of, so many thing that could go wrong. The whole prospect of full-timing has suddenly become very real and raw. You feel like you’re on a roller coaster, at times ecstatic for this big change in your life and feeling like you can move mountains. At other times, you seriously wonder if you’ll be able to pull this off, you doubt everything you do and wonder if you should pull the plug on this dream.

These feelings are perfectly normal. I went through the same things in the weeks (and months) before I hit the road and I haven’t spoken to a full-timer yet who didn’t experience anxiety about hitting the road. Going full-timing is a huge lifestyle change, and change is nerve-wracking. Anytime you step outside your comfort zone, you can expect to feel some resistance, and the farther from your comfort zone you get, the more resistance you feel.

There is no way to eliminate the fear, but that’s okay. Courage isn’t a lack of fear, courage is acting despite it.

I’ll tell you truthfully, the fear will never completely go away. Nearly four years on the road, and I still worry about mountain grades, finding a place to park, and leaving the Casita unattended when I go somewhere. But the fear has lost its sharpness over time as I’ve gained more confidence in my ability to handle adversity.

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Yes, if you go full-timing, sooner or later you’ll run into problems. But you’ll learn how to overcome them. The first few months on the road are the hardest, but it gets easier, the fear becomes less pressing.

Be smart about it of course. Fear exists to warn you about potentially dangerous situations. Do your research and practice common sense, but understand that fear is more of a caution light than a stop sign. Don’t let fear make your decisions for you. Don’t let it keep you from the life you’ve been dreaming of.

Trust me, you’ve got this.

Sincerely,

Becky

* * *

There’s been a number of posts recently on the women’s RVing groups I’m a member of about fear and preparing to hit the road, this is a slightly more fleshed out version of what I usually respond with. I hope those of you reading this who are preparing to hit the road find it similarly helpful.

an-open-letter-to-rvers-about-fear-3

It also seemed appropriate to write about today given the ongoing saga of my truck. Several of you have already asked and yes, Bertha does need additional repairs beyond the radiator hose, head gasket failure being the main problem.

I got the feeling from my post about the breakdown that some of you think I must be some sort of zen master to have handled the situation so well. I want to be truthful and say that of course I felt upset and angry about my travel plans being derailed, I just didn’t let those emotions keep me from doing what had to be done. Of course I spent the holiday weekend wondering what the shop was going to say about my truck, but I didn’t let the worry keep me from enjoying the kayak tour or feeling accomplished for getting to the top of Mt. Elbert.

More pictures from the Mt. Elbert hike

More pictures from the Mt. Elbert hike

I don’t think it’s possible to get rid of fear, anger, or worry. But if you can learn to focus more on what’s going right instead of what is โ€“ or could go โ€“ wrong, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of most people.

As for the logistics, right now RPM (the shop) is giving me a tentative date of the 20th for having Bertha fixed (being the only reputable repair place in the area, they have quite a backlog to work on before they can get to her and she needs to be sent to a machine shop as part of the head gasket repair). Ethan has moved on to other adventures, but on Wednesday he took me to stock up on groceries, pick some things up from Bertha, and buy a used bike, so I’m pretty well prepared for my time without motorized transportation.

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When you have an older vehicle and a considerable repair bill, it’s worth thinking about replacement rather than repair and I did look into this option. I also looked into having both truck and trailer towed to Denver for a faster repair. But in the end, fixing Bertha and staying in Leadville was the best choice for me. Amazon is cool with me showing up a couple weeks later.

As I’ve now overstayed the 14 day limit at the dispersed camping area off of 48 and my waste tanks were due to be dumped last Friday when I tried to leave, today I’m having Cas towed to a dump station, and then taken to a campground near Turquoise Lake that is free now that the summer season is officially over. The cell signal at this campground is marginal, so expect slower response times to e-mails and comments (thanks for your understanding). It is a nice area and pretty close to the lake, hopefully I’ll be able to share pictures soon.

Click for larger image

Click for larger image

I’d also like to state again that I do have enough money to cover everything thanks to my emergency fund, but I’d also like to thank those of you who’ve donated using PayPal and shopped on Amazon using my affiliate link in the past week. I appreciate your support and generosity.

Related Links:
If you’re looking for more detailed information about ways to combat the fear that comes with RVing, try this blog post. There’s also a chapter in my e-book, The Little Guide To Dreaming Big, about managing fear.

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60 Responses to An Open Letter To New Full-timers About Fear

  1. Misty September 9, 2016 at 9:38 am #

    I remember getting similar responses when people heard about what happened with my van in SC. ๐Ÿ™‚ I had one friend from college who told me, “I really think I couldn’t have handled that. I would have just sat on the road and cried.” lol!

    I’m glad to hear that you are safe and it hasn’t completely derailed your employment plans. You’ve been in my thoughts lately.

    At the end of the day, I think people think traditional living is safer because it’s familiar. But emergencies happen to everyone. And the way to deal with it is the same… One thing at a time, starting with the most pressing needs, and don’t think about things that are out of your control.

    Thank you for keeping us posted on your well-being. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Becky September 10, 2016 at 11:09 am #

      Well said Misty. Heck, my first car broke down several times while I owned it.

  2. Cheryl Kline September 9, 2016 at 10:35 am #

    Becky
    Thank you for your blog on fear I felt like you were speaking directly to me. I am planning to go full-time in June when my apartment lease is up. I have been planning for this for a long time and it was only recently that I said I was actually going to do it and I set the date. It is very scary to give up the security and to accept the unknown!
    I wish you the best and getting Bertha fixed there is nothing worse they’re not having your own wheels!
    Safe travels
    Cheryl, Tennessee

    • Becky September 10, 2016 at 11:13 am #

      I’m glad this post came at a good time for you Cheryl and wish you the best as you prepare to hit the road. Thanks for the well-wishes, I can’t wait to have Bertha back. Take care!

  3. Judy Blinkenberg September 9, 2016 at 10:56 am #

    Thank you for your letter to me too! When deciding what to keep and what to dispose of it gets emotional. When you have all these pictures of children from birth to adulthood, before computers, their special school pic and the family photos of long a go. And where to store my treasures? Where to store my fabric for quilts, those pictures, my memories as a child? That’s what I’m dealing with now. Then being safe on the road. I admire women who do this alone. I could not. And yes, we are excited! March will be here soon! I am happy you are ok and thank you for giving us an update.

    • Becky September 10, 2016 at 11:17 am #

      Downsizing is often a very emotionally charged process Judy, but if you work on it one thing at a time you’ll get there – best of luck. And yes, march will be here before you know it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Kevin Feltner September 9, 2016 at 10:56 am #

    “Courage isnโ€™t a lack of fear, courage is acting despite it.” Thanks for sharing this, Becky. I know that I am still four months away from the start of my journey, but you encouragement is a beautiful thing.

    Keep your head up. You Got This! Hugs!
    Kevin Feltner recently posted..Scamp orderedโ€ฆ Bring It!My Profile

    • Becky September 10, 2016 at 11:18 am #

      Glad you found this helpful Kevin. Those four months will pass faster that you would believe. I hope your transition to full-timing is a smooth one, take care.

  5. Traveling Troy September 9, 2016 at 11:59 am #

    Hey Becky. One of the coolest things about your set up is being able to easily swap out the tow vehicle or the Casita if the need arises. As long as you have one or the other, you can manage. It’s a pain to have to manage for too long, but it seems like you’re dealing with it well. Sorry to hear about the vehicle troubles. ๐Ÿ™

    My Dad and Step-Mom just returned home after their first trip to Colorado in their Casita. I introduced them to your blog and they loved the idea of the Casita.

    FEAR is REAL! I’m building a camper van which is 80-90% complete. I struggle with finishing the build because as soon as it’s done, I’ll want to take off….ready or not. So, I keep putting it on hold while I shore things up, mainly financial. I make enough online income now to survive, but I want to build up a bit more of a safety net. Sooner or later, I’ll need to just rip the band-aid off. That time is rapidly approaching. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Traveling Troy recently posted..10 Ways To Earn Money While TravelingMy Profile

    • Becky September 10, 2016 at 11:26 am #

      Yeah Troy, it’s a big benefit of going with a tow vehicle + trailer combo. Bertha’s in the shop, but I had the Casita towed to a nice place by the lake, I’m not stuck in the parking lot of the shop for the duration. And since Bertha has a big camper shell on back, if something major were ever to happen to Cas, I could sleep in the back of Bertha. Thanks for the well-wishes.

      I hope your parents enjoyed their first trip in their Casita, it is such a good way to travel.

      I have a lot of respect for people who can build/refurbish their own RV, that takes a lot of knowledge, work, and dedication, good for you.

  6. Lindaandmike September 9, 2016 at 1:11 pm #

    It’s all part of the adventure you have a very good attitude Becky

    • Becky September 10, 2016 at 11:26 am #

      Thanks Linda and Mike.

  7. gary green September 9, 2016 at 2:12 pm #

    BECKY , i have a gmc truck 1/2 ton with 135,000 miles on it ! just broken in ! i use it to pull my casita , i’m selling both the truck is 2007 and the trailer is 2009 both in excellent shape truck $ 9,000 and trailer $8,000 great deal or both for $16,000 ! and i will throw in a honda 2000 generator 2009 !

    • Becky September 10, 2016 at 11:28 am #

      That is a good deal Gary. I’ve opted to repair Bertha rather than buy a new truck but maybe other readers will see this and show interest. When I bought my Casita it was already 12 years old and was $9,000 so this is a good price.

      • gary green September 12, 2016 at 8:47 am #

        BECKY, IT was a good deal ! thats why it sold really by word of mouth in one DAY ! if you ever want to sell yours bring it to southern California ! ha , all the best in your travels and hope to see you again at next year RTR .

        • Becky September 14, 2016 at 3:13 pm #

          Glad it sold quick Gary, Yep, I’m intending to be at RTR again in January.

    • maria levy September 11, 2016 at 8:46 pm #

      To gary: where is the truck and Casita located? How much weight can the truck tow?
      Becky, you are an inspiration to all of us. Through your experiences, I see the goodness in the world. People seem to show up and help exactly when you need them.

      • gary green September 12, 2016 at 8:39 am #

        MISS LEVY, The casita trailer sold the first day i put it up for sale ! wow , the truck will be put up for sale next week , when i get my van back from mechanic , the truck is a GMC 1/2 ton truck and can tow up to 5,000 lbs, is has 135,000 miles and in excellent running condition ! i’m located in sun city, ca. 951-679-6740 p.s. southern California.

      • Becky September 14, 2016 at 3:15 pm #

        Yes Maria. In general, people are much more kind, thoughtful, and generous than we believe.

  8. Andy September 9, 2016 at 5:14 pm #

    You’re pretty awesome. Thanks for sharing your adventures.

    • Becky September 10, 2016 at 11:29 am #

      You’re welcome Andy, glad you’re enjoying IO.

  9. David H. September 9, 2016 at 7:31 pm #

    Becky, if you expect to be in/around the Denver area in the future, a couple of auto repair references… I used to live in Arvada, and here is a fine mechanic/person, his name is โ€œEzโ€. Very skilled, integrity, and fully understood my wanting to keep my ’96 GMC suv vehicle (400k miles) going a long time. Best one I’ve ever had. He is: Quality Auto Services, 6409 Miller St., 80004. Ph 303-428-2995.
    And if you can put up with Denver’s congestion, I used Buchtel Motors in Denver for years, again good experience. http://www.buchtel.com Neither has the shiny ‘look’ but trusted friends referred me, had good experience with both. Hope your repair in Leadville is A1 and you don’t need to see anyone else in the area. Good travels.

    • Becky September 10, 2016 at 11:32 am #

      Thanks for the info David. If it wouldn’t have cost an arm and a leg to tow my rig to Denver I probably would have done it. Take care.

  10. Jim September 10, 2016 at 7:53 am #

    Well put & helping opening. You said what I experienced.

    Here’s hoping you get Bertha fixed up to your satisfaction. Those old vehicles can be a bear sometimes.
    Jim recently posted..New RV Post (#2)โ€ฆMy Profile

    • Becky September 10, 2016 at 11:33 am #

      Glad you enjoyed this Jim, thanks.

  11. Rhonda September 10, 2016 at 8:20 am #

    Reading about full time adventures from others is an enjoyable pastime of mine. While taking to the road in a full time capacity is not on my desire list I admire those who make that lifestyle choice for themselves. To have folks like you lighting the torch and guiding the way is akin to having a real life guardian angel. Kindness toward others is a wonderful gift to have and to give–thank you for sharing your experience and wisdom. You are a bearer of kind generosity. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Becky September 10, 2016 at 11:36 am #

      Thank you for the kind words Rhonda. I’m glad you’re enjoying IO.

  12. Alan Belisle September 10, 2016 at 8:20 am #

    My sympathies on your vehicle problems. Our vehicle, Gypsy, has been in the shop a couple of times for both scheduled and unscheduled maintenance and, while it is a financial and logistic pain, it is part of doing business with a complex machine.

    As far as full-timing, we have different concerns. We stay at rentals by Airbnb and Vrbo and the like. We can look at photos and read reviews, but we never know what we are going to get until we open the door. We have learned to be adaptable and make the best of the situation.

    So far, everyone has been very nice to us. We have never felt threatened or vulnerable. People everywhere have been supportive of our travels and offered advice where they could. Of course, I always have my radar on when the situation could get sticky. If my intuition doesn’t like it, we bail out.

    The last concern is the will to continue. Sometimes it just seems to be too much. Sometimes it gets tiresome to keep picking up and moving on. But then again, there are so many places we have not seen, so many things we have not done. We have to do it now or we will not ever do it. And we are doing this because we love it. When it seems to be too much work, we find a place in the country where we can unwind, relax, and catch our breaths.
    Alan Belisle recently posted..Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island 8/26 โ€“ 9/2My Profile

    • Becky September 10, 2016 at 11:41 am #

      Well said Alan, thanks for sharing. I do like that the trailer doesn’t have an engine and therefor, is much less prone to breaking. At least I’m only worrying about one complex machine. The Casita is very simple by comparison.

  13. MnDreamer September 10, 2016 at 9:43 am #

    Becky, those sound like some spendy truck troubles, and you are so smart to have worked for the emergency fund to draw on, in times like this. You may not be a Zen master, but you sure are handling this with grace and intelligence. Thanks again for setting an example for all of us wannabes.
    When I was 42, I decided to leave my job in a small town and pursue my dream to earn a university degree in education. It took a lot of courage and planning, but I did it. Now, I will need to summon the same courage and planning skills to fulfill my retirement dream of becoming a fulltimer. Your blog is one of the tools I am using to get there, and I feel very grateful to you for that.
    All the best to you as you move along your path.

    • Becky September 10, 2016 at 11:51 am #

      I’m so glad to hear that my blog is helping you hit the road Mn, I wish you all the best. Yes, I consider an emergency fund an absolute necessity for full-timing, it relieves a lot of the pressure of travel not having to worry about the money when emergencies (like vehicle breakdown) crop up. Take care!

  14. Anita September 10, 2016 at 11:56 am #

    The fear to begin the RV lifestyle was not nearly as great 17 years ago as the fears about settling down and coming off the road. We have moved into a wonderful retirement community in Oklahoma and I have returned to work as a part-time substitute teacher at the middle school.
    I expected our 1999 American Tradition to sell at the consignment place in Tulsa, but it hasn’t. Maybe one of your readers would be interested. Yes, we can deliver it anywhere in the US for a serious offer. http://tulsa.craigslist.org/rvd/5706362293.html

  15. Ernesto Quintero September 10, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

    Fear exists to warn you about potentially dangerous situations. Do your research and practice common sense, but understand that fear is more of a caution light than a stop sign. Donโ€™t let fear make your decisions for you.
    – – –
    Perfect observation! Becky, you are one of the few online bloggers responsible for helping me step out of custom stick and brick into full time RV living, 9 years till retirement. It’s a bigger step then moving 1,000 miles from NJ to Florida 10 years ago and I’m comfortable in selling 95 percent of my possession ignorer to facilitate the life changing move. I look forward to touring the south every which direction till retirement comes, then I’ll do a Charles Kuralt, On The Road. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Becky September 11, 2016 at 10:10 am #

      Sounds like a plan Ernesto. I’m glad IO continues to inspire you and wish you all the best.

  16. Dale September 10, 2016 at 1:16 pm #

    I heard a quote some time ago that kind of fits you. “Life is not about waiting for the storm to end, it’s about learning to dance in the rain!”
    Dale recently posted..LeadvilleMy Profile

    • Becky September 11, 2016 at 10:10 am #

      Yes, it’s a good quote Dale.

  17. Gary Wood September 10, 2016 at 1:36 pm #

    Well said Becky. I’ll never forget the feeling of the first few weeks going Full-Time. retired and excited as a kid with a new toy. It hasn’t stopped. Well into my third year and I am thankful everyday I wake up in a new place and nature around me.

    • Becky September 11, 2016 at 10:14 am #

      I’ll never forget my first few weeks either Gary, and I still feel the same way.

  18. Stephanie September 10, 2016 at 2:48 pm #

    Becky, just love your blog.
    I think this incident just reiterates the lesson I’ve read on so many other full-timer’s blogs. Prepare for the worst and have an emergency fund in place. Stuff breaks down, it’s going to happen, sooner or later. I look at an emergency fund as money already spent so all I’m out is my time. Terrible to be stranded near a beautiful lake in Colorado though! Every time I have to have major repairs done on my house or pickup, I just figure I’ve added a few more years of life to it! Takes the stress and fear out of it for me.
    Good luck to you and I look forward to your continuing adventures!
    stephanie

    • Becky September 11, 2016 at 10:18 am #

      That is a good way to look at it Stephanie, adding years of life. I definitely take my emergency fund seriously. If I don’t completely replenish it at Amazon I’ll work more next year until it’s full again.

      Thanks and take care.

  19. Jim September 10, 2016 at 5:33 pm #

    Well Becky, after a blown head gasket and it’s related challenges, a simple flat tire or dead battery will seem like nothing wont it? Enjoy the time with nothing to do. You will be busy enough in a few weeks.

    Jim

    • Becky September 11, 2016 at 10:19 am #

      Yep Jim. Once I arrive at Amazon I’ll be plenty busy for sure.

  20. Jose Reyes September 10, 2016 at 11:23 pm #

    Becky.

    Like others have already said, you have no idea the timing of this letter, after several years of RVing we (Wife and Husband) went full time 2 WEEKS AGO!!!.

    Well…… in spite of having a nice rig,(Airstream) it has been hard for my wife to adjust to the “tin can syndrome” we been on the road (RVing) for several weeks in the past and once for 4 months straight, but we always had a home to go back to so I guess it was easier for her to deal with the lack of a big kitchen, big b’rooms, large bathrooms, etc, etc. This morning after reading your letter to new fulltimers, I showed it to her….. she and I then discuss the normal fears you mention and the fact that all this will be part of our new life….in short….reading your letter gave her a new positive outlook….We enjoy reading your posts and your courage at such age to do what us of a certain age at times feel is wild and even crazy.

    • Becky September 11, 2016 at 10:22 am #

      So glad this came at a good time for your wife Jose, and congrats on hitting the road! It takes some people longer to adjust than others but I hope this is a turning point for you both and that it gets easier from here. Taking the time to discuss the fears out loud helps a lot.

      Safe travels and happy trails.

  21. Kent September 11, 2016 at 7:59 am #

    Wow. That starry sky shot is *stellar..

    I must say I so much admire your tenacity and attitude. I think the saying to be very true, “Attitude is everything.”
    The fear thing – I can say that I sure have it. I can also say that for all of my life I have been reluctant to ask for a hand when the going got rough. Even if it was just an empathetic ear.
    That said, please give a shout out if the load gets too heavy, Becky.

    • Becky September 11, 2016 at 10:25 am #

      Yes Kent, Ethan has a DSLR camera with a proper lens for night photography, Cas has never looked better (the dim lighting makes the dirt less obvious, haha).

      Glad you enjoyed this post Kent, and I’m really doing quite well. Walks along the lake, the sound of wind in the pines in the evening, this ‘being stuck’ thing isn’t so bad when you have a beautiful place to spend the wait.

  22. Carter September 11, 2016 at 10:37 am #

    Something I didn’t see mentioned was the insecurity of change. One of my favorite philosophers is Eric Hoffer. One of his books was The Ordeal of Change.In the opening he talks about his life when he was working as a migrant farmer worker. He had been picking peas in one end of a valley and he had been loaded on a truck to move to the other end of the valley to pick beans. He recounted the doubt that he would be able to make the change.

    Becky, I have been watching your videos and reading your blog with great interest. You do a wonderful job. I hope everyone lives a deliberate life.

    • Becky September 14, 2016 at 3:16 pm #

      I’m glad you’re enjoying my blog Carter. I’ve written more about change in other blog posts and my books, it’s definitely a factor. In general, people stick with what’s comfortable and familiar unless their drive to do something different is stronger.

  23. Kim September 11, 2016 at 8:05 pm #

    Yes, I’ve sat on the side of the road and cried. And will no doubt do so again. It sucks, but you do whatever it takes to keep rolling. Giving up would take more guts, dontcha think? Glad you have a repair fund.

    • Becky September 14, 2016 at 3:22 pm #

      I’ve known several would-be full-timers who gave up less than a year in after facing a situation similar to this. Were they weak to do so? Or did they just realize that for them, the uncertainty wasn’t worth the cost? It’s not my place to say.

      I’m like you though, I love life on the road so much that to give it would would take more guts than fixing the problem. ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Angela September 14, 2016 at 4:55 am #

    Thank you, Becky! I’ve been on the road for a month and this is exactly what I needed right now. You’ve been a big inspiration for me to get to this point. No matter how much you prepare and research, nothing makes you understand than living it, hands on knowledge and experience of the fear, the frustration and struggle. I think that it helps keep you feeling alive. (Knowing you have to put in the effort every day, as opposed to just going thru the motions of my previous life.)
    I am hoping the best for you with Bertha. It is scary and even more expensive with a motor home, so it seems you’re doing well with the wait.
    Thanks again for all your help, answering my newbie questions, writing wonderful books, and just being awesome in general. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Becky September 14, 2016 at 3:24 pm #

      Glad this came at a good time for you Angela. I always tell people that if they can make it six months, things get easier. I wish you the very best, safe travels and happy trails!

  25. BEtH October 1, 2016 at 11:38 am #

    My first foray into solo full-time RVing has stalled. I left northern NH June 14th, 2016, with my 31′ 1993 GMC, towing a 1995 34′ Skyline. Extreme fatigue had me forgetting to release the hand brake when I pulled over to let my best friend (since 1st grade) know I’d be coming down in the morning, not that night. Thee miles later, at the I-91 Exit 17 P & H Truck Stop, I discovered I’d burned out both the hand brake, and Park. Since there was nothing I could do, I chocked the wheels, and got a good night’s sleep. The next morning, praying the whole way, I drove south the length of VT and arrived safely. We found a heavy equipment truck repair, and got a quote. I spent 5 weeks painting college rental housing to pay for the repairs. Corey did a great job. It seems that the inspection station never took off the rear wheels–the whole time I HAD NO REAR BRAKES. And the driveshaft was hanging on by the prayers of guardian angels. Assured all was well, on July 22nd, I set off to cross VT into NY, for my first truck stop layover. At the west end of Rte. 9, the mountain was such a steep uphill, I was doing less than 20 mph. On the back side, my brakes were smoking, and I seriously contemplated using one of the several truck emergency sand pull-offs for ‘run-away’ trucks. As I crossed into NY, my brakes felt low–and I knew my first act would be to find a mechanic at the truck stop. Ten miles later, I heard a HORRID clinking sound–and something metal flew out from the engine onto the road, shattered into a dozen scorching hot metal pieces. The Sheriff Deputy who stopped wasn’t there to help me–he’d gotten a call about a slow moving truck and trailer. He shouted at me to get back in the truck (I was trying to get the pieces off the road!) and keep my hands where he could see them… Three deputies, and an ambulance ride later (they were convinced I was having a heart attack, even though I insisted it was my blood sugar), and four hours later, my daughter and I were officially declared “homeless” by the state of NY, and our trucks and travel trailer had been towed, and confiscated. To make things even worse, while I was trying to REFUSE to go to the hospital, I kept telling the deputies that my dogs needed to be walked, and all the animals needed to be watered. I intended for that leg of the journey to only take 4 hours, hence the traveling from 1:30 to 5:30 a.m. Renssalaer County Animal Control got there much later in the day, to remove my pets before the trucks and travel trailer could be towed. My cash was in the truck, and we weren’t allowed to go get anything. Because it was Friday, and late afternoon by this point, NY DSS stuck us in a homeless shelter until they could ‘deal with us’ on Monday. I’ll abbreviate by saying we were treated rudely and in a condescending manner. When I asked about feeding my daughter, the reaction can’t be repeated–but we were finally ‘allowed’ to get some food from the food pantry. God bless Raegan, the girl from Kansas who was our taxi driver!! Upon hearing we had food, but no can opener, she returned to our room with both a can opener, and a cell phone charger, plus her personal number in case we “need anything over the weekend.” I was forced to relinquish all of our pets–the charges being they were severely dehydrated (Although well-fed and cared for) and because I was homeless, and had no funds to pay for their board!! Deputy Michael took a personal interest in our case (he told my daughter it was because we were “nice people–genuine”) Although he could do nothing about our pets, he worked magic–he facilitated the reduction of the tow fees ($900 plus $60/day -3 vehicles) to a flat $200, and sign the titles over. That effectively left us homeless, with our belongings out on the street (or in the tow yard, as the case may be.) After 8 days in the homeless shelter, my Dad arrived up from Long Island with enough funds to rent a 20′ U-Haul. We spent 2 hot humid days unloading the trailer and truck, and trying to see what we could fit into the small U-Haul. My only alternative at this point was to find a place to store my belongings. An Internet friend agreed to let me come and put my things in the barn. So right now, I’m stuck in ND, gathering funds to get another (smaller!!) truck and travel trailer. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Becky October 2, 2016 at 8:45 am #

      Wow Beth, that’s quite the story. I’m sorry about your pets and the indignities you had to put up with at the shelter and wish you have better luck next time. If you’re like me and not mechanically inclined, it’s probably best to save up more next time for a newer/higher quality tow vehicle that is less likely to suffer catastrophic failure – even if that means you have to wait longer. It’s no fun being on the road if you’re constantly worried about being stranded.

      The repairs on my truck ended up costing a whopping $3,750 dollars, a pretty significant sum. I would have been screwed if I hadn’t had an emergency fund set aside for just such an occasion (http://www.interstellarorchard.com/2012/06/11/rving-emergency-fund/). I know it’s not my place to tell you how to live your life, but while you’re saving up to buy your next tow vehicle and trailer, I highly recommend you start building an emergency fund too – I consider it a necessity for full-timing. It’ll let you stay on top of the routine maintenance and minor fixes that keep a lot of vehicle break-downs from happening, and will give you options in case of an event like this.

      • BEtH October 3, 2016 at 10:08 am #

        Yes, Becky, I did have an emergency fund, of considerable amount!
        I, too, consider it vital before setting out on the open road!!

        Hitting the road was forced upon us by (long story REALLY short) losing court case where I paid $79K CASH for my farm, but closing atty. took funds—never put my name on deed, legally. I farmed there for eleven years. Eviction was supposed to be 90 days, giving us more more time to find a place to park locally. But case was filed as ‘Eviction of Tenant” (I was no such thing) by the person who purchased farm at auction. (Auction stopped by NH Banking Commission–that’s still in court.)

        Truck was fully registered and INSPECTED just days before we left…
        I am quite mechanically inclined—but a 31’ GMC Topkick is a bit beyond anyone’s capability, without heavy truck equipment.

        My biggest worries at the time, were two females traveling alone. I trusted my hometown mechanic to do his job, and see that the vehicles were safe.

        And yes, I have started a fund to get another truck and travel trailer–like I said earlier, both SMALLER this time. My purchase choices in Northern NH were EXTREMELY limited.
        Now, thanks to http://www.bismanonline.com, I am finding a greater selection in both tow vehicles, and travel trailers.
        Having someone TRUSTWORTHY, who is also qualified to give the ‘thumbs up’ on my future purchase is the next hurdle.

        Will keep you posted!

    • Ernesto Quintero October 2, 2016 at 8:50 am #

      This is my first reply to someone other then Becky on IO. After reading your post and picking my jaw from my chest I’ve decided that a reply to your story. — The LEO’s did what ever it took to keep you and your dangerous rig off the road, because you lost common sense and were an extreme danger to everyone on the road. I’ve seen quite a few travel trailers tires destroyed on the highways during Snowbird travel weeks, first thing that crosses my mind is were the trailers tires dry rotted and blew out primarily the owner didn’t want to replace the over decade old tires with 90 percent of the tread. IMHO all mechanical things have a useful life and poor maintenance will guarantee a visit from Mr. Murphy.

      • BEtH October 3, 2016 at 12:58 pm #

        Mr. Quintero,

        After careful review, and checking the posting times, I believe it is my post you were referring to.
        Hard to be sure, because of all the INCORRECT FACTS in your post.

        If you read my statement:
        “It seems that the inspection station never took off the rear wheels”
        you would have realised that I had my truck inspected.

        To clarify:
        When I purchased both my truck and travel trailer, less than 2 months before I departed, I had BOTH VEHICLES FULLY INSPECTED by a state licensed inspection station.
        Possibly, the truck was more than that mechanic was trained to work on—but, as a single woman, I can only trust my mechanic.

        Your comment:
        “The LEOโ€™s did what ever it took to keep you and your dangerous rig off the road, because you lost common sense and were an extreme danger to everyone on the road.”
        emphasises the fact that you did not fully read/understand my post.
        I apologise for it being a run-on. It is my first post, and I didn’t understand the Enter key would allow me to separate sections for greater clarity.

        Your next comment:
        ” Iโ€™ve seen quite a few travel trailers tires destroyed on the highways during Snowbird travel weeks”
        is why I didn’t think you were replying to my post, where I said:
        “a HORRID clinking soundโ€“and something metal flew out from the engine onto the road, shattered into a dozen scorching hot metal pieces.”

        Where you came up with “tires dry rotted and blew out” I can’t say.

        It was my transmission that blew out—and since the last two mechanics did not have X-ray vision, I can forgive them for not “seeing” the problem beforehand.

        Because I did not know the previous owner of the trailer, and because I intended to be on the road for quite some time, I TOOK THE PRECAUTION of having FOUR BRAND NEW TIRES INSTALLED, in addition to a 5th tire, mounted on a rim, for me to use in the event of a flat.
        I understand about UV damage to tires that sit around for many months of the year, and are used infrequently. The amount of tread has NO BEARING ON THEIR SAFETY!! I took what I felt were reasonable steps to AVOID a problem in that department.

        Mr. Murphy and I have had a limited passing acquaintance—and I intend to keep it that way!!

        Again, since I had only recently acquired both of these vehicles, I took steps to ensure they were safe,and there would be no unexpected breakdown.

        After the inspection, I paid another mechanic to come to my home, and go over the engine with me.
        As a precaution, I told him I wanted all the belts and hoses replaced (the old ones were placed in my accessory tool box, as spares in the event of a possible breakdown.)

        After learning more about my circumstances, he cut his fee in half, and went over everything with a fine-tooth comb,showing me what he’d done, telling me if I were HIS sister, he’d want a guy to be sure everything was good-to-go.
        I have no complaints about Gordon N. Nothing he checked/replaced for me had any issue (verified by the shop mechanic who had to do the entire rear brake job.)

        I realise attending college on a full four year scholarship, having a dual major and a minor, and my Master’s degree does not guarantee I have ‘common sense.’ It does, however, mean I have the intelligence to learn all I can, and seek out qualified individuals, when I have to address an area I am unfamiliar with—hence, the relying on state-approved inspection stations’ mechanics.

        I was widowed 12 years ago, when my husband died in my arms, and I managed to successfully raise 5 respectable contributing members of society. (Outside opinion—not my own, although I concur.)

        As an editor, and proofreader for legal documents, I understand the importance of words, and their clarity.
        I apologise again, if my post was that unclear.

        I also apologise to Becky, and the readers, if this post has gone too far off track…
        ~BEtH~

  26. lindaandmike October 3, 2016 at 1:02 am #

    very interesting stories happy berthas rollin again. POOR BETH

    • BEtH October 3, 2016 at 1:05 pm #

      Thanks, Linda and Mike–
      Stuff happens. You roll with the punches, and get up and keep going!!

      I’m looking forward to getting a new truck, and smaller trailer (my previous rig was 70 feet long) and getting back on the road with my own blog.
      You can stay in touch with me at , for now.
      When I’m back on the road, my blog will go live–and oh, such tales to tell!!
      ๐Ÿ˜‰

      As a friend is fond of saying–
      “Keep the shiny side up!!”
      ~BEtH~

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