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“We really must understand that the lust for affluence in contemporary society is psychotic. It is psychotic because it has completely lost touch with reality. We crave things we neither need nor enjoy.” ~Richard Foster~
I just happen to like the above quote while having nothing to do with my thoughts on the rest of this page. I could however write many paragraphs regarding it but I won’t! Just use your imagination if you have some Friends trying to "sit up tall" as it says in this "contemporary society"… I will leave it at that! Lets avoid at all cost getting "psychotic"!
"What is left?" was my question this morning while sitting at our dinette table, Spirit at my feet, roof over our head with a heater blasting while the outside temperature is still 22 degrees and sipping some strong coffee because the body was on strike not quite following the mind set I have three weeks out of a new hip replacement. The right one… for those curious. I am beat but refuse to give up while right now stagnant a bit longer and looking at my options. My own reality. How to handle it. I am 68, 69 is right around the corner. I am aware that all are just numbers. Time passes. Lots of it! What is the problem I keep telling myself as some answers trickle in. The vehicle, this body which has endured ten years of tenting, meaning crawling in and out time after time days and nights has rebelled throughout these past months, almost now a year. That is not including riding hard since the age of ten and sailing as hard for too many years to count.
February was the spine surgery. Lower back. L2/3/4/5 while getting over it and at the same time realizing it takes an honest one year to put the healing pains behind while the lifting will never resume to its original weight. And even with that time passed, is today’s 100% will ever be the past’s 100%? It is not. It is a rebuilt, it is not as swapping a new engine nice and shiny and well lubricated running perfectly on all cylinders. And now while I thought this hip would carry me a bit longer it also needed new parts. Three weeks out I am not complaining of the result. New technology is amazing while I am already walking on my own, have been only a few days after surgery. Friends in the same boat write to me they are ready to dance, were ready to dance at my present stage. I am not. My unit of "doables" are riding and tenting. Some movements needed for such tasks I call pleasure and therapy are just not possible, will not for a long time…
I discuss this with close Friends. I enjoy hearing about different opinions, some which are a reality I do not want to confront. The one opinion that has stood out has been the question asked "are you in love with riding and tenting or are you only in love with its romance?". I am tired thinking about it. I am mentally exhausted fighting the answer to that question. Yes, at this point, it is the romance. We are strange creatures I find while we change from years past. From thinking we are invincible to slowly facing the reality of a present which includes the word "comfort" too often in bold letters.
Yes, it is so cool to ride a sidecar with your best buddy next to you and the wind in your face. Stop on some of those back roads with jaw dropping landscapes, pitch a tent and call it home while the weather is at its best. Sometimes… When such possibilities are slowly taken away, the acceptance of one’s inability [mine in this case!] is difficult and yet with no choice must be accepted. We are at the mercy of Mother Nature always. I remember three days sitting in our tent in Glacier while the hail and rain and cold would not stop. Or being in a Canyon in Death Valley braving 80mph winds because of being too stubborn to move and by the end be satisfied having gone through the challenge. There is more and all have now become memories. As they say "been there… done that…". The bottom line the fact that I am trying to convince myself it is all going to be just fine.
We have to go around the bend with new thoughts if we still want to be amidst such landscapes and such experiences yet with another form of vehicle and shelter called a camper. So generic and yet so comfortable! Too comfortable and too easy. Again that word… We are in it right now and I am not complaining. Spirit who is now about twelve years old is also not complaining while laying down in his own comfy bed! I actually feel very fortunate to be the owner of such a camper while broke for so many years on the road. This is the legacy of my Mother passing away and surprisingly leaving me some funds to acquire it.
Lots of research on my own and from Friends has gone into this purchase. There were dozens of ideas from a pop up tent on top of a 4×4 vehicle to the roomy RV’s with no clearance that would have forced us to stay on paved roads. I was amazed as some of the choices only to "look cool". I wonder if I ever wanted to look cool! I know many do. Luck also played a huge factor in finding the vehicle as I settled on a slide in camper. My motto was while listening to the many opinions "if we get a camper, I want it all…" and this 4 season Northern Lite on a long bed Ford F350 7.2 Turbo Diesel 4×4 with progressive rear lockers has it all. Luck was finding the truck. A 2000 model with "they say" the best engine ever made by International with only 120,000 miles on it, original owner and well taken care of including the seats covered from day one. It is a beast I must say with superb handling having the camper package and air bags in the rear, new tires and shocks thrown in by the previous owner. I did not want a dually while I wanted a four season camper. This brand new Northern Lite weighing only 2500lbs was waiting for us… Two pieces of insulated fiberglass, heated basement, double pane windows, 3 burner stove and oven, huge refrigerator and freezer, dinette set for four with sliding table, LED’s inside out, real wood cabinets with the best sliding hardware available, two electric remote awnings, wet bath with hot water and to top it all the most comfortable full size queen bed made by Serta, the Genius model… I forget, 240W of solar and a 2000W Honda generator, an 18,000 BTU heater and an air conditioner that can be run by the Honda generator. Seriously… Guilty feelings? yes… I wanted it all and got it all… Stealth. Parked anywhere with no pop up no one can tell we are in or not. We have crossed the line over to the 4×4 community! Part time…
And yet, why do I still prefer the sidecar and tenting? That thought is not beyond me as I know why. It is closer to Nature, closer to the ground even if all and all at the present time so much harder if not today impossible. Will we ride again? tent camp again? Of course we will while we safely store some day this camper. I am tired of thinking "when?" because I just don’t know when. We are here today and that is what counts. We are here today so fortunate that we will be able to continue wandering the roads, admire and take in the landscapes as we have. All is the same… the wheels are different!
Next is, where will we go in a few weeks as we head back West. Arizona sounds good. Give us some ideas…
Stay well, Ara and Spirit