By Johnnie W. Lewis
My Better Half, Jimmy Lewis, and I have traded our house payment for a motor home payment and are traveling full-time around America, seeing all that we can in a five-year plan to “boldly go where no Two Old Farts have gone before…,” or at least not often.
Why do we want to ride around the country, camping in a motor home, and see everything we can in five years? Because we can! Jimmy was in the Army and we have seen most of northern Europe because of that. We’ve taken cruises, so we’ve seen a good portion of the Caribbean. It’s time to see America!
First off, it’s a misnomer to call living in a motor home “camping” out. My idea of “camping out” is a Holiday Inn with a black and white TV…, two blocks from the beach! I had that opinion prior to our son joining Cub Scouts. Once he became an Eagle Scout and Mama and Daddy were no longer involved fully in his “scouting life” (read that, “leading and camping out”), we retired the tent and went back to my original idea of camping…, the Holiday Inn, yada, yada, yada. I mean, we had camped with the Cub and Boy Scouts for 10 years in tents, sleeping in sleeping bags on the ground with the bugs and the dirt, sometimes even primitive camping, where you hike in, carrying your water to the campsite, and bring your garbage out when you’re through. I’ve camped out. I can honestly, without equivocation, now say that I hate camping out.
But “Glamping (Glamorous camping) is different. In a motor home, we get to sleep in our own bed each night, not a different bed as we would if we traveled around and lived in motels. We have sheets and an air conditioner in the “house,” if we want it. We cook our meals on a stove inside or outside, as we choose. Everything that you can do in a house, we do it. But the scenery outside the house changes as frequently as we want.
Why did we make such a radical decision as to sell our house, and everything that’s in it, and buy an RV? Because we can. We both have pensions and Social Security money coming in each month. We’ve cut our “house” payment in half. We swapped our payment on a 2016 Toyota Prius for a 2018 Toyota Prius (with the free maintenance and warranty benefits for a brand-new car!) for virtually the same payment each month and we tow the Prius behind the motor home. All the other payments for food, laundry, insurances, and “sightseeing” are the same as what we paid when we owned a house.
Our game plan for the next five years is to drive 100 to 200 miles (fanny fatigue prevents driving further), park for a week or two, and take day trips in the Prius out from the parking spot. Sometimes we stay in state parks, as we have near Athens at Watson Mill Bridge, sometimes it’s in a KOA or private campground like at Pine Lake RV Park in Bishop, sometimes in an Army Corps of Engineers campground, which they supervise near lakes and rivers. We like the latter the best because they charge the cheapest prices for senior citizens. We get a 50% discount there on renting camp sites!
We miss our grandchildren, yes, but we’ve made commitments to be at their birthdays and Christmases, so they won’t miss us as much as we like to think they will miss us. They’re 17 and 13 and completely consumed with their sports activities and their friends. Our children, Tash (mother of the grandchildren, Parker and Avery) and Trevor, are supportive of this endeavor, as long as we’re careful and don’t require them to come help us out of scrapes! But as Trevor put it when I fell over the tow dolly for the car one day and bruised a good portion of this old body, “Mom, remember everything I’ve taught you. I can’t come to Oklahoma to pick you up off the ground! Walk around the car, not over it!”
The RV, which we have nicknamed “TB-1” for “Tranquility Base-1,” gets around 9-12 miles per gallon when towing TB-2 (the Prius). The Prius is a gas and electric hybrid car and gets around 62 miles per gallon (when Jimmy’s driving; when I’m driving, it gets less). So, we figure that driving TB-1 and towing TB-2, we’ll AVERAGE around 35 miles per gallon. That’s a tremendous improvement over driving a gas-hog truck and towing a travel trailer!
We hope, in the next few years, to see most of what is in our Bucket List:
*All National Parks and most State Parks.
*All the old baseball fields (Fenway Park, Dodger Stadium, etc.).
*As many baseball Spring Training games as we can.
*Most of the lighthouses on the eastern seaboard from Bar Harbor, Maine all the way around to Corpus Christi, Texas.
*The Great Lakes.
*Make videos of all our travels to put on YouTube.
Jimmy says he doesn’t think there will be enough time to see it all, but we’ve got to try! I’ve written many books and put them all on amazon.com, so I don’t have the customer fulfillment problems and obligations, but there are at least ten more books in my head that I need to get out before we’re through. Like the one about seeing and photographing every state capitol building in every state in the country! And the one about seeing and photographing every courthouse in every county seat in Georgia. Did you know that Georgia has the second most number of counties in the country with 159, second only to Texas with 254?!? And the book about…
I think Jimmy’s right. There may not be enough time for all of this! We are the “Two Old Farts Traveling” and we are chasing 75…, degrees!
Johnnie Wright Lewis, author of many books, is a former resident of several towns in Georgia. She and her husband, Jimmy, travel the USA in their RV, stopping to see whatever they can. They met and married in Athens and came back to live in the area for a while when Jimmy got out of the Army. With cousins and friends in the Athens area, including their beloved Bulldogs, they take every opportunity to come back to where they “started” so they can “recharge” their energies! Follow them on Facebook at “Two Old Farts Traveling” and watch the many videos of their travels on YouTube under the same name. Look for Johnnie’s books on Amazon.com under the name of Johnnie W. Lewis.