Published: January 23rd 2012January 21st 2012
Well after 3 years of little travel except in California and the Pacific NW (oh, and Ecuador last winter for 2 months) following our 2008 trip around the world, we decided after having some discussions over the summer about my entertainment career and the new places it was starting to take me, that perhaps the time had come for us to make the leap and do more traveling in our own back yard .... the USA. Since I did a lot of driving last summer to various gigs in Oregon, Washington and even Vancouver where we visited some friends for a week, we found ourselves shlepping a lot of stuff in and out of places, and well, after a while that got a little old!.... You know the food cooler, ice packs and all that. So we started talking about various ways that we could do the same thing with having our own rig of some sort. We even stopped along the way and looked at those A frame trailers that you pull which contain a little kitchen/dining area and a bed.
Later in the summer a local RV show came to our attention and that was the beginning of
researching the idea of buying some kind of RV. Well, from the start we were really only considering motor coaches. A major thing that started us thinking about that was our friend Trudy Baerman - the wife of Steve Baerman (aka Swama Beyondananda) who told us in June about her reseach of Prevost bus coaches and how they were thinking of purchasing one of those and going on tour. After catching some of Trudy's excitement we even stopped on our way through western Oregon at the Marathon custom coach showroom for a tour. That was fun and we even got to go inside the used coach of Ester & Jerry Hicks of the channeled "Abraham" fame. Wow! that was a really beautiful custom home on wheels! Very inspiring, but we knew we weren't ready for one of those (yet!) - even a used one is anywhere from $300,000 to 1mil. Well there are certainly motorhomes that are approaching those levels but these coaches are 45' buses. Nevertheless, it started us thinking in a different way about the kind of lifestyle one could have with a home on wheels. They are big and they small all at the same time! They
are like a gypsy caravan that you close up and go and when you arrive somewhere you open it all out again and set down "roots" for a little while (this is how I, Christina like to think of it but, even with that fantasy feeling now, I must say it took me a while to get used to the idea of living in such a small space and to find "the one" that I thought I could be comfortable in!) It's truly amazing though how big it feels inside when all four slides are open!
We looked at lots of motorhomes over several months and decided that for the amount of miles we would likely be traveling we would be better off getting a diesel pusher. We also felt it important to have a large kitchen, plenty of wardrobe space, and storage for full time living and my music equipment.
We found a 2006, 40' diesel Monaco Camelot motor home on the internet last August. With its solid cherry cabinets it offered a beautiful & yet homey feel perfect for us, at a good price, and just 2 hours away from us. (from Christina - "as cool
as all this is now, and the freedom it offers - I must say that I NEVER, EVER pictured myself being "the type" that would own and drive around in a motor home!! and I still find myself having to let go of stereotypes I have about doing this!"). But the reality is now, that SO MANY people, and not only retirees either do the "snow bird" thing in a motor home or have taken to living in one full time so they can enjoy the freedom, and versatility it offers - having your own bed and comforts wherever you are. Even the actual "footprint" of it (energy consumption) is way less than living in a big house and commuting with a car. And if the cost of fuel skyrockets well then, we just won't go as far, or as much.
Our "Angel" as she became called almost immediately went on her maiden voyage with us and got initiated into her new life at the Burning Man Festival near Reno, NV (together we have been many times, but not in such luxury!). We literally picked her up on Friday, loaded her up on Saturday and headed for Burning Man
on Sunday - talk about timing!
We let go of the house we rented in Graton/Sebastopol CA after 3 years to move into the motorhome November 1st. We will probably always call Sebastopol our home since we have hundreds of friends there, Christina's 2 grown boys, not to mention the great weather and beauty of the area. We spent part of November and all December parked on our friend Cricket's empty lot in west Santa Rosa which is graced with good views and local trials for walking & biking. We had a good time living there and getting to know Cricket & her boyfriend Marty a little better! Jan. 10th we spent a night at Dillon Beach, parked and stored our car in the garage there, and set out the next day for southern CA in the motorhome.
Before embarking on this trip I spent many hours over the past months calling and emailing hundreds of RV parks and retirement communities promoting my show, and got a dozen or more performance bookings along our route. See www.florianmusic.com
We spent the first night in a rest area amongst the big trucks, and then arrived the next day at
Woody and Marys house in Yucaipa. We parked on the street next to their house for a couple nights. Woody and I did two concerts together at a retirement community and a senior center. Both lot's of fun. It is always great to be on stage with Woody playing bass. We've known each other since grammar school in Canton CT and played rock n roll together all through high school.
After that we headed to the town of Borrego Springs and "The Springs RV Resort" nearby which is a small area surrounded by the Anza Borrego State Park - the largest State park in CA and the nation at over 600,000 acres! To get there we drove past the Salton Sea not too far from Palm Springs. This is a very interesting desert area with gorgeous craggy mountains & "badlands" surrounding the big valley that holds the town and this part of the park lands. We were pleasantly surprised to receive such a VIP welcome at the RV resort and really generous VIP treatment throughout our 4 night stay there. The audience at my concert there was really great! Besides my pay, the owners of Borrego gave us 4
free nights of camping, free golf, use of their van, etc etc. Of course I had to try my hand at golf.... since it was free! & I had fun with that. By the second day I did play a nine hole game with a new friend John - a retired geologist who is a park volunteer that offered to show us around the local areas of the park one day. One of the highlights of that adventure was a visit to "the slot" - a twisty snug sort of little "valley" you can wallk through. On another day we did an easy 3 hour hike into a canyon & palm tree oasis.
We moved on to Palm Springs/Palm Desert for more concerts and "camping" RV style, and now we are at the Glen Eden Nudist RV resort in Corona, CA. I also had a great show here Saturday afternoon (with my clothes on). This is actually a lovely resort with nice facilities and we even have a few friends here now from the first time we came in October. We'll be staying here several nights then back to Palm Springs for a show on Jan. 25th. After that
Sierra Hot Springs
We always stop at Sierra Hot Springs along rte 80 in Sierraville, CA for a night or two after a week at Burning Man Festival.
we go into Arizona stopping a night or two in the town of Quartzite on our way to Phoenix and Tucson. Quartzsite has gem shows this time of year (as does Tucson) and has become a popular place for thousands of RVers during the winter months. Most dry camp for free or little cost on the BLM land around the town. This promises to be an interesting experience, that might be worth telling about! We'll have the opportunity to visit with our dear friend David John while in Tucson and get the insider perspective there which we are looking forward to.
We'll be in AZ for about a week, then we'll travel through NM, TX (stopping in Austin & maybe San Antonio,) then along the gulf of LA to New Orleans (a place Christina has never been) and then into FL where I've been lining up shows for the month of March. We will probably go down the gulf side and we have relatives to visit in some areas, then up the eastern coast and along the eastern sea board to CT for the month of May for more shows and visiting relatives. Starting June 2nd we'll be zooming
back toward CA for some shows there and then into the summer season of touring the Pacific NW a second time doing concerts and country fair appearances and whatever else comes along. So that's a basic itinerary for our next 6-8 mos. and we'll being adding blog entries as we go and find interesting things to relay!
With love to all of you,
William (& heavily edited by Christina!)
There are more photos below