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Patience, Promise, Practice, Pain and the pursuit of wonder. A not so practical look at our headlong dive into Full timing it!

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blog-0421031001385040874.jpg Almost since the day we left Maine, Michelle and I have been thinking about getting a dog......We had a beautiful guy that we fostered a little over three years ago. His name was Sparky and he was 8 or 9 when we got him. We had gone down to the local SPCA to get a puppy, and while we were touring the kennels, we happened to see him. He was very forlorn, just lying quietly in his cage in the midst of all the chaos. We kept coming back to him and finally our guide told us his story. They were not sure of his age but estimated him to be about 8-9 years old. 105 lbs worth of Mixed Labrador and they were treating him for heartworm and an ear infection. We immediately agreed to "foster" him for 90 days so that he could get better in a quiet comfortable environment. You might guess the rest....90 days came and went and we kept Sparky......for 3 more years. One of the best dogs I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Sadly, he left us a few months ago.

So we have been keeping our eyes out and trying to decide what was the best pup for us. Lots of research here and other places about just what makes a good rv dog. Not too big but not too small. just right for us.

They say everything happens for a reason. About 5 days ago, I woke up to see that some new campers had showed up, right next to us.

960 Sites here at Ocean lakes and they pull in with 8 fresh little Labrador mixed pups. Just 4 weeks old and had been taken from their mother when they were only a week old. The wonderful lady that was caring for them already had 4 dogs of her own but couldn't bear to walk away so she had fostered them in hopes of finding good homes for them. Bottle feeding all of them 4 times a day, God Bless her.

She had brought them to Ocean Lakes in hopes that there would be good homes waiting. She found three.

What a great dog. Sleeps through the night (so far) and has yet to make a mistake in the coach. We had her checked out by the local vet and of course she had worms but we treated her for it. She is healthy. We are looking forward to many years with

Miss South Carolina Sadie.

You can follow Sadie and Michelle and I too as we motor around the Country Full TIme in our Coach. Like us at


Ready or not.....

blog-0276296001382315357.jpg We are going to set sail Friday, October 25th. Ready or not, here we go. Michelle thinks I am goofy because I refer to everything on America in nautical terms. The other day she asked me where something was and I told her it was on the starboard side of the bus near the galley. She just looked at me for a minute or two before moving on wordlessly. I know sometimes she looks at the choices she has made in her love life and just thinks quietly "Why?"

I say ready or not because although we put this trip together in a couple of months the both of us are starting to feel like it has been going on forever, and forever is a really long time. We have shed 95% of what we own, rented out the house, filled a storage unit with memories that we cannot replace, had get-togethers with co-workers and old friends, re-homed two very well loved cats, and generally turned our lives inside out, all well still working and outfitting the coach for us. I don't know if all that makes us ready or not, but ready or not, we're going! I particularly like the trips to the storage unit. We have taken some boxes back and forth to the house 3 times or so. Funny.

Michelle has been the best. Divorced for 5 years prior to meeting me, she had put a tremendously large effort in to building a stable life for her and the kids. Michelle's life centers around routine. Everything has it's place and she determines that. I can ask her on any given day where anybody's anything is and she will know instantly. She works hard. Same career for 27 years. And she is giving it all up to drive around in a 40' bus with me. I really don't know what she could be thinking.

For about the last ten days we have been living aboard America. We could not find any place open past the 15th so we made an agreement with our tenant that we would be in the front yard until we left on the 25th. They were agreeable but I am not really sure they are too keen on it. Our yard is not that big and their view from the front window first thing every morning is me in my bathrobe perched on a gravity chair in their front yard wearing a robe and drinking coffee. Gotta be a little weird for them.

At the tail end of last week Michelle said she had enough of living in a small home in front of her big home and made arrangements to move it, temporarily, to another place. We like this place much better. It has power and is paved and now we feel like we are getting somewhere!

I do know what we are ready for.........I think we are ready to go. We need to get to the fun part, this has been a lot of work and not without its frustrations. We are ready to get in the coach and drive. Not look behind us for a while. Just vamoose. Scram, get out of Dodge!

You can follow our travels on


blog-0430951001380976422.jpg I work as a trainer in the Automotive Industry. Dealers that are either under-performing or simply want to up their game utilize us for training. Whether training on basic sales process or coaching an entire management staff, we are known for "getting it done." I will share with you that 90% of what we teach revolves around customer service skills.

Which leads me to my latest adventure......Satellite TV in the RV.

Don used Direct TV. Not having utilized satellite before, and Don being gracious enough to include his dish in the sale, I just figured staying with them was a no brainer.

I went to their website and they had RV ads all over it. According to them, there really isn't anything they can't do if it involves a coach. So I called them to set it up. I am not one for doing things online. I prefer to talk to someone live. Just finding a number to call took about 3 minutes of clicking around the website. It would appear that these folks don't really want to talk to you. Michelle gets a chuckle when I talk to customer service centers that are automated. I particularly enjoy the ones that offer "Please say your answer or using the touch tone pad on your phone, key in the appropriate number." I usually simply start by just saying "operator" or "human" or "no". This must have worked for me at one time or another because I keep doing it. It hasn't worked in a long time. She really gets a laugh when I repeat one of those prompts, only a little louder each time. This experience was no different. After a few minutes of wrestling I did get an "operator" Not sure what country they were based out of but it certainly wasn't one where the native language was English. I have the utmost of respect for anyone that wants to better themselves and learning our language in order to become a customer service representative is not easy, I am sure. But why do a lot of these major corporations allow some one to interact with us that does not understand or speak our language on at least a 3 year old level is beyond me. I always give them a shot. I will try several times to say "please repeat yourself" or "Sorry, I cannot understand you, say again". Invariably I end up just asking for a supervisor or in rare events, hang up. I feel bad for these folks when I do this because it really isn't their fault, but I am left with no choice in the matter. I would love to wring the neck of the individual that is in charge of outsourcing these positions.

My second attempt was much more successful. I was instantly connected to someone that was obviously a native of the US. Probably New York or Philadelphia judging by the accent. This gentleman assured me in no uncertain terms that Direct TV does not "do" rv's. I was a little bit confused because of those ads that I saw, and when I brought it up, he did not change his mind. So I finished that call too. I figured the third time might be the charm so I dialed again. This time, success! Not only did the person reassure me, they were happy to run my credit report, tell me that I qualified for anything I wanted, and take my money. The installer would be coming out in a couple of days and there was nothing further that I needed to do.

Fast forward a couple of days and the installer did show up at my house. As he started to make his way in to our home I pointed to the coach and said "Actually, you are going to install it in the bus." He stopped in his tracks and said, "Oh, they didn't tell me that. We don't do that." "But I told them several times exactly what I was trying to do" I said. "Sorry, we don't do that. Somebody else does that". "Who" I asked. I don't know, but it isn't us." "Well, sorry you had to come out for nothing." I replies, a little weary in my voice, "No problem Sir, Call Customer Service, they will walk you through it," "Great, I will do that, they are always helpful". I finished my conversation with him feeling like I really had not gotten out of the gate yet.

I didn't call customer service, I went back to the web. It does seem like I at least feel more informed when I research this stuff on my own. This whole talking to a person live stuff just wasn't getting it done. After clicking around a little bit I found the link that you are supposed to push when you need to buy peripherals for an RV set up. The company was called Weingard and I quickly learned I would be spending several hundred dollars on extra stuff do make this happen, When Don sold me the coach, he gave me a satellite dish on a tripod and told me that all you need to do was get a regular "house" set up for the coach and then when you set up the coach at an RV park, simply put the tripod in an area that has an unencumbered look at the sky. Instant TV! I could not understand why I now needed to buy a bunch of electronics. Guess I had to call customer service again.

This time I got a very nice young lady. I explained my situation to her, everything that I had done or not done to this point, explained that the installer would not work on it, and that in the end I just needed a house set up. I also told her I would really rather not buy a bunch of stuff. She told me that she would simply call back the installer and tell them to do it and put me on hold. I protested that this was not going to "fly" but she put me on hold anyway, When she came back on the line about five minutes later, she began to explain to me that the installer does not handle this type of thing and that I would have to get a hold of a company called Weingard but that she would be happy to provide me with the number. I told her that she was not listening to me and that I would like to speak with a supervisor. She told me that a supervisor would not be able to do anything for me that she had not already done. I hung up.

I now have Dish Network. They were Awesome.... People that speak English, a local installer that felt my pain...I was up and running by the next day. I did have to buy a tethered antenna called a navigator, and it was about $350. It finds and locks in the satellite for you. I found out from them that if I did try to aim my own satellite, it would make me cry. I am very happy.......

follow Michelle and I as we adventure around the country starting October 25th.... you can find us on facebook at


blog-0411049001380713394.jpg Most of the time, I am just plain confused. Between being confused and trying to make certain that Michelle doesn't know how confused I am, I am pretty busy.

I guess the thing that first confused me was how many sets of keys there are to our Coach. When we passed papers I asked Don for the spares and he told me they were already on board. 5 sets. Why there are 5 complete sets is kind of confusing in itself. If I manage to misplace 4 sets of keys I probably should not be driving a 40' coach and towing a Jeep behind it.

Then there are the buttons. And switches. A lot of these buttons and switches activate systems or accessories that Don installed after he bought the coach so they are not even labeled. I am guessing that between the dashboard, the overhead control panel, the overhead media center, the overhead satellite panel, the forward fuse box, the main cabin control panel, the bedroom audio, lighting and slide panel, and the main power panel under the control panel near the aft television and dvd player panel, there are a few hundred buttons and knobs. When Don gave me the orientation tour, he did tell me about the twenty or so knobs that you don't touch, ever. I guess I am still wondering why there would even be a switch for something that you don't want to use. Or if you do want to use it, how do you accomplish that without touching the switch. All of these buttons are inside the coach. On the outside of the coach there are a few dozen more that are downright terrifying.

I have not climbed the rear ladder to the roof yet because I am afraid of heights. I imagine there are buttons up there too. I hope they are ok. If there are any buttons and switches under the bus, I will pay some one to turn them on and off.

Today, the guy from the Satellite company is coming. He will be here in an hour or so to install our dish so that we can watch tv. I am sure there will be some more buttons. Maybe another remote control or two to add to the 5 or so that we have now.

Next week I will be installing our mobile wi-fi system. I am going to tackle that one myself. Fairly button-less. After that we will hook up our RV Specific GPS Nav system and that should about be it for buttons and switches.

Did I tell you that I got this?

Follow Michelle and I as we undertake this wonderful adventure around the country on the Motor Coach we call America.


blog-0293784001380377228.jpg To be clear, I cannot saw a straight board, hang a picture that doesn't wind up crooked, assemble a grill so that it looks anything like the "picture", and at 49 years old I still don't know what a mitre saw does. I am pretty handy with a cordless screwdriver as long as I don't have to actually use it and I own a pretty awesome looking array of tools. But I really couldn't tell you what half of them do. I am excited to use a couple of them but also afraid that I might have to.

Don Hill thinks I am mechanically inclined. If you read my last blog, Don is the guy we bought America from. I have no clue what I might have said or done a long the way to give Don this horribly mistaken and grandiose perception of my abilities, but I will not be too quick to set him straight about it. I do worry that one day I might have to actually demonstrate those skills in front of him and in the process totally kill our otherwise blossoming "bro-mance," At this point, I would be shattered if Don thought less of me.

At 86 years old, Don has spent the last 75 years of his wonderful down-east life as a wood-worker. He is a very highly regarded craftsman, and still spends the better part of his days not puttering around in his shop, but rather churning out the most incredible handmade everything that you can imagine.......The stories he tells when I am fortunate enough to spend any time with him keep me smiling and often outright laughing. Michelle and I were fortunate to have met him and his wife Joanne, and I have the ongoing fortune that although we have only owned his coach since the end of July, he hasn't disconnected his phone, or at least blocked my number. I call Don, it's what I do. I have called him at 7 am and at 7 at night and he always takes my call. I am not sure that I would be so patient if the tables were reversed.

In the moment he told me I was "mechanically inclined", I felt like I had just been endorsed by the electorate in a bid for the Presidency. I say it that way because I imagine that like me, most candidates are faking it and really don't know what they are doing but extremely grateful to have created the personae they want folks to think they are rather than having been seen for who they really are......enough of politics...I was a little light headed at the time and wished the moment might have lasted longer than it did. I even forget what he was referencing at the time, not that I would have actually been knowledgeable about it. Then he told me that this was a good thing as I would NEED to be this way to be a successful bus owner. I wonder if the coach will give me the same respect.

I decided in that moment that I was going to ask Don to let me video tape him giving me tutorials on all the bus systems, how to turn it on, off, all the myriad of electrical buttons and wind-dings, the furnace, the poop system, refrigeration, heating and cooling and the overall basics of operation. i didn't even have a video camera at the time but immediately made a pretty good trade on Craig's List for a 35mm digital camera with video capability. I traded it for a one year old snow blower that we had. the guy I swapped with told me that the camera was too difficult to operate. This should have been my first clue that I was headed down the wrong road. I have since managed to master the art of turning it on and off, taking a basic snapshot in the automatic setting and making a video, albeit one that bounces all over the place because I can't seem to hold the camera steady. I get a little dizzy when I play them back but it's worth it. I did spend a few hours with Don video taping these segments but I cant seem to get them off the camera and on to my laptop. I just have to be sure I don't delete anything on the camera for the time being.

I have called Don when I really shouldn't have. The other day I brought the bus home from being serviced. The very next morning I could not get anything to work that was electrical. America would start and run and drive and it was all systems go but every single accessory on the coach was dead. I found this out when I hit the switch to roll out my electrical cord to plug the bus in. Dead. Nothing. There is a fuse panel hidden behind most anywhere you look on the bus so I knew I couldn't go there. I called Don. He asked me if the motor for the cord roller was plugged in. It was. I told him I would look around. So I blindly headed to the main power board above the passenger seat and started pounding on rocker switches. There is one labeled Battery: use/store. That did the trick. I don't understand still what happened but when I hit that one the bus lit up like Times Square on New Years Eve. Thinking I could overload the bus and kill the whole thing in the next few seconds, I frantically started jumping around the coach, turning off anything that looked like it was on. In that moment, I could see through the living room window the electrical cord slowly pushing itself out in to the main road, just begging to be hit by one of my neighbors. It looked like a black cobra, gently making its way. I flew off the bus and killed the electrical to the motor, kind of the opposite of what I had intended all along.

I even called Don once to ask him what all the keys on the key ring in the key caddy fit. He told me "locks". I love that man.

All of this brings me to my current mechanical situation. One that John, the owner of Mountain Road RV has not quite yet convinced me that I am going to solve. I noticed a pretty severe power loss on the 180 mile trek home from Bar Harbor. the coach was bucking quite a bit and a little yellow light on the dashboard kept intermittently flirting with me. I hadn't a clue what was wrong, knew something was definitely not right,and silently cursed myself for recent life altering decisions that we had made, all the while gently reassuring Michelle that "it was nothing". I actually thought our Allison 6-speed transmission had developed some ten thousand dollar problem and the Bus Anxiety grew.

A few days later I was comforted after reading that it was probably just a clogged fuel filter. This was verified by John and his marvelous crew. they took great care of me and I received a fresh State inspection sticker, diagnosis of the codes, and confirmation that the fuel filter was indeed clogged. All for 90 bucks. But John is very thorough and wanted to explain to me what could and likely would happen next. My fuel filter, he said, was not just clogged, but clogged by some rapidly reproducing alien life force whose earth name was "Black Algae". The Scourge of the South. The Fuel contaminant that is rapidly spreading around our country in much the same manner as any proud epidemic might. The Bubonic Bus plague. And it would likely come back. John warned me in a style reminiscent of the same narrative employed by Alfred Hitchcock. Smooth, reserved and very menacing all at the same time. "You see, the black algae gets in to your tank in the south, we don't really know where it comes from we just know that it doesn't go away. It is very likely that you will be changing your fuel filters on the side of the road several times over the next four or five thousand miles." I registered no concern in my facial expression but did ask, "Can I do that?". He replied

"Sure, you just need the right oil filter wrench and some patience." Oil filter wrench? Now I was totally confused. Had I been listening all along? Was this an oil problem?

After some explanation, John enlightened me that I would need to put fuel in the coach at about ten gallons a time, always treating it with a Biocide called Killem. The rapidly reproducing monsters in my fuel tank would not be able to replicate as quickly and this "killem" stuff would be more effective. I might still have to change my filter every thousand miles or so for 4 or five times but if I can teach my elbow to bend the other way I should have no problem reaching behind my Cummins 350 turbo diesel to remove the bad one in favor of a good one. I have not yet attempted this but do know that I will eventually have to. Probably somewhere on the side of the road.

I love this life!

I vow to live up to Don's perception of me.........

Follow Michelle and I as we journey around the country on

Have a Great day!



blog-0309600001379938711.jpg I have an appointment to have the Wrangler fitted for a proportional braking system on Wednesday. We have been using Mountain Road RV in Sabattus, Maine for servicing at the recommendation of the prior owner of our Coach....

Proud owners since July 31st of this lovely "floats on air" home on wheels that we bought, this 40' land yacht that I test drove for about a half hour before we blindly decided to dive in, feet first because our arms were flailing, to this world of full time life in a motor home. Our plan all along has been to see this Great United States of America, never having to rely on airplanes or cars, just Michelle and I and the "bus". How did it happen? Not sure I really know.....

Up until about 6 months ago, Michelle was (and still is, for just a few more days) a very well respected, deeply entrenched, and highly successful insurance executive for a major company, spending fully 27 years of her 45 year life employed with just this one company. she started out answering phones as a child and steadily worked her way up, always a major contributor, to where she is now. Over the last couple of years, the thought of "doing something different" has been gently gliding in and out of her mind.

As for me, I have always been a bit of a chance taker. Did my time for the USAF as a young man and went in to the automobile industry almost thirty years ago. I first met Michelle through an online dating service and we have been co-habitating for almost five years. She has two children, the youngest of which has recently graduated from high school and entered the work force. The eldest works nearly full time and is an ongoing college student. Aren't they all?

I can't begin to pinpoint the day we decided to entertain the whacked out notion of pulling up stakes and entering the life that a lot of you live. We have never been campers, prefer to take our vacations beach side on an island somewhere, and have always kind of viewed the RV world as a non-option for us. Surely it is a bug infested, too close for comfort, dirty, muddy existence that can only be enjoyed by the left turn loving Nascar Crowd? Guaranteed we would park next to Bubba and his vertical family tree at almost every beer-can-ridden stop along the way? Wouldn't we be better off just flying and lounging in the nicest hotels we could afford? Then what the?????? are we thinking.....

I remember the day we thought of it. Not sure who said it first, doesn't really matter. I just remember the look we both gave each other and knew that somehow it was going to happen. Yes, we both, in more or less the blink of an eye, knew that we were going to sell or rent the house, liquidate or store almost every thing in it, trade our 4 month old luxury Sport Utility for a soft top Jeep Wrangler, buy the nicest, biggest, best darned Class A out there and hit the road.......and we did'nt know the first thing about how to get started.

Michelle is a go-getter, but also very meticulous and thoughtful in her planning and execution. Me, I am the "forest" guy when they talk about not being able to see the forest for the trees. I don't see the trees. I just look at a challenge and say "We got this", never having a care or concern about "how" "we" going to get it. Good thing I have Michelle. She is the tree person.....comes up with the answers when we have challenges and is a very good steadying influence for my rather care-free approach to nearly everything. She has been both the influence that I need and influenced by me. I love her with everything that I have to give and she returns it three-fold every day. But enough of the sentiment.....

When we kicked in to this adventure, we were looking for a relatively "stress-free" life....this has been about as stress free as watching our youngest take her drivers test, and alternately hoping that she passes and hoping that she doesn't. Every decision has taken careful thought, planning, financial juggling and also usually entails some type of coin flip or 3 round wrestling match between Michelle and I.

The first thing was to see what we could buy for a coach. I quickly found out that the least expensive 40' Class A that had any appeal to us was going to cost somewhere in the vicinity of "we can't afford it" and "do people really buy these?". For a couple of hundred thousand dollars you can get something basic that nobody wants.......and will certainly depreciate about half by the time the engine warms up for the first time. What if we didn't like this life? Could we really just take about half of whatever we did spend and throw it in the garbage? That is a lot of money and not a risk that either of us were willing to take. So, on to the second-hand market. A little research taught me quickly that second hand is the way to go. When I read repeatedly that it takes a solid year to get the bugs out of almost every new one that is purchased, I couldn't imagine why anyone would buy one. As an automobile Sales Manager for years and years I wonder how people would perceive me if they had to spend 100 bucks in fuel to get their car back to the dealer 6 times in the first 12 months just to make the heater work, or be able to hear the stereo........ but in reading up on it I found that this type of occurrence is commonplace and coach customers readily accept it. Wow!

I started scanning the internet looking for a nice second hand coach that was well kept and reasonably priced. I looked at coaches from Maine (where we live) to California. The thought process being that if we could make the right deal, it would be worth the price of the flight there and the fuel to "get her home". For around 120k, we could get a nice 4-5 year old Tiffin or Newmar with some amenities and not have a 2000 dollar a month "mortgage". Talk about seems that there is no "market" value on these things, the dealers just ask what ever they want and hope....And private sellers? Wow!!!! Seems like almost every one that I came across was being offered by somebody that could absolutely reassure me that theirs was being offered at a "sacrifice" price.....Honestly, after a while I didnt know which way was up! To be fair, I did talk to plenty of really nice and honest dealers and private sellers, all of whom treated us with the utmost of respect and sincerity.

So, every now and again you buy the winning scratch ticket and this is certainly what happened to us in the end. Michelle's Mom and Dad have a local buddy that is in his mid 80's. He and his wife had a ten year old Newmar Dutch Star. A 40 ft Class A with a 350 HP Cummins Turbo Diesel coupled with an Allison 6 speed, all laid together in a spartan chassis. 50 thousand one owner miles, meticulously cared for, and hiding in plain sight about 10 miles from our house. Don Hill, the owner of this bus, and his wife Joanne had decided that making the trek to Florida every year was getting to be a bit much for him. A couple of eye surgeries later and he was calling it quits. Said his eyes were fine and was even able to prove it to me by showing me that he only needed a small flashlight to see his odometer in the middle of the day. Good Decision Don!

Don and Joanne are two of the craftiest people I know....Don was a woodworker by trade and has a beautiful wood shop attached to one side of his home. At 86 years young he still spends a good portion of his days in his wood shop, churning out the most marvelous handmade wood products you have ever seen. In his 75 years of using planers, band saws, routers and the like, he managed to keep 7 of his fingers relatively intact and only lost 3, not bad! And the stories he told about how he lost those three are very interesting, but not for the faint of heart. I will leave those stories with Don. You can ask him about it if you like. Joanne is a Quilter, and really quite masterful at it. She has a beautiful quilt supply shop on the OTHER side of the house and in the times I have been there, you just see customer after customer, even the occasional tour bus, roll in and out, buying some of the highest quality fabrics and patterns in huge numbers from this quaint little shop tucked away on a side street in picturesque Windham, Maine. Although both are well into their octogenarian years, neither shows signs of slowing down. God Bless them both as they have really been an inspiration to me.

After a little bit of haggling, We all agreed on a price that worked. We are happy to say that for what we spent, we feel like we got the best deal on the planet. Don had just recently completed some repairs, maintenance and upgrades including 6 new tires, new turbo, new engine brake, fresh oil change and quite a few woodworking enhancements.....Additionally they gave us all the little stuff that you need on a bus, ground tarps, external lighting, additives, tools, cabling and electrical, many many things that never would have crossed our minds as novices. We are truly lucky to have met them and will be forever grateful. I have also received many, many hours of comical tutoring from Don around how to operate and maintain the coach that we have dubbed "America".

Our fist orientation tour was scheduled for Labor Day. We made reservations at a beautiful place in bar Harbor, Maine Called Hadley's Point Campground. To be clear, Michelle and I are not campers. Michelle has always said that the very last thing she wants to do when taking a vacation is live like a homeless person. We have friends that leap at the opportunity to pitch a tent whenever it is presented. Not us. It's cold, buggy, uncomfortable, boring and just plain silly as near as we can gather. These friends of ours will spend a day loading up their vehicles and trailers with supplies, 4 hours driving somewhere, 7 hours setting up "camp", a day and a half sitting around a fire, 4 hours breaking down and cleaning up and another 4 hours driving home. And when they get home they have to put everything away! We were to meet 6 of these lost souls at Hadley's. We also brought along a good friend of ours, Chip, to enjoy the ride, have a few adult beverages, and sleep on our fold out coach. Chip is a bit of a kindred spirit to Michelle, their relationship began as an acquaintance of an acquaintance type of thing and over the years their friendship has grown and survived divorces, tragedy, and a few other ups and downs. I consider him to be a great friend and an excellent conversationalist.

A 40' motor home is a very big vehicle and a rather small house. The run to Bar Harbor was not only to acquaint ourselves with how to operate the bus but also get a sense of co-habitating in it. Michelle and I both have very strong personalities. Although we do describe ourselves as soul mates, space is important. There have been times when I am sure she has felt the State of Maine was not big enough for the both of us so living in cramped quarters will either prove to be charming or harming to our relationship. So off we go.....

We live in the Portland Area of Maine and Bar Harbor is about 180 miles drive for us. I got Bus Anxiety after about 45 minutes...Not sure if Bus Anxiety is the appropriate medical nomenclature for what happened to me but it is what I choose to call it. Somewhere between putting the coach in drive and about 45 miles in I began to feel an impending sense of doom, a surety that I felt within my bones that we were going to die in this thing, that a slight wind would topple the bus on to it's side or that I would simply drive it in to a ravine. An hour in, and Michelle was looking at me more frequently, and I knew she was on to me. An hour and fifteen and I began praying for an exit, anything to get me out of the Captain's Chair....and was steadily cruising along at about 50 miles an hour, certain that any speed over that was risking catastrophe. Finally, Michelle asked me if I was ok, to which I replied...."No." She readily admitted that this was not the response she was looking for ...

We did manage to find a closed weigh station with enough of an off-ramp for me to pull over. I welcomed it like it was the last chance I would have and immediately pulled over. After a half hour of steadying myself on the side of the road, worrying more about whether a tractor trailer was going to ram us at 70 mph than any bus anxiety that I had, I pronounced myself ready and willing.

I gently pulled in to traffic and immediately exited 1/2 mile later in to a local town. Having not yet purchased towing insurance and not sure what lie to make up about why the bus needed to be towed home, and unable to create a sufficient enough health emergency to be whisked to the local hospital by ambulance, I decided that I was just going to have to power through this. Somehow, I would have to summon the courage to face the Tiger. A half hour later, we were once again on our way ....

After what felt like three days of driving, we reached Hadley's a couple of hours later. Finally!

A half hour or so of set up and we were ready to begin enjoying bus life in the Motor Home America!

A few adult beverages later and we were ready to go visit our friends located a couple of "streets" over in the tenting area. They had arrived shortly after we did but we had not yet visited as we wanted to give them plenty of time to set up and enjoy ourselves a bit too .... It was a pretty humid day and the AC on the bus had come in handy although most of our time had been spent outside on the patio watching the day unfold around us.

As I said before, tenting is too much work. We walked over and kibitzed for a half hour, watching everyone sweat and not really wanting to join in...this was after all, not what we signed on for. Enough about that!

Back to the comfort of our Coach. Oh yeah, did I tell you I forgot to level it?

I am an early riser. Typically, any sleep I get past 4 am in the morning is a big bonus for me! So, after a really good nights sleep, I found myself up puttering about the coach, listening to Chip's gentle snoring, the likes of which made me want to put a pillow over his face and watch him slowly slip away. The only thing that prevented this was the fear of getting caught. I had to believe the authorities would question asphyxiation with no apparent cause in an otherwise healthy guy. Not a risk I wanted to take.

At about 5 am- Michelle came out of the Bedroom, very uncharacteristic for her to rise prior to 7 am or so. What could be the reason?

As she stealthily traversed the length of the hallway to where I was enjoying coffee in the living room, and slowly came in to the morning light, I began to see a look in her eye, a posture that I had not seen before and sensed an attitude that I can only describe as "tense". She wasn't holding any weapons so I did not fear for my life but something in the air told me that there was definitely going to be a rumble.


Incredulously, I did not know what I had done but was far too terrified to reply with anything except "OK!!!!" Sorry!!!! As a man I have learned that it is best not to defend, always best to apologize, and hope that things will work themselves out. Being right and dead is just not an option for me.

I should have leveled the bus. Although the bus was definitely listing to port and you had to get a head start to walk from the front uphill to the bedroom area, I had declined the prior day on general principle. Hadn't I done enough? I didn't realize that allowing to let the bus rest on its cushion of air, floating gently above 6 very large pneumatic tires would create a very unpleasant trampoline effect. Couple this effect with someone (Michelle) that cannot sleep unless she has an extremely quiet environment and you have a recipe for divorce....At this moment I knew that I had messed up. I had better retreat immediately or it was going to be a very long couple of days. For the balance of the morning I would welcome the day....outside. Almost since the beginning I have said that Michelle can hear morning dew drying on the windows. I now know it to be true.

The rest of our maiden voyage proved to be relatively calm. It rained enough that Patti, one of the brave tenters, proclaimed that she had never seen this much. My faith in Coach life was bolstered with the knowledge that regardless of the elements, we had a clean, comfortable spacious area to hang in, entertain our soaking wet friends, and enjoy a relaxing weekend....I will tell the story about leveling the bus another day!!!!

I know we have made the right decision. At least I think we have. Stay tuned....Our journey begins October 25th.....We are heading to the Charlotte area for a bit, and then who knows....You can follow our travels here and on facebook at

Hope to see you there!


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