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Old 04-04-2012, 07:36 PM   #1
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Hello, fellow Solo Streamers. I am a widowed (female - age 60) solo streamer - had a 28' with the husband and now own a 19' for just me. I'd like to go out and about for a month or two or more, but so far have not had the nerve to go for more than a few days alone. I'm looking for some positive reinforcement here. Can any of you share your stories of successful trips and maybe some safety tips you have picked up? Do you meet people along the way? Do you get lonely? Pump me up, folks!
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:22 PM   #2
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You live on the West Coast caper2. How much more pumped up can you get??

Go for it and try to stay where there are lots of other campers for support so that you feel comfortable. Even if you get caught without a campground, in most Walmart's, there are generally lots of other campers trying to get a quick nap.

Dave

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Hello, fellow Solo Streamers. I am a widowed (female - age 60) solo streamer - had a 28' with the husband and now own a 19' for just me. I'd like to go out and about for a month or two or more, but so far have not had the nerve to go for more than a few days alone. I'm looking for some positive reinforcement here. Can any of you share your stories of successful trips and maybe some safety tips you have picked up? Do you meet people along the way? Do you get lonely? Pump me up, folks!
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:23 PM   #3
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Greetings Caper2!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Free Wheeling and Free Wheelers!

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Originally Posted by caper2 View Post
Hello, fellow Solo Streamers. I am a widowed (female - age 60) solo streamer - had a 28' with the husband and now own a 19' for just me. I'd like to go out and about for a month or two or more, but so far have not had the nerve to go for more than a few days alone. I'm looking for some positive reinforcement here. Can any of you share your stories of successful trips and maybe some safety tips you have picked up? Do you meet people along the way? Do you get lonely? Pump me up, folks!
I didn't find my soulmate until I was nearing my 51st birthday two years ago so I spent most of my adult life as a Free Wheeler. You will find a huge number of resources for the solo traveler among the Free Wheelers - - an Intra-Club within the Wally Byam Caravan Club International composed of single Airstreamers traveling solo (some are never married singles while others are widows/widowers or divorcees). Traveling as a Free Wheeler from 1995 through 2010 was full of memorable experiences I may not have had if it weren't for the hints and techniques gained through membership in the Free Wheelers.

During my years as a Free Wheeler, I spent an average of six weeks per year touring - - with most of my touring being done between the Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean. My constant traveling companion has been one of two tiny toy Chihuahuas . . . . too small to be considered a guard dog at 2.5 pounds, but both Dutchess and Precious have been excellent early alarms for potential problems from weather as well as potentially undesirable activity nearby. My rule of thumb was to always stay at either a commercial campground or a state/county/national park campground where security patrols were a known quantity. My solo travels began in 1980 and continued through 2010, and I never really felt threatened or a lack of safety in any park that I selected with one exception in 2008 - - I was running several hours behind schedule due to an alternator failure on my tow vehcile and had to stay in a campground that I hadn't "pre-qualified" (the only advertised campground for more than 175 miles) and there was a racous atmosphere in the part of the campground where my space was located among mostly permanent resident campers who were there to party hearty for the weekend -- and my Chihuahua and I got very little rest that night as it seemed just as one party was winding down another was starting.

One of the best lessons that I learned as a solo traveler in the Free Wheelers was to limit my travel days. When I first transitioned to Airstreaming from travel in my old Nomad, I made many adjustments partly as a result of upgrading from an 18-foot coach to a 26-foot coach - - and partly due to the discovery of the joys of Caravanning. Prior to transitioning to Airstreaming, I thought that I was wasting money and time if I didn't cover at least 500 miles in a day . . . by my third year as a Free Wheeler, I had come to adopt the idea that the ideal travel day was no more than 300 miles with plans to setup camp no later than 4 PM with breaking camp around 10 AM in the morning.

In all my years of traveling solo, I have only had one on the road breakdown and that was totally unpreventable as a nearly new elecrical part failed less than 20 days after my GM dealer performed the replacement. My rule of thumb has been to have my tow vehicle carefully examined by a trusted mechanic on a routine 3,000 mile basis . . . my primary tow vehicle has nearly 200,000 miles while my backup tow vehicle has nearly 130,000 miles and I am not planning on replacing either of them anytime soon.

I have no surviving family so during my Free Wheeling days, I had good friends at home who tracked my travels and were prepared to send out emergency calls if I was too much past due for either arrival at a particular point or to make pre-planned contacts. Between WiFi and my cell phone, I kept in daily contact with my friends as i traveled . . . this also meant that I was aware of any potential problems that may need to be addressed at my home . . . such as the summer that a tornado touched down less than four blocks from my home . . . . fortunately wind damage was all that had to be repaired on my home but having friends watching out for me meant that I was able to handle the arrangements with my insurance agent by phone without interrupting my trip.

I can't really pick out a most successful trip, but my three most memorable have all included visits to National Parks. Touring Rocky Mountain National Park sticks in my memory as one of my favorites. This trip was an informal caravan with two other Airstreamers. We spent two weeks touring the park on its many primary and secondary roads . . . I still get a chuckly out of the series of a dozen photos that I took of an Elk that when shown on a video slide show the Elk appears to be laughing . . . . After Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone National Park is my second most memorable trip. I toured Yellowstone National Park on my way home from the WBCCI International Rally in Boise, Idaho . . . during this trip I took the time to take all of the Gray Line Tours offered of the park . . . it was a learning experience that I will never forget . . . and then there was the traffic jam that was created when a large, male Bison charged the side of a highly polished Airstream Motorhome . . . learned later that the damage to the motorhome was around $20,000 - - the Bison walked away with little more than a bruse and a slight abrasion from its encounter. My third most memorable would be touring Glacier National Park following the WBCCI International Rally in Bozeman, MT. I have referred to that tour as being a once in a lifetime experience as I was towing my '78 Argosy Minuet with my '75 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible . . . the weather was beautiful for top-down motoring and all of the touring was done top-down and I was able to enjoy two days of touring with good friends from the Vintage Airstream Club . . . there is nothing to compare to the experience on a warm July day of driving by one of the roadside waterfalls and being sprayed with the cool mountain water cascading down the falls. . . . . I will also never forget paying more than $100 to fill the 27 gallon fuel tank on my Cadillac for the first time while touring the park.

I have found that taking advantage of group tours offered by Gray Line and similar vendors at many tourist destinations is a wonderful way for the Free Wheeler to experience the joy of touring special sites of interest without having to worry about transportation. Initially the cost may seem rather steep . . . but when balanced against the responsibility of maneuvering a car through those destinations as well as trying to navigate . . . the real cost seems so much more manageable as it is possible to truly enjoy the touring experience.

I hope that you enjoy your Free Wheeling adventures!

Kevin
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:13 PM   #4
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I say get a dog!
Can't beat having a furry friend, and no matter the size of the dog they are likely to be a deterrent to any one with ill intentions.
You could certainly get a concealed weapons permit as well (although you would have to look into state laws if traveling if you wanted to stay above board). I never go on the road without protection, and I'm a 210 lb male, BUT I do go off the beaten track quite a bit.

Travel during the day, stay at well rated places, find out where the shady parts of town to avoid are, and most of all:

TRUST YOUR GUT.

If something seems off don't hesitate to move on. This doesn't mean be paranoid, just be observant.

I've had some of my best conversations with my dog.
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:22 PM   #5
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A four legged companion can be just the ticket. I've traveled solo without my wife a few times, typically 2-3 days at a time. Walking the dog is always good for meeting people. The last couple of times, with the dog gone, I've traveled with my favorite cat. He's always happy to see me if I've been gone for while. And, if walking the dog creates some attention, you can imagine what happens when I walk the cat!
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:30 PM   #6
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Check out your local unit

of the WBCCI and go on some rallies. We have several single people in our unit....then try some caravans......you will meet the most amazing people on the road....there also is a group called Sisters on the Fly.....and let us know how it goes. Wishing you well--just do it. paula
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:31 PM   #7
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I'm glad your still traveling! When my father passed away he and my mother had a big class A and it was too much for my mother so she sold it and bought a class C and now she's in a B+ Born Free! She was very hesitant to travel alone and tried several singles RV clubs but felt uncomfortable when other male members wanted to go to dinner etc (she still feels married) so she kept looking and found RVW (Rving Women) and has been traveling throughout the US and Canada. She has made a lot of friends in the group and it is very diverse but she loves it. She's 71 now and still camping and having a blast. Here's the link if your interested and keep on streaming!

http://www.rvingwomen.org/
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:47 PM   #8
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Go for it

It's better to travel with another trailer, just look for a fellow single Airstreamer,they are looking for company also,I know i am, the caravans are great ,the host does all the planning and you just follow the schedule and instructions. Have fun and enloy
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Old 04-04-2012, 10:17 PM   #9
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Thanks to all of you who have replied! Yes - I'm on the west coast where camping is a way of life! I'm already feeling better. I do have a dog, albeit a very old labrador who has a tough time getting up the steps into the trailer. When traveling alone, do you often need to ask for help in backing into a site?
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Old 04-04-2012, 10:38 PM   #10
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I'm getting better at the backing thing. Soon I hope to be able to stop hyperventilating at the mere thought! If you're interested in other campers, they'll be interested in you. You'll quickly find your feet, I think. Brad's suggestion about RVing Women is really good, it was what I was going to suggest!
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Old 04-05-2012, 03:37 AM   #11
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While we have not expierenced your situation, we usually go to Florida every year and spend a lot of time in less developed spots. We frequently encounter singles, of both sexes that are wintering in the south.
For quite a few years we would cross paths with a little lady from New York state traveling with her cat, rescued from a rest area. She was in her 80's. She traveled alone in an old Datsun based Winnebago that looked like it didn't have 100 miles left in it, but every one knew her and she did quite well.

she is just one of many we have seen so it is very doable and they seem to be having a good experience
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Old 04-05-2012, 06:20 AM   #12
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the oregon airstream group is a nice group of people. they have a rally just about every month. i am a solo parent to 2 kids age 7 and 10 so don't have help backing or hitching either. i just try to go slow and not care if anyone is watching. easier said than done!
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Old 04-05-2012, 07:06 AM   #13
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Take small steps and build confidence imo. I've been solo most of my life and for a short while always felt like a fifth wheel, then slowly got my feet on the ground and have never looked back. I spend almost every weekend from April until November at the local lake in my Airstream and love it.
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Old 04-05-2012, 08:50 AM   #14
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Greetings caper2!

Quote:
Originally Posted by caper2 View Post
Thanks to all of you who have replied! Yes - I'm on the west coast where camping is a way of life! I'm already feeling better. I do have a dog, albeit a very old labrador who has a tough time getting up the steps into the trailer. When traveling alone, do you often need to ask for help in backing into a site?
Friends travel with an aging Golden Lab who has trouble climbing into the Suburban as well as the Airstream. I am not certain whether they found the folding ramp for their pet on line or had it made, but it is aluminum with an indoor/outdoor carpet cover that allows their pet to more easily climb into either the Airstream or Suburban. With 2.5 pound Chihuahuas, I am so accustomed to the "carry me" look that I often forget that larger pets can't get away with the expectation of being carried everywhere - - - Precious is so spoiled that she thinks that she is being punished if she is put down on the ground . . . and she lays down and scolds me when I snap her leash on her collar.

Over the years, I have rarely had to ask for help spotting when backing into a site. One of the great benefits to Caravanning with members of the WBCCI is that there is always a parking committee on hand as part of the Caravan to assist caravan participants with parking upon arrival at the campground. When I traveled solo, other campers were quick to lend a hand when they realized that I was traveling alone. My general rule when in-transit was to select my camping destination for the next night (or transfer if I were staying in the same location for multiple nights) upon getting settled. I would phone ahead to the campground where I hoped to stay to make a reservation with the request for either a pull-through or easy access site. In most cases such requests were accommodated without problem, and I rarely had difficulty with parking. There were three stops where the campgrounds had difficult to access spots due to way the facilities were laid out in the 1950s - - - these three times, I scouted the assigned sites and realized that there was little hope of maneuvering my 26' Overlander and Suburban to park successfully so contacted the office for reassignment . . . in two of the cases the park reassigned me to much easier to access sites and in the third the park operator called a nearby competitor who had pull-throughs available and I was able to transfer to that facility about 10 minutes away.

With a little practice and experience, you will be able to quickly identify the sites that are compatible with your parking confidence level. Most campgrounds are anxious to work with you to find a suitable site, and in many instances will have an employee who will help site your rig if you are traveling solo. There will almost always be a camping neighbor who will be ready to offer assistance once it is realized that you are traveling solo.

Enjoy your travels . . . with groups like the WBCCI Free Wheelers, you will have links to many resources for the solo Airstreamer.

Kevin

P.S.: Airstreams are far from being inconspicuous so it is virtually impossible to arrive at your assigned spot without being noticed by your neighbors. I found it rare not to have multiple offers of parking assistance when neighbors noticed that I was solo.
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