Wherever the Road Leads

Around the Campfire…



Much excitement in my life as a Floridian.

I am finding that the pressures of this lifestyle – what to have for dinner, whether I should do laundry today or wait, where will I travel to next – rather exhausting. I seem to be settling into bed earlier and earlier, usually with the laptop and something to watch for a while. No, I do not have a television – but watching downloaded movies and TV episodes is tiring work unto itself, so many times it takes two sittings to complete the program.

It is perhaps the dream of every working person to not have to rise with the chickens and the alarm, to enjoy a long lie (lay?). I’m finding 6:30 is a pretty good time to rise, especially as a certain Fleabag has discovered that if he walks across my lower abdomen he will soon get fed.

Shortly after 11:00pm on Friday I was awakened by voices outside. Voices getting louder and louder. I thought it might be a couple of lovers on their way to a quarrel after an evening enjoying too many cocktails. I got out of bed and tried to see what was the to-do, but from the inside of the trailer. No way was I stepping outside to get involved in a public ruckus.

However, more people seemed to be becoming onlookers, the noise and activity was getting more energetic. Also, it seemed that the argument was now being well-lit by a rather large bonfire. The goings-on appeared to be taking place two campers down from me, I really couldn’t see what all the yelling was about, however enough people were now outside that it appeared safe to venture out.

Well, it wasn’t a campfire, it wasn’t a bonfire, it was a trailer on fire – fifth wheel, actually. And it was on FIRE. The flames were now fifty feet in the air. Wisely, a couple of campers were hosing down the trailer next to the trailer on fire, trying to keep camper number two from going up in smoke as well. I was most grateful for their foresight as, if camper number two went up in flames, I was next in line.


The firetruck arrived to extinguish the blaze but it was too late for anything to be salvaged. The woman (Dawn) whose camper it was, had her pickup saved only because a fellow camper had tow-chains and was able to pull it out the way. I assume when she evacuated her camper, she couldn’t find her truck keys.


Apparently Dawn had a candle burning and, obviously, unsafely. I think a curtain caught fire. It’s really easy in hindsight to make recommendations, but Lord have mercy, woman… an open flame in a thirty-foot tinderbox?? Stick your hand outside, see if it’s dark.

Regardless, poor Dawn. She got out with what was on her back – no pocketbook including driver’s license and credit cards, and no phone. She can’t get a replacement phone without a credit card. How does she get a credit card – or a new license – with no i.d.? I spoke with her and she has a positive outlook – she says it’s a new beginning.


They hosed down the center camper to keep it from going up in flames. I’m on the left, and would have been next.


She’s staying at a local motel a few miles down the road. I passed it last week and it looked run-down,  however, it had a big sign out front reading, “Under New Management”, and I wondered. I asked Dawn if it was run by ferrners. And that’s how I pronounced it – ferrners. She’s from up north somewhere because she asked me to repeat the word, so I tried a little harder. She confirmed that they were Indians, and her room had been renovated beautifully.

In my travels, I have stayed in a LOT of motels. If I can book in advance, some of the chains are very nice and serve a wonderful breakfast in the morning. Others motels are chosen because where I had to be is a small town and there’s not much choice. Sometimes it’s whatever is at the next exit because I can’t drive any further. Sometimes it’s the only light on an hour beyond when I couldn’t drive any further.

I almost take it for granted that a small, older motel in the middle of nowhere is going to be run by Pakistanis or Indians. I’ve wondered and recently been tempted to ask how they got there. Many years ago in Bombay, was it someone’s dream after reading Conrad Hilton’s autobiography, “Someday I am going to move to America and purchase a run-down motel in Callahan, Florida, or Forrest, Arkansas, or Elyria, Ohio?” Most of these places we couldn’t find on a map, but there’s a hard-working Indian family there who own an older motel.

Dawn had insurance, Progressive, and apparently Flo doesn’t work weekends. She’s been helping in the Nursery on Sunday mornings at the local Baptist Church, so I’m sure they will help her out somewhat. She seems resilient, she’ll get back on her feet in time.

The Hare-Brained Scheme is certainly an interesting life. A husband and wife from Tennessee and in their fifties were tenting here over the weekend. The husband was a Go-Cart racer and there is a track nearby. They were pulling a specialty trailer to house the go-cart, cooking on a Coleman stove and sleeping on an air mattress. In Nashville, I met a couple in a fancy motor home. He was a semi-retired glazier who oversaw the installation of the windows in Las Vegas’ mult-multi-multi-million dollar hotels.

In Bishop Georgia there was a very nice motor home that sat unused for the longest time. I asked about it; the husband had been killed in a motorcycle wreck and the wife was trying to unload it. One man was involved with Urban Outfitters and he traveled to wherever the next store was being erected. Home was a farm in Kansas. A woman in her twenties was living full time with her boyfriend in a ‘teardrop’ trailer that did not have an inside kitchen and no toilet facilities of any sort, obviously, save the Park’s bath house. One couple traveled with their five children in an older trailer pulled by a van with, “The Roads Scholars” painted on the side.

Fortunately, I’m normal. Homeless with a cat. Both of us near bald-headed.




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  1. elayne  April 30, 2015

    ha ha Gordon, normal you say ??? adventurous , intelligent, entertaining, anything but normal . oh and I forgot handsome to boot.


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