Fort Collins, CO (Sep 12/13) – The first stop after leaving Moab was Vail, Colorado. Arriving later in the evening and seeing that there is ‘no parking allowed’ on the streets drove around the residential area. Being it’s the ski resort off-season, discovered that there are a fair number of homes unattended, soon find a suitable driveway to set up camp. N&J feeling rather proud of themselves for their ingenious ways of ‘Freestyling’ their way across the States are quite chipper until a nosy neighbour decides to drop by to check N&J out. J quickly puts on his friendly charm and soothes the man’s inquisitive concern… something about ‘their friends’ have just purchased this home and will here shortly 😉
Now Freestyling is basically seizing opportunities to reduce travel costs to the bare minimum. To date they have only spent a total of $9 on camping and are very proud of this! N&J have mostly stayed in rest stops and pull-outs along rivers and lakes. Gizmo facilitates this lifestyle by being self-contained (even a shower); by having a stove, sink and fridge, and by appearing to be like a regular vehicle, blend in. The only thing they do regularly pay for is gas and haven’t figured out a way to ‘Freestyle’ this… yet LOL!
click on pic to enlarge – right/left arrow to scroll thru the gallery
McDonald’s has been great to N&J by providing free wifi, hot water for showers and ice as needed (for cold beer !!!). Many hours have been spent at Mickie D’s writing this blog.
The original plan was to spend time in Estes Park CO, do some whitewater rafting and horse back riding but due to the crazy weather (rain & wind), carried on passing through Loveland CO. Thank goodness N&J are ‘fair weather’ adventure seekers! Arrived in Boulder, CO yesterday, planned on seeing a movie since it was raining so hard. For some reason nixed that idea and carried on, the rain & road conditions were unbelievable… road washouts happened just after N&J passed by.
Now in Fort Collins CO at a rest stop just outside of town, woken up after a constant pounding of rain to discover they are not alone. A few other cars in the rest area turn out to be regular ‘residents’; people who are living out of their cars. Met a lady who asks if N&J are living in the van, and how long would be staying for. It turns out she was originally from Florida in a 2 bedroom home but fell on difficult times… was now living in her late model Ford Escape vehicle. She picked up a hitchhiker and they have been traveling together for 2 months over 5 states and rarely pay for gas. Telling us that the police stations in small towns will hand out gas vouchers just to keep the homeless moving along. The other option is to ask people for gas when they are filling up their own vehicle. She also gets by from panhandling & visiting the local mission for food, shelter and support (showers, clothing, counseling, etc). Believing N&J were in similar circumstances she proceeded to share the in/outs of getting what was needed to survive. Listened intently to her story, fascinated by her plight to achieve personal independence and the resources that were available assisting her to achieve her goal. Standing there with no shoes, a deep productive cough, and a very strong odour from her unwashed clothes… it was apparent she was educated by her command of the English language, words chosen carefully as she explained her situation. She was adamant that she was not ‘homeless’, not satisfied to continue living this life; wanting better for herself… hoping to find employment in the service industry as a waitress.
Dave was also a ‘resident’ in his car sleeping at the rest stop, but he had been there for over 2 years!!! Apparently he had a daytime job but this morning appeared to be sleeping in later than usual. The lady went over to check on him a number of times but didn’t want to disturb him. His car was all smashed in in the back and the trunk was tied down with a bungee cord & the rear bumper was secured with duct taped. Realizing the distance that some have to go to achieve ‘Freestyling’ out of necessity and not by choice, N&J drive away from the rest stop feeling numb and extremely blessed.