Monday, 3 May 2010

ghost riders in skye

As we sailed down the Nile last summer, Mrs Dave and I spoke to the various interesting people we met along the way.  We spent several evenings discussing past exploits with those we met.  One of the couples we met, not a dissimilar age to ourselves, had recently travelled to Peru and visited Machu Pichu.  We were interested.  By the time we left our fellow travellers to go to a much less interesting part of Egypt, we were hooked.  Peru - we had a hankering for visiting it this summer. Flash forward to this year and after lots of discussion, on-line searching but no outcome, we decided that maybe we had missed the boat, so to speak.  However, somewhere along the way air travel this year didn't seem like such a good option.

So, Plan B then.

Several years ago, we went to the South-West States - Arizona, Utah, California etc - with much trepidation. After all, we were going to be driving around America! At the same time, I read Richard Grant's Ghost Riders: Travels with American Nomads.  Grant points out that there were some 8.5 million RVs on American roads with between 30,000 and 3.5 million used as permanent homes.  60-90% of these people are over the age of 55. The Good Sam Club, America's largest RVing organisation, estimates that three million people are living in their RVs all year-round. 80% of these are retirees.  Or to put it another way, there are some 9 million or so nomads in America, many of whom had decent jobs when they were younger.  The book goes on to explore the history of nomadic people in the States and particularly, the current pensioners who spend their time travelling around the States from convention to convention with Winnebagos that are better equipped than the average British home.  I enjoyed driving around in the States and would recommend it to anyone.  We watched enviously the Ghost Riders that passed us by in their flash RVs - who knew where they were heading? Looking with envy at campers stopping by the Red Canyon and such places, I accepted my tourist status.  Bloody great big RVs looked too difficult to drive.

Bored with looking for Roadrunners, as the miles built up I would look at the wonderful signs that suggested various "Ghost Towns" we could visit, usually 100 miles off the Freeway in the middle of absolutely nowhere.  One day, maybe we could have that freedom. I do not want to live in one of these beasts but relish the idea of enjoying holidays in one.

Of course, Britain is always going to be a micrcosm of that and a much different kettle of fish to the vast distances of open landscape that the US of A has to offer. However, with the Summer approaching and my constant hankering for travelling around Scotland (particularly Skye), we began to look for the third way.

So, gentle readers, we have decided to embrace Middle-Age fully and buy a Motor Home.  Not a VW or little Camper Van but a big, all-singing, all-dancing mobile bedsit.  As I wait for the torrent of opprobrium and derision from you all, all I can see is positivity - no booking hotels, no camping in cold tents, open roads at any time of the year (including weekends!) - think of Cropredy in the future: no problem getting to the loo in the middle of the night, our own showers etc, etc.

Well, decision made.  'Harvey the RV' is now a reality and we're looking forward to a Scottish jaunt this Summer.  Okay, it's not going to be as romantic as Machu Pichu but no problems with airport strikes, Volcanic fallout or (as probably would have happened) irate Greeks to deal with.

The open road beckons. Oh, and I can take a real guitar on holiday with me.  It sounds like heaven on Earth.


Brendini said...

Oooooh! Your neighbours are going to love you, aren't they?
"I've had to park on the seafront AGAIN, Doris, and all because the Leekes haven't gone away for the week-end."

Dave Leeke said...

Yes, well you know what it's like parking so near to the sea! However, it will be kept in a secure rented hard standing in another part of town.

Which one's Doris?

Brendini said...

Um, she's only Doris at week-ends.

Dave Leeke said...

Yes but who is she?

Andy Wright said...

Or who is he?

Dave Leeke said...

Good point, Andy. It's probably that bloke next door that wears a floral print dress. I thought there was something odd about him.

Martyn Cornell said...

Horace and Doris Norris and their sons Maurice and Boris. Maurice wears the dress.

Dave Leeke said...

I was right about him, then.

Hello Martyn; it's beginning to get like a breakaway Alleyne's Old Boy's Association around here.