Gourmet Girl Gail writing to you from rainy Santa Barbara. We’re getting a ton of rain here on the California coast, and it’s much needed, but it feels somewhat like an El Nino these past couple of days. I hope to see sunshine by the end of the week when my sister and her husband arrive from the frigid temperatures of Vermont. We were supposed to meet up and camp at Joshua Tree National Park, but it’s closed due to the government shutdown, and people are vandalizing this national treasure. It makes my heart ache reading stories about it.
Many of you who follow this blog know that I’m the proud owner of a Roadtrek 190-Versatile. It’s a 2000 model on a 1999 Dodge Ram 3500 chassis. I guess you could call it vintage. Maybe that’s why I named her “Gone with the Wind.” Plus the fact it’s the title of a literary novel and a movie, and I’ve been in both the film and publishing worlds. A friend of mine in Los Angeles wishes I had named her Road Kitty, alluding to her old boyfriend’s penchant for roadkill. I said no way!
Oh, this is my sister-in-law who sometimes thinks she’s a cat. More on her and my brother’s visit further down.
How I came to buy the Roadtrek is a story unto itself. I had been thinking about buying one around my birthday in September 2018. As it happened, my brother Robert called from North Carolina when I was down with the flu. I said, “Bob, I’ll give you a commission if you can find me the perfect Roadtrek.” He was sitting at his computer and three seconds later said, “Here’s one.” I fell in love with it even though I knew nothing about camper vans.
I purchased the Roadtrek, a little sooner than I thought, in June 2018, and have put a fair amount of work into it: new ball joints, Bilstein shocks, a steering stabilizer, a brand new toilet and water pump, new windshield wiper motor, and new headlights. All worth it. It drives like a dream, and I finally got to show it off to Bob and Lauren during their recent visit to Santa Barbara. I drove them down to Goleta Beach Park, one of my favorite haunts.
It’s been a learning curve owning “Gone with the Wind,” but I foresee a lot of great adventures ahead. It’s already been a pleasure camping out in it with the Gourmet Girls and taking trips with my RV pal, Kathy Moran. I owe a special thanks to her husband, TJ, who has helped me with so many things. Like the time my sewer hose fell out of its bracket while I was driving from Ojai down the 33 to the 101. The hose was dragging on the freeway, and it scared the living daylights out of me, because it was one of my first times driving the camper van. TJ came to the rescue, got underneath the rig, and bungee corded the hose so I could make it back to Santa Barbara. Thanks, TJ!
I will be on the road with Gone with the Wind over the long holiday weekend (Martin Luther King). Do you have any outdoor plans for that weekend? Let us know here. We’d love to hear how you will celebrate.
Until the next time, keep on adventuring!
Gail, Denise, and Lindsey