After retiring early from her job as a library manager in South Florida, Debby Bradford decided to satisfy her longtime desire to travel. After stints in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Hawaii, she embarked on a month-long car trip from California to South Florida with her two dogs.
“It was awful,” she said.
Bradford couldn’t leave her pets in the car when she went shopping, dining, or running errands. She was miserable and ate nothing but drive-through fast food. So she made up her mind to buy a motorhome. Since the spring of 2015, Bradford and her Cavalier King Charles spaniels Patty and Redford have called the 27-foot Winnebago home.
“The idea you can travel around and stop wherever you want,” Bradford, 61, said. “You can pull into a truck stop, a Wal-Mart, or a Cracker Barrel. To have that freedom. Everything I need is right behind my driver’s seat. And the great thing about RVing for dogs is that they are always home, no matter where I am. Their beds, their bowls, their toys–everything is always the same to them. The only thing that changes is what type of bush to pee on.”
Lately, Bradford and her dogs have been staying at an RV park in East Grand Forks, Minn. She doesn’t have to pay for her campsite because she found temporary work as a lab technician through the website workamper.com and her employer is taking care of her fees. She plans to work there for a few weeks, then hit the road again.
“It’s an economical way to live,” she said.
The best thing about RVing, according to Bradford, is meeting her fellow RVers.
“Living most of my adult life in South Florida, then coming to these little rural communities– these people are delightful,” she said. “The majority are extremely kind. People look out for each other. It really is a community.”
Bradford is also exhilarated by the ever-changing landscape in America’s national parks and especially the majestic mountains of the West.
“When you get up in 8,000 feet of elevation, it can be hard to breathe,” she said. “The trees and rocks. It’s about as far from South Florida as you can get.”
Bradford’s only real complaints about the RV lifestyle are the scarcity of campgrounds and repair shops that specialize in RVs.
“We absolutely need more campgrounds,” she said. “Some of the little crappy ones charge a fortune because they’re the only game in town. Especially in the urban areas, there aren’t nearly enough campsites.”
Bradford has even considered buying a piece of land and building her own campground.
Her advice to single women contemplating hitting the road solo?
“Don’t be afraid. Just get out and do it,” Bradford said.
Guy Harvey Outpost Collection will soon open an RV resort where the Anclote River meets the Gulf of Mexico near Tarpon Springs, FL. For more information, go to www.outpostclubtarponsprings.com.
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