Scaling down – Catalina State Park, AZ

For the first two days in Tucson we stayed in a Wal-Mart parking lot, just to cost-average the time we had spent in campgrounds near the border – we had thought we weren’t very safe in Texas unless we were in a campground, but we were safe in Tucson – until we started noticing the news on TV of “coyote gangs” kidnapping and killing each other, and shopped for cars in Tucson – where they tend to add acid-etched identification to all car windows for anti-theft protection.  Then we moved north of Tucson to Catalina State Park.  We enjoyed the addition of saguaro cacti to the landscape.

Then we made a major decision – to sell off the RV and purchase a car to finish our trip. This made perfect sense, given we had decided to end our wandering this spring to find jobs and re-establish residence.  The early halt is just because the health insurance companies Chris applied to (in advance of her COBRA ending) could choose not to offer it to her – due to some “incidental findings” that weren’t causing any concerns at the present but might possibly, at some point in the future.   As is my nature, I brainstormed alternatives (e.g., short-term greeter jobs at Wal-Mart) that might re-start her COBRA clock, but we just didn’t come up with anything really worthwhile.  Friends – remember this when you vote for President!!!  It’s NOT just those people who “choose not to buy it”.  In fact, we’ve met many people “on the road” who have learned first-hand how valuable their (Canadian/Medicare/independent) health insurance is, once they really have health problems – they know they wouldn’t be able to get insurance anywhere after the fact!

Tucson was full of RV dealers.  I had briefly posted the RV for sale on one website (and got a nibble there as well as two nibbles from folks we met while touring Tucson).  The folks interested in purchasing the RV needed time to get their cash in order, and in doing my research I figured it would take a month or two to find a private party in order to gain about $5,000 in sale price – while continuing to travel in the RV and hoping the buyer was where we wanted to be.  Between the ease of selling in Tucson and the cost savings of traveling in a vehicle with (even better) gas mileage, and despite the cost of shipping stuff back to Ohio, we decided to go ahead.  It also enables us to travel further north, which we want to do – but were concerned about the RV freezing up. 


This photo shows Chris sadly going through things to decide what to ship back to Ohio (Thanks for the basement space, Mike & Jana!), what to toss away, and what just had to fit into an even smaller RV.  And below – the smaller RV.  Why an Element?  Because you can fit a couple of dogs in the back!


No, it’s not really a motorhome, but we have slept in it.  Each night we put all the stuff into the front seats and against the sides – then we can sleep in the middle-to-the-back.  The second seats fold up against the sides of the “trunk” space.  We have the 4″ foam cushion we had for the RV bed inside, which makes it very comfortable, if a bit crowded.  The first night after the RV was sold, we closed ourselves in when it got dark at 6:30pm and gamely tried to fall asleep.  The next day we bought rechargeable reading lights and an electric blanket.  This photo shows the back with the foam cushion in place and the seats folded up – but with several boxes still in the “sleeping” area:
elem back
In the State Park where this transition took place, we also believe we’ve caught a glimpse of our potential future camper, to extend the comfort of the Honda Element.  It can pull about 1500 pounds via the standard hitch we had installed – and that’s about what this little thing weighs:

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