Not often would one run into a Saskatchewan RV nomad calling her motorhome home wherever she parks. We first met Cara Court camped in Prince Albert National Park, we were in the site next to her overlooking the Narrows on Waskesiu. Over the course of a few days we got to know a little about Cara, camped in her small Class C motorhome she called home. At the time she had just retired from the Prince Albert City Police, rented out her home and decided to live and travel for a year or so in her 20 foot Class C. Her daughter travelled with her for most that first year after her University classes ended.
Retired at a young age she had already put in 25 years of service. “I joined when I was really young and back then there were not many female police officers on the force.” It was a learning curve for all involved. Myself being an RV nomad at heart, I was naturally interested in her story and travels and when we parted it was ‘see you down the road’. I occasionally saw her posts to Facebook so knew she was still on the road and doing well.
Fast forward three years, staying in the same spot along the Narrows one camp neighbour pulled out and a 26 foot Class C pulls in and sets up camp. It was kinda crazy as we both recognized each other at the same time, our rig had not changed but Cara’s motor home had grown an extra six feet. She had a new partner Bruno, a big dog, an amazing dog as he was bilingual and would respond equally as well in French as English. Bruno was very protective of Cara but eventually we earned his trust.
It was fall again and as it turns out as this is our go to place when it quiets down from the summer season, it was also her go to place as well. We had just come back from three months of travel having rented our cabin out, and over the next month we spent many hours around the campfire and hiking telling each other our stories and comparing notes. As always the people we meet who live or travel a lot in their RV are always upbeat, happy and have many interesting stories to tell. Cara has allowed me to share her story with you. And although, as with the other nomads we have met, I cannot even begin to share all their stories with you but had a few questions for Cara of interest to me.
Cara enjoyed some tent camping when not working and after retirement bought her little class C motorhome which she said was perfect size for her. A novel by Lee Child about Jack Reacher, a single nomad and ex military cop with just a backpack, travelling, free to go wherever really appealed to her. That’s when she decided to rent her house and travel for a year. The downsizing started then, getting rid of her accumulated stuff and putting some in storage. The more she got rid of the freer she felt and as she found out it was just stuff she really did not need.
That first year travelling with her daughter they put on a lot of miles visiting National Parks in Canada and the USA. Travelling east in Canada, and being an avid Blue Jays fan they caught some games in Toronto before heading south when the border opened up. They travelled through New York and south searching for a warmer climate as far as Big Bend National Park in Texas. This was in a short time as they entered the U.S. November ninth and then to Las Vegas December 20th where her parents reside to be with them for Christmas. After, she travelled to the Valley Of Fire State Park for a week then to Palm Springs area for a month now travelling on her own. After going back to Vegas and picking up her daughter they headed back to Canada. “My daughter was very happy to get back and out of the motorhome and end RV life as we had several issues with it” she said. When asked what issues she said it did not start at most of the places she had stopped at having starter problems and then fridge problems several times. Not all in RV life is easy but she said the benefits far outweighed the negative and she continued on alone with Bruno.
The second year she spent travelling in Saskatchewan. “I grew up here and really did not even know about my own province” she admitted. “I thought I should see my own backyard and I travelled to many small communities throughout the province over the summer” she added.
On her way south that fall she had an accident in Casper, Wyoming totalling her little Class C. “That was scary. Bruno and I could have been both killed,” she said. When asked if it was tough to go back out on the road after in that bigger 26 foot Lepricaun Class C which her parents in Las Vegas helped her find, Cara said it was a little, but there were places she still wanted to travel and see, so had to keep on. She appreciated the help of her parents where she stayed while looking for a new RV “they really helped me back on the road, I think they wanted me out of the house,” she laughed.
When asked if it was scary starting out on her own as a female she said not really. She travelled the first year mostly with her daughter, then got Bruno, the bilingual dog, so she was not really alone. After a trip to India with her daughter she met at least three other women travelling on their own.They inspired her and as well she had met other single women camping and travelling who were also an inspriation and she knew she could do it. “When you can’t find someone to do it with you, you just do it” she added.
When asked what the highlight of RV life is, she said “definitely the people you meet along the way”. I asked if finding spots to stay, propane and dumpstations were the downside she said not really you always find a place. Living a little more glamorus life than Jack Reacher her backpack a motor home. When asked about setting out in her motor home if she had done any research into RV living, vanlifers, full timers on YouTube or Bob Wells from Cheap RV Living, she said “no”.
Now well into her third year on the road Cara says all the positives of the lifestyle far outweigh the downsides which is cold weather, adding “but then you just move to where it is warmer”. “Being able to get up and do Yoga outside sometimes with trees on one side and the lake on the other, like now with leaves falling, it just does not get better than that” she added. I also asked how long she stays in one location she said the longest has been about a month. “Again I do not have any set time, it’s just when I want to move on” Cara added. As for goals she wants to see as many National Parks as she can and even the small towns along the way in Canada and the US. When asked if she had a hard time emotionally selling her house and getting rid of a lot of stuff she admitted renting it for the first year to make sure was a good idea. As for getting rid of the house later and a lot of her stuff she said was in a way very freeing and found it actually enjoyable. I asked what her friends and people she knew thought of her selling all to live and travel in a RV, “For the most part a lot of people say they were jealous and said they would like to do it. A lot of people are starting to see the benefits of not owning a home and paying all those bills”. When asked if she felt RV living was less expensive Cara said she could control her costs, “like when we went to the Maritimes it was expensive, but I planted myself a month before and a month after so it kinda all works out”. It really depends a lot on what you want to do and your lifestyle.
What now I asked. “Well I plan on seeing as much of the world as I can and am not planning on quitting, I may be doing this for three more days or another three more years.” It all depends on how she is feeling and what suroundings she wants to hike, bike and do her yoga in. We got to know Cara and her not wanting to wear her battery down running her heater, we know it will be someplace warm. Safe travels Cara, thanks for sharing your thoughts and we hope to meet again down the road.
A brief touch on the life of a Saskatchewan, Canada nomad, who along with so many others, Ron and Anne, Owen and Lynn and of course Joei to mention a few have the best stories to tell and when and if we meet on the road again it will be just like we parted company last week. Only new stories to tell and roads to share.
PS: many have asked how they can get Joei’s books and she gave me permission to publish her email. JoeiCarlton.H@gmail.com you can reach out to her there.
That’s it for now, next blog, our trip up the Alberta Cowboy Trail. As my posts are very sporatic you can subscribe by email and get a notice when I publish if you’re interested. Thanks to those who have done so it helps working at this when you know there is intrest in my rambling. We hope to meet you down the road studiowest.ca
Gerry (RV Cowboy)
Charlotte (Editor in Chief)