Last week marked the tenth anniversary of the four of us loading all of life’s possessions into the Big Taxi and rolling down the road…any road!
We bought the 2006 Travel Supreme Select from its first owner when it was 5 years old, with just under 30,000 miles on the odometer. Today, it has 103,128 miles.
For the first 14 months, we traveled without a car, put 13,000 miles on the coach and scrubbed off the tread on its two rear-most tires from all the tight turns to get in and out of parking lots.
We parked for lunch wherever we were:
Similarly, we stopped for the night wherever we found ourselves:
Once, we needed to have Ross and Ryan at Grandview Hospital by 7am for routine dental work, and knew that getting anywhere near that hospital at that time of day with the Big Taxi would never happen! But we talked to their security, and they suggested we arrive near dusk the evening before, and simply park in two or three spaces along the curb near ER. Their office had a window to view the location, and we could stay for the night, then leave it in the morning for the boys’ appointments. Here was our view, with ER out our right-side windows!
But we yearned to explore the countryside in more detail, so bought a car. Ah, now the Big Taxi was our base in a given spot for a couple days, weeks, or even months. We also arranged to be gone for longer periods of time from Dayton, where Ross and Ryan needed to see various managers for their Ohio Medicaid Waiver program.
So our lunchtime stops sometimes looked quite different:
And our overnight parking became more varied:
Not everything has been peaches and cream. We were in Dayton one time and got chased into a nearby restaurant by a nearby tornado! The hailstorm on its fringe broke the covers on our three roof air conditioners, some of our tail lights, and:
Another time, the engine began to lose power, to the point we had to pull over and park. Nobody could diagnose it over the phone, so we called our road service provider. They sent a wonderful tow truck with a very experienced driver. Without a single bit of damage to the coach, he delivered us 50 miles away to a Cummins shop, and they found a strange problem with a fuel filter AND a developing problem with the turbo charger.
That was the only time the Big Taxi left us stranded. We had the car, of course…actually a brand new car only a week old. But we faced being homeless! Because the problem was with our engine, we could still live in the coach just fine, although the scenery in the Cummins parking lot wasn’t much.
The far more frightening “bump in the road” we encountered was actually a “bump in the night” and it occurred while we were in Dayton, again.
In the midst of a terrific storm, about 2 in the morning, we were awakened by a loud crack and a tremendous thud that rocked the coach. Fearing the worst, I grabbed my flashlight in the back bedroom and walked to the front, expecting to see a large limb stuck through the ceiling.
Nope, nothing. Stuck my head outside, and saw the glistening trunk of a tree leaning across the coach.
If you can imagine, the only damage was to the awning above that front slide-out! The tree had fallen across the coach and into the limbs of a larger tree on the other side!
For the last three years or so, we have slowed down the traveling. Actually, I mean rolling in the Big Taxi. We’ve alternated spending about 5 months in the summer near Asheville, NC with 5 months in the winter near Orlando, FL. In between we roll through Dayton and various side trips into Indiana and Michigan for service on the coach.
Since Covid made its ugly appearance, we’ve actually remained parked near Asheville, in a small park with seniors who respect this awful virus and therefore keep their distance while also keeping an eye on each other. We do a lot of driving with the boys to explore the amazing countryside and thereby maintain our sanity.
Having a car has enabled us to appreciate this magnificent country much, much better than simply cruising through it in the coach. We have now owned 4 different cars to wear the Lil Taxi license plate, and just bought the 5th a month ago. Altogether they have carried us for 219,000 miles as we have explored the neighborhoods and countrysides where our home on wheels has been parked.
With our vaccinations completed last week and optimism in our hearts, we have made reservations for this fall in Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, and Florida that will enable us to resume seeing new sights.