Saturday, January 17, 2009

This morning I’m in Beaumont, Texas and getting ready for another driving day. For me that means a leisurely four or five hours which should put me just outside San Antonio. No sign of those Texas cowboys yet – just massive billboards for casinos and off track betting on horse races. Yikes.

I’ve noticed that many of the RV campgrounds I’ve stayed in have a lot of permanent residents. These are mostly trades people who fire up their diesel pickup trucks at six in the morning as they get ready to leave for work! I’m not sure if these people are just following the work (certainly that could be case in the rebuilding of New Orleans) or whether they are moving into inexpensive accommodation. And there is a surprising number of families with young children.

If you’ve ever gone to an RV show you’ll know that some of these large 5th wheels, travel trailers and motor homes are as well equipped as any apartment. And living in an RV park would be inexpensive: Approximately $400 per month with electricity, water, and sewer included. A small electric heater costs you nothing to run as it runs of the RV parks power and would take care of the cool days in the south. (In fact, I bought one the other day as the heat is more even than the heat from the furnace.) There are no property taxes. By and large these permanent residents have the usual things one expects to find in a back yard: potted plants, barbeques, wooden decks and kids toys. And, while the trades people are easy to explain, I wonder if some of the families have been displaced by the mortgage crisis and the fall of the financial markets. In any event, the mix of people in these parks is an interesting one and one I hadn’t expected.

The weather is expected to warm up slightly today which will be a relief as I really didn’t bring much cold weather clothing with me! By the way, we Canadians get blamed for this cool weather. The weather presenters on TV talk about the “Alberta Clipper from Canada” or just “the Canadian cold front”. At least it reminds people that Canada exists – there’s rarely a mention of anything Canadian in the newspapers. I even had to phone home to find out who had won the election last fall as I was staying in a park without an internet connection.

Time to get on the road again. More later.

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