Linda Dunning and I met at Woods Canyon Lake Campground, east of Payson. Her tiny Chalet A-Frame trailer and her golden retriever, Marcella, caught my attention.
As of January 2006, these two have been on the road full time. Linda bought this little trailer in 2003 so that she and Marcella could travel the Lewis and Clark Trail during the Bicentennial Celebration of that historic journey.
This team spent three summers following the trail. She chose this trailer because it was cute, but also because she could maneuver into tight spots. Their trip began in St. Louis, Mo. and followed the Lewis and Clark trail up into the Dakotas and across Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon.
She self-published a little picture book, written in Marcella's voice, as a memento of the trip. Their adventures were amazing.
When her mission was complete, she decided she did not want to stop.
"I fell in love with the RV life style and decided to travel full time for as long as I enjoyed it," she said. "I quit my second-career teaching job, downsized household items, stored what was left and hit the road."
In the beginning, she had commitments to meet up with family and friends and the route was preplanned. When those were complete, she was on her way and on her own.
Their full-time travels began in California. Marcella loves to swim and enjoyed the pet friendly beaches around San Diego where dogs can romp and swim leash-free. Marcella was the only dog on the beach who would swim out beyond the breakers to retrieve her ball and ride the waves back to shore. However, Marcella is quite upset with thunder and airplanes flying overhead. She quickly escapes to the security of the trailer when loud noises interfere with her frolicking.
Space is very limited in this trailer, which is 6 X 10 at the base, and, because of the A-Frame, standing room is minimal. The booth set up with table and benches provides work and eating space. Here, with Marcella sitting beside her, she works at her computer. She even entertains guests on occasion.
On the other wall is the bed and in the middle is the kitchen. When on the move, everything above table height must be lowered. A large storage box for essentials sits on the extended front end of the trailer tongue. Her SUV easily pulls the trailer and allows comfortable, safe travel for the two of them.
The trailer has propane and a battery which charges while the car moves. With these two, she can dry camp and still use her stove, refrigerator and lights and keep her computer charged. With her laptop computer and wireless connection to the Internet, she keeps in touch with family and friends. Once she settles in and gets all set up, she likes to spend a few days in one place.
After only five months on the road as a full-timer, Linda is still loving it and no end is in sight. If you happen to see Linda and Marcella camped along the way in their cute little A-Frame, stop and say "hello."