Artist on a Harley:

My Home on Wheels

[SW Colorado | July 2020 | By Mike Simpson]

RVing is HUGELY popular right now, maybe more so than ever, with everything from weekend getaways to full-time living. The “van-life” is another very popular movement.

Being mobile does have its merits. Don’t like your neighbors? Kick the can out from under the tongue of the trailer and off you go. Don’t like the weather? Put it in gear and head on out to a place you like better.

I have long had a travel trailer and owned several different models and sizes over the years, from a small early Shasta to our current 27-foot Arctic Fox 4 season trailer with all of the amenities, including a TV.

Travel for an artist is nothing new. We’ve been doing it since…well, since there have been artists and places to go see and paint. Many did it back in the day, and it’s even more popular now, given our mobile society.

Heck, I’ve even packed a tent, camping gear, and my paint kit in a small trailer I tow behind my Harley. Rode it to Alaska one summer. I’ve ridden all over, stopping when the mood strikes me.

I think our Arctic Fox travel trailer is the best of both worlds for us. With all of the amenities to include a fridge, microwave, and shower, we can stay gone a long time. We even take our dog and Taffy, our diabetic Kamping Kat.

In the late ’80s, my little Shasta trailer doubled as a studio and mobile frame shop as I traveled from art show to art show. I was doing a lot of those “art in the park” events. I’d leave here and go down into Arizona and then over to Southern California and as far up the coast as the San Fransisco Bay area. Fun times.

“My home on wheels.” Original painting by Mike Simpson

RV travel is not for everyone. Backing a trailer into a camp spot with the assistance of your spouse is the number one leading cause for divorce among RV couples. At the very least, it can make for a very uncomfortable time in very small space. Too much propinquity. Cold shoulders and cold suppers are common.

While my accommodations have ranged from a tent on the motorcycle to our current travel trailer, there are far more luxurious outfits out there. Class A motorhomes, for instance—think as big as a school bus, with every amenity imaginable. Also think in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Unfortunately, just because you can afford one and have the urge, it doesn’t really mean that it’s a good idea. Facebook pages are full of posts of ripping off mirrors getting into and out of gas stations, not to mention getting into a tight spot and not being able to get back out.

There’s a learning curve involved, folks.

A good way to get your feet wet would be to rent an RV. I would suggest a small motorhome to start out with. See if you can get along in a confined living space. Learn what “RV dump site” means. And when you get to a fifth-wheel version, find out how to hook up, back up, and maneuver a big rig into and out of a small space. As with everything, there’s a lot of give and take involved.

Storage space can be limited. Sleeping quarters may be smaller than you’re used to. The bed may double as the dinette during the day. Of course, if you rent one of those Class A motorhomes, you may find they have comforts your house is lacking.

The big advantage for me is that I always have my own bed with me and I can eat my own food, whether in the back of my pickup, on my motorcycle, or pulling our trailer. I’m self-contained.

I’ll see you out there somewhere.