Trailer Park Nirvana image created by Stefany Kleeschulte.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Vanna Blue - Queen of the Desert

Vanna sure was pretty when I first bought her.
She will be again.
Someone asked why I chose to live in Kino and my reply was that I didn't choose Kino. I didn't even choose Mexico. It just happened.

I've given up making plans. The last plan I made was when I left Portland in November 2004 - and that plan was only to head to the desert and see where that got me. Since then I've relied on signs but for the past three years there's been a dearth of signs especially in relation to Kino - nothing in the wind or the stars or the sea swells telling me it's time to leave so I took that as a sign to stay. And quite possibly this was a sign: getting the trailer road ready would take money (blown tires, dead fridge, stuck black tank valve) and money's been as scarce as omens.

Once I decided to be here now and take things as they came, my days fell into a manana rhythm (excluding the holidays which are not easy for me). Never quite fitting in with the right-wing retired coupled-up snowbird community, I began meeting people - mostly women - who even if coupled-up can do things without their spouses (Margarita Monday). A bar opened and although I'm too broke to revive my barfly lifestyle, at least it's there when I need it. Last summer in Kino was the best, the town brimming on weekends with mariachis and vacationers from cities like Hermosillo and Ciudad Juarez. We discovered restaurants and the VIP movie lounge in Hermosillo. I continue butchering Spanish and appreciate the patience and humor of my Mexican friends.

But still I wrestled with feeling is this it? Am I stuck here? And if so, is this the place I want to be stuck? There's more exploring I want to do - Mexico and the Desert Southwest, visit family in St. Louis, friends in Portland and New Orleans - but there's that damn money issue.

Then a shift.

Work is picking up for the company I sub-contract for. And in March I'll receive my first social security check. I never ever thought I'd be so excited about being a senior citizen. Freedom doesn't take a lot of money but, trust me, it takes some and some is what I'll have.

Then a sign.

Chatting with two women RVers who told of stopping off at Slab City (or The Slabs) on their way here - not that I'd ever want to live there but The Slabs is a place I'd like to see - one of the women mentioned selling her motor coach and buying something smaller - maybe a campervan. Back in my trailer - not 5 minutes later - was this article about The Slabs from Time Magazine. My heart skipped a beat. I want to go there. I looked out the trailer window at Vanna. Hell, I already own a campervan!

I've spent the days since then (when not at the Suaqui rodeo, getting tattooed then getting super inebriated on ginebra while watching the Super Bowl) researching ways to customize the interior of Vanna to make her more campable. It won't take much: flooring, bed, cabinetry. Maybe a solar panel so I can work on the road. She needs a new paint job, make sure those roof patches are holding up. Most of the remodeling work can be done here.

Finally, something to be enthusiastic about! It's the same excitement I felt when I researched Airstream trailers. The sticky substance that's kept my imagination immobile is being melted off. Kino can be my home base and when the gringos or heat get to be too much I can vamanos my ass out of here in Vanna, who's the most flexible rig I know, going from storage unit to mobile home, kind of like a masked crusader or super heroine.

The conversion may take longer than a quick change in a phone booth but I'll keep ya'll posted.


  1. I think you are doing a smart thing, Annette. We've had four RV's and they all kept getting smaller. We just sold the 21 footer as it was too underpowered and slow. It's cheap to fix up the inside of a good van vs. buying a new or expensive used RV. Plus, you can run 75 mph and get somewhere fast.

    Good luck.
    Mike McCaleb & Melanie

  2. Thanks for that Mike and Melanie. Obviously I could pull the trailer but the van alone is so much more maneuverable and quicker, like you mentioned. You guys are the experts in the world of RVing so I appreciate the feedback.

  3. Leave the Kino heat for . . . Slab City? New Orleans? Oregon!!!
    I'd like to see the Slabs one day too, like in January. Maybe we'll run into each other there!

  4. hola, nette -- viva Vanna. Tiny spaces are eminently usable. I hope the solar thing works out. They should be on every RV and will be one day along with maybe a wind generator of some kind.