Thursday, June 19, 2014

Tillie Retiring (4 Sale); Tillie2 Stepping In

We all need to kick back and take it easy after giving it all we've got. So too with motorhomes.

As you may know, my home/office/vehicle for the past 9 years has been Tillie the Turtle, a 27' Gulfstream motorhome. (I refuse to call it a recreational vehicle, or "RV" because recreation has been sorely lacking.) I've lived in it, mostly solo, the whole time except for a handful of days when I was out of the country or had to fly to a city when Tillie-travel was impossible.

In the soon to be 10 years of HEAR US Inc., I've traversed this country's backroads (whenever possible avoiding interstates) to chronicle the plight and promise of homeless families and youth. That will continue.

I'm not going to use this post to rattle off all that has been accomplished since I first climbed behind the wheel in November 2005. Take a look at the HEAR US website for more on that.

My RV-ing experience prior to Day 1 was ZERO. This was a HUGE leap of faith for me. But it's been a grand that is going to continue in an exciting way. But now I'm selling Tillie. Here's a link to a PDF flyer with the details.

To be clear, I purchased and maintained Tillie with my own funds. HEAR US paid for my gas for work-related travel, almost 100% of the 183,000+ miles. My mechanic can vouch for the condition of this vehicle. I'm happy to talk to people seriously interested in buying it, and appreciate if you spread the word. I can sell Tillie out from under me because I have a place to stay and keep my stuff temporarily.

So, now what?

My traveling days for HEAR US will continue as long as it makes sense to do what I do, give voice and visibility to homeless children and youth. I've gotten plenty of feedback that the unique mission I've pursued over the past 10 years is extremely important. My passion burns, even deeper.

But I'm downsizing. Yup, my living/working space will be reduced by about 30%. In return for the "lean, mean" look, I'll be doubling gas mileage, in a vehicle created to be as environmentally friendly as possible while still providing the motorhome for me to live/work out of, albeit with considerably less space.

It's a Sprinter van, used by police departments, FedEx, and countless companies as a delivery or service van. It's shorter, thinner, and uses diesel fuel. It also will be better constructed, including the insulation to protect me from extreme temperatures. And I'll have solar panels to bolster my electricity supply.

I'm in the process of prioritizing my belongings, weeding out the excess, and figuring out how to live more efficiently, a challenge I'm ready for (much more so than when I went from my 1,100 sq. ft. townhouse to Tillie, with roughly 150 sq. ft. of living space). And I'm paying for this vehicle, too.

Since the name Tillie has gained some notoriety, I'm just calling the new vehicle Tillie2. I'm beginning the transition process, awaiting delivery of the customized vehicle. I was able to eliminate the features I don't use (knowing what I'm doing after almost 10 years of full-timing), like the furnace, coach AC, propane tank, and awning. I'm getting tinted windows, a better insulated floor, and, well, less living space.

I'll take pics and share them. Just wanted my friends to know what's up and to maybe connect me with a buyer. I'm busy sorting through stuff, giving much away, shuffling through papers to go paperless, and then I'll travel down to Austin, TX to take possession of this new dream mobile sometime mid-August.

Now I know how Dale Evans felt about her horse, Buttermilk. Putting Tillie out to's time, old friend....

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