I demand progress and results. When neither seem forthcoming, I push harder. Maybe we buy our land now, live in a tent the rest of the summer while the Amish build us a shed that I can then finish into a cabin. Seemed plausible. Let’s see how hard it can be.
The nearest place of any real consequence that carries camping equipment was Cabela’s in Portland, ME. From where we were up in Caribou, that was over three hours away. We had found a large, canvas tent online that would fit the bed of my truck and it was carried by Cabela’s. We drove down there with the hopes of getting what we needed to rough it on land that we didn’t own yet.
Portland feels different than Bangor, than Houlton or northern Aroostook County. It’s a large city. Over five hundred thousand live in the Portland metro area. While where we were from is about five times that size, Portland , Maine is nothing to sneeze at. Just about everything is there in regards to jobs, retail, restaurants, etc. Four times the size of Bangor. A bit more pricey too. A theme we noticed everywhere we went between WA state and Maine. Big cities cost more while small towns and villages were far more reasonable.
Anyways, Cabela’s only carried the short bed version of the tent we wanted and they didn’t do custom orders. We would have to order directly from the manufacture and God knows how long that’ll take. Anger and frustration that’s been building since at least the beginning of the trip is really starting to bubble up in my blood. Jesus jumped up Christ, I got tens of thousands of dollars in the bank and I can’t even give it away to save my life!
When looking at land in the previous days, it was all swampy, densely wooded, crisscrossed with ATV trails, power lines, had a road to it that only a Jeep could make or any God damn combination of the above. Also, every where we went the mosquitoes were there to eat us. It would take weeks to get a contractor to come out and bulldoze a building site for a cabin we didn’t even have a builder for yet.
We had looked at a couple more properties for sale in the $30K range, but as it turned out, they all had offers on them or pending sales. Everything in our price range was being snapped up.
Now, I’m a man of comfort and I don’t mind people knowing it. As a child of ten years old, I lived in a grass hut, a tent and had to beg for food, all while living in the Middle East. I’ve seen all my ribs before, been beaten up for being white, American and Christian. Back in the States, my family lived in hotel rooms at least three times when I was growing up. Once, we left a hotel room only to move into a 19′ travel trailer that had been set up next to a church for charity cases like us. I’ve had less than people on welfare and only slightly more than some homeless. My twelfth Christmas resulted in a haul from Santa of one three dollar box of Legos under an eighteen inch plastic tree. I slept over a cat box on what was during the day where we ate most our meals. I’ve lived poorer than anyone I know personally.
All that being said, fuck that shit! I will NOT go back to the hell that was my growing up. So, Steph and I, confronted with the seemingly never ending obstacles to our dreams, went back to an earlier idea. Why not buy an RV? I have a one ton dually pickup that can tow just about anything. The option of an RV was half the reason I bought it in the first place. We’d have a place to be, presumably the cats would have more room, air conditioning, a fridge, etc.
Part of me couldn’t believe this was happening. Back to the original plan A? Live in an RV and go where the jobs are. I do have twenty-five years of high tech experience and Steph at least half as much. Before we figured out Maine was the place to be, we thought about buying an RV and relocating wherever we could get jobs. But now, we would have to do it fast, on the cheap and without having done any research into RV’s in our new price range. Back to plan A after the new plan A has faltered? I was beside myself with frustration and anger.
Hotels were costing us an average of $100 a night. That’s $3000 a month. Again, I could pay that $3000 a month for at least a year, but no one would rent a $800 a month apartment to us? The irony was cruel and maddening. I also had a sickening feeling that the sins of the father were being visited upon the son. The bad decisions of my parents were just being repeated by myself with uncomfortably familiar results. Was it a mistake to quit our jobs at HP and Intel to pursue our dreams? Only time would tell. In the meantime, it was apparent that we should simply improvise, adapt and overcome. A motto for the ages to be sure. What were our options? Charity, welfare or public assistance? Fucks no. Ain’t no one who gives two shits about a couple of white people on hard times due to their own misjudgment. Figure it out, tighten the belt and keep moving. Now, months later, I kind of wish we had just bought any land that wasn’t a swamp and bought a chainsaw. But we’ll get to that…
It was decided. Back to the original Plan A. Buy an RV, drive it back to Maine and see if we can find land to put it on. In order to do it right, we would need to drive to Sioux Falls, SD and get new licenses and re-domicile in that state. The long and the short of it is you want to change your domicile (not the same as your residence) for tax reasons. South Dakota has no income tax, super low dividend taxes, no inheritance tax, no vehicle inspections, no emissions inspections, and very low RV sales tax and registration fees. Sioux Falls is pretty much the middle of the country and we had a drive ahead of us.
Moving to Maine was pretty much done. We packed up everything for a long trip and headed out. It was July 20th or so. We had left our lives, family and friends in WA state a scant three weeks before, but it felt like years. Now, we were going back half way across the country to do a bunch of paperwork, find an RV and tow it back to Maine to an uncertain future. Three weeks before I’d never towed anything in my life, but then drove a 26′ foot Uhaul towing an auto transport from one coast to another. Now, I’m looking to level up to an RV? Am I riding a bull or being tossed in the air by one looking to gore me? To this day I’m unsure which. All one can do is hang on. Hang on till it stops, you can find a good spot to jump off or till the bull falls and steps on your face and balls at the same time.