Travels with Papillon

 

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"You folks are sooooo adventurous."

Not really.  We are driving a motorhome with sink, shower, toilet, refrigerator, a couple of beds and a dinette down hard surfaced roads within the First World.  Crossing Antarctica on a dog sled where death is in the equation on a daily basis - now that is adventurous.

"Oh I couldn't do that."  

At first our response to that was "Oh of course you can."  But now we are not so sure.  Some folks are just not that comfortable with an endeavor such as ours.  And they probably really can't "do that".  No shame there.  We know very nice people who genuinely can not, nor would not attempt a journey such as this.

"Really? ........ Oh Really!?!?!"

This is followed with the thousand yard stare whereas we can see into their minds eye that they are climbing aboard Papillon and coming with.

 

Prelude

After a four year stint in the US Army, mostly overseas, my first wife, Sue, and I hit the road for six months in a VW camper -  hippy van - named Flower.  That ruined me, I became hooked on the life of a vagabond.  Sadly 35 plus years of having to earn a living intervened before I and my absolute last wife Judy could get going, but here we are.  Judy is a gal who likes to see what is around the next bend and what is over the next hill and she is the perfect traveling companion and mate.  Thanks, sweetie!

Munich, Germany - April 2, 1970

I do not know who this young fella is.

 

Zeebrugge, Belgium - April 7, 2007

 

 

Judy heard my stories and was ready and willing to get going, but the thought of a VW sized van without shower, toilet, nor kitchen had NO appeal to her.  None whatsoever!  Perhaps something a little bigger with a few of the comforts of home?

Trial Run

Judy had never gone RV'ing so we decided to take a trial run in 2003 to see how she would like the lifestyle.  And if the plan was to RV in Europe, well lets make the trip in Europe.

Within a week she stated referring to the rig as "home" and I knew we were golden.

The rig was a French made Chausson on a Fiat chassis at 20 feet long, 104hp diesel motor and 3.5 metric tons with all the necessities.  Here we are departing Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris for a 14 day mini tour.

 

Why Europe first?

There are a couple of reasons why we chose to tour Europe before the United States.

First is our age and health.  The younger, the healthier.  As we get older I suspect we will have health issues and we very much would prefer to be amongst our own when those occur.

Secondly, I have lived in eleven states (including Alaska) because of Army service and being a defense contractor, and I have been in 40 states and have been in most major American cities.  Judy is almost as widely traveled.  Yes we want to drive the Alaskan Highway and visit all the National Parks, and we will.  Just not this year.  (We spent our honeymoon in Glacier NP, Montana by the way.)

Third, we both are history fans, from the ancient to modern art history, from Rome to the Industrial Revolution.  And the Old World certainly has enough venues for us to scratch that itch.

 

Next - Belgium - the beginning

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