Saturday, July 4, 2009

The last five years… for Bob Wells


Bob, use what you like.  Ask me questions.  None of this seems very remarkable to me, except for the fact that 10 years ago, I could barely walk and was shopping for a wheelchair.

You wrote I had kayaked 8 states so far in the last article.

They were:


In 2010, I kayak 21 more states.  They were:

WY, SD, ND, MN, WI, MI, NY, NH, ME, VT, MA, CT, RI, NJ, DE, MD/DC, VA, NC, SC, GA, and FL.  I can give you dates if you want them.

Winter of 2010 I spent at my sister’s in Florida.  She had done a round of chemo… and we had years of catching up to do.  I also scanned a bunch of family photos that she had.

In the Spring of 2011, I went to GA, and David Hair did some work on my bike hitch.  I hung around to visit with other vandwellers there.  Lots of smokers, a few dogs, a cat, too much time inside watching t.v., good meals, lots of laughs but the exposure to allergens made me sick for the first time since I hit the road, and I ended up in the hospital.  Only time since 2008 that I have been sick.  Living outside is not a choice for me, it is absolute necessity.

After getting well, I resumed  kayaking and did 11 more states.  They were:

TN, WV, PN, OH, KY, IN, IL, IO, NE, CO, NM.  Dates available.

Returned to Quartzsite in the Fall of 2011 and joined the Gem and Mineral Club becoming a rock sawyer, learning to do lapidary and becoming a Foreman in the Lapidary shop and cutting and polishing many of my own stones. I interviewed in the big tent for a job with BLM and was hired to host a campground near Rifle, CO.  

Summer of 2012, I worked for California Land Management for two campgrounds in the White River National Forest out of Rifle, CO, Meadow Ridge Campground and Meadow Lake Campground.  I was terminated before the end of the camping season due to a forest fire shutting down my forest.  I kayaked a number of times at Meadow Lake (used to be called Meadow Creek Lake).  And then…

I returned to kayaking the last 8 of the lower 48 states.  They were:


Winter of 2012-13 I visited the Big Tent and Quartzsite and learned about a CDL training program for jobs as driver/guides in Alaska.  Since that’s the next state I plan to kayak, I thought I could save money/earn money to help with the trip, if I got that job.  Applied, Spent two months in training and realized my eyes really weren’t up to the task… and I withdrew from the program.

Short term plans call for relaxing… slowly working my way to the northwest, hugging my two little grandbabies, and getting on up to Alaska.

Only states left are:  Alaska which I will kayak in 2013.  And finally, I will kayak Hawaii on my 70th birthday, May 16, 2014.  My 50th state to kayak.  Some family and friends are going to Hawaii for the celebration.  Everyone is invited (Dutch treat of course).

Me in 2009.                                       Me in 2012.

Last_day_monterey 008IMGA0586

Long term goals… I don’t have any, but I have a bucket list at

All I know for sure, is that I’m living life to the fullest, I’m happy, and healthier than I have ever been.

My motto is:  “It doesn’t get any better than this… until tomorrow.”

My new Facebook header is:


I painted the eagle.  Just added text to it for Facebook.


Only other change in my life is that I began sketching portraits of people and pets and recently of people with their rigs.  So far, I’m not making a lot of money at it, but have plans to make a set of note cards that I will sell in packets.  The first set will be of southwest wildlife.


Cargo rack, platform, solar system, batteries, 1200 watt inverter, microwave, 12v stove, all working well.  No changes made, nothing broke.


Added shelves inside my trailer to keep things better organized.

Added a ladder rack to outside of trailer to stow my cumbersome 10’ ladder.

Who is Swankie?

My photo
Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles? Maybe. Still healing from shoulder and trying to decide.