Sunday, August 26, 2012

An angel has left the earth…

I just learned a dear friend of mine has passed away.  Ron McDowell was my emergency contact person for my SPOT services.  He also helped me install my roof platform and my solar and t.v. antenna when I first set up my van.  Here are photos I took while visiting him in TX and doing all the initial work.  Ron… we will all miss you.

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Building my roof rack platform in Ron’s yard.

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In the horrid Texas June heat, Ron hung in there with me – he was the very best supervisor ever.

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More photos…

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Ron’s camper van.



Katie’s rig at Ron’s place in Texas.

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Mutt (Katie’s dog) loved that Monkey, a gift from Ron.

RIP Ron… you are loved and will be greatly missed.


Ronald C. McDowell, born July 12, 1955 in Frankfurt, Germany, died August 26, 2012 in Live Oak, Texas, at the age of 57. Ron was preceded in death by his father, Army Sergeant Cleveland McDowell. He is survived by his mother, Herta McDowell; sisters, Brenda McDowell of Chattanooga, TN and Carla Kelly of Placitas, NM; cousins, Marie McDowell, Doris Mathiesen, and Lynn Humphrey of South Carolina and nephew, Tom Maynard of Chattanooga, TN. Memorial Services will be held Sunday, September 2, 2012, 10:00 AM at Sunset Funeral Home, 1701 Austin Highway, San Antonio, TX 78218, Rev. Pat O'Brien officiating. Memorial contributions can be made in lieu of flowers to The American Heart Association, 7272 Greenville Avenue, Dallas, TX 75231 or www.heart.orgObit.


  1. Sweetie, Ron spoke often of his friendship and admiration for you. This is a lovely post, and wonderful photos. I had lost the photo of my van by his trailer, and am grateful to see it again! I will be bringing some of his ashes to the RTR and copies of the photo DVD played at his memorial. We are staying in Texas with his mom for awhile, and likely returning for awhile before the RTR. Let me know if you need a new spot contact.

    1. Yes, Katie... when things settle down, I'd like to add you as my SPOT contact. Let me know when you are available. I have one other... and the task would be to notify my kids in the event something happens to me. Thank you.

  2. Swankie, my deepest condolences for the loss of your dear friend. Sounds like he was a dear friend to many. Sometimes the family we make is the best one.

  3. I can't believe it has been a year since Ron passed away. It's been a lonesome year without him. Our vandweller gatherings were enriched by his company.

  4. What a good friend you are, and what a great guy he must have been. This is a lovely memorial for someone you obviously had great admiration and affection for.



Who is Swankie?

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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.