Living in a Land Yacht

Our Land Yacht anchored out at the edge of the Florida Everglades

Our borrowed Land Yacht anchored out at the edge of the Florida Everglades

by Christine Kling

I grew up camping. I have vivid memories of going to sleep in a musty smelling tent in various campgrounds around Southern California and Mexico. Whether it was Ensenada, Guaymas, Big Bear, or Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the parents packed us up into the station wagon, and we took off during every school vacation.

1965 13-ft Scotsman travel trailer like the one we owned (photo from tincantourists.com)

1965 13-ft Scotsman travel trailer like the one we owned (photo from tincantourists.com)

In the mid-sixties, my parents bought a 13-foot Scotsman travel trailer like the one in this photo, and I remember the night in Yosemite when the bears were sliding their claws down the aluminum siding and rocking the thing on its wheels. We showered in the campground restrooms, washed our dishes in the creek and peed in the woods. And we all thought it was a great time.

Later, when I was just starting high school, my parents took us to Europe for over a month and we cruised around in a VW camper van. The kids slept in the tent and the parents got the van all to themselves.

This is me circa 1968. Get a look at those stylish pants!

This is me circa 1968. Get a look at those stylish pants!

So, all those experiences could be a very good reason why I took to cruising like I did. And in the early days of my cruising, our boat was simple and it was more like camping – especially when the single head failed on the passage from Hawaii back to Ventura in 1979. I have very few memories of staying in motels as a child, and we certainly never stayed in an upscale hotel.

One thing I remember Wayne telling me when he was explaining how he had Learnativity set up was, “I don’t want to be camping.” Not that he doesn’t love camping, too. And he did as much or more when he was a youngster. But for his everyday life on the boat, he wants to be comfortable.

So, when he told me we were going to be traveling in a borrowed RV on our trip back to Florida, I was thinking 13-ft. Scotsman trailer, not the 40-ft. luxurious ride we are living in (pictured above). So, we still aren’t camping. This lovely motorhome has a propane stove and fridge, a good-sized water tank, water heater, enclosed shower, holding tank, and a 12-volt electrical system. No wonder so many folks decide to get RVs when they leave cruising. This thing truly is a Land Yacht, and as far as I’m concerned, we’re still cruising.

We signed up for a membership in Passport America where we would get 50% off on their member campgrounds, and the first night in Fort Lauderdale we stayed in one of those. Yikes! It was worse than a marina. The RVs were jammed in so tight you could barely walk between them. After that we moved down to Topeekeegee Yugnee Park (known locally as TY Park) and paid $30 for a nice space next to the lake with water, holding tank pump-out, free wifi and nice air-conditioned showers. That was much cheaper than ICW transient docking of my old 33-foot boat.

Also, we have been enjoying what the current generation of RVers calls “boondocking,” otherwise known as free camping. This is comparable to anchoring out. You find places where you can park for free. We have been visiting our beautiful new grandson up in Boca Raton, and we found this great spot at the Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge at the edge of the Everglades. We get to watch the sunset and the gators and we’re only about 20 minutes away from the new baby.

While I’m not thinking that I’m ready to switch to land yachting yet, I have been getting a hint at the allure of it. At least we both feel more at home traveling inside our portable home than we do when staying in hotels.

It’s time to hit the road, now, so I’ll sign off.

Fair winds!

Christine

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About Christine Kling

I have spent more than thirty years living on and around boats and cruising the waters of the North and South Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Caribbean. I’ve written articles and stories for many boating publications including Sailing, Cruising World, Motor Boating & Sailing, and The Tiller and the Pen. When I was married, I helped my husband build a 55-foot custom sailing yacht. After launching her, we sailed through the Panama Canal to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands where we chartered for over two years. While in the islands, I received my 100-ton Auxiliary Sail Captains license. It was that sailing experience that led me to set my first nautical suspense novel, SURFACE TENSION (2002), on the waterfront in Fort Lauderdale. Featuring Florida female tug and salvage captain, Seychelle Sullivan, the first book was followed by CROSS CURRENT (2004) and BITTER END (2005). The fourth book in the series, WRECKERS’ KEY was released in February 2007. At the end of the 2010-11 academic year, I took the motto of this blog to heart. I quit my day job as an English professor at Broward College in Fort Lauderdale (just when they offered me tenure, I said no thanks and took early retirement). I was living the dream of full-time cruising on board my 33-foot Caliber Talespinner on my very tiny pension and whatever I made from my books having parted ways with the big publishing establishment. I self-published two books on my own: a small collection of four short stories entitled SEA BITCH: Four Tales of Nautical Noir and my first stand-alone sailing thriller set in the Caribbean, CIRCLE OF BONES. In 2012 I was offered a publishing deal with Amazon's mystery/thriller imprint Thomas&Mercer and they reissued CIRCLE OF BONES. The sequel to that book, DRAGON'S TRIANGLE came out in June 2014. And as for me, I'm no longer a singlehander on my little boat. I met Wayne Hodgins in 2013 and after a whirlwind Skype courtship, I flew to meet him in Fiji and we sailed a nearly 2000 mile passage to the Marshall Islands for our "first date." We now sail together aboard LEARNATIVITY, a 52-foot motor sailor with our family including Barney, the Yorkshire Terror and Ruby, the Wonder Dog.
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