Tina Nauman: Blog http://tinanauman.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) Tina Nauman tinanauman@gmail.com (Tina Nauman) Wed, 08 Nov 2017 03:02:00 GMT Wed, 08 Nov 2017 03:02:00 GMT http://tinanauman.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-5/u808944824-o383812507-50.jpg Tina Nauman: Blog http://tinanauman.zenfolio.com/blog 120 90 Medicare Insurance http://tinanauman.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/11/medicare-insurance THIS IS A VERY ROUGH DRAFT OF A BLOG I'M WORKING ON.  BUT, I'M GETTING SOME QUESTIONS SO PUTTING IT OUT TO THOSE INTERESTED and willing to slog through a rough draft. 

After retiring as a Montessori teacher I became a full-time traveler in my 17' Casita camper with a 6' x 13' living space. I travel with my cat all over the country. I have no house or apartment.  I am a 66 year old woman who went from healthy one day to an emergency room the next with serious embolisms in my lungs and spleen and in extreme danger of a heart attack or major stroke.  After 2 emergency rooms, ambulance transportation to a hospital and a whole lot of expensive tests I transferred to my brother's backyard in KY for further diagnosis and evaluation. That has led to me to being seen at Mayo Clinic in Arizona for treatment of a rare blood cancer.  I must have a health plan that will allow me to have covered care anywhere in the United States at a moment's notice. 

Because I have no home and the IRS wants people to have an address I have my "domicile" in South Dakota. Everything I own is in my car, my camper and a 5' x 10' storage unit in KY.   I chose SD because they have no state tax and registering and licensing my camper and car is quite cheap in comparison to other states.  Being over 65 my health insurance is less expensive than in some states.  My figures listed here are not national figures but South Dakota figures.  Yours will differ.  

So this blog is coming from my experience and my knowledge which my not be accurate and may be different for other people. 

First and foremost.....there will come a time in your future when you will likely need expensive health care.  And, any health care is expensive some just more so that others.  At some point in your life you may need heart surgery, joint replacement, cancer treatment, and on and on.  Not many reach their mid-60s to 90s without needing specialized medical care. 

When I first joined Medicare I chose an Advantage PPO Plan.  Everything I read made me believe I would be covered no matter where I traveled. I was a happy camper!  But,  I was WRONG! I found out that there were areas in the United States that may not cover me at all if they are outside of the PPO area!!  What a shock!!!  When I left KY to become a full-time camper I had to change insurance as my PPO plan was not offered out of KY.  

I contacted Kyle at RVInsurance and he filled me in on the weaknesses of Advantage Plans.  So, I started looking at Medicare + Medigap + Prescription plans.  I said to myself, "I'm healthy.  I can change plans every year.  Why not get a high deductible plan and save money now?".  Seemed like a good idea.  Then someone else said that this was NOT the time to penny-pinch.  It will likely cost you down the road.  Wow...was she right.  If I had gone with the high deductible Medigap plan:

1.  I couldn't have been seen at Mayo without a lot of out of pocket money, if at all. 

2. The lower premiums would never have made up for what I would have spent annually on higher deductibles and overages.  And I will continue to have high annual medical expenses so this loss of savings would have been ongoing every year. 

3. Some Medigap plans, including Plan G, may not have been available to me at a premium I could afford if I had not chosen it within the first year of Medicare coverage. 

If I had continued on my PPO plan: :

1. If I was on ANY Advantage Plan I would not have been accepted as a patient at Mayo Clinic.  I want to be able to chose where I go and not have the insurance companies make that decision for me.   

2.  Insurance companies can and do drop their Advantage Plans.  Physicians and hospitals can change whether they accept a current Advantage Plan. 

3. During my travels I could have found myself in areas that would have not accepted my insurance. 

Medicare and Medigap plans: 

The chart at the end of this blog is for those who stay on Original Medicare and purchase a Medigap Plan. 

NOTE!  Plan F has no deductible. It will not accept new people beginning in 2020 and it's being replaced with Plan G.  The people on Plan G can stay on it but new people cannot purchase it. I wonder if their premiums will go up as fewer and fewer people are on that plan.

It is my understanding that within 6 months of signing up for Medicare you can change plans.  After that, if you can change, it may be at a much higher premium due to late sign-up and pre-existing conditions. For many, it may be out of each financially after that first 6 months. 

With my many bills Plan G has paid for everything except the small deductible.  I have Mutual of Omaha aka Omaha Insurance and have been very satisfied. Check Medicare.gov for reviews and go compare premiums.  Any of the Medigap plans though are exactly the same in coverage and only the premiums should differ.  I would suggest though going with a solid, well-known, financially stable insurance company. 

Again, I am not an expert in the field.  I tried to do my homework and found it all very confusing.  I can say, that for me, I believe I have the one and only plan that could have worked for my situation.  


Note: I need to add what I pay for Original Medicare. It is deducted from my Social Security.  Got locked out for 24 hours when I forgot my password. 

Plan G Premiums for me in South Dakota is $94/month in 2017. On November 1 it is going up to $99. They can do price increases twice a year.  

Prescription Plan - $17/month for Humana/Walmart Prescription Plan. That will go to $20.40 in 2018.  As with most prescription plans there are tiers and deductibles that I don't understand. Most of my drugs are generic and I pay $4.  I have one non-generic drug that I had to pay over $400 the first time to reach a new tier and now pay about $77.  Prescription costs, if non-generic, can be very high.  You can go to Medicare.gov and then to prescription plans and enter your medications and it will tell you your annual cost for every single Medicare Prescription Plan offered.  A wonderful tool!

Once you are on a Medigap plan, including  Plan G,  you are on it forever and cannot be charged more for medical conditions.  NOTE to SELF....are increases based at all on increased age compare to a younger person just signing up). 

HOWEVER and this is a biggie......

1.  If you have already signed up for Medicare you can change your plan within 6 months  to any other plan and only be charged the same as if you had signed up for it originally. You should not pay a higher premium due to existing conditions or the change.  I ran into an issue that I moved within the 6 months.  They originally said I couldn't get Plan G because of the move.  I held firm that ai was changing due to the 6 month choice NOT because of my move. Get the facts so you can stand up for yourself.  

2. After that six months there will be additional premium increases for the late change AND for pre-existing conditions. I understand those difference in premiums can be substantial amounts.  I believe after that  first 6 months your choice of Medigap plans if reduced and does not include Plan G.  

Links I have found helpful.




When I switched form PPO to Medigap these guys really were a huge help and easy to work with.  They helped me with the issue of the 6 month change vs I was moving.  Plan G was only available when they argued for the 6 months change rather than the move. 


Good article and company even if you are not an RVer. 

For those who are not 65 but are travelers. 


For those on or soon to be on MEDICARE. 


NOTE THAT PLAN F AND G ARE THE ONLY PLANS THAT COVER EXCESS CHARGES!  EXCESS CHARGES CAN BE HUGE AMOUNTS!!!!  Do some research to find out what they can include. Mayo is all about excess charges.  Some doctors will have an extra surgeon join them during surgery. You may not even know that person was there and was never asked if it was okay.  If his bill is not covered by medicare then you pay it!  I think some surgeons are doing this in what could be considered a scam. 


tinanauman@gmail.com (Tina Nauman) http://tinanauman.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/11/medicare-insurance Tue, 07 Nov 2017 17:13:48 GMT
The Plan vs Reality Part 2 - Surrounded by Angels! http://tinanauman.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/8/surrounded-by-angels Wow...what a start to my planned 9 months on the road before returning to Kentucky.  It was supposed to be 9 months NOT 11 days and certainly not 4 hospitals and only 3 campgrounds. 

The day after I arrived in Michigan I became ill. At the time I thought it was intestinal flu.  Now, I think it was the first signal my body gave me of a more serious issue.  Hospital #1 was mostly a general checkup and getting fluids back into me. 

View from my bed at hospital #3 over Lake Michigan at Petoskey, MI

When I became ill I found I was excellent at making lousy decisions including not knowing when to go to a hospital.  Having always been very healthy I was good at making excuses and was very poor at self-diagnosis.   God apparently figured I needed some help and surrounded me with angels to protect me against myself!

Angel Bill. (he's promised me a photo).  After I left hospital #1, I went to a primitive campground in the middle of nowhere that had no internet unless I drove to a very specific spot and pointed my phone in a very specific direction. It was a beautiful location for quiet walks and healing from my illness but I couldn’t have called 911!!  

I was very surprised to find a primitive campground with a camp host.  Bill, joined by his father and son, has been camping here since he was 5 years old.  We hit it off finding similarities in our backgrounds and his local knowledge very interesting.  He and his dog would walk by my campsite, that was isolated and completely out of sight of any other campers, several times a day.  I knew that I could have knocked on his door in the middle of the night and he would have helped me. I told of him of my illness and he realized I wasn’t improving and gave me guidance on which hospital I should go to.  I figured I was in serious trouble when I was wiping road dirt off my car and Casita and found myself gasping for breath but I didn't stop until the job was done. I made excuses until I could no longer do so. 

Angel Joe (see photo on right). I set my GPS for McLaren Hospital, #2, not realizing I had chosen a satellite location that was an emergency center but not the main hospital.  When I figured it out I sat in their parking lot for 30 minutes trying to decide whether to go in or drive the 43 miles to the other location.  I finally realized how how illogical that was and went in.  After many tests I was told I had blood clots in both lungs, fluid in one, sky-high blood pressure, was in Afib and was at very high risk of a heart attack or stroke. I chewed aspirin and listened to a doctor tell me the resuscitation and tube feeding policies.  I wasn’t going anywhere except by ambulance to McLaren Hospital, #3, in Petoskey. 

What about my Josie Cat????  I couldn’t leave her! But before I could panic staff had put out the word and Joe walked into my life.  He said he would take care of everything.  We talked and I learned he was a security guard for McLarin,  a retired police office, due to an injury, and was now a wildlife artist who also enjoyed sketching friend’s pets.  I handed him my car and camper keys and told him about Josie. Throughout the next days he kept me up to date through texts. I missed Josie but never worried.   

Angel Facebook friends.  I was receiving many posts and emails from friends saying they were praying for me and wishing me best.  Hospital staff commented how sad that I was alone and it made me realize that I wasn’t!  My room was full of Friends from relatives I haven’t seen since I was a teenager, to my Dubuque friends, to FB friends from other states that I have met and traveled with, to Kentucky friends both met and unmet.  Your comments and prayers meant the world to me and my room was jammed packed full of all of you!  Most of you probably have no idea how much a simple post or "like" can mean.


Angel roomies. Two of my three roommates were delightful. It was like having a PJ party with our bottoms hanging out of our gowns.  With threats of photos we had lots of fun as well as sharing the more poignant times of our lives. We were angels to each other.  I could only try to be an angel to the 3rd and the best I could do was to put deodorant on her underarm when she could not.




Caregiving Angels.  Although it is their job this group of happy employees at McLaren Hospital stopped and chatted and went above and beyond what you normally experience at a hospital.  No one was ever in a hurry! As patient numbers swell during tourist season the hospital offers double pay for short-term staff so they are never over-whelmed and under-staffed. Kudos to McLaren Hospital for putting staff and patients ahead of the bottom line.  







Angels Don and Michelle who made a 24 hour round-trip drive to get me back to Kentucky. I also count as angels Dan and Pat who offered to make the drive.  Instead of angels in white we had a white caravan!  









In Lexington, the next morning I went to emergency room #4 to get blood work done as on a weekend there isn't really anywhere else to go.  But, when you say to the receptionist, "whew, I'm a little short of breath" you find yourself with a trauma team, getting an EKG and being drained of more blood within 10 minutes. 

Angels brother, Sant,  and daughter, Erin,  with lots of phone time as I gave them updates and they offered support and comfort.  I'm now at at my brother's house AGAIN until I am released to travel.  I am thankful for their company and my location!  It will be awhile before I am in the road again.  I have a cardiologist, hematologist, gastrointologist and primary care physician.  We agree, although it is much guesswork, that untreated Essential Thrombocythemia, causing my body to produce too many platelets, caused embolisms (clots) that went to both lungs and possibly my spleen.  That put my heart under tremendous stress and has put me in Afib.  And, somewhere along the way I got several peptic ulcers.  Until then, I can walk and swim but can't raise my heart rate. I guess I no longer have an excuse not to catch up on my photos! 

Two days ago I did find myself in Emergency Room #5!  The good news it wasn't for me!!  The bad news was my nephew tore a tendon, which took some pelvic bone with it during the first moments of the season opener soccer match.  He's on crutches for a month and can't do anything!  We make quite the pair!!  

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Note: the convenient swimming pool and hammock.......hot tub not shown. Also not shown is the large yard good for gentle walking with Josie. 


tinanauman@gmail.com (Tina Nauman) adventure boondocking camper campgrounds camping casita dispersed fiberglass full nauman panels renogy solar time tina http://tinanauman.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/8/surrounded-by-angels Fri, 11 Aug 2017 01:16:37 GMT
The Plan vs. Reality - Part 1 http://tinanauman.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/the-plan-vs-reality Posting of this blog delayed due to a health issue that has caused a few detours....see Part II

July 15 - 17, 2017

The plan was to leave Lexington Tuesday, July 11 and visit my aunt and cousins in the little Southern Indiana town of Leavenworth, Indiana. From there I'd head to Michigan.  That was the plan.....

Instead I got to watch my nephew Kevin have a 36 hour 14th birthday party.  Most were basketball and soccer players and the mid-summer fun was a great team-builder.  I stayed because needed plugs didn't arrive.  I stayed because I had to order 3 Inverters to finally receive one and was lucky to get it since the UPS conveyor belt ate the label and further delayed its delivery.   

But, I finally pulled up stakes and rolled out of my brother's backyard on Saturday.  I arrived in Leavenworth to find the exterior panel to my refrigerator was missing.  My brother retraced my path on his motorcycle and found it on the grassy median in Versailles (Ver-sales in Kentucky-speak).  








My time with my aunt, as always, is very special. Elaine teaches us all how to live a life of character, dignity and love!  Elaine was, and still is, one of the best teachers a student could ever have. She has also bred and shown Morgan horses for most of her adult life.  Elaine has Parkinson's disease but it hasn't slowed her down, just altered her mode of movement, and she can still wear me out!   She remains in her home with about 30 incredible neighbors who work out schedules so someone is with her 24 hours a day. Now that's a testament of love!  There are Morgan horses, 3 goats, a Standard Poodle and rabbits to keep her company.  But her passion is recording the history of her tiny town and developing phamplets that cover all the things there are to do in Leavenworth to help bring visitors and keep the town alive.  On Sunday we attended her church and after we went to a state forest, which provides an electric wheelchair, for a stroll on their beautiful accessible nature trail. 

Then we traveled to Alton, a small Ohio River town, that used to be a thriving riverboat town with several mansions including one once owned by a riverboat captain and all the expected community buildings; some restored and others being reclaimed by nature.  The only way into the town was by these 2 bridges that creak and groan with every roll of the tire.  

Then there was the rope swing! 



Cousin Polly took the first turn.  I'm no dummy.....I wanted to be sure the rope held! 











Then it was my turn to FLY!  


Oh, I forgot about the Copperhead at my cousin's cabin.  I'm not sure I've ever seen one so close.  He was by the pond where we played but he wasn't going to bother us; so we didn't bother him.  We talked about it and decided we didn't want to ruin our wonderful day with the death of a creature who was just doing what snakes do on a lovely sunny day. 



My memory bonus was when I found a gold GMC Motorhome from the 1970s that was identical to the one owned by my brother-in-law. Chuck and I had a wonderful time on a trip to the western states and it is where we were when Elvis Presley died.  








Sunday night I headed back to Lexington to collect the refrigerator panel and then I did what I hate by driving the interstate north through Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan but the long trip was worth my resting spot just east of Grayling in northern Michigan.  I'm in a primitive campground all by myself.  The solar charging system is working, Josie and I are getting used to being tethered together by a leash and I'm about to cook a steak.  $13 for the night gets me a bubbling stream, singing birds and fly-fishermen trying to catch trout. 

528 miles today which put my car over 40,000 miles.  

Hopefully the next blog will be all about baby Loons!

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Added note:  it turns out it will be about Angels rather than baby Loons.....

tinanauman@gmail.com (Tina Nauman) adventure boondocking camper campgrounds camping casita dispersed fiberglass full nauman panels renogy solar time tina http://tinanauman.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/the-plan-vs-reality Mon, 17 Jul 2017 18:15:00 GMT
Soul Etude - Searching for a new Etude http://tinanauman.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/soul-etude---practicing-a-new-etude My Soul Etude is evolving in ways I couldn’t imagine when I posted my last blog.

"Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature's darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but nature's sources never fail. " John Muir

This quote, posted by FB friend Kelly Sumner, and my thoughts as I summarized my first year had me examining my travels. I don’t want my wanderings to be controlled by reservations due to campgrounds being full every weekend.  There must be a different way to go about this lifestyle.

I read single women’s blogs who are not only full-time Casita travelers but also full-time boondockers*.  They are living their lives with no schedule, no reservations and rarely in campgrounds with electricity, water and other amenities.  They are living off the grid by staying on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) or National Forest land.  This is what I did in grasslands of Colorado and that experience was mesmerizing.

I made new plans!  Yesterday my brother and nephew helped me hook up solar panels and an inverter so I don’t have to depend on electricity. I have ordered speciality Benchmark Atlases for many of the western states.  I’ve reviewed and improved my safety measures that still do not include a firearm. I’m learning about the art of Stealth Garbage Disposal.

Boondocking is easiest out west.  It’s much more difficult to get off the grid in the midwest and eastern states.  I won’t always be able to get away from the hassle of making reservations but if I can reduce them I believe my soul will sing it’s gratitude.  Developed campgrounds are necessary when it's very cold or very hot, I want to visit a location that has no dispersed camping available or when I just want a good long hot shower. 

I head out on Tuesday to Michigan to find baby Loons and I don’t have single reservation made! I don't have an itinerary or any plans in place. The Soul is the same but I’m trying out a new Etude!  

* Boon-dockers are people who camp outside of developed campgrounds. They camp in remote locations also called dispersed camping.

Josie with my Casita and new Renogy Solar Panels. Solar panels are 21" x 21" and only 19 1/2 pounds. 


tinanauman@gmail.com (Tina Nauman) Boondocking Campgrounds Camping Casita Dispersed Fiberglass Nauman Panels Renogy Solar Tina adventure camper camping full time http://tinanauman.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/soul-etude---practicing-a-new-etude Sat, 08 Jul 2017 03:38:48 GMT
Soul Etude http://tinanauman.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/soul-etude I’m now 20 days into my second year of full-time wandering.  I was going to write something on that 1st year anniversary, but all that was coming to me was “I want to do it a second year.”  Then the thought of a boat came to mind as it often does when I’m in a contemplative mood.  


This winter I was paddling when I came across a beautiful old wooden boat named “Soul Etude”.  The name captured my heart and soul, and the next day I sought out the owner.  I wanted to know how the name was chosen.  The story was a bit underwhelming! He said he also loved the name which came with the boat when he purchased it.




SOUL - such a complex word!


1.the principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body, and commonly held to be separable in existence from the body; the spiritual part of humans as distinct from the physical part.

2.the spiritual part of humans regarded in its moral aspect, or as believed to survive death and be subject to happiness or misery in a life to come:

arguing the immortality of the soul.

3.the disembodied spirit of a deceased person:

4.the emotional part of human nature; the seat of the feelings or sentiments.

5.a human being; person.

6.high-mindedness; noble warmth of feeling, spirit or courage, etc.

7.the animating principle; the essential element or part of something.

8.the inspirer or moving spirit of some action, movement, etc.

9.the embodiment of some quality:

He was the very soul of tact.

10.(initial capital letter) Christian Science. God; the divine source of all identity and individuality.

11.deeply felt emotion, as conveyed or expressed by a performer or artist.


ETUDE - so simple

noun, [ey-tood]

1.a musical composition, usually instrumental, intended mainly for the practice of some point of technique.


One word is very complex and the other so simple but when I saw them together they seemed to fit so perfectly to my life.


Black Mesa OK state parkBlack Mesa OK state park Our country is my church.  I have no current church building affiliation, but have always identified my closest relationship with God when I’m in the midst of our natural world. With all my senses I’m aware of the hand of God at work with nature and people.


My first year had a few distractions such as three axles, hating to do laundry in public places, and wishing I could truly wander and stop where I want to without having to make reservations.  But those are minor compared to the experiences and joys I’ve lived.  


My year was filled with beautiful views, new birds and animals, a closer relationship with my Josie Cat; from mountains to ocean to prairies I witnessed the incredible beauty of our country. I often stayed off interstates and experienced small towns and country roads, and enjoyed the journey wherever I went.


Roads from her to eternityRoads from her to eternity


I’m basically a shy person and I do not like large public gatherings.  I either hide in a corner, leave as soon as I can or find friends and never leave their side. I mostly avoid those situations as my friends also prefer small gatherings usually involving birds, paddles and campfires.   I don’t make close friends easily but treasure those that I have.  And now, I’m learning the art of 20-minute friendships that actually work well with my personality. I'll come across people who catch my attention or I theirs in campgrounds, while kayaking, birding, biking, walking my cat, or taking photos.  We stop and chat for five to thirty minutes.  Sometimes we end up at each other’s campsites, paddling or birding together.  Rarely do we exchange our names and when we do it is usually with a laugh as we depart.  Names are not important as we will never see each other again or keep in touch.  But for those few moments in life we connect.  It’s an interesting social life and allows me to meet fascinating people!  



For some, Facebook is decreasing in popularity.  But I love that I’ve been able to keep in touch with friends and relatives that I no longer see.  In some cases it’s with relatives that I had lost touch with through most of my life and never knew as adults.  


A few facts:

  • The Yukon, purchased August 2015, has 39,300 miles

  • The Casita, purchased in December 2015, has 16,500 miles

  • My average nightly fee is $20

  • I’ve camped or traveled through 22 states with the Casita

  • My annual expenses are 23% less, which wasn’t a goal as I’m doing what I want to do and going where I want to go; however, I pay no state tax, no rent, no utilities and my cell/internet is less expensive


I’ve spent 3 months in my brother’s backyard.  I love the connection with the family, and that helps ground me. What has kept me here is the experience to observe, study and photograph the Peregrine Falcon family, that I discovered in 2015 - from eggs to hatch to fledge of 2 eyasses who are now learning to fly and hunt. They are the first confirmed Peregrine Falcons to successfully nest on a natural cliff in Kentucky history. Very few people have had the experience that I’ve had, and I treasure it. It has enriched my soul.


Feeding one while second observesFeeding one while second observes





For 386 nights I’ve laid my head on my pillow in my Casita.  I’m ready to see new places, make new 20-minute friends, find more birds, paddle new water, and revisit some locations.  I want to travel to see friends and relatives.  I want to see how the sky, with its stars, clouds, sunrises and sunsets, looks different everywhere I go. So, soon I will hit the road and lay my head on my pillow with new views out my window








Soul Etude revisited…


Soul - I can identify with each of the definitions.  Which one specifically, including #3 when I feel my parents’ presence, is ever-changing.  I like that awareness of the shifting and evolution of my soul.


Etude - The music of my soul.  The study of my soul.  Both are at play in my life.


I’m eager to see how my Soul Etude composition will evolve over the next year!



The Happy Wanderer





tinanauman@gmail.com (Tina Nauman) - 1 Casita GMC Nauman Part Tina Yukon adventure bike camper camping cat full-time kayak soul trailer travel traveler wander wandering http://tinanauman.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/soul-etude Wed, 21 Jun 2017 23:59:53 GMT
Traveling full time in a Casita - Part 1 http://tinanauman.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/traveling-full-time-in-a-casita---part-1---the-b Part 1
May I ask you a question? How are you doing, Tina? The start of a conversation that leads to
Why did you…..
Do you….
How do you like….
What are your biggest problems
How do you get the kayak on top of your Yukon?

The questions go on and on from my friends, from fellow campers and paddlers, from people at gas stations and in parking lots when they see my rig or find out I'm a full-time wanderer. Some take notes and wish I would put in writing as they can’t remember everything I tell them. I learn from others as they learn from me.

So here is the start of a blog about full-time travel. I'll post as I get new sections complete that should cover every aspect of my travel, my choices and my adventures. If you choose, you can be my editors. Through your comments you can tell me what’s missing and what questions I haven’t answered or errors in my information.

Pick up at factorPick up at factor


tinanauman@gmail.com (Tina Nauman) Casita GMC Nauman Tina Yukon adventure camper camping cat full-time trailer travel traveler wander wandering http://tinanauman.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/traveling-full-time-in-a-casita---part-1---the-b Wed, 21 Jun 2017 21:41:20 GMT
Time on the Prairie http://tinanauman.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/8/time-on-the-prairie I often wish I could have a time machine and stand in a place and just slowly go back in time.  In July, I felt that I did exactly that during my time on the short-grass prairies of New Mexico, Oklahoma and Colorado.  Very little​ tied me to a specific period of time except for my possessions, contained in a car and a Casita camper.  Many years ago I read James Michener’s book, Centennial, and as I approached Colorado I downloaded the audiobook version. That book became  my time machine. 

As I visited the Pawnee National GrasslandsI realized I was in the exact location of most of the book; Weld County, Colorado in the NE corner of the state.  The city of Greeley, the Platte River, Pawnee Buttes and the Chalk Cliffs are all the central locations of the story. Most of this area is now a National Grassland, which means people can drive and camp anywhere.   You can drive named roads that are barely crushed grass to show the way, ​ and where there are fences you can drive through gates -​ as long as you close them.  Roads lead to working windmills,​  and cows have free range and can be found blocking your progress.  Pronghorn Antelope are plentiful. 

7W6A04387W6A0438 But oh, the magnificence of the sky, prairie and where they meet at the far horizon.  With grass no more than 6” high and not a tree to be seen from horizon to horizon in any direction, the view is immense and I feel very dwarfed and insignificant.  The wind blows ceaselessly until it suddenly dies to nothing, the flies bite hard and the sun beats down on low cactus and tumbleweeds that pile up against any fence. 

  7W6A03187W6A0318 In Centennial, the Indians live near Rattlesnake Buttes.  I was there.  Michener talks about the Chalk Cliffs.  I could see them far in the distance.  The biggest thing missing was the buffalo.  How tens of millions of buffalo could have been slaughtered by the settlers and explorers is beyond my imagination,​ but their absence changed history for the Indians,​ and not even my time machine could make them reappear.  Certainly, I could picture how the Indians were systematically pushed out as settlers moved in to the places where water was present.

I tried to imagine what life must have been like for the settlers who were given land west of the Mississippi River.  In all, more than 270 million acres of public land, or nearly 10% of the total area of the U.S., was given away free to 1.6 million homesteaders. Back East, the eldest son got the parent’s farm.  The younger children knew farming but had no land.  How enticing that must have been to them and to immigrants newly arrived in America.  But, the living conditions were brutal.  As much as I loved being there, I could not imagine living there year after year.  


A few years of good rain were followed by many with none. “The rain follows the plow” was an effective advertising gimmick but not reality. Instead, year after year the dust was pulled from the ground by the never-ending wind. Sun-parched​ soil, grasshoppers, fire, and blizzards that suffocated cattle were all part of their life.  It drove many mad, especially the women who couldn’t keep the dust off anything, including their infants. Then hope would return with the rain, but it never stayed. 


As conditions reached the point that settlers knew they could not continue,​ they abandoned it all.  The ghosts of houses still standing give testament to the hopes, dreams and never-ending work that were blown away by the wind.

One night I camped on the prairie.

Pawnee Grasslands near Greeley, COPawnee Grasslands near Greeley, CO

 I saw no lights except the sun, the moon and the stars.  The sunset and sunrise were among the best I’ve witnessed as they turned the world around me to gold.  

The sounds of coyotes at night andthe sight of  ​a Pronghorn Antelope looking down at me from a small rise in the morning were surreal.  So, I sat at the edge of a Prairie Dog town that had been decimated  by Prairie Dog plague, Pawnee Grasslands near Greeley, COPawnee Grasslands near Greeley, CO  and watched the families of Burrowing Owls and the few remaining Prairie Dogs.  I hid behind tumbleweed that had piled up against a fence and was soon ignored by the Prairie Dogs 

and Burrowing Owls. Unfortunately the biting flies and red ants still found me.  I watched as adult and young owls interacted with each other. I watched adult owls fly up and grab insects to bring back to feed their hungry, noisy owlets. 

Adult Burrowing OwlAdult Burrowing Owl

Later I wondered about the plague, as there was such a difference from New Mexico’s towns of 100 or more and Colorado’s towns of less than a dozen.  Google informed me that this is the exact strain of Bubonic Plague that is believed to be the cause of the Black Death that swept through Asia, Europe and Africa in the 14th century and killed an estimated 50 million people. I learned that, even now, people, who have been bitten by infected fleas could contract Bubonic Plague. 

Fortunately, modern antibiotics work for the vast majority of patients.  ​I will admit I had a bit of a panic attack at that information. 

As I arrived at a new National Grasslands, I stopped by ranger stations and told them I was looking for Prairie Dog towns so I could observe them and Burrowing Owls.  They all talked about the plague but not one mentioned the possibility of being infected by a shared flea.  Maybe they haven’t come across many people who want to sit in the middle of the town and just watch.

But, sit among burrows and all the little bugs, I did. Were any of them fleas?  Happily, I am now long past the 3-7 days that would result in symptoms of illness so I won’t be adding that to my adventure stories! 



Tina Nauman 

August 2016






tinanauman@gmail.com (Tina Nauman) Blanca Burrowing Dog Nauman Owls Pawnee Prairie Rita Tina grasslands machine time http://tinanauman.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/8/time-on-the-prairie Thu, 11 Aug 2016 02:11:45 GMT