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posted Mar 29, 2013, 10:35 AM by Judd Hadley

Feb. 23, 2013

HOBO ! So what's in a word
? According to Wikipedia.... " A hobo is a migratory worker or homeless vagabond, especially one who is penniless. The term originated in the Western—probably Northwestern—United States during the last decade of the 19th century. Unlike "tramps", who work only when they are forced to, and "bums", who do not work at all, "hobos" are workers who wander. "

As I drove back home from Sebring FL to the Mojave Desert in Southern CA earlier this month, I contemplated how comfortable I had become living out of the back of my Ford Ranger and camping along the way. I remember a chance meeting in a British Columbia campground in the spring of 2005 when 2 middle age men came in late one evening driving an early 70's Plymouth Fury. They set up camp, cooked over a wood fire, and seemed to not have a care in the world. They liked to call themselves "Hobo's" as they did odd jobs to provide sustenance and dumpster diving to provide the rest of life's necessities. They waited until the Park Ranger did his evening rounds before setting up camp to avoid paying the nightly fee..... they left at first light the next day.

So, with Thanks to the US Social Security Administration I have a steady income, shop for "deals" in discount stores and supermarkets and with the help of Gas Buddy dot COM get my fuel at the best possible price. I camp where I wish (sometimes with a discount) at state, federal, or local campgrounds and always pay as I feel blessed to be able to live part of my life "on the road". To the right is my first morning on the road at an Interstate Highway Rest Stop in FL. Coffee costs from a dollar to two for a single cup..... from my tailgate I can make a whole pot of Colombian Drip Coffee for less than a dollar. Usually enough to last me all day. The blue container is my faucet/water supply..... the red funnel behind the water bottle is my thermal carafe with a Melita drip Filter... the green bottle and coffee pot to the left is my Coleman stove and water heater. Some boiling water made me a bowl of instant oatmeal and a couple of cinnamon rolls ($1.06) from the 2nd day rack at Wall-Mart gave me a breakfast.... Oh yeah, ++ a glass of OJ from the red Cooler in the picture. (OJ from "free" oranges found in a roadside pull out where they had been spilled from a truck.)

So I have to ask?, Am I a HOBO?? I guess not. I have a permanent home and spend the majority of my time under a roof and not the fabric of my tent. But how easy it would be to make the change. As I travel the highways and byways of North America I grow more and more comfortable with the lifestyle. My windshield is my picture window to the world. My truck radio brings me memories (from various songs), news and local "color" like farm reports, events and daily goings on from what ever locale I am in. As I travel, I live! There is a reason to get up, get going, and see what's around the next corner and over that next hill..... So for now I remain a "Car Camper" with a penchant to wander endlessly but grounded by creature comforts afforded with a permanent address. When home I look at my pictures and long to pack my gear and return to the ribbon of asphalt.... the highway calls, I must go,   ....