"What a wonder life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner." Colette

Jul 10, 2016

Live Rich Without Money

I’m embarrassed because my five week, cross-country trek was documented in all of, what, 3 boring stories? Most of the time I was looking for a parking space for the night; snapping the odd photo without looking and enjoying the scenery along the way.  So being in one spot for more than 24 hours is always a treat.

As I sit alongside a lake, somewhere in central Pennsylvania (for $16 a night so I'm here for a week), I realize I'm learning to Live Rich Without Money, just as Mom tried to teach all those decades ago. It was one of her favorite books from the time of Dr. Spock and the outbreak of self-help books; but at my teen-time I was not interested because, of course, I would be wealthy when I grew up.  Weren’t you supposed to be, too?

My last post was particularly "Whiner-Baby-ish", the Captain would chide. S’cuse me.  Well, that’s how I felt at the time, so after my initial visit with Mom , I sought tranquility in Connecticut to gather my thoughts and get BC groomed for $45 (plus tip) versus $85 (plus my firstborn) in Monmouth County, NJ.

Which I’d have gladly handed over if the price was lower.  During my brief hiatus I not only balanced my Libran scales, but I began to get into my ‘groove’ as far as finding places to live semi-permanently on a budget. It ain’t easy, but I continue to be shown that just when things seem hopeless, Paradise appears.  Sometimes it comes after a night or two of nothing available (again, in my budget) except for Walmart, Cracker Barrel or a highway Rest Area, but it just makes my eventual discovery that much sweeter.

Whaddaya think?  I swear I was pinching myself; holding up traffic because I thought for sure I was looking at the wrong number campsite. This is Raystown Lake; managed by the Corps of Engineers, along with a slew of other lakes with campgrounds.  And they all honor that sweet little Access Pass I picked up in Dinosaur-land, Wyoming.

Please remember that I’m winging it when it comes to my plans.  I go where and as far as I can afford, trying to stay within $25 of gas per travel day; and so the longer I can stay in one place, the cheaper.  But where to go? 

I was excited with my Access Pass out west, where there’s nothing but Grand Canyons, Crater Lakes and Old Yellerstones; but in the tri-state area?  There’s one option within proximity of Mom, but they don’t allow pets and BC’s not negotiable.

You (generally) don’t make reservations directly with the National Parks, et al, but through this Recreation.gov link which is not a money-maker for me.

Nither is this one: ReserveAmerica.com. They share what's available, but you'd need to sign up for each to make a reservation.  I've discovered that when I find something I Star it or something because I can't find it again without taxing my memory.  "Oh, I'll remember.  Johnstown...just like Mom's neighbor's birthplace..."  

And if you don’t know what’s around, like me, the “Find a Place” Search bar and available filters, like Pets or Fishing, are brilliant. That’s how I discovered there’s so much more than the National Park Service at (our) disposal.

There.  That’s probably the most useful information I learned over the past 4,000 miles which I can share.  Tell your family and friends with disabilities about the free Access Pass, which allows a 50% discount at campgrounds, in addition to free admission to parks.  National Parks, that is.

State Parks have different rules.  I realize they need to make money, and while I was bummed I couldn’t afford to stay in those parks, I would like to make a suggestion in case anyone in power is reading:

Any disabled veteran with an Access Pass should be permitted to use it for a 50% discount in all State Parks, regardless of their state-of-record. Why?  Because many of those veterans are traveling the roads, like me. Looking for work; visiting family; trying to begin again…who cares why?

What’s the harm?  I have the Access Pass for non-military-related injuries, so I won't include myself in this proposal.  Of course it would be nice, but it would come across as self-serving and turn some people off before even considering the idea.  Surely they have some sort of military ID which can be used when registering. If disabled vets don't need and/or deserve this break, who does?

In my humble opinion. So while I continue to get into my housing ‘groove’ I’ll write about some of my earlier cross-country experiences, like being surprised when the waitress announced over the mic that it was time for us all to stand up, face Old Glory and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Hand-over-heart optional.  Honest to...

I’ll close now with a Good Samaritan vignette which I zoomed past on the opposite side of the highway, somewhere in America:
A minor fender-bender involving two vehicles with a third stopped a bit up the road.  The 20-ish Hispanic driver was shaking and crying (remember your first accident?) as white-haired, light-skinned, rear-ended Granny consoled her in her arms.  The tall, 30-ish witness of indeterminate race was standing aside, speaking calmly on his cell phone. No one else was around.

Zoom…I was gone.  All apparently under control.  Now you don’t need a major explanation from me because I can only make up a story anyway;but it seems to me that when the crunch occurred it mattered little to these people the color of the other’s skin.  Something needed handling and they pulled together and handled it.

At least that’s what I choose to believe happened.  I only relate this to help counter the ugliness gripping some Americans at this time. Let's not slide all the way backwards; it's taken too long to make what little progress we have.

I can't clearly explain all I've learned to Mom, but I know she'd be pleased at least that all those years ago her Live Rich Without Money lectures took root after all. I'm going back to my lakeside view.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely view!
    I searched online for "Live Rich Without Money." I don't ever remember seeing it in Mom's library and I couldn't find anything by that name anywhere. Perhaps it was the book she always wanted to write. She sure proved it by being able to "make a dollar do the work of twenty," and other magical demonstrations of supply.


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