Welcome to the UltraEscape

No home, no car, no worries. On the road since 1996, a TechNomad couple share their travel secrets and adventures.

Life on the Road: Voting

The general election is drawing near. If you have an established home you don’t have to plan ahead. However, for those of us who live on the road full time it takes some advanced planning to exercise our right to vote. With the use of the Internet the task has become so much easier.

Task One: Registering to Vote. Where?
Although we would rather just be Americans, it is a requirement that we choose a state as our legal residence. We selected Texas although it was over three years before we actually visited the city we use for our address. We are proud to be members of the Escapees RV Club and use their unique services, although we no longer have an RV.

Task Two: Voter Registration and Requesting the Absentee Ballot.
A simple web search will take you to the voter registration and absentee ballot application page for your state. I simply printed the ballot request form, filled it in and faxed it to the county clerk. All the important deadlines for registering, requesting ballots and voting were clearly stated.

Task Three: Decide where to have the ballots sent.
Sounds simple, but consider: our mail service is in the county where we are registered to vote. A ballot can’t be sent to an address in the same county as you have just claimed you will be absent from the county. Our mail service has established an alternative address for the use of its members, if needed.

Task Four: Wait and Wonder.
For this election we decided we would have the ballots mailed directly to our current location. We faxed the absentee ballot request to the county clerk in Livingston, TX. Three days later Hurricane Ike blew through the area. Our mail service was closed for over a week and it followed the county offices would also be experiencing difficulties.

We began to wait and wonder. Did the ccounty clerk receive the application? Would they mail the ballots? Would we still be at our current location when the ballots arrived? If not, would we return in time to mail in the ballots prior to the election deadline? Luckily, the ballots arrived without delay.

Now, all we have to do is research the local, state and federal candidates, decide who or what to vote for and get the ballots in the mail prior to the Nov. 4th deadline. Exercise your right to vote.

Life in a Ghost Town

When last I wrote we had just boarded the Texas Eagle in San Antonio, our journey north just beginning.

Where are we? According to the Internet we are visiting a ghost town about 50 miles west of the Mackinac Bridge in the beautiful upper peninsula of Michigan.

That may be true if you consider: when I take someone around town I usually point out the empty lot where my grandmother once lived. I talk about families that left the area in search of jobs or are deceased, businesses that no longer exist, empty lots and what used to be. Gould City, MI is just a yellow blinking light on US2. But to me it’s where I grew up.

It’s a beautiful time of the year to visit. After the scorching 106 degree temps. of the desert southwest and the high humidity of the south, it’s wonderful to sleep comfortably with the window’s wide open. The days are warm, the evenings cool and the annoying insects that abound are generally missing this time of the year.

Ping. Another wild raspberry hits the bottom of the pail. Bees buzz. The yellow, white and blue wild flowers sway in the gentle breeze. A flock of partridge, feathers ruffled scurry from the two track gravel road into the under brush. Two raccoons watch from twin trees. The smell of apples freshly raked into piles, shoveled into baskets and transported to feed the deer scent the air. A small deer darts into the dense hardwood forest.

The chores are piling up but the weather is a distraction. It’s only 10 miles to the shores of Lake Michigan. The water is refreshingly cold after the spa hot water of the Gulf of Mexico. The waves are small compared to the Atlantic and Pacific. The beach is deserted except for me.

There is a pancake breakfast to benefit some group or the other, the Friday night American Legion Fish Fry, family dinners, visits to the elderly, trips to transport family to doctors or pick up medicine, meals to provide and events to attend.

The highlights of Labor Day weekend were the Art on the Lake festival in Curtis with home made maple syrup, spinners, jugglers, arts, crafts, food, wine, beer, a puppet parade and live music. Attending with an old childhood friend, priceless. And to top of the weekend, participating in a once a year event for the first time, the 51st annual five mile plus walk across the Mackinac Bridge. We have the certificate and pictures to prove it.

Not bad for a few weeks spent visiting a ghost town. But now it’s back to fall chores, canning tomatoes, making jam and mincemeat. Every once in a while it’s nice to take a break from travel.