Peace In A Tin Can

Peace In A Tin Can

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Living with Dr. Seuss

You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!

                           ~Dr. Seuss

My go-to gift for high school graduates is the book "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" by Dr. Seuss.  It lets kids know they are ready to go and grab life and do great things.  Except when they don't.

I have always had an adventurous spirit, but most of my life for various reasons, I have not spent much time on great adventures.  Not to complain, because I have had some wonderful times in the wilderness, I have also had some wonderful times at home with my family, and then all the times when life wasn't the way I wanted it.  That's life.

One of the obstacles I have faced is the same for most people: money.  Or lack thereof.  It's expensive to be an outdoor adventurer, and sometimes when I hear the mountains calling, or the wilderness whispering and beckoning to me, I have to silence their sound and stay on course at home.

In my younger days, it was a little easier.  Give me a tent, a sleeping bag, and some basic gear and I was good to go.  But gone are the days of riding my mountain bike full-tilt down a single track.  I am no longer capable of jumping up after a head-first dive into the ground and thinking it was awesome.  Gone, too, are the days of throwing my gear in my car on a whim in the middle of February to either sleep in a snow-covered tent or worse, in the backseat of my car, just to see Lake Superior when it's frozen - which doesn't happen often.

There was a time when I was up for any adventure and could make it happen on a pretty small budget.  I still have the desire.  This year alone, I jumped out of an airplane, hiked among waterfalls and mountains, and explored the rugged wilderness of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, in good weather and bad.  But I am no longer up for anything. Winters in the U.P. are really, really cold.   I have reached that point in my life (and by that point, I mean that age) where adventure is still awesome, but so is heat and a comfortable bed.

Oh! The Places You'll Go!
You'll be on your way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
                                     You'll join the high flyers
                                         who soar to high heights.

                          Except when you don't.

                          Because, sometimes, you won't.

Winter adventures have been a challenge, and often, I have said no to the wilderness because my aging bones just can't take it.  I just need a bed and heat without spending a lot of money. Apparently, a lot of people want basic comfort without big expense, and one man heard their call and set about turning the vision into a reality.  Dustin Johns, President of Travel Lite, designed and built the Rayzr, not just for the cutting edge of innovation in the RV market, but for people like me, who live for the cutting edge of adventure and do not want to be encumbered by a complicated, expensive fancy camper or reservations at a hotel.

Dustin created the Rayzr not just for adventurers, but for anyone, really.  It is a small, simple space with ingenious design to offer all the necessities without all the frills and headaches of RV ownership.    It is very affordable, which is good, because I do not foresee many used Rayzr's available anytime soon.  People will buy them, and keep them.

What is all the excitement about?  Simply put, it's the solution to so many problems.  Relatives coming to stay?  Give them their own space and a comfortable bed.  Going hunting?  Fishing? Come back to warmth and a cup of coffee.  Outdoor adventurers can now go anywhere and still have a home.  Park on the street for an Art Fair, and have a place to store all your purchases and make lunch, maybe even take a midday nap.  Christmas shopping becomes less stressful when your second home is parked in the mall parking lot. The Rayzr is a place to be, a space to call your own, in any situation.  You can cook, sleep, stay warm or cool, read, store all your stuff, and in one model, even have a bathroom.  All for a very affordable price and the ease of barely knowing it's there.

You can read all about the different models and technical stuff in an article published in Truck Camper Magazine which interviews Dustin Johns.  It's a good read and gives you all the floor plans, pricing, and details.

But for me, I can sell the idea of this camper easily. The Rayzr is affordable, versatile, simple, and comfortable.  It can be plugged into shore power, but as a self-contained unit that needs no hook-ups for several days, it can also be my comfort in a State or National Forest or cross-country trip. I can take it anywhere I can drive my truck.  Yes, you do need a truck, but in my mind, who doesn't want a truck?

I recently took my Rayzr FB on its maiden voyage, and I was not disappointed.  I easily loaded it in the back of my truck, threw in some food and clothes, and headed north.  The weather was miserable.  I chose to go to a State campground with electrical hook-up, because I have never camped in a self-contained unit and wanted a back-up plan.  At arrival, I jumped out of the truck in the pouring rain, took a few seconds to turn on the propane tank, then went inside the Rayzr.  There was nothing else to set-up.  I was good to go within 5 minutes of my arrival, except that it was raining so hard, I never left that night.  I stayed warm and dry in the Rayzr, read a good book, made a pot of coffee on the stove, and ate some soup.  I slept like a baby, and early the next morning a cold front moved in and brought a thunderstorm with it.  Lying awake in a warm bed at 5:00am while the thunder boomed and the winds gusted over Lake Michigan was pure joy.  As the temperatures plummeted, I tried to imagine what the conditions would be in a tent, and while I've been in that situation many times, I sure was glad I wasn't in it this time.

Even with the cold and the rain that lasted a few days, I did get out and do a little hiking and exploring.  I had the entire area to myself, in an empty state park.  The Rayzr was a welcome site at the end of the day, when I was chilled and wet, hungry, ready for some fresh percolated coffee.  It rained so much that I never would have been able to cook a hot meal outside, and I can assure you that, had I been tent camping, I would have gone home after the first night.  I love to be outside, and go camping, hiking, embrace outdoor adventure of many kinds.  Now there is nothing stopping me!  I can go anywhere, anytime, in any weather, spend my days doing what I love outside, and have a warm, dry space waiting for me at night in the Rayzr.

My family is planning a quick ski trip, staying at my daughter's house.  But there aren't enough beds for all of us, so my husband and I will be parking in the driveway and sleeping in the Rayzr.  In a few weeks, I am heading over the bridge to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for a winter getaway of snowshoeing and photography.  My Rayzr will keep me safe and comfortable at the end of the day.

Oh!  The places you'll go!

Dustin Johns is my hero.  He heard what customers want, envisioned the solution, and built it.  The Rayzr is the answer for so many people, especially me.  The next time the wilderness whispers to me, beckoning me to get lost in the woods, I will go.  I won't have to worry about where I will sleep, will I be warm, or is there enough in my budget?  I can just go.  Living with Dr. Seuss' timeless wisdom, Oh!  The places I'll go!