“This is a throw away house. We are here for the community, not the place.” That’s Bob Rogers’ description of the 400 square foot Park Model he and his wife Claire purchased, used, for $4500 in 2004. At the time, lot rental in Far Horizons RV Park was $2500 per year, which included the covered patio/carport and storage shed. Now, rent is twice that and newer models sell for $50,000 or more. When Claire and Bob decide to sell, they’ll have to move the unit. “The management won’t let you sell old models that stay here. We’ll get $3500 from someone who wants to use it for scrap or a poor family will park it outside of town.”
Claire and Bob used to live in a conventional house outside of Seattle. “We had a fabulous 2500 square foot house with a view of the San Juan Mountains. We traded it for this. We haven’t missed it.”
They find it easy to conserve resources living in a small space within a larger community. For instance, they use the community building showers, which are more generous than the one in their Park Model. As a result, they don’t need to run the hot water heater in their unit. When they need water to wash dishes, they warm a pitcher in the microwave.
Claire and Bob met at an Audubon meeting in 1987; Bob was 42, Claire 22. “Claire said she was saving up to go to Africa. I thought, ‘I’m going with her.’” It took Bob awhile to woo her, but they went to Africa together and have been together ever since. Claire is an adventurous soul who loves to sweat and sleep outside. “So many men have told me, ‘you re the luckiest man in the world.’ I know that.”
Bob was a teacher for one year. Otherwise he worked in sales and as an independent photographer. Claire is a freelance writer who writes nature and science articles for Desert Leaf. She’s never had a conventional job.
Claire and Bob leave their Park Model whenever they want. They travel all over the world, usually by bicycle – 44,000 miles on their tandem to date. For Bob’s 70th birthday, they cycled the highest road in the world, over 18,000 high in Tibet. Bob relayed the story of a woman they came upon in Tibet. Her cow had two broken legs. “In our country we would pray to Jesus to heal it or shoot the cow to put it out of its misery. In Tibet, the woman sat before the cow, fed it precious grass, and sang Buddhists chants to ease its passage to death.”
“I couldn’t have done the traveling I’ve done without Claire. We meet solo bicycle travelers who are riding 100 miles a day. It’s just them and the bike. That is too isolating for me.”
The couple is not sure where their next tip will be. Bob’s father is getting old and may need more care, so they are staying close by for now.
How will we live tomorrow?
“We live our life today the way we hope to live tomorrow. Simpler, smaller. We live well with less footprint and less money.
“There’s a conflict between cycling and flying to where we cycle. I haven’t reconciled it. I just believe that there is such value in getting to know the people of the world the way we do on our bike.
“Look at this house. It’s made of aluminum and foam. Another house would be more energy efficient, but we’ll never use enough energy to operate this house to offset the embodied energy it would take to build a new one.” – Bob
“We started on our first trip around the US in 1995-1996. I am wondering how things have changed in twenty years. I am happy that there are still good people out these. We still treat our near neighbors badly; that’s true throughout the world. We travelled through Azerbaijan to Georgia to Turkey. Each country focuses on how different they are from each other. Marking our differences makes us seem more different than we are.
“We have to step back from the edge, but we all have to do it together.” – Claire