Turtlelog No. 7, www.TheGreatStory.org

Staying Alive

On our Great Story road tour, it is profits from the sale of books and videos that provide most of our income. After our presentations people can go home with the best and most realistically hopeful resources of which we are aware. This not only keeps us in gas and food money but also allows us to offer our services for free. Truly, a win-win arrangement.

Commentary by Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd

When we hit the road in April 2002, we had given away our libraries, furniture, appliances, had sent excess clothes to the thrift stores, and had managed to whittle down memorabilia to the point that family members were willing to store a few boxes for us. That gave us the room to put what little remained entirely into the used Ford van we purchased for our new way of life. That van, "Goldie," did pretty well to begin with, but by the summer of 2003 she was costing us a lot of money in repairs, and getting all-too-cramped with the additional book inventories we had purchased.

After just one too many more breakdowns, in November 2003 we purchased on long-term loan a brand-new Dodge (Mercedes) Sprinter high-top van, which not only gave us a lot more room for storage (and the ability to stand up while dressing or sorting book boxes in the center section) but would cut our fuel costs nearly in half (5-cylinder diesel, very efficient). Into the new van we moved our tried and true elevated futon bed, built for us initially by our friend Paul Newman in Rockland County, New York. Having a bed over the top of the storage boxes not only makes it easy for folks to accommodate us in their homes (we almost always prefer to sleep in our van), but it gives us a sense of stability. Equipped with down comforter and wool caps, we find that there is no temperature so cold that we cannot comfortably sleep in the van. "Angel", the name for our new van, is the best of the best.

In April 2004, in a snowstorm on our way down from a 11,000 foot Colorado pass, we had a slight accident, reminding us of the risks of life on the road. But we are grateful that no-one was injured, that our vehicle suffered no damage, and that the other vehicle was able to drive away too with just a fender-bender.

Michael enjoying dinner with Russ and Cheryl Genet, our hosts for a week in northern California, in the spring of 2003. Russ instigated the Epic of Evolution Society in 1996 and has been a major networker in the movement.

Note: The acknowledgments section of this travel report includes a complete list of the people who provided organizational help, home hospitality, and other acts of kindness for us during our second year of itinerancy.

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