A dramatization of a text message:
Scamper Squad –
Thx for making the camping reservation. FYI we call ourselves the Scamper Squad complete with an official pose. If you don’t have a name and pose yet, better get cracking. 😁
Greg & Duwan –
I don’t know what a pose is.
Is it like a stance?
Scamper Squad –
Like a stance.
Greg & Duwan –
I think we will be La banda de Ballena Blanca.
La Banda de Ballena Blanca –
We will work on the pose.
And so started our adventure with Scamper Squad.
We never came up with a pose, and since La Banda de Ballena Blanca didn’t quite roll off the tongue as nicely as the sibilant Scamper Squad, Greg and I became Junior Scamper Squaders (although we were never taught the official Squad pose).
Scamper Squad are actually Scott and Ellen, boating friends of ours we met at Indiantown Marina in Florida many moons ago. As it goes in the boating/traveling world we have said countless goodbyes to each other when we thought one pair of us were going to sail off on the high seas never to return. But the traveling life has its twists and unexpected turns and none of those goodbyes ever seemed to stick – even the last time 2 years ago when we thought we were saying our “last” adios as Greg and I finally drove away from Indiantown and the sailing life. Scott and Ellen were just about ready to say more goodbyes to sailing friends in Indiantown and sail away on the high seas just this last year when their boat developed a serious crack. After many many months of trying to get it fixed and debating what to do they decide it would be easier to let someone else worry about it. So they sold the boat and moved back into the tiny little Scamp trailer (named Scamper) that brought them to Florida so many years ago when we first met them.
As soon as they decided it was safe to leave (or rather when the COVID-19 numbers started making it unsafe to stay), they hit the road and plotted a path from Florida to North Dakota. Come to North Dakota they told us. But we were having too much fun in Idaho. We decided to meet in Montana and travel together for a while.
Traveling can be stressful. There is all the deciding where to go, the timing of things, and the logistics of getting there – especially when you are driving down unfamiliar narrow bumpy dirt roads in a lumbering van looking for a campsite. It can be hard enough with just one other person so the potential for bad times with 4 personalities in the mix can be even more challenging. But Scott and Ellen are a little more than happy-hour-on-the-dock boat buddies, we have lived with them before. Back when Greg and I were trying to sell our boat I (Greg was as already back in Cabbagetown painting houses) spent over two weeks living with Ellen (while Scott was away) on her boat. Since both of us are introverts, we spent most of our time separately in one of the two different rooms on the tiny boat, emerging for a happy hour drink and super before retreating to our separate worlds in separate spaces. And 3 years ago when Scott and Ellen were fleeing from a hurricane in Florida, and could only finding vacancies at fleabag hotels, we invited them to come stay with us in the tiny house where we were pet sitting in Cabbagetown. It was one of those magical weeks in Atlanta with festivals, parades, free beer at every turn, and a natural disaster – which always brings out the best of everyone in the right knit little community of Cabbagetown. After the storm passed we all found excuses for them to stay just a few more days.
This time we ended up spending 21 days with Scamper Squad traveling through Wyoming and Montana and visiting 3 National Parks. We spent most of the time together outside exploring, always met for happy hour in front of their Scamp, and when anyone ever got overwhelmed by all the socializing we could always disappear back into our separate worlds in our respective rolling tiny homes.
And it appears to have worked out pretty well. We said another goodbye when we left Glacier mid-August but here we are now, right now this very minute hanging out with them again outside of Theodore Roosevelt Nation Park in North Dakota. And there has been talk of possibly meeting again in Arizona later this year – hopefully along with another pair of nomadic friends – for a trip across the border to visit the dentist.
As with most things, there were pluses and minuses to our experience. Here are my takeaways on traveling with other nomads:
- Someone other than your spouse to talk to
- Someone your spouse can talk to who likes to talk first thing in the morning
- Discovering new things to consume – everything topped bread from Walmart, cough drops as snacks
- Hiking longer one-way trails – because we had two vehicles we could park one at one end of a trail and the one at the other – meaning we could hike an 11-mile trail without having to double back
- Friends buy you chocolate for your birthday adding to all the chocolate your spouse has bought for you plus the chocolate you bought yourself because you figured no one would remember
- Hanging with friends is a good excuse to make pizza
- Sometimes your friends buy you ice cream unexpectedly
- Your friends provide potato chips for happy hour
- Someone else does most of the driving (thanks Scott!) and we can leave Ballena Blanca at the campsite
- Someone else likes to take photos so I don’t feel like I’m the only one holding everyone up all the time when we are hiking
- Lots of laughs at happy hour
- Husbands teach each other annoying things to say which they then start saying all the freaking time (hooty-hoot, dontcha know)
- Feeling responsible for being the one who suggests an unpleasant, overgrown, buggy trail for the group to hike (this is when you start making rules like – if anyone wants to turn around at any time and abandon the plan, please speak up because we are all probably thinking the same thing)
- Not having your home with you at all times – because Scamper Squad had a car we used it most of the time for exploring. This meant Greg and I had to do more planning – making sure we packed enough food for all-day excursions and taking a variety of clothes with us for when it warmed up during the day and for elevation/temperature changes.
- More people talking first thing in the morning
- Having too much fun and not having enough time to bathe, exercise, write blogs, etc.
- Eating too much chocolate, pizza, potato chips, ice cream, and putting on weight
Here is our journey in pictures. Although I have a few pictures of the National Parks we visited in this post, there will whole posts with tons more pictures dedicated to each one coming up in the future.
Have you ever traveled with friends? How did it go? Would you do it again or do anything different?