Why A Stealth Camper?

Victory Landing Park, Newport News, VA

NEWPORT NEWS, VA–I’ve received a whole bunch of emails over the last few days asking why I’m looking for a “stealth RV.” I can sum it up in four words, “The Bastard Doug Coone.”

More below the break…

When I was a young man, The Bastard Doug Coone (he comments here as “Doug in Powell”), a good friend of mine, up and went missing. No one knew where he was, what had happened to him, of even if he was still alive.

You’re expecting more to this story? We didn’t have one. He was just missing. Gone. Poof. That’s really the sad part of missing: No one knows; there are no answers; anyone who cared about him was left with nothing but a bunch of unanswered questions.

Three years later we found out he was cooking short order in a little diner way up in NW Washington state. Three years earlier he had decided to go for what I’ve come to call “The Long Walk.” He rode his bicycle to the airport, picked a random destination (Denver), then hitchhiked his way from place to place, worked cool jobs (circus, ranch hand, chicken farming), slept under the stars, and just wandered as the Fates would guide him.

I’ve always admired him for that.

A stealth RV is my solution to that Siren’s song. To wander, to go wherever the Fates may draw me. If I feel like exploring Montpelier, I’ll go and stay until it is time to move on. If I yearn to hang out on the beaches of Cape Hatteras, I want to be able to drive there and not be concerned about reservations, lengths of stay, or campgrounds booked for the summer. If I decide to start giving talks on enlightenment, I want to be able to stop by the town’s local yoga studio and tell them I’ll be holding talks over in their county park.

A stealth vehicle allows me this freedom.

Many full-time RV’ers spend most of their time in the West, mostly in the desert areas. Why? Because it is easy to find a place to stay. Easy because these places are usually in the middle of nowhere.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the middle of nowhere. But I also love small towns, college towns, cities, and coastlines.

I’m sure with a stealth vehicle I’ll have to sacrifice a lot. But in exchange for the comforts and “distain” of society, I expect I’ll gain something that is appropriate for this Fourth of July holiday. Something that seems to have been forgotten in social America’s quest for ongoing pleasure, consumption, and safety…


Happy Birthday America. I love you.

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7 thoughts on “Why A Stealth Camper?

  1. Good for you, bro!

    I *do* worry about you, though… that you will end up (as Dad has a few times) in “the wrong place at the wrong time” and get shot at and/or killed by people who are in a town that doesn’t like “strangers”.

    But I also know that your Spiritual Mom will watch over you the way mine has for me… but prayers won’t hurt either. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    ….and patriotism is in our Blood, remember? ๐Ÿ˜‰ (If you don’t, call our Mom and ask her.)

  2. @Ketira: Thanks little sister. Don’t worry, be happy! ๐Ÿ™‚
    @Doug: You bastard. ๐Ÿ™‚
    @Susan: Thanks for helping me shift into this next phase! (Susan bought my RV).

  3. I came accross your site this morning doing a search related to off grid camping.
    Your “Stealth Camper” looks great!
    Waaaaay back in 1979 i ran several record shops in the SF Bay Area. I decided to move into a Chevy Hi-Cube van. It had an 8×12 box behind the walk through cab. Fixed up the inside with simple things similar to what you’ve done but all 12 volt and a battery bank charged with the larges alternator i could find back then. Even had a fold-away shower ๐Ÿ™‚

    I would park in the mall parking lots over nite. In two years of living in the “van” i only had one incident and it was sort of funny. A car full of teens drove up and stole the gas cap. I found out the next day by local police (which knew of my living arrangements and came by now and again for hot coffee and conversation!) that this had been an “initiation” into a local non-violent-gang and they’d taken many gas caps that night.

    I always slept soundly in my unmarked delivery van parked on a side street or in a mall somewhere. It was a fun chapter in my life. Now, at 53, my wife and i are setting out to build our own “Stealth Camper” to make are own story ๐Ÿ™‚


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