A native Highland County man has for the last two years taken his retirement on the road, and he doesn’t have plans to exchange those freedoms for staying in one place anytime soon.
“My plan is to be on vacation until I go to Heaven,” said Pricetown native Joe Gossett, who travels wherever he wants in his home and vehicle, a 2-year-old red Winnebago Travoto.
The motorhome has been outfitted according to Gossett’s needs, including two solar arrays on the driver’s side, and a wind turbine that he can easily set up from a fabricated metal brace in the back of the vehicle. And behind that metal brace, made as a covering for the large back windows, is a painting his artist mother created in 1987, a little piece of home that goes where he goes.
During his professional life, Gossett worked for a number of nonprofit organizations, some of which afforded him international travel, but all of which he found “very rewarding,” he said.
“I enjoyed it,” he said, “and I enjoy doing this.”
Gossett has worked the last two summers at the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota. That is rewarding work, too, he said, and the reason he keeps going back.
He is a widower, and both of his parents have passed on, Gossett said. He has a brother and sister in Ohio, and he comes back to the area for the holidays between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Gossett has traveled all over the country and to many countries abroad. But it was when he came back to Hillsboro to care for his ailing father that he began to research what it would take to put together a vehicle that would support a traveling lifestyle.
Gossett’s motorhome has the amenities one would expect to find in the recreational vehicle’s larger counterparts: a table with a bench seat, a refrigerator, a two-burner cook top, a sink, storage space, a bathroom, a bed, an awning and a TV hookup for outside lounging.
Besides the solar panels and the wind turbine, Gossett has made other modifications to the RV to suit his needs, like sacrificing water space in lieu of batteries to store the solar and wind energy. He moved the flat screen TV so that he could view it from about any place inside the motorhome. He moved a few other things around, too, in consideration of the vehicle serving as his home.
And living the way Gossett lives, in the small quarters of a recreational vehicle, is something that is not as expensive as most people think, he said.
When the cost is compared to what the cost is for a person to buy a home and take on its associated costs, and have a car and its associated costs, his way of life is cheaper, he said.
And he can park the 22-foot vehicle in the city, at a campground, in a national park, or along the side of the road if he needs to. And with the stored energy and his ability to generate more from wherever he is at the time, he can remain pretty comfortable wherever that may be.
Gossett has essentially been on the road for two years, and he doesn’t have any plans to give it up in the foreseeable future.
“It gives me a tremendous amount of freedom to do things I never thought I could do before,” he said.
Next on Gossett’s travel plans is to head west to Arizona. Then he is going to California for a bit where he owns a cabin in the San Bernardino Mountains. He plans to keep heading north from there, up into Alaska and to Prudhoe Bay, which sits on Alaska’s northern coast where the 49th state meets the Arctic Ocean. His eventual goal is to make it to Yellowknife, the capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories, in the spring.
“I’m just an old guy out having a good time,” Gossett said.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.