I have been blessed in my life with a gift, the gift of gab. It is odd considering I am told that I was a late bloomer in the speech department when I was a baby. Well I guess I have been making up for it ever since. I was speaking with a new friend of mine the other day and we were exchanging ideas about blog articles. It came to me then, oh the people that I have met. I have always made friends, most just casual, some more so. Most of these have been related to what ever hobby I had at the time. You see most of you that know me personally know that I have a hobby of collecting hobbies. I blame it on the a.d.d. :), but I always had a thirst to acquire more knowledge. The best source for that knowledge has always been other people that have more experience in the given hobby. So, I make friends and absorb all of the education that I can, and along the way have created some truly lasting friendships. Ashley loves to make fun of me about meeting people on the internet. One of the best examples is my flying buddy Jay. I met Jay when I was getting into flying RC planes and he had a radio for sale on Craigslist. He told me to meet him at the local flying field so I could take a look at the radio. That day I met a truly great guy and I am happy to say a great friend. We talk on a regular basis to this day.
But this article is about the people that I have met along the road.
The first person I must thank is Brian Boone, I met Brian when I hired him to install our solar panels. He spent two days in the June heat in Indiana making sure our system was top notch. We reconnected in Quartzsite and now I work for him installing panels and solar systems on RVs. It gives me something to do and puts a little jingle in my pocket. That’s one great dude.
Even though I am on the road I still crave information and interaction. Since we have been in Quartzsite I have had a chance to meet some amazing people. Take for instance Bill and Porter, an amazing couple that is traveling fulltime and seeing the southwest. Bill was hosting a photography class and I asked if I could help out and he was more than gracious, that led to a 5 hour conversation with him and his wife Porter. It was an amazing experience, one that I am sure will happen again, when our paths cross again. One thing that I have found about being fulltime rvers is that meeting people just seems easier. People seem so eager to share and talk. Maybe we are bored, maybe we feel just kindred in spirt.
One of my latest hobbies is HAM radio. I had a friend that I met through a group that I belonged to on the net about traveling full time, Aaron. Aaron has been trying to get me to obtain my “tech” class license for almost a year. Well since being in Quartzsite, I not only obtained my tech, I upgraded the same day and obtained my general license. I even talked him into upgrading to general. I was excited to find out that Quartzsite is home to Quartzfest, the largest gathering of mobile HAMs in the world. Qf was an amazing experience, I learned a ton of great info and from the beginning they make you feel at home, like you belong. That brings me to Floyd. Floyd is something else. To give him justice I should start at the beginning.
A few weeks before the fest I bought an old ham radio from 1982. It was a beast. Too big for my RV and too power hungry, but it was a start. I knew that I got a great deal on it so I set out to flip it and turn it into something better. Then I found a radio in Phoenix, a mere two-hour drive that turned into an all-day affair with rain and traffic. But I had a newer radio that would fit on my desk.
So now I had two radios and still didn’t have the first clue how to work them. Ashley was getting more than a little perturbed at the pile up of electronics on my small already crowded desk. I found out that Qf had a swap meet and I set out to unload the boat anchor (term hams use for older heavy equipment). I decided I might as well take the other radio too, who knows maybe I can sell both and upgrade again! To my amazement I was right. Both radios sold quickly and I turned a handsome profit. I was walking around after completing my sale and saw a small group gathering around an older guy’s fifth wheel rv and wandered over. He was late to the party for the swap meet. He was placing items on a small card table, I asked if he had any radios. Most of the other guys were either picked over or had already left. He responded with yes, a Kenwood Ts-590S. A radio that I knew was nice, and probably out of my price range. Floyd managed to make me a pretty sweet deal on it and after I talked him into taking a check from me the deal was done. Here I was a new ham, and I was going to be rocking one of the nicer radios on the market. You would think that would be the highlight of the story, scoring a sweet deal and upgrading for almost free, but no. Floyd and I stood around and talked for almost an hour. He shared with me that his wife was recently taken by cancer, she has been passed almost two years I believe. I couldn’t help but feel a connection growing with him. After the swap meet Floyd and I said our goodbyes and he headed west to the Salton Sea. I headed home both excited and terrified. Excited because I had a new toy, terrified because I had to tell Ashley what I had done….
I got the radio home and all setup fired it up…fail. The power supply that Floyd sold me was no good. I called him on the phone and explained the situation to him, he was mortified. He promptly offered me my money back, but instead purchased one brand new and had it shipped to me. That’s when it was confirmed, this was one of the good ones. Since then we have talked every day, sometimes for an hour or better on the phone, Floyd doesn’t computer. I feel that I have made a true friend and it was all because I have a hobby of collecting hobbies. Now we talk about all kinds of things most having nothing to do with Ham radio. He has shared advice on life and marriage. When he talks about his wife I can hear the tears in his eyes, I can feel his loss. But I take away the advice from him to treat Ashley like every day could be my last with her. He is truly an amazing man, a person that I am proud to call a friend.
So I digress, maybe after all these years I have not been collecting hobbies. Maybe I have been collecting friends. Using different things to allow God put these people in my life. Photography, RC Planes, Motorcycles, Racing, Ham Radio, Rving, and all the others have served one purpose for me. The expanse of my knowledge of life and meeting people that I still call friends. Some are causal, some are more, some are Floyd.
My Grandfather told me before he passed that I should learn all I can, because once I do, they can never take it away from me. I guess I took that more to heart than I knew. I was young when he passed, but I have never forgot that lesson. I have been blessed to have many amazing people in my life. I have an amazing wife, beautiful children, wonderful parents and grandparents. Not to mention all the family that I have supporting us. Today was one of those days where I needed to sit and write, to take stock, to realize the riches that I have amassed. I am rich in love, spirt, faith, and bountiful in friends and family. I am blessed.