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We were just at RV America's Rally in the Valley of the Sun in Gold Canyon, Arizona, which is just 11 miles east of where we have spent the winter (Valle del Oro in Mesa). Right away I met someone who I admired a whole lot. I want you to meet her too. 
Her name is Vickie Peterman and she is originally from Eaton Rapids, Michigan. She and her husband talked of full-timing for a long time, but a divorce ended those dreams. Vickie decided to go alone. 

She had raised horses and was used to driving a truck and pulling horse trailers so she purchased a nice 5th wheel trailer and a truck and on November 14, 1999 she left Michigan alone and headed straight for Florida. That is a very common direction for most Michiganders. She has a sister in Florida and other friends and family. I asked her if she was lonely and she said that she wasn't until she stopped at Dollywood. It was no fun going to that park alone so she just walked around the park and then left. 

Florida was fun and then she slowly headed to Arizona to workcamp at Canyon Vista RV Resort for three months. She liked that too. 

She was back in Michigan and on September 5, 2000 had just finished walking the five mile long Mackinaw Bridge. That is a Labor Day tradition. She went into her bathroom to take a shower and all of a sudden she couldn't move and she couldn't make a single noise. Her girlfriend was in the living room and didn't know that anything was wrong. Vickie couldn't get anyone's attention. It took her about a half hour to inch her body out the door. Vickie's friend then called for help. 

Vickie spent three weeks in a northern Michigan hospital (Petosky) then several weeks in rehab in a central Michigan hospital closer to her former home. Because of her stroke and hospitalizations they discovered that she had a hole in her heart so she had open heart surgery in Lansing, Michigan, on October 23, 2000. She left the hospital on October 27 and on December 1 she was back on the road heading for Florida again.

Because she still couldn't talk very well, a friend went with her for a while. Vickie said that the first thing she re learned was how to read a map so she could get back out on the road. Because of the stroke she can't read very well but picks out words here and there.  Reading a menu in a restaurant is difficult, but she can point to what she wants. She has the hardest time with numbers especially writing them. For example she had some work done on her trailer while at the rally and she was able to write the numbers on the check but couldn't spell out the amount on that second line of the check. 

I am just so impressed with her courage, strength and determination. She misses chatting on the chat room and email is sketchy but she does her best to keep her two daughters abreast of where she is and what she is doing. 

Vickie spent 20 years in the Army and has two daughters. The oldest one (22) is also in the military and the 20 year old is in college. Her mother suffered a fatal heart attack at age 46 and because Vickie is 45 she worried that her fate would be the same. Now she feels that she has overcome that and is getting better every day. From the rally she is going to Vegas then California. She is still working on learning how to spell California, but is determined to do it before she gets there.

She spends a lot of her time in friendly campgrounds like Military bases, Escapees, Passport America, Corps of Engineers and attends lots of WIN (Wandering Individual Network) gatherings. With her dog, Christie, she is not lonesome. 

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