I started camping when I was in the sixth grade. This grew from tenting to my first RV, which was a used pop-up trailer. Nonetheless, I loved that thing, and with it came memories that we still relish and talk about with reverence. But in the back of my mind I always aspired to own a Barth. Then I knew I would have had it made. This was all back in 1976 and the other day, at the Tom Sawyer RV Park, the epitome of my RVing dreams pulled in next to us……a 1975 Barth. They quit making the motorhome in 1998 but in it’s time it was the Cadillac of the road travelers. I watched and inspected this thing for a couple of days when I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to see meet the proud owner of this antique gem. Mary Ray travels alone. No, she’s not widowed or divorced, her husband just chooses not to follow her gypsy pursuits. Mary, who originally hailed from Memphis told me that she drove over nine hundred miles into Illinois to procure this baby she had seen in an advertisement. Renting a car to get there, she bought it on sight and drove it all the way back to Memphis. It has been cradling her ever since and she logs many a mile in a given year. She told me that a quart of oil to every tank of gas still has that engine purring and she gets out as much as she can with her dog, Rocco. We spent a few days spinning stories from our travels and sharing places to visit and good places to eat. I took Mary’s advice regarding barbecue. I figured growing up in Memphis she would know a little about the subject. I’ve heard about women RVers on their own, even read a bit about some of their forums. But never have I had the privilege of meeting one of the femme pioneers of the road. I learned a lot from Mary, she’s s good soul. She shared so much of herself, her knowledge, her life. She shared her time with others in the park. The power of a single self lies in its capacity to escape and go beyond itself to leave a gift behind. How can any achievement be lastingly significant if it lies outside a community of others? To live more otherly is to live more lastingly. It’s a fundamental law of biology.