Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Legend of Tioga George

Once upon a time a man named George won his battle with cancer and decided to live a life of adventure. He bought a used Tioga-brand RV and took to the road. His cancer support group friends convinced him to keep a web-log (blog) so they could follow his adventures. He did as they requested and called his blog Vagabonders-Supreme.

George and his team

George was a solo traveler, but he didn't feel alone. Just as Don Quixote had his trusted steed, Rocinante, George had his Tioga RV. He took to calling her Ms. Tioga, and then followed Mr. Chips - his computer that made blogging possible, Mr. Datastorm was his satellite Internet dish, Mr. Mavica the digital camera, Mr. Trek the bicycle, Mr. Onan the generator, and more.

Thus was born the Vagabonders Supreme Team. George and his team had lots of stories to tell. Like when his adventures took him south of the border to Santa Rosalia. He liked it there so much he returned again and again. In his blog, George shared lots of information about RVing, like how he tilted his solar panels so they receive the most sun. Lots of people started following George's blog, thousands of them! It was like he carried his own clubhouse around with him. If he ever wanted company, all he had to do was post to his blog and people would leave comments back. This was back in 2004, when there weren't thousands of RV bloggers! George was a pioneer.

George and his followers

George's followers were so devoted, he could count on them for rescues. One time, in 2005, Ms. Tioga got stuck in the mud in the middle of a forest, there was no cell service so he couldn't make phone calls, but the trusty Mr. Datastorm could lock onto an Internet satellite and George posted his predicament to his blog. A reader in Florida took note and located a tow truck service near George in California. He made the call and, within 45 minutes the tow truck arrived! As George writes in his blog post about the rescue,
A BIG thank you to Paul from Florida!Wow, Paul. Your help was soooo great. The Team is so grateful to you for phoning Tucker's Garage and arranging for our towing. Imagine that, everybody! We were rescued by using space station internet communication. Man-O-Man!

George was our inspiration

We also started blogging in 2003. George was our inspiration. We were one of his devoted followers, we read every post, looking forward to his news each day. He was a celebrity. We also learned a lot about the Blogger system from following his posts. We first met up with him in 2004, right here in Devils Tower park. I was like a nervous school girl all a-twitter over meeting a movie star. We also met up in 2007, see that blog post and video here.
2004: Meeting up with George at Devils Tower, showing him our Safari RV
2004: Meeting up with George at Devils Tower, he introduced us to Ms. Tioga

George's Team and their camping style

Most RVers park in campgrounds. Not George. Ms. Tioga had a mind of her own, she wanted to park anywhere, and she could because George was willing to drive to different parking spots for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and "night camps." It's only the night camps that can be a problem. If they were in the countryside, they would find a forest road with space to park. In the city, they would park on residential streets, parking lots and business. Do police ever knock on his door and tell him to leave? Yes, but that doesn't bother George, he has a nice chat with the police officer and then turns the key and moves on. My favorite Tioga-George story is the time he was inside Ms. Tioga and he saw a police officer outside. He assumed there would be a knock on the door in a minute or so, but it never came, and the officer left. When George took a look outside, he found a note stuck to his driver side window, it read:
Howdy George!
How are you and Ms. Tioga?Hope Mr. Onan is feeling better.Have a good stay.
Mr. Cop
OMG, Tioga-George's blog is so well read that even the local police follow him!

Fast Forward to 2018

George is still RVing, and still blogging. He doesn't own Ms.Tioga anymore, he has a small Transit van towing a small Scamp trailer. We don't follow him as regularly as we used to, but sometimes he sends out an email with his location. We noticed that he was in the Montana area and we planned to be in Wyoming, so we sent an email response suggesting we may be able to meet up. He said, "Sure!" So then, we invited him to join us at the FMCA rally in Gillette. He said, "OK!"

Tioga-George arrives with Mr. Transito and Baby Boid
We visited the team - George and Scampy - while George was parked at the FMCA rally.

We gave him a Geek hat and had him join our Roadtrek happy hour group. It didn't take long before someone exclaimed, "You're Tioga-George?!  You've just made my day!"

George helped us out signing up members for when we were in seminars.
We even got George up on stage with us during our "How to make a Blog" seminar. He told a bit about his experiences with Blogging.
It was great to see George again and get re-connected. I hope we were able to introduce a few new RVers to this legend! We hugged and parted ways after the rally, with no plans of meeting up again. Then, lo and behold, one week later while we were parked on the side of the road in Yellowstone watching Bison - what should we see coming down the road but a Transit van towing a Scamp trailer. Yep, it was Tioga-George!
We meet again! George and the Scampy team

With 80 years and 8 months behind him, Tioga George continues to be an inspiration. Rock on George!

Update: Sadly, George passed in February of 2019. His last great adventure. He is missed by many.


Sue Malone said...

Sure was fun catching up with Tioga George. Such memories of reading his blog back in the "old days" of blogging, when we were a smaller family and most of us knew each other. Things have changed, but nice to see George still out there doing his thing.

Technomadia said...

A legend indeed.. and one of the very few blogging RVers online when we hit the road in 2006. Thank you for re-introducing him. It's stories like his, yours and theirs that need to keep present in the mind of today's social media.

swetzel said...

If I was a match-maker : Tioga George and RV Sue - what do you think ??

DeeBev said...

We had followed his blog so when we heard he was going to be 2 miles from us, we HAD to meet him. What an awesome inspiration is Tioga George! Your write-up is beautifully done. Long live Tioga George!

jmsjaz said...

I wish I could have met him. I found his blog years ago when I was considering living on the road and .