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Some Folks Camping Out for Life

August 9, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

The Arizona Daily Sun, Flagstaff, reports on the variety of full-time campers who frequent national forests of Arizona. An excerpt of that story follows. Click here to read the entire story.

Darrell Eddleman, 54, might have a few more years to live, doctors guess.

The former trucker was diagnosed with cancer three years ago and had a lung removed, but he didn’t opt for chemotherapy to eradicate the cancer.

Medical bills bankrupted him then, and he’s living on disability now and facing new health problems.

Realizing that his time was limited, he made a pitch three years ago to Rose, 52, the cosmetologist from Prescott and Phoenix that he was keen on: “They gave me six years to live and I’m going to enjoy it. Want to come with me?”

Darrell and Rose found a camper, a van to pull it, and some solar panels for power. Now married, the Eddlemans live out of their recreational vehicle in forests around the Southwest with their dog, Freeway, and have seen a lot of the country.

They now hike and visit with other campers.

She paints.

He fishes.

“I like this lifestyle a lot,” Rose said.

Just one problem, in their view: The Kaibab National Forest doesn’t want them around and is recently stating as much.

Actually, living in the forest is illegal, say Forest Service officials, pointing to federal law.

These are campers around Flagstaff you might not recognize as technically “homeless” — living out of old motorhomes, vans and recreational vehicles year-round.

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