Photography Courtesy of Judy Nadon
At an age when most people settle into retirement,
Judy Nadon heeded her own personal call of the wild.
Judy traipses about the unpopulated, untrampled
roads among the mightiest mountains of the
Yukon, all by herself. How unusual is this? “It’s
Noah’s ark out there; everyone travels in pairs,” she says.
Judy is a field editor for The Milepost,® which details lodging, camping and
roads through the peaks and deltas of Canada’s Northern Territories and Alaska.
“I have the largest territory, probably because I’m willing to do it,” she says of the
work she’s been doing for the past five years.
With some two million travelers driving through Alaska every summer, Judy
has made many friends, has experiences that others only dream about and is
footloose to travel on a whim.
She travels 300 to 400 miles a day, and sometimes won’t see another car for
hours. But she doesn’t mind the solitude: “I love being alone; I don’t even have
the radio on. Driving is so soothing.”
At night, she unwinds in her trusty Little Guy teardrop trailer, towed behind
her ’05 Pontiac Grand Am. “I park, open the door, climb in, lie down and giggle,”
she says of her rolling abode. She paid $4,520 to a guy who was able to coax it
around behind his Smart® car. Repairs have only cost about $450: she replaced
two tires, added two spares and repacked the bearings. She puts 17,000 miles on
it every year.
“I take that thing where nothing should go. Those little wheels bounce around.
It’s the perfect solution. I beat the crap out of it, and it forgives,” she laughs.
Judy is skilled, practical and economical. She is a huge proponent of the
Little Guy, which has wiring to plug in her coffeepot and a heater. She travels
light: two dresses, one skirt and lots of tops. With a bed on wheels, “It’s a hell of a savings.” She spent $2,000 on campground fees last year, sleeping in her little
rig for 70 nights.
She fills the car tank daily for $60. Thanks to its aerodynamic shape, the
camper adds only about 50 pounds to its load, and doesn’t affect gas mileage.
“Gotta love it, eh?” she adds.
Her travels bring jaw-dropping vistas populated by prancing mountain goats,
moose, buffalo and caribou. Her trailer protects her from the local wildlife, as
well as rain and bugs.
An avid explorer herself, Judy delights in chatting to others about their
travels. She’s happy to show off her little “tree house on wheels,” as she
affectionately calls her trailer. “I don’t think there’s anyone out there who uses it
for such long periods at a time,” she says. One trip was for 40 continuous days.
She doesn’t carry pots or pans, or do any cooking. She eats one meal out,
usually a big breakfast. Otherwise, a typical meal consists of “deli chicken with
some raw cauliflower, tomatoes and Triscuits.” Once a week, she treats herself to
a big, juicy steak.
Second night camping with trailer - Dunvegan Provincial Park
However, she has been known to exhibit some rustic culinary skills. One time,
she bought an onion, butter, potatoes and a white fish from a native fisherman
in Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories. She chopped the veggies, wrapped the
ingredients in foil, grilled them over a camp fire and shared her dinner with a
German couple. No need for plates; they ate off the foil.
When Judy is not on the road, home is either a cabin without water or
electricity in the Yukon or, during winter, an apartment in Vancouver. Travel is
in her DNA: “My son, now 40, was only 6 weeks old when my own mother took
me along to make sales calls for The Milepost. I know my way around, and this is
the perfect job.”
How long will she travel? “Until I find husband number three. And then,
an Avid Traveler
Warm weather inspires lazy
vacation days. Judy Nadon
likes meeting fellow travelers
and sharing stories and advice.
She often counsels “tenters” to
take up travel with a teardrop
camper, which offers better
protection from the elements. “I
especially encourage women to
consider this mode of staying
on the road. It gives a girl
privacy, safety and the freedom
to keep on driving,” she says.
- Travel smart; leave
- Keep safety in mind
- Let friends know
where you are.
- Dress conservatively.
in a Little Guy
As fuel prices rise, teardrop
trailers answer a need for
economical vacations, says
Chris Baum, COO of Little
Guy Worldwide in Massillon,
Ohio. He distributes the petite
campers in 20 countries. They
are easy to tow and offer
The trailers are Amish-built
in Sugarcreek, Ohio, which
ensures handcrafted quality.
Popular among young families
and widows, the campers offer
safety and maneuverability.
They can be towed behind
4-cylinder vehicles and have a
negligible impact on fuel. Chris
says Lazydays offers customers
more than just a vehicle,
delivering “the whole package”
— an enjoyable purchase
experience and a relationship
for life. He hears from happy
Lazydays buyers all the time.
The company solicits feedback
from owners to help make Little
Guy trailers even better. “Our
best innovations come from
our customers; they offer us a