LAKE PEND OREILLE, IDAHO – Greetings from Lake Pend Oreille!
My family and I have been homeless for the past two-and-a-half years. We’ve lived out of a suitcase and we’ve traveled from town to town, country to country, like seeds in the wind, never stopping anywhere longer than a night or two.
We’ve been to 30 countries and made a complete circumnavigation of the planet. We’ve lived in Airbnbs, hotel rooms, youth hostels, and more recently, a tent. We’ve traveled by road, rail, air, and sea.
When coronavirus bloomed, we couldn’t travel internationally anymore, and since the USA is our home country and the country where our kids were born, we decided to explore it. We took Kate’s car out of storage, bought a tent trailer on Craigslist, and hit the road.
Over four months, we’ve seen 21 states, driven 11,000 miles, and camped in 45 different campsites.
We’ve seen mile-long coal trains hauling coal out of the Powder River Basin. We’ve been down gold mines. We’ve been to the source of the Mississippi River. We’ve watched giant freighters navigate the locks on the Great Lakes. We’ve seen 100-foot trucks carrying wind turbines down the highway.
And we’ve met so many kind, generous people.
(I’ve said this several times before, but in my brief experience traveling around the world, Americans are the most generous, most hospitable, and friendliest people anywhere in the world. I also think America is the most beautiful country on the planet in terms of scenery.)
I’m so glad we decided to do this. I read about the strict lockdowns in other countries. But here in rural America, where we’ve spent most of our time, there isn’t much of a lockdown. People are still more or less free to live as they wish.
On the shore of Lake Pend Oreille
I’m writing to you today from Idaho right up in the north part of the state near Canada in what they call the Idaho “Panhandle.”
It’s beautiful. It sort of has a lake vibe of Michigan in the summertime combined with the mountain vibe of Wyoming or Montana in the fall time. All the locals tell us this is the best time of year to be here, especially now the smoke from the California wildfires has gone.
We camped at Priest Lake last night (in Peter and Donna’s garage.) This morning, we said goodbye to our hosts and drove 50 miles south to Lake Pend Oreille. Here we are on the road earlier today…
Tonight, we’re camping in a trailer park on the shore of Lake Pend Oreille. We stayed here last week on our way north and we loved it.
It’s right by the train tracks. It’s a busy line and there’s a grade crossing less than 50 feet from our tent, so every hour or so, a train comes past blasting its horn. It’s so loud, our tent seems to vibrate.
I love it. We’ll stay a couple of nights and then we’ll hit the road again.
Here I am watching the sunset just now…
Sunset over Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho
Winter Is Coming
We’ve got about a week left of our road trip. Winter is coming and all the campgrounds in these parts are closing for the season.
When our trip ends next week, we’re ditching our trailer (and our nomadic lifestyle) and we’re moving into an apartment.
We’ve chosen to spend the winter living in a small town called Driggs, population 1,660. I’ve rented a furnished 3-bedroom apartment through Airbnb.
Driggs is near the Teton Mountains and there’s a ski resort nearby called Grand Targhee. Grand Targhee gets 500 inches of snow per year and it’s so far from a big city, it never gets crowded. They say it’s also a great place for families.
We don’t know anyone there. We chose it after I did about an hour’s worth of research on the internet. We’ll see.
In the meantime, we’ve been stopping at every thrift store in every small town we pass through and we’ve been buying used ski equipment jackets, helmets, snow pants, fleeces, boots, etc. Our car is packed full of winter clothes now and we’re ready for winter in the Rockies…
– Tom Dyson
P.S. A few weeks ago, I hunkered down in a hotel room to record this URGENT video. America has gotten itself into a huge mess economically. What’s next, and what’s the single best thing you can do today to preserve and grow your wealth? Watch this.
One reader wants to know about relocating gold overseas… while another wonders about restoring the dollar’s gold backing… and asks for an update on Tom’s tanker stock recommendation…
Reader comment: Two questions: What is your opinion on physical gold substitutes, such as Sprott (PHYS) for brokerage accounts? And what do you do if you decide to relocate overseas while in possession of a quantity of gold bullion? Sell it and repurchase once you land in another country, or declare it and move it out in the open? Can it be moved without declaring it?
Tom’s response: I like the physical gold substitutes and I am a customer of Sprott. I pay attention to the fees and tax implications, though. As for the second question, gold can easily be moved overseas. I declare it and keep everything above board. I say, “I’m bringing a collection of antique gold coins to show my family.”
Reader comment: Thank you for sharing your travels and wisdom with all who check in to read your postcards. Count me as another who looks forward to reading your postcards.
I am puzzled why no one seems to answer what would happen if President Trump would restore the U.S. dollar to be backed by gold. Or, if the President forced the Federal Reserve to mark the value of gold holdings on its balance sheet to market value instead of holding the value at $42.00/oz.
What would that do to the rising inflation that’s coming our way? Wouldn’t that reduce our debt and stabilize our reserve currency? Wishing you all safe travels and happy memories. Thank you.
Tom’s response: If they restored the dollar’s gold backing, they couldn’t inflate anymore, which means they couldn’t continue bailing out the economy and Wall Street with printed money. It’d cause a terrible recession and liquidation. In my opinion, this is coming anyway… but it’ll be because the market forces it, not by choice.
Reader question: Dear Tom, the tanker stocks you recommended have come down in price considerably lately. It seems that oil storage capacity is no longer in demand as much. So what is the case for continuing to hold these stocks? Especially the ones that do not pay any dividend?
Tom’s response: The case for holding tanker stocks is that there are very few new ships being built and there are many old ships that are about to be scrapped. (Tankers have a 20-year life span.) So the fleet is about to get trimmed and that’s going to support the prices tanker owners can charge for their services.
That was my original thesis, and it remains unchanged. Meanwhile, tanker stocks are so cheap, I think they might be the cheapest stocks in the entire universe. There’s a lot of upside potential here. Patience is warranted.
And one reader chimes in on Tom’s plan to take care of his mother in London…a Michigan reader reaches out again… and another shares her gratitude for the Postcards…
Reader comment: My husband and I took turns flying back and forth between Oregon and Utah so we could spend the last four months with his mom and still not totally quit our jobs. It was a precious time and something we will never regret. She has been gone for a year and a half now and we still really miss her. It is good that we will never have to wonder, “What if we had taken the time to be there for her?” Totally worth any sacrifice needed.
Reader comment: Tom and family, I just read your note and I had to put my two cents in. You can always take the time to tour the world, but you only have two parents. You are teaching your kids a lot about the world, but what about love of family?
We moved my parents across the street when it was time for help. I will never forget that special time with my parents, nor will our children or their great grandchildren. It made life so much better for our parents in their last years. I would never give those times up for anything. The closest we had every been with my parents.
I always remember my dad’s last words: “Take care of your mother and I love you!” Or my mom’s “I love you so much,” as I tucked her in for the last time. A mother always loves her children and you should go to her and stay until the end. Pick up where you left off afterwards, but you will never know how much your being with your mom will mean to her unless you’re there.
All the gold in the world can never replace your parents. Your children will learn a lot about family by making your journey home. Good luck in whatever you decide.
Reader comment: I have been following your travels around the world with great interest and was saddened to hear of your mother’s downturn so shortly after your recent stay in London. I write in the hope my experience may be of assistance.
My parents split up in my last year of high school in D.C., so I have both an English mother and an American mother. The best information (also the cheapest) ways of effectively treating muscle loss and Alzheimer’s, Dementia, or Parkinson’s come from the U.S. They enabled me to keep my English parent mentally alert and on her feet for 12 years, albeit occasionally on crutches.
Once your mother is back on her feet, she may need help with the housework, and regular visits, but she would not need to leave her home, and you would not be housebound. Best wishes for your success!
Reader comment: I have written to you before (from a Michigan apple farm) and love what you say about the economies of the world, and, of course, your family. I am in the Vail Valley (which has big city prices, hence you may not come here). I have been a ski instructor since 15 years old, and started my daughters at a great family sport. Please let me know where you end up and I may have friends there. Go gold!
Reader comment: Tom, great to hear of all your adventures and travels. You may have already looked at your camp trailer maintenance, they are notorious for wheel bearing issues. Many of those resulting in a spindle that is unusable and the camper unable to move from the roadside. A quick stop at a garage along your rural routes may save the day. Travel safe. I look forward to your postcards.
Reader comment: Tom, thank you for all the financial education. I have really found it helpful, especially as I am retired primary school teacher, and now an organic homestead farmer. Growing up, I did not learn anything about the economy, Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, and all the complex terms.
My father retired with a pension that AT&T managed. Now, average folks have to fend for themselves and can use all the education you share. Your family has the right idea; it’s not accumulating that makes a family happy, it’s the love shared among each other that one never forgets.
Tom’s note: As always, please keep writing us at [email protected]. We love hearing from you, and we read every message you send us.
Inside Today’s Issue of The Bonner-Denning Letter
“Political risk” is now a factor in U.S. financial markets. U.S. political institutions are on the verge of ceasing to function in a lawful way,” writes Tom’s colleague Dan Denning in the latest issue of The Bonner-Denning Letter, out today. Plus, he introduces three “big money” pair trades to play what he’s calling the “American Crack-Up.” Click here to get immediate access.