MOLAS PASS, COLORADO – We receive hundreds of letters from readers inviting us to come and stay with them.
These letters come from all over the world, including the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Russia, Britain, Morocco, China, and dozens of other countries.
We are utterly flattered by this, and we shamelessly accept any and all the invitations we can… (More below.)
Modern American Nomads
Greetings from Colorado!
My family and I are modern American nomads. Two years ago, we quit our “normal” lives and took off into the sunset with our three kids, our passports, and a suitcase.
We’ve been living like butterflies ever since, flitting from town to town, country to country.
Since leaving South Florida, we’ve made a complete circle of the globe. We’ve traveled 100,000 miles and been to 30 countries, including India, China, Lebanon, and Rwanda.
Right now, we’re in the USA, “couch surfing” our way from South Florida to Alaska with a car and a tent trailer.
Seeing America with a car and pop-up camper
On Friday, we left the wild mustang ranch that a mysterious but kindly stranger from Texas offered to us for a couple of nights. (We never met him.)
Then we drove west, back into the mountains. It took us all day.
Our couch-surfing hosts this weekend were Doug and Jessica. They live in a beautiful log cabin with their three kids (ages 11, 7, and 5).
They wrote to us last week and invited us to use their RV pad for as long as we want. (An RV pad is a special parking space for motorhomes and RVs with electricity and water hookups.)
These are some pictures from the road…
The RV pad
The kids at Doug and Jessica’s log cabin
Dusty, Penny, and their new friends
Legendary Pagosa Springs
Doug and Jessica live in an old Colorado ski village deep in the backcountry. It’s called Pagosa Springs. I’d never heard of it before. We stayed two nights.
Here we all are together…
In the town of Pagosa Springs, a spring comes out of the ground. It’s hot, volcanic water that smells of sulphur.
The locals say it has great healing properties. It’s so curative, legend says Indian tribes used to wage wars over the rights to it.
Anyway, we swam in it and even drank it. Afterwards, we all felt so relaxed and loose, we thought we might have to settle in Pagosa Springs just to be able to bathe in the spring every day.
Pagosa hot springs
Hot springs indoor bath, aka the “lobster pot”
Real Estate: A Hot Commodity
Doug says real estate in Pagosa Springs is a hot commodity at the moment. It dipped a bit when coronavirus first showed up, but now the market is on fire.
It’s the Texans, he says. They’re fleeing the big cities in Texas and buying up property in small, remote towns all over Colorado.
My Dad says the same thing. (He lives in the suburbs near NYC.) He’s looking for a property, and he says the market for property in the NYC suburbs is also very tight.
National statistics back this up.
For example, home sale prices were up 11% year over year for the week ending July 26. That’s the largest increase since 2014.
The sale-to-list price ratio – which compares the final sale price to the list price – rose to 99%. That’s the highest level since at least 2012 (as far back as our data on this goes).
And for homes actively listed during that period, asking prices were up 14% year over year, while the active inventory of houses for sale was down 30%.
Is this a symptom of the Federal Reserve debasing the currency? Has the great cash-for-assets trade begun? We’ll see.
Higher Into the Mountains
We left Doug and Jessica a few hours ago. We drove higher up into the mountains.
I’m writing to you now from our new campsite near the town of Silverton, deep in the Colorado Rockies. We’re 10,900 feet above sea level.
We’ve just arrived and have set up camp for the night.
Tomorrow, we’re going to try to meet my friend Dan Denning – coauthor of The Bonner-Denning Letter – and his family.
They’re traveling in an RV on the same road as us (through Colorado and Utah), but in the opposite direction. We’re planning a rendezvous.
Then, in Ridgway, a woman named Janet has offered us a place to stay. She spent her career in gold and silver mines. She’s going to show us around a gold mine that would normally be inaccessible to the general public.
After we leave Ridgway, a family near Utah with three young children has invited us to stay with them…
The Only Problem With Couch Surfing
Over the last three months, we’ve couch surfed dozens of times. We’ve slept in driveways, parking lots, backyards, campgrounds, log cabins, farmhouses, and once, even a barn.
It’s so fun couch surfing like this.
The best thing, of course, is the people and families we’re meeting. They show us such incredible generosity and kindness, and welcome us into their families as if they’ve known us for years.
I’m now convinced America is the most generous, hospitable, open society on the planet. (Our experience of America is very different from what the news reports.)
The only problem is, we fall in love with our hosts. Then we find it painful to say goodbye at the end of the visit.
That’s why Kate started calling this travel style “heart surfing” instead of couch surfing.
– Tom Dyson
P.S. I’m going to write a book about our couch-surfing experience. I’m going to call it Heart Surfing Around America or something like that. It’ll feature everyone who hosted us, wrote to us, and helped us along our path…
P.P.S. We are so grateful for your invitations, including the ones in the mailbag below. We will do our best to accept any and all we can. Our next stop is Moab. After that, we drive north to Yellowstone and Glacier.
Readers talk gold, uranium, and travel – including an “influencer” gig for the Dyson family…
Reader question: Hi Tom, with gold increasing so rapidly, is it not possible that the target ratio of 5 can be reached by the gold increase alone, without the accompanying drop in the Dow? Then, where are the bargains?
Tom’s response: This is my expectation: that both gold and stocks will RISE but gold will rise a lot faster. Maybe gold will be $10,000 an ounce and the Dow will be at 50,000?
We must anticipate that trading our gold for stocks at a Dow-to-Gold ratio of 5 or below will be a very difficult trade psychologically. But trade it we must, even if the Dow is at 50,000. (Remember, “expensive” and “cheap” are a function of value, not price.)
Reader comment: Hello from Saskatchewan, Canada. We live in southwestern Saskatchewan. Should you come through our area, you are very welcome to stay with us. We live in a beautiful regional park.
As a true gold bug, I agree completely with your plans. I have a similar plan in place – with significant holdings in gold and silver. I would sure enjoy the opportunity to chat about your plan and compare notes.
Reader comment: Hi Tom, I was interested to hear that you mentioned uranium again, after you mentioned it a few weeks ago as well. I was wondering if you would expand a little on the reasons why you are interested in uranium?
Tom’s response: One of these days I’ll write a research piece on uranium. Apart from the fundamentals, I also love the look of the chart. It’s cheap and is starting an uptrend for the first time in years…
Reader comment: Your stuff is fun to read – well written. Keep it going. Have a great trip.
Reader comment: Rattlesnakes basically sleep in the daytime and hunt mice from dusk to dawn. Flashlights are critical. The loud rattlers have been killed, leaving the quieter rattlers surviving. In Arizona, a mutant rattler called the Mohave Green is evolving with a second toxin, less afraid, quieter, and more toxic.
Humans have changed the weather, animal life, and environment. Mother Nature is worth trillions of dollars if you tried to even reproduce a rose bush from scratch. We are trillionaires and don’t know it.
Reader comment: Dear Tom, I love following your family’s travel adventures, along with the prices of gold and silver, which are now doing well in my various accounts, thanks to your recommendations.
I grew up in Denver, so it’s a treat to see you guys enjoying my beloved home state. My husband was born in Buena Vista and went to Trinidad State Junior College, so I had to smile seeing your photos of those places.
Reader comment: Hello Tom and family. Like so many others, I have been following your travels across the USA. Thanks for sharing. I have a marketing suggestion. It seems that you have become an “Influencer.” I’m old-school so the terms are new to me, and I could be wrong about how to ID your modern role.
But you and your family epitomize the old Chevrolet sales jingle – “see the USA in your Chevrolet.” Not sure what car you drive, but without much additional effort on your part, you could become an “Influencer” for the brand of car AND camper trailer you are using for this adventure. Your expanding “follower” base offers many other possible promotions.
It seems that your daily diary has caught the interest of many people. You should take advantage of your new celebrity status.
Tom’s response: I’m not interested in influencing people to buy watches, cars, vacations, or anything else like that. All I want to do is a) entertain people with my writing and b) help people husband their savings and investments with good information.
Reader comment: Hey Dyson family, I hope you still make it to Canada this summer. I just realized the other day, while I was driving, how much out-of-province license plates stand out now here in Alberta.
Be aware of how much you will stand out with your out-of-province plates and a camper trailer with family. It would likely make you a target for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Please get in touch if you come near Grande Prairie, Alberta. Thank you for sharing, I am envious of your lifestyle.
Tom’s response: We’ve started making a Plan B. It’s looking more and more likely the Canadian border will stay closed through the winter.
Reader comment: Tom, I have been enjoying your Postcards. But did I get this right, Moab in August? They don’t call that area the “desert Southwest” for nothing. It will be hot.
If you should find yourselves farther east, near Montrose, Colorado, I would recommend the Black Canyon of the Gunnison (rRiver) National Park. It’s spectacular, and being a relatively new park, not many have heard of it.
Tom’s response: We’ll be in Moab within a week. We don’t have A/C but we can handle the heat without it. We will try to include Black Canyon in our itinerary.
Reader comment: Do you realize that driving down I25 you crossed the mountain pass where the Colorado Irregulars – many escaped slaves, as once in Colorado, they were free – held off a Confederate army, which was trying to take the Colorado gold mines to gain money for the almost-broke Confederate Army?
In Colorado, we attribute that to a great part of the Union winning the war! Enjoy the southwest. Try relaxing in one of the hot springs along the eastern part of the Rockies. My favorites are Ojo Caliente, NM, and Pagosa Springs, CO. Go to the inexpensive one across from the Disneyland type, a block away.
Reader comment: Hello again, Tom and family! It’s the former small-town banker, now turned small-town Pizza Man (I had written to you earlier this summer, after discovering your Postcards series). By happenstance, our paths are close to crossing out here in the American West.
We are spending this week in Sedona, AZ, then heading north and east through southern Colorado on our way back home to Oklahoma. If we were to be able to quickly shake (fully sanitized, of course, LOL) hands somewhere along the way, I’d like that very much.
We’ll be staying in Cortez, CO on Saturday (our 28th wedding anniversary), then moving through Durango, Montrose, Lake City, Creede, and Pagosa Springs over the next few days following.
Tom’s response: Happy anniversary! Keep in touch and we’ll try to meet up… And as always, please keep writing us at [email protected]! Your kind words and encouragement keep us going.