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From the world of business to the world of fly-fishing: Grant Carter lives the dream

Grant Carter is no lazy retiree.

He admittedly spent some time “following the shade around the house” after he left the working world, but that did not last long. With a new lakeside house near his granddaughters, daughter, and son-in-law, Grant began to convert the family into fishermen.

Fly-fishing, Grant’s sport of choice, was not readily accessible in his new home of Germantown, Tennessee. And that made his decision to start traveling very easy. Armed with his first RV and a yen to cast his fly rod, Grant took to the road.

I recently talked with Grant about his RV, Turnip Truck, how he started traveling the country, and his adventures on the road. For more about Grant, check out his blog, Turnip Truck Chronicles.

What was your day job before Turnip Truck?

My bio says it was following the shade around the house, but I think you mean a paying job, right? I began as a country banker, segued to an investment banker and finished up by owning my own construction company. Now I am after the big money – writing a fly-fishing, travel blog: Turnip Truck Chronicles. These blogs do make money, don’t they?

What is the Turnip Truck and how did it earn that name?

Rocinante [Don Quioxote’s horse] was taken. After reading Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley, I knew that one day I too would receive the finger salute on a narrow two-lane road.

What made you decide to start traveling the country in a motorhome and how long ago was that?

After moving from Florida, my home trout fishing waters were in and around Cotter, Arkansas on the White and Norfork Rivers. On a weekend property shopping trip, I discovered some wonderful RV campgrounds right on the rivers and I had a V-8 moment…let’s see, no taxes, no lawn mowingand I would still have a river front location. Locations made the decision easy and Turnip Truck I was purchased. Turnip Truck I turned out to be too small for my wife so I upgraded to almost the biggest motorhome one can buy – even had a washer and dryer. Yet again, too small. This week Turnip Truck III arrives and is actually smaller than the first one and is configured for boondocking – camping off the grid.

The new Turnip Truck III

A lot of my friends ask me how I travel so much with the wife at home. Some even phrase the question with envy.  I respond, “First, find a claustrophobic woman, then make sure she is much more understanding than is her fear of small places.”

What has been your favorite trip – so far?

Trips are like your kids or dogs – each is different but you love everything about them. The worst occurrence was having GPS Jill on a cold, rainy night turn me up a dead end road with no turn around.

Tell me about the next trip you are planning.

How much time do you have? The next trip will be large. The first stop will be into the Driftless area of Wisconsin. Next stops: the Black Hills to the Big Horn River. Then, a week’s stop in Livingston’s Paradise Valley, and then on to Glacier National Park. A stopover on the Missouri in Craig en route to Twin Bridges (son-in-law will fly in for a week of fly fishing) to Yellowstone to the Grand Tetons into Utah’s Canyonlands into Arizona, the Grand Canyon and maybe Las Vegas (wife may fly in for a few days to rough it at the Bellagio.) Working my way to home waters, back to Cotter, Arkansas.

By my count, you have already been to 39 states – and I love your post that describes each one. Of the places you have not been, what is your dream destination?

Dream destination? I’d love to be able to boondock around 42nd Street in Manhattan and plant a camp chair and watch people all day.

Are your travels limited to fly fishing destinations or do you sometimes travel simply to travel?

ly-fishing creates a heading that combines with local music, road food and history – I’m a “C” student of the Civil War and the migration West from Lewis and Clark to present day pilgrims like Ted Turner.  Local art and music plays a big part [in my travels] although I can’t carry a tune and can barely paint by numbers – Zydeco in [Louisiana], bluegrass in the Smokies, opera through Nebraska, and great songwriting in Texas. Though, when traveling through Nashville, I listen to talk shows … I’ve never cared for the music produced by hedge funds.

What I find the most interesting is that you have gone from being fully involved in the “bidness world” to a life spent totally enjoying what you love in nature. How do these worlds contrast for you and what have you gained from indulging your love of fly-fishing?

The bidness world is, for good reasons, much more competitive than fly-fishing or traveling. When you leave the axiom of “some days you eat the bear and some days the,” … well you know, stress, the best way to interface with life is to engage socially. Not Facebook, but actually hearing laughter.  The biggest gain?  Friends – lots of ‘em.

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