What do you call an Airstream with five horns?
There is probably a clever punchline for what sounds like the start of a riddle, but in this case, the vehicle has one horn (honk!) and the Airstream has two (mounted as a skull to the front). As for the other two, well, meet Frankie Rae.
Frankie (4), and her canine companion Maggie (12), are full-time RV adventure pets, traveling across the US with Chad and Cate Battles.
Half Nigerian dwarf and half pygmy goat, Frankie has quite the life, crisscrossing the US with her family, hiking, and enjoying life in locations other goats may only dream about. And let’s face it, Frankie is gorgeous and not at all camera shy.
Before their adventures (dubbed the Argosy Odyssey) began, the Battles lived in North Carolina. They owned and ran the Bywater Bar in Asheville before selling the business and their home as a nest-egg to becoming full-time RVers.
As Cate explains, they jumped straight into the adventure without much experience. Cate is now a full-time artist, specializing in oil painting and wood carving. Chad is a member of the IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) union and can pick up work in a variety of locations.
The Battles have been on the road since June 2016, calling their 22-foot 1976 Airstream Argosy home. The couple completely remodeled the Argosy, gutting the trailer to the shell and redoing all the wiring, plumbing, structural, and furnishing elements.
The new interior includes a bed that converts into a dinette in the front bay, a kitchen with a seating area, and a bathroom in the back.
Probably the most striking part of the remodel is the elaborate exterior paint job that Cate did, inspired by Woody Guthrie’s song “This Land Is Your Land.”
Atypical as compared to most Airstream trailers, the Argosy model originally came with a white exterior, providing the perfect blank canvas to paint a mural of the transforming landscape described in the song with all the places they wanted to visit. Another unique touch to the exterior was adding a porthole from a decommissioned ship to the door.
The Battles explain that both Maggie and Frankie are part of the family, so leaving them behind on adventures is just not an option for them.
Maggie and Frankie get along well and travel in the back seat of the tow vehicle together—even at times snuggling up.
While camping, the animals choose to stay near the RV, reducing the risk of an uncontrolled wandering goat causing trouble. As a goat, Frankie is keen to be with her “herd” and is very people-oriented. It also helps that she is admittedly spoiled, so why would she want to go anywhere?
For most people, the thought of having a goat inside your living space conjures up ideas of nibbled upholstery and goat pellets everywhere, however, the Battles say it is possible to house train a goat.
Frankie is potty trained and the Battles are able to manage her potty schedule to minimize accidents. When Frankie is inside the trailer, she is always laying down or sleeping at the foot of the bed.
She is taken outside first thing in the morning to do her business. The Battles have done considerable research as to what plants in different regions may be toxic (such as rhododendron, azaleas, and laurel), and carry some veterinary emergency supplies with them.
Since goats are considered livestock animals, there are certain travel considerations that owners need to be aware of and research.
Many National Parks do not allow pets on trails, and some established campgrounds do not allow goats. The Battles mostly boondock because they enjoy their privacy and like space for the animals, so will often camp outside of National Park boundaries and pick pet-friendly hikes in National Forests.
After over 30 thousand miles, the Battles are still enamored with RV life. They have learned the nuances of driving a trailer, camping in the winter, and living (and working) in a small space with two animals.
They make an effort to get some alone time–Cate spending time painting and Chad heads out for a bike ride—to give themselves some room.
They have had some amazing memories on their trip together, including seeing the full solar eclipse near the Tetons in Wyoming, that they will carry with them the rest of their lives.
The couple is hoping to do a tour of Oregon in the spring, joined by Chad’s two adult children as their first foray into the RV living. They also plan on exploring the coast of California in the near future.