One thing I learned on my recent road trip is that a person’s vacation is only as good as her ability to roll with the punches. I was presented with an opportunity to put this philosophy into practice when I first stepped foot inside our rented RV and got the distinct impression that people had lived in it before. But instead of relishing the feeling of a gritty floor beneath my feet, I railed against it.
“This RV is a piece of crap,” I announced to the P-Dawg after the rental guy had gone back inside his office. “It’s nothing like the one he showed me when I booked it!”
I had to turn away then, so the P-Dawg wouldn’t see the tears welling up in my eyes.
But my husband is a glass half full kind of guy, and whether he was truly blind to the dirty floor and the stained upholstery and the brown schmear on the wall of the kids’ sleeping loft, I will never know.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said as he re-attached a piece of wood paneling. “This is going to be awesome.”
It took us longer than expected to load the entire contents of our two-story colonial inside the thirty foot long RV, but soon enough we were bouncing along the Ohio turnpike, headed east. Once we were on the road, everyone’s spirits rose. The children for their part loved the freedom that the spacious table and couch seating afforded them, each choosing spots diametrically opposed one to the other. And the P-Dawg and I loved the fact that the motor rumbled so loudly, we couldn’t hear a thing either one of them was saying to us.
When we entered Pennsylvania, we realized it was mountainous and there were many white knuckled moments of barreling down steep, narrow inclines, which I must admit my husband navigated with the utmost finesse. As we approached the campsite where we were to spend our first night, the road continued to narrow until it was nothing more than primitive sort of towpath with a shoulder-less river embankment on one side (mine) and a cement wall on the other.
It was like trying to thread a motor home through the eye of a needle and we got through it by the skin of our teeth, thanks to the P-Dawg’s nerves of steel and my back seat driving credentials, which enabled me to hang my head out the side window like a golden retriever and periodically yell, “Oh, my God! You are WAY TOO CLOSE!!!”
But no sooner did we breathe a sigh of relief, than we were presented with our next recreational challenge: to back the ten foot wide camper into an eleven foot wide spot between two trees at dusk. I got out of the vehicle, and employing an elaborate system of made up hand gestures, guided the P-Dawg deftly into the spot. There was one touch and go moment when I disappeared momentarily from his view and he almost ran me over, but it’s the sort of thing you learn to expect after almost eleven years of marriage.
After we (and when I say “we,” I of course mean, “the P-Dawg”) hooked up all the various attachments which would provide us with basic necessities like water, electricity, and air conditioning for the night, I took the children on a walk around the campgrounds and my husband went down to the river behind our scenic camping spot to gather kindling. When the kids and I returned, he had a nice fire going and was making steaks on the charcoal grill. We ate our steaks at ten o’ clock in the evening with some baked beans and garden fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, and I daresay it was one of the best meals I ever had.
After that, it was time to settle in for our first night under the stars. So we went inside the camper and brushed our teeth with running water from the tap, watched an episode of the Wiggles on DVD, and crawled into our simple pallets made up with down comforters and Egyptian cotton sheets.
As I dozed off reading my Kindle and sipping on some chamomile tea I’d nuked in the microwave, I knew exactly how Lewis and Clark must have felt.
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