RV Rookies

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So who said you needed to drive an RV on all six wheels? Certainly not my Princess!

 

As one who was accustomed to freeway driving in the San Francisco Bay Area for most of her life, learning to drive a newly acquired, 25 ft. Fleetwood Pulse across three states during a season of raging fires was a piece of cake.

 

There were moments that I felt this cake was gonna be of the upside down, pineapple variety, but I’m happy to report that me and our little blue house-on-wheels are right side up and safely home.

 

I’m currently taking multiple antacids for my stomach and need a new prescription for anti-anxiety medication, after our little road trip. Other than that, life is good on the Olympic Peninsula of Northern WA.

 

During the spring of this year, my oldest brother and his wife decided that tooling around the United States in a 30 ft. RV was something that was worthwhile and adventurous for two young’uns new to retirement. And the Princess and I – getting too old for sleeping on leaky, plastic air mattresses and squatting in poison ivy bushes to pee – decided that maybe my brother and his wife were on to something. After all, there’s something to be said about sleeping on a mattress without a rock, the size of Gibraltar, poking at one’s plump, highly sensitive hinny. And having access to an indoor plumbing facility, minus the thrill of an ivy bush, we felt was just peachy for these two old gals.

 

So we set out on an earnest search in the local area for an RV that we could afford and was to our liking. Unfortunately, after scouring the area and not finding anything we liked (and could afford) we were ready to throw in the towel until next season, when my brother, Anthony, called and got involved in the search… and within hours had us a perfect little house on wheels.

 

The one minor detail: this rolling abode of adventure was located in the state of fry sauce and mini vans (a.k.a. Utah). Other than that, it was a perfect vehicle for the two fur-balls and us.

 

The only thing the Princess and I needed to do was to drive out there – thru 3 smoke-filled states on fire – purchase it, clean it out, learn to drive and operate it, and get it back home before we took off for NY to check on Momma B.

 

And we did just that.

 

In between time, we learned to drive on a 7 lane freeway with wall to wall traffic, navigate tornado-like winds without steering off a cliff, question the quality of mom and pop gas stations selling old diesel fuel; and utilize friendly truckers, when navigating Mt. passes on fire about to get a snow storm.

 

And the mother of all-important things that these RV rookies are truly grateful for learning is that you ALWAYS (Yes, People, ALWAYS!) empty your black water BEFORE your gray water!

Or you may unwittingly find yourself the butt of your fellow RVer’s jokes and campfire conversations.

 

Yep.

 

With the addition of a gas additive the former owner left in the vehicle, the advice of a friendly trucker in Idaho, named Jolene, and all kinds of suggestions and prayers from family members and friends, we made it safely back home; where we were promptly greeted by two sick kitties, who were happy to have their mommies back for some special, bed-time snuggling.

 

Now we just need to figure out why our “Kwikee step” on the RV ain’t so quick to open, and get a local auto dealer here in no man’s land to replace Li’l Blue’s recalled passenger airbag.

 

Other than that, the Princess, Li’l Blue, and I are doing just swell here in the land of long underwear, rain slickers and roundabouts.

 

Hope the Fall Season is finding all of you healthy and happy. Take care and I’ll catch ya the next time, looking at life from my shoes.

 

 

 

 

 

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Each Man for Himself!

Years ago, when the Princess and I first met each other, we prudently decided that 10 years of therapy between the two of us was more than sufficient for two people to plan a simple tenting expedition to the local Santa Cruz Mts.

After all, she’d been on a catered backpacking trip to Yosemite in her youth, and I was a former Brownie from the local Girl Scout troop of the Adirondack Mts. in upstate NY.

An inexperienced backpacker and a naïve Girl Scout – we were the perfect pair for camping in the Redwoods of Northern Ca. – or so we thought.

Preparation for food and camping equipment was carefully planned and packed into my Isuzu Rodeo, and a short time later we found ourselves quietly standing in a secluded canyon of dripping redwoods, babbling creeks and various chaparral ecosystems; listening to a pileated red-crested woodpecker chopping away at a dead tree nearby, presumably foraging for carpenter ants for its evening meal.

One minute we were sweating like pigs in a bacon factory, hustling to pack my SUV and get ahead of Friday’s ghastly commute; and the next minute we were staring in total awe – jaws dropped, chilled to the bones – as a blanket of fog slowly immersed the forest of majestic, towering redwoods.

How could we live so close to such a paradise and be so blind to its beauty in our day to day lives?

I didn’t know.

Being the more pragmatic of the two, though, I knew that if we wanted to get our site set-up and dinner started while we still had some daylight, that we’d better stop gazing at nature and start hustling with some practicalities of the tasks at hand.

Yep.

Apparently, I took too long appreciating nature and somehow lost the Princess to the ever-enticing Woody, the Woodpecker, because she was nowhere in sight.

“No biggey,” I told myself. “The tent poles had bungee cords and I’d put it up without assistance before. I could easily do this myself.”

So, I did just that.

I set up the tent, lickety-split, and made everything cozy with sleeping bags, pillows, blankets and a lantern.

Shortly after I set up and prepped the tent, I spotted the Princess lollygagging in the woods nearby and decided that Girl Scout or no Girl Scout, I needed help preparing our dinner that night if we were going to eat before sunset.

So, I shouted to her and asked that she give me a hand.

Yeah.

Well, the Princess being the Princess, she decided that prepping for a simple meal of hamburgers and potato salad was not exactly a herculean feat requiring any expert preparation and brusquely shot back, “What’s the big deal? Slap together some hamburger meat, throw it on the fire and we’re good to go!”

She then stared at me in disbelief, shook her head and asked, “What are you getting your panties all up in a knot over?”

“Just look at how beautiful this is!” she continued, throwing her head back and stretching her arms toward the redwood-crowned-horizon, like Stuart, of the famous Minions cartoon characters.

Yep.

Deciding that a fire was best started sooner than later, to deal with the chill of the blanket of fog enveloping us, my knotted-up panties and I headed into the nearby forest searching for dry kindling in woods that were slowly becoming saturated from the fog and dripping trees.

And, of course, there wasn’t a dry twig to be found.

I wasn’t worried, though.

Girl Scouts are always prepared.

I went into my car, whipped out my little camping stove, set it up under the raised, hatchback door of my Rodeo’s cargo area; and began the arduous task of prepping our simple meal; while continuing to make my case to the Princess for her assistance.

Once again, the Princess informed me that I needed to lighten up and chill-ax.

Uh-Hun.

At that point, I’d had enough chill-axing to last the whole weekend, and decided that it was too soon in our relationship to tell her to “f – herself” and that an each man for himself survival strategy may be the more therapeutic way to go.

So, I carefully made a meal for one, took myself and my hamburger into the tent to get out of the dampness of the night and settled in for an evening of reading and chill-laxing; when I heard the unmistakable sound of the tent zipper opening and the elfin head of the Princess suddenly poked in.

“Hey,” she said, smiling at me.

“I smelled the hamburgers cooking a while ago. Where’s mine?” she innocently continued.

Acutely aware of the fact that it was ME who set up the tent, ME who prepped the inside of the tent, ME who attempted to light a fire for us, and ME who prepped our meal; I decided that a simple constrained statement of, “Tonight’s dinner is an each man for himself kind of meal. Help yourself, Sweetie. If you can see your way around out there, the meat’s in the cooler in the outside storage unit.”

I then proceeded to zip-up my sleeping bag and continued my reading.

After what seemed like forever and a day, the red-headed Minion fumbled around outside, threw some sort of sustenance together and crawled into the tent – wet, tired and looking not too friendly.

Observing that she was not too keen on bed-time conversation, I decided to call it a day, and settled in for the night.

I figured tomorrow would bring with it a new day and hopefully a new attitude by all.

Uh-Hun.

The next day the Princess woke up bright and early, crawled out of the warmth of her sleeping bag, unzipped the tent, rummaged outside for some breakfast goodies, and brought them back to the tent; where she carefully preceded to lay out a verifiable breakfast feast for one, on top of her bag.

Smelling the buns and the sweet, earthy smell of freshly brewed coffee, I woke up and sleepily said, “Smells great, Sweetie. Where’s mine?”

Looking at me like only the Princess can when she’s being the Princess; she smiled and tauntingly said, “Sorry, Hun. It’s an each man for himself kinda meal.”

And on that note, we looked at each other and slowly burst into unbridled laughter!

Be kind to one another today, People, and I’ll catch you the next time, looking at life from my shoes.