Monday, July 19, 2010

On the Road Again

A couple of weeks ago we took a five-day road trip down the coast with my son and daughter and their families. Matt had rented a 35-foot RV, but since we couldn’t all fit in just one, we had to rent our own. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

My husband Tom is an experienced RV driver, having rented one the size of a condo when the kids were little. Tom was a little concerned about maneuvering the monstrosity through the Pocono Mountains—we were picturing something like the West Coast Sierras—but they turned out to be more like speed bumps. Tom cruised along so comfortably, he was stopped by a cop for speeding.

Our son Matt was also familiar with driving an RV because he’d rented a 35-footer last year. Unfortunately, while backing into a driveway, Matt veered left when he should have turned “the other left,” and took the corner off a nearby roof.

Were we nuts to try this again?

Guiding those big boats on the freeway turned out to be relatively easy, but fitting them into their designated RV spaces was more like trying to fit a middle-aged body into a swim suit.

While the kids played at the nearby playground, the guys set up “camp,” attaching hoses and hooking up stuff. Meanwhile the women picked up all the things that had fallen during the trip, then inspected the latrines to see if they were decent enough to use.

Matt and his family slept comfortably in their RV, but our sleep was interrupted throughout the night by the ear-splitting sound of the propane alarm. We later learned that if the battery is low, the alarm malfunctions, but at the time we were certain we’d be dead by morning, so we opened all the doors and windows to the bugs, the noise, and the freezing cold.

The next day we headed for Pismo Beach State Park and located our campsite. This one was “dry,” which is RV jargon for no TV, no water pressure, and if the generator dies, no electricity. Plus, the park charges twenty-five cents for two minutes of shower time, which is not enough time to even get wet. So who needs to shower every day, anyway?

We moved next door to an actual RV park that offered lots of amenities for less-than-rugged campers like us—miniature golf, game arcades, a cute shop, a BBQ restaurant, and a swimming pool. Bring it on!

With one night left, we headed to Felton, in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Aside from losing one of the sewer hoses along the way, and finding the road to the park closed, we ended up in a beautiful redwood forest that made the whole trip worth it.

I really didn’t know if I could handle RVing. I prefer room service, freshly made beds, and nearby shopping. But the experience turned out to be more fun than I expected. Apparently I like trees and campfires and tiny, cozy beds. I like hanging out with my family and burning marshmallows together. And I really like taking a miniature home with me on vacation.

So if you see a ginormous Winnebago driving around the Valley or parked at Wal-Mart, stop by. We’ll show you the new home-on-wheels we just bought. Yeah, we’re nuts.

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