It was the morning of July 7th 2016. The RV was buttoned down, hooked up and ready to roll. Our three grandchildren were safely buckled in the truck when we pulled out of the little trailer park we had been calling home for five months.
We found living in our 29’ RV quite cozy with just Dan and me. Now with the grandkids traveling with us for a few weeks, we had to be extra organized, cupboards and refrigerator needed to be stocked, and I needed to figure out plenty of fun road trip games to play while traveling.
Our cozy little RV felt much bigger towing it behind us. It’s not that we don’t have some experience towing. We had a ski boat for years that we took up to the lake every weekend when our boys were young. Being in construction, Dan had a dump truck too, but the RV feels different. It’s more like we are towing a house behind us. The first turn we took really wide, unfortunately it wasn’t wide enough to miss the curb and up and over we bounced past two shocked looking construction workers standing on the curb……oops.
Lesson Learned: Wider turns are necessary.
Our first stop for a few days was Lassen National Park. Dan backed it into the small RV camping spot like a pro. I put the jacks down, and we unhooked the truck. I heard the crackle of the gravel as the truck started to roll backwards into our RV……….our home! I yelled “THE TRUCK!”
“DON’T GET BEHIND THE TRUCK SHELL!” Dan yelled back as he leaped inside to put the break on. In a moment of panic, I am embarrassed to say I actually considered it. All logic and reasoning went out the window when I saw the truck begin to roll backwards………Dan’s loud voice acted as a switch and turned my brain back on.
Lesson Learned: When the truck is in 4 wheel drive neutral, putting it in park is not a good idea. Jumping behind the truck to stop it…. is a worse idea!
So what if we tweaked the front storage door a little. With a little elbow grease it still closed until we were able to jerry-rig a jack and tweak it back.
As we drove from campground to campground, we got better at backing in, unhooking and setting up. We vowed to never be ‘that couple’ yelling at each other as they maneuvered the RV into their campsite. So far we have kept that vow.
Our camping neighbors that we have met have been nice. For example, we met a guy in Boardman Oregon who lives in the campground during the week and works installing fire sprinklers at a power plant. He goes home to his wife and kids on the weekends. He welcomed someone to talk to. Another neighbor in Coeur de’ Alene, Idaho lent us a hose to reach water when ours was not long enough.
Many times we have said I wish so and so did not live so far away, or I wish our grandkids could know their cousins like our kids knew theirs. One of the advantages of going on the open road is the freedom to go see and spend quality time with family and friends while respecting their space. Thus one of the reasons we took our grandkids with us so they could see, spend time with, and get to know their cousins that might otherwise be difficult to visit. It also gives mom and dad a needed break and an opportunity to work on their own relationship while Dan and I are able to sew a legacy into our grandkids. A legacy of love, faith, memories and life. We are passionate and intentional about investing into their young lives while we are able through our interactions.
It is also why we stopped in places like Sisters, Oregon so that we could visit with our past employers turned lifelong friends who have definitely left a positive thumbprint on our lives. We want people who invested in our lives to know they made a big difference in shaping our character and our future. We want them to know how grateful we are. Thank-you Jim and Judy! Your lives have had direction and purpose. They still do.
I am convinced that using our mind, body and words for helping others contributes to our own mental health, and gratefulness for what we have and less focused on what we don’t have. We are less invested in gathering now and more invested in sewing.
We are in Montana now. Our RV is set up on our oldest son’s 6 acers. Did I mention he put in full hook-ups for us? This is his love language. The cousins have returned with their parents in California. We made as many memories together as we could while they were here.
We are taking our training for the Camino de’ Santiago pilgrimage more seriously now. We leave for Paris on August 10th. We are hiking two to three hours every morning so that we have time to spend with our Montana grandkids and family in the afternoons.
Trials come and go….the light came on in the truck on the way here so we are getting it checked out on Monday. The RV started leaking under the hot water heater and the mobile repair man is coming Tuesday. Hopefully neither are major repairs. Either way we will deal with it and we choose to be grateful that we have a truck and an RV and this wonderful opportunity.