If I claimed that RV trips are genetically determined, you would probably stop reading. How about if I claimed that moving around is a genetic trait? Our history, that recorded over the past few millennia and that which we conjecture from archaeological evidence from time periods without written history, suggested that humans move a lot. We migrate. We form nomadic cultures.
Whether our origins began in Eden or central Africa, our ancestors moved from some point to many points around the globe. Trade and economic routes may have formed the pathways for transportation of goods and people from region to region. Caravans have existed a long time. When land routes came to oceans, sea faring passages took us to distant shores. When the coastal regions filled, land schooners cross the mid-west plains and western mountains to the Pacific Coast. For two hundred years, more immigrants came from Italy, Ireland, Nordic countries, and Eastern European lands. Now, Asian and Central/South American populations cross the sea and land. Meanwhile, those of us, with some sense of settlement through 3 or 4 generations here, continue to move within our boundaries. Some relocate. Some travel. Is it much of a leap to suggest that an RV trip would be an extension of this impulse to be nomadic? I think RV is inevitably part of DNA. Well, my grandparents loved their trailer tips each winter to Arizona. It must be in my genes.
Linda also comes from migrating stock. Ireland to England to Maine and New York to Connecticut to Rhode Island to the Virginias… Since before we married, she has talked about traveling the country in an RV in our retirement. As I have mentioned in prior posts, my family introduced me to traveling at a young age. Combining these concepts, I made a joke several years ago, that someday, assuming during retirement, we would put the garden to rest for a year, pack up in an RV and hit the road. By then we would have all of our books and music in some digital format, we would stop at any Brown Sign that caught our fancy, and I would write e-mails on the internet to send out to family and friends to keep in them up on our wanderings. With technological evolutions happening so rapidly, though we are not retired, Linda has her Kindle, I have my blog, we do not (yet) have an i-pod, and a 25 foot camper. Shall this be rent-to-own concept, at least in regard to the travel style. My DNA is buzzing.
When this trip began to formulate a year or more ago, we happen to be driving through PA, where some large RV sales/rental locations can be seen from highway 78. We stopped along the way to investigate. Not knowing the difference between a pull-behind, a 5th wheel, motor home, and the bus size motor coach, we spent some time walking through various models to be come oriented. Then we learned about pop-ups, pop-outs, awnings, and other extension of space. We learned about battery and generator power sources. How big is that bathroom? We decided that we did not need the extra length for a queen size bed in the back or the wide-screen TV. Our preference is for as little interior space as possible, as we plan to be out side as much as the weather allows. Better informed, Linda could start the internet research on what RV rental companies offer.
We began our RV adventure on the Tuesday (5/17/11) after Ben’s graduation. Linda, Emily, and I flew from Reno to Las Vegas, where we had reserved the RV from cruiseamerica.com. A new layer of snow covered the mountains around Las Vegas. Tom had driven back with Nick and Zack on Sunday. He sorted out many of the camping gear items, which we had listed, saving us time and expense. The RV companies will provide kits of kitchen items and linens for a fee. We arrived about 9 a.m. with Tom bringing us back to their home. Then Operation Preparation began. Emily had the assignment of doing laundry from our weekend in Reno. Linda and I borrowed Karen’s car to stop at a couple of store to purchase items, which Tom did not have and for groceries. With these staged for moving into the RV, we took Tom out to lunch in gratitude to taking us on one more trip out to the RV company. With relative ease, we signed the contracts, had the orientation, and turned the ignition key. Vrrrm, clug-clug-clug. One more stop at WalMart for the toilet tablets, of which the RV company provided only one.
We had planned to just put the groceries and suitcases inside and drive away before rush hour traffic came up. However, we realized that the RV had more cabinets and drawers for clothes, food, and all the other stuff that we considered essential, than it had for empty suitcases. Linda and Emily went to unpacking and storing everything, while I brought out loads of boxes, etc. Fortunately, that little delay did not put us into any extra traffic. By 5 p.m. we were heading out toward the new bridge over the Hoover Dam. The warning signs about not taking “high profile vehicles” over the bridge because of strong winds, detoured us down the Nevada side of the Colorado River.
By the time we pulled into Kingman two hours later, I had a feel for the RV. It is like driving a large truck with a lot of play in the steering wheel. Later I decided that you should drive the RV like a truck in a snow storm: start slowly, do not really come to a full stop, and coast around turns on the wide side, avoid quick movements and sudden changes in direction and speed. We fueled up in Flagstaff, being down to ¼ tank. The pump stopped exactly at $100. What a co-incidence… oh, the pump automatically turns off at $100. Round two took another $50 from my credit card. Hmmm. Budgeting. Fifty-five gallon fuel tank; ten miles per gallon; four dollars per gallon.
Linda took over for the next section to Flagstaff, while we had carrots, snap peas with hummus, and Manchego cheese and crackers. Good thing that we had a big lunch. The third leg of the trip I drove us to the rock shop outside the Petrified Forest National Park entrance, arriving at about 12:30 a.m. We crept in quietly, parking between two other RV’s, which had their curtains drawn. Whew. Long day. Time for some sleep. The park opens at 7 a.m.
After a couple of days of travel, Linda would declair that “Carrying your house with you is grand. Better yet, being able to use the toilet in the parking lot was a relief”. I think, “This is a septic tank on wheels.,” giver her a kiss and drive on.