About a year ago in March, 2012, we planned the perfect maiden voyage. Two days before our scheduled departure, “The wind began to switch, the house to pitch”, and a major snow storm threatened our exit route from Reno, NV through the Sierras. It was either leave early or delay the trip for several days. With only a few hours to complete our prep (de-winterize the RV, fill tanks, pack and load, etc.) and get through the mountains to our first stop before dark, the race was on!
We scrambled through the house throwing items into the rig, piling clothes on the bed and stuff on the counters. Whew! We got out in time and settled in to enjoy the gorgeous drive down Highway 395 south. A wind advisory was on through Washoe Valley as we pitched and swayed under sunny, blue skies. Greg did a great job negotiating the winding, mountain roads and steep hills.
We arrived in Bishop,CA at dusk and stopped to top Golden Village Palmsoff the fuel tank. Greg usually wears “fueling shoes” but not this time…we were getting tired and hungry. As I rounded the corner of the rig, the strong smell of diesel fuel greeted me and I found him standing in a puddle of fuel wearing the wrong shoes! It was dark now. Isn’t there an RV Rule that says you shouldn’t arrive at a park in the dark? We clipped the top of the rig on a tree branch as we parked (and this was a pull-thru space!) and walked across the street to have dinner at a Mexican restaurant.
After a relaxing dinner, we strolled back to the park. As I gazed at the stars, Greg stared at a big puddle under the radiator. He put a bucket under the leak and decided it was time for a glass of wine. We had no problem finding the corkscrew and bottle! Sipping wine, I did a fine job getting everything unpacked and Greg called Good Sam Road Service. They weren’t sure they could get someone out the next day as it was Sunday but said they would call in the morning. Tired puppies that we were, we couldn’t wait to collapse on our comfy sleep number bed. But…in our haste, we forgot our pillows, so…we created “sweatshirt pillows” by stuffing small, hard decorative pillows into sweatshirts – not a comfy solution!
A bright, sunny Sunday morning and a call from Good Sam Road Service gave us hope. A bit before noon, a mechanic from Britt’s Diesel showed up. Yep…radiator hose is leaking. He says he needs to pick up and deliver some tires and can come back later. Greg talks him into taking the rig into his shop (if it’s ok to drive) and fixing it right away. Two hours and $200 later we were on the road again with a 5 hour drive to Hemet ahead of us. It is 2PM but we gained an hour of daylight last night (you know..spring forward) . Maybe we’ll arrive at the next RV park before dark?!
Despite strong winds and the busy SoCal freeways we had a good trip to Hemet. We stopped to top off the fuel again but this time Greg wore the right shoes and not a drop was spilled! Life is good. Except…..by the time we arrived at the Golden Village RV park it was very dark. I punched in the gate code, jumped back in the RV as the gates started opening and just when we started through, the gates began to close. Greg hit the brakes and the sound of shattering glass rang in our ears – a cabinet door flew open spilling glassware all over the floor. REALLY?!!! After safely driving through the mountains, we can’t get through the gate of an RV park?
We drove slowly through the park using a flashlight to read street signs and space numbers. Found it, #617. The security guard assisted with a flashlight as Greg backed into the space between some lovely trees. Note to self: backup cameras don’t help much when it’s dark (but Greg did a great job!). In hooking up the electrical, Greg used a flashlight, but in juggling that with the power cords he flashed a spectacular lightshow on the nearby rigs. A politely annoyed voice called out, “What is going on out there?” Hi neighbor!
Bound and determined to not use “sweatshirt pillows” again we were delighted to find that there was a Target nearby. We hoofed it over there (didn’t tow a vehicle on that trip) just before they closed and got pillows. A good night to all!
So, our first real test ride on the road proved to be fun, interesting and surprising. I can’t remember the last time we laughed so much at the simple things in life. It was surprisingly refreshing and energizing (albeit challenging!) to be out of our comfort zone. It definitely adds a new dimension to life.