The RV Trip Promise

Kids are sleeping.
It’s 2 AM here in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and my mind will not shut off.
Two years ago, after we as a family made a very big decision and purchased a Class C 32 ft. Winnebago motorhome to cross the USA in 4 weeks, I promised the kids that 2 years later we’d hit the Southern states, since we got all the Northern ones in 2015.
Here we are 10 days into the trip.
Should be Day 15 but our old motorhome had some mechanical issues that couldn’t be resolved before July, and we needed to keep the promise to get out on the road.
So I went to the RV store and bought a new RV.
Not the same one, of course, I went for the dream one we’d eyed for years.  Class A Fleetwood Storm 38 footer.  Yyyyyuge!
Hooked up the new Jeep I purchased just to pull in tow on this trip.  Making us 54 feet of glorious nervousness.
Away we went last Tuesday, June 20, having just picked up this behemoth of a vehicle that I can barely turn, let alone find one gas station between Utah and North Carolina where I can get a spot for this gas guzzler.
$100 per fill-up.
I’ve never let the tank get past half full.
The stress I have felt on this trip is beyond anything experienced in my existence.
Yes, meeting a few deadlines here and there has added to it, but mostly driving this new vehicle, while towing a Jeep, and knowing I can NEVER back up no matter what, so each turn has to count.  Adds to the stress when you’re listening to GPS tell you to go on a state road instead of the Interstate.  Oh, and there’s construction.
I’ve never felt as terrified as when I’m caught in the middle lane going 70 with 52’ semis passing me on both sides.  On a curve.  In a work zone with unleveled roads.  Thanks for those!
And then suddenly I’m navigating a campground that was not planned to have RVs even though it says on the sign we are welcome.  I can’t even make the turn around the sewage filled pool.
Of course today, after I was soaked in Nashville heat sweat, having spent all of 30 minutes wrapping hoses for water, poop, and hooking up my Jeep, as I pulled away I felt the air conditioning in the coach suddenly kick off….yes folks, that wasn’t supposed to be on while I was driving….I had left the dang RV plugged into the 50 AMP circuit and ripped a new hole in the KOA electrical system.
Just another day on the road!   Charge the VISA, they recently upped my limit due to overspending.
The topper has to be the detour we took from Branson, MO down the wrong path (see 8 hours of 20 mph windiest road in America) through the Ozarks as we snaked our way to Hot Springs, Arkansas.  Our family has enjoyed the hot springs throughout the west as fun family pool experiences for years and we were thrilled to read that on this trip we could hit some hot springs.
After my wife finished throwing up in the bathroom following the drive, we pulled into the campground in pitch black confusion, asleep just after midnight, and pulled ourselves out of bed by 7 AM to hit the hot springs early.  Dressed in our swimsuits, inflatable inner tube ducks around our bellies, sunscreen, visors, beach towels, boom box, sunglasses and sandals, we made our smiling way to the National Park of the Hot Springs of Arkansas!
That’s when I said to my wife, “Honey, no one else looks like they’re coming here to swim.”  No sir, not one other person had a swimsuit on.  Just our family.  Albinos from Utah.  Suddenly we found ourselves standing at the reception desk being told by the southern clerk, “Oh, bless your hearts, no, there is no bathing here for children or families, this is a historic landmark where bathers bathed in the ancient times like the Greeks.  This is just a tour of their old bathhouses.  But ya’ll look so cute in your outfits!  Where are you going?  A party?  You can visit our gift shop over here.”
As my southern friends have all taught me, when someone from the south says, “Bless Your Heart”, that really just means, “You’re an Idiot”.
My 5-year old threw down his Mickey Mouse towel in disgust.  My wife laughed a disappointment laugh, which is rarely heard directed at anyone but Daddy.  But that was only after they saw me mouth a few words that can never see the light of day.
I have never been so blindsided in all my travel life.  We drove 250 miles, on a road Dr. Seuss designed, only to have my wife barfing, dragging my kids from their beds, to come to an ancient bathhouse in Arkansas that included no swimming, and we were in swimwear!   Even the web site seemed to say there was bathing and fun.  At least, that’s what we read.  Having looked back at it, we wonder what were we thinking and why didn’t we ask anyone in Branson?
It’s one of those moments you’ll laugh about forever, but are mad about forever, too.
All I could think was how much I love America.  Seriously, such an amazing country.  Sure, there’s a few downsides, like places called hot springs without any to swim in, but really everything else is pretty cool.  The Clinton’s are from there, so that has to count for something?
Driving and seeing the patriotism countrywide, enjoying the Grand Ole Opry Live Broadcast, eating ribs in Memphis, Harlem Globetrotters in Branson, enjoying our first major league game of the Kansas City Royals, the Wizard of Oz museum, the rolling hills and mountain passes of Colorado, America is a sight to behold.  This great Country we love so dearly.
Happy 4th of July upcoming, hope you have a chance to celebrate and be safe.  The foundation of the Country in and of itself is one of the great Promises we’ve ever known in the history of mankind.  But it’s up to us to keep it.
Like I said, we are 10 days into our little road trip.
The Griswold’s gots nothin’ on us.
I am so tired this writing is delirious.
The motorhome is amazing.  It is horribly stressful to drive, navigate, and remember to pull all the cables in – oh, and by the way, there’s a Jeep following really close behind, but you can’t see it unless you make a sharp turn – but I literally love it.
The kids are asleep.
My wife’s been asleep for 2 hours.
Me, I’m just the guy who sits around planning the next promise I can make and keep to my family, no matter how painful or wonderful it may end up being.

Wizard of Oz Museum in Kansas

Harlem Globetrotters in Branson

 

Amish Family recognized me in the pool at the KOA in Kansas, had seen me at a convention a week earlier, asked me to do a show for the rest of their family in their RV: 15 of them. Yes, I’ll do a show if you are traveling with 15 in one RV.

 

Hot Springs, AR. Officially coronated as our worst travel day ever.

 

Memphis!

~ jason hewlett

Jason Hewlett, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, is a Keynote Speaker for the largest corporate events in the world. His primary message, The Promise, is essential for Leadership, Management, Sales, Marketing, Direct-Sales Companies, and is a combination of engagement and entertainment meets inspiration.  Jason has even received standing ovations from IT guys.  He has been acknowledged as life-changing by Conference Attendees, C-Level Executives and Hollywood Elite.  jasonhewlett.com

Please click here to learn about how Jason Hewlett, Speaker Hall of Fame, introduces the opportunity for you, or someone you love, to have the gift of learning how to create a Career From the Stage and begin moving toward fulfilling a lifelong dream as a full-time speaker, performer, or entertainer.

To hire Jason to speak at your next event, inspire and uplift, entertain and engage, please contact Karen Harris at jasonbookings@cmispeakers.com

Comments

  1. I’m reasonably certain that I’ve never read a blog post like this before. Ever. Loved it.

    Thanks for keeping your promise. More importantly, thank you for showing others what it means to keep your promise.

    • Jason Hewlett

      Momma always said life was like a motorhome making a U-Turn on a 2-lane road….you pretty much know what you’re gonna get. And you ain’t gettin’ it back! Love you man, thanks for the nice comment my friend.

  2. Patrick Donadio

    Jason – You are sure making some great memories! I look forward to seeing “you all” (southern for you and your family) in Orlando at Influence 2017! Safe travels my NSA colleague and Happy 4th of July! Patrick

  3. Anne Guignon

    As the oldest of 7, I remember the family road trips in an old station wagon with no air conditioning. My Dad kept his promises too. And he wanted us to see the country. Thanks for bringing back the memories.

    • Jason Hewlett

      Anne, I love this comment. I too recall no AC, so that is why it’s a prerequisite in my travel journey now 🙂 You’re the best, hope to see you at Influence in a few days!

    • Jason Hewlett

      Hey My Friend, I heard Stadium of Fire was amazing. We had a Legends in Concert reunion of sorts down here in Myrtle Beach, it was fun to see where my career began 16 years ago! Give my best to Linda and family.

  4. Misty

    Wow, what an amazing family experience. Yes, thank you for a being a dad who keeps his promises. Get some sleep though; you need it to to drive that ridiculously long home you’ve got driving down the road. Go Griswolds, oh I mean Hewletts, hahaha!

    • Jason Hewlett

      Haha! Thanks Misty. It’s been quite the adventure for sure. Sleeping better actually as I’m getting the hang of driving this thing around a bit better. Thank you!

  5. Love love love your posts, Jason. Being from Virginia, I just wanted you to know that very often “Bless Your Heart,” is a sweet compliment to mere naiveté. It’s when we say, “Bless Your LITTLE Heart,” that we mean, “You’re an idiot.” But you’re far from that. You’re a true gentleman and inspiration, and your family is lucky to have you as you are, they. Hope to see you at Influence!

    • Jason Hewlett

      Hahahaha That’s very funny, Tom. Little heart sounds much more coy. Haha. Appreciate you reading and hope to see you at Influence this coming week!

  6. The best part of my childhood memories were times we went together for an adventure. There weren’t many of them and those we had were very special.

    Have fun creating adventures with your family. Enjoy the journey

    Nicki, Saf and family

  7. Becky

    I am fairly certain you have just described every family vacation I have ever taken. The good news is, 47 years later these are the memories my sisters and I cherish. My kids have similar memories, but nothin beats sitting in the camper of a 1976 chevy pick up singing to the 8 track.

  8. You are the best!!! Some day your kids will realize how lucky they really are to have parents willing to sacrifice so much for them! Way to keep your Promise and enjoy those little people–they grow up too fast!

    • Jason Hewlett

      Thank you Sydne, I’m just trying to keep up with the Jacques in the cool parents category. Great seeing you guys tonight!

  9. Hysterical! Loved every word. Have had a few days just like the hot springs day while traveling with our seven kids. Everyone needs a few of those just so we can appreciate all of the other days. : ) Have a wonderful rest of the trip, Jason.

  10. Jason,

    This is great! I’m so enjoying reading about your adventures.

    It brings back so many memories of traveling around in our Class A motorhome when our son was little (and we were homeschooling). We’d do like you guys, take extended trips to and from NSA convention. One of our first trips to convention was from Dallas to Phoenix, which was about 120 degrees that summer. We spent 6 weeks on the road seeing the various sights and national parks, such as Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Sedona, Zion, etc. I have such fond memories of thos trips.

    I don’t drive the motorhome myself — I don’t have enough leg strength to operate the jake (air) brake. And after my heart problems, we decided it probably wasn’t the thing to do for me to drive it anyway. But, it’s such a great experience for children to travel around the US in a motorhome. See you at INFLUENCE 17 soon.

    Mellanie

  11. Hi Jason…In Appalachia what’s said is, “Honey, Now bless your sweet heart!” It means you are absolutely an idiot, but we love you, adore you, anyway! Katie and I can’t wait to see you at Influence in a few days. When I read about that vehicle, I thought, “What would it be like to drive that?” Now I know!

  12. Louise Griffith

    Your perceptions and telling of the story are hilarious. You are building some more wonderful memories. Seems like you are getting close to NSA.
    Enjoy!

  13. Hey Jason, This is absolutely wonderful!!!!!! We rented an RV for a short trip to a powwow; I paid, and my son in law drove….so I avoided most of the stress except when I was emptying the sewer tank the hose came off and my sandals and bare feet were covered with smelly goop like the Robin WIlliams Rv movie…..and we down the wrong road to see a “scenic view” that dwindled to two muddy ruts dead ending at a fallen tree. We had to drive in reverse for a mile in ruts with their own agenda in steering the vehicle!!!! I Look forward to hearing you tell your story live at Bob’s dinner. Peace brother

    • Jason Hewlett

      Thanks Mitchell! Quite the adventure you had as well! The stories are hilarious once we look back on them. Thank you and see you soon!

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