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.