Pulling out this morning from Pickwick Landing State Park and promptly crossing the Tennessee River brought into sharp relief the fact that we were almost done with this little adventure. The drive on curvy two lane after curvy two lane north through western TN and KY was fairly uneventful so I’d like to dedicate some time on this blog to some observations we’ve made in the nearly 7000 miles we’ve traveled the last 3 ½ weeks:
• NEVER buy an RV without having someone take the time to talk you through how everything works. Good intentions not only pave the road to the Lake of Fire, they also pave the road to the repair shop and the marriage counselor (just kidding, Honey! This trip was amazing). Really though, taking the “walk through” from the gentleman (hippie) you drove 9 hours and 3 states to purchase a behemoth on wheels from that has as many working parts as your 3 bedroom, 2 bath on 6 acres is really not sufficient. I genuinely regret not telling Darrell that his asking price included a weekend getaway with yours truly in some rustic little mobile home park so we could wake up together each morning, share some coffee and go through all the things you never think to ask if you’ve never owned one of these mammoth contraptions! And trust me, downloading the Owner’s Manual from www.oldascraprvs.com or some other corner of the web and pouring over it on your 3 inch cell phone screen when you are out of power/propane/water/anything else you might need and your kids are waking up in the middle of the night shivering is NOT the best option. So there; you’ve been warned!
• Drivers of other cars hate RVs. I get it. I really do understand. You don’t want to get stuck behind Uncle Vernal and Aunt Martha as they drive exactly 39 mph in a 65 mph zone with no passing lanes for the next hundred miles. No problem. But that doesn’t mean you need to be an absolute tool bag and cut off the poor schmuck you see with his turn signal on as he tries to get across 3 lanes of traffic to his exit he almost missed because of his stupid GPS/screaming kids/or any other number of reasons as he drives through a town he’s never even visited (I WILL shut this whole freeway down during rush hour just to get across the street and on my exit ramp so I don’t have to turn around in the parking lot of Church’s Chicken in the middle of Vegas!). So do me, and Vernal and Martha, a favor, and let us merge into your flipping lane of traffic!
• Dogs are giant, worthless, stinking piles of giant worthlessness. That is all.
• Wal-Mart is wonderful. Sorry all you “only buy local don’t kill the little man” folks. As a general rule, I like the little guys too. But not when I’m rollin’ in Bonnie. Give me a huge parking lot next to 6 over the road truckers with the 24 hour convenience of any stinking thing I need. By the way, Sam Walton, or whoever dreamed up the idea of letting RVers stay in the lot of any Wal-Mart for F-R-E-E was a GENIUS. I would never make it to my next paycheck if immediate access to any and every consumer item I could fathom was always available only 75 yds away through doors that never close!
• As much as I acted annoyed in this blog when things didn’t go as planned, the best stories, the best conversations, and the best memories almost always come from the unplanned, the “didn’t work out right” and the “can’t believe this is happening right now.” Were it not for things breaking or weather wrecking our plans, we would have missed out on more than half of the people, places, and experiences we will remember from this trip. How silly it is to think our plans are always the best plans.
• Petrified Forest National Park is something you should only go see if all other options (including dancing naked in a blizzard and poking sharp sticks in your eyes) have been exhausted.
• Be it ever so humble…and cold…and flat…and windy…and flat…snowy…and flat…there’s no place like home
• If you want to see the country and really know for sure, and I mean FOR SURE, if you love your kids, take an RV trip. Be prepared to wish you had never consummated your relationship with your spouse and put into motion the beginning of the process of starting a family. But also be prepared to laugh until you hurt, find strength you’ve never seen in your little smiling kiddos and wish like anything you could stop them from growing up. There really isn’t much better in life than sharing an adventure with the kids that are currently “our adventure!”
We’re almost back to Bedford by now, where we’ll be staying for the next few days with family. Aside from the Shoals “jug rock” and the Loretta Lynn cowboy camp, we didn’t pass a whole lot worth writing about today. I know for a fact I will regret the pound of 9 hours old chicken strips and pepper jack cheese bites I bought in Montgomery to keep me awake for the rest of the drive, but I’ve written about enough bathroom adventures on this trip! If you’re still reading this to the bitter end, thanks. I love to write and Melissa and I get a kick out of sharing our adventures. I hope it has been fun for you to ride along. Next time our paths cross, we will most likely be showering again with regularity and I will have probably shaved my disgusting neck beard. By the way, I have a 1993 Fleetwood Bounder for sale. Her name is Bonnie and she is one sexy beast!