By Bob Lowry
We are nearing the end of our 2 month long RV adventure. Safely home (I hope!) sometime early next week, I imagine things will quickly resume their usual patterns and rhythms. Our calendars and to do lists are already starting to fill up with the necessities of life.
What I sincerely hope is Betty and I can manage to take all we have learned about each other and ourselves and integrate as much as possible into our home life. Both of us believe this was a tremendously positive time for us. We are returning with a renewed commitment to each other and the life we have shared for over 38 years.
I will certainly be posting lots of pictures and some stories of the trip over the next several weeks. I have been asked to provide an idea of the costs we encountered, especially for things like gas and campsites. As of today we are about 7% over budget – not too bad.
Before I go any farther with this post, I do want to note that I have decided to continue Satisfying Retirement. Regular readers know I started this trip with a real question about my motivation and desire to maintain this 4 year old blog after our return. Well, I have had over 4,500 miles and 59 days so far to think about my blogging future, and the answer is I do want to keep writing.
Most likely I will adopt a schedule of a fresh post every 4th day sometime shortly after our return. That is slightly less than the twice a week posting before this trip. But, that frequency feels doable and comfortable.
OK, so back to the subject at hand: what are the four Cs of RV travel? Interestingly, these came to me well over a month ago, and haven’t changed. These points seem to be the essence of a successful trip of this type.
I want to take a nap, or read, or go to a particular museum in town. Betty wants to download photos to the computer or take Bailey to a local park for a long walk. She would like dinner at 6:30pm, I am hungry by 5:30pm. I am content with an afternoon of people watching while she wants to visit an antique store a few miles away. I get tired of movies most evenings, Betty never does.
RV travel is compromise on steroids. Each of us has things we’d like to do at each new town we visit, and things we’d rather avoid. But, like marriage in any setting, compromise is a absolute necessity to make the time together a joy.
Being inside a 30 foot metal and fiberglass box for an extended period is not the way most of us live our lives. Usable living space is probably 100 square feet. For two adults and a dog that is tight…no, it is dangerous. We have to plan when one of us wants to walk past the bathroom and shower to take a nap….both of us won’t fit at the same time. The kitchen has about 3 square feet of counter space, after we put a cover over the stove top. Cooking and cleanup are difficult. So, it is important that we cooperate to make life not only bearable, but actually enjoyable.
After two or three weeks on the road neither of us could, with any certainty, be able to tell the other the day of the week or the date. In one sense, there is a sameness to this type of trip. After a while RV campgrounds start to look the same and the hours spent driving from one town to the next blend together. But, the important point is that the date of the month or even the specific day of the week becomes unimportant. What begins to matter are the experiences and memories. Except that we have reservations to be at a particular RV park on a certain date, the calendar becomes unimportant.
(Being a little) Crazy:
To spend two months with many of our normal creature comforts no longer part of a daily routine requires an openness that may border on being slightly crazy. Deciding if the shower facility at a particular campground is clean enough to use, putting $100 worth of gas into an apparently bottomless pit of an RV gas tank every other day, taking Bailey out at 6 in the morning, in the cold, to do her business, and wearing the same small wardrobe week after week can become tiring. The dust is everywhere and dead bugs become the new look of the windshield and front of the RV. The menu is restricted to what a small refrigerator ( and even smaller freezer) can hold between shopping trips. When you want to stay in touch with family and friends, Internet connections, even cell phone service, can be frustratingly poor.
It helps tremendously to let yourself go. If you want your regular lifestyle and all that implies, you are going to be frustrated. If you like a vacation with room service, clean sheets every night, and a poolside cocktail, stay away from the RV dealer.
If you want the chance to discover more about your life partner and yourself and if you want to see America and all its wonders up close and personal, the four Cs are your guide.