A year ago, on October 17, 2017, Lorraine and I packed our belongings into an RV and began one amazing road trip.
When we pulled out of the Sentinel Storage in facility in Newark, Delaware that sunny afternoon (after spending about 45, highly-frustrating, minutes trying to hitch the truck to the RV), we had no idea what we were in for.
And I must admit, I am glad we didn't know, how much we didn't know!
Don't get me wrong, we knew we were newbies and probably should not have been allowed to drive such a monstrosity without prior training (or at least a police and fire escort), but when I accelerated out of that parking lot, and cut loose of our moorings, we knew there was no looking back (of course, maybe I wouldn't have taken out that stop sign if I had bothered to look back --just kidding).
One thing we decided early on was that our trip was going to be about the "experiences" and we knew not all were going to be pleasant. But fortunately, the worst-case scenarios that had played out in our minds (five-alarm fires, car accidents, personal injuries, buying a dog etc..), have not occurred.
These are our trip HIGHLIGHTS:
* We have been BLESSED beyond measure!! Some days when we visit a location that I never imagined I'd ever be able to see, I have to pinch myself.
* Everybody --and I mean EVERYBODY-- we have met along the way, whether on the street while sightseeing, or in the camp grounds, have been kind and friendly. (I think the evening news really jaded us to the unknown). We have made some wonderful friends along our journey.
* Every time we open our RV door a new adventure awaits us!
* We've warmed ourselves around dozens of toasty camp fires on cool evening nights.
* Have seen the majesty of God's creation in awe-inspiring landscapes.
* We have encountered no real emergencies. A few sleepless nights when tornado warnings were issued, or a severe thunderstorm rolled through, but that's about it.
* Truck drivers are the best drivers on the road and have been very courteous towards me (except for that one truck driver I had to cut off in order to make our exit outside of Milwaukee --Sorry!). God bless all my "good buddies".
* Our RV feels like home. Even though it's only 350 sq. feet (verses our 4,000 sq. ft. home), it is comfy and cozy. We always say, "We're home!" whenever we return. We have been thrilled with our Grand Design 337RLS.
* Lastly, I marvel at the EIGHTH WONDER OF THE MODERN WORLD, our highway system. As much as people (myself included) have complained about the conditions of our roads, after traveled over of 22,000 miles they really are a modern miracle. Outside of south east Michigan (more potholes than highway), I constantly marvel at the quality of our interstate system. It has allowed us to safely traverse our country relatively unscathed. Over the past twelve months, we have run into only ONE accident that had brought traffic to a total standstill, and that was outside of Louisville, KY. Traffic was stopped for over an hour and a half.
Many thanks to those that have designed and constructed these thoroughfares allowing us to boldly journey from "Point A" to "Point B"!
And here are a few LOW LIGHTS:
* We do miss all the family, friends and local haunts we left behind.
* We have had three very MINOR traffic incidents.
--The first occurred when someone was driving out of the campground with their awning still out and it scratched the side of our RV (fortunately, the scratch nearly completely buffed out).
--The second occurred when I took a corner too sharply as I was pulling out of a campground and a stop sign scraped against our (closed!) awning putting a tiny tear in the fabric.
--And the third incident happened while backing up my truck, my reverse sensors didn't go off and I --GENTLY!-- backed into the hitch cracking my Dodge Ram emblem. Thankfully, there was no damage to the hitch.
* WEATHER: In certain parts of the country, weather kills. It is very unsettling to pull into a campground and see "Tornado Shelters". Because we are new to these areas this is a new threat for us, so we don't know what to expect or how to react.
* Back to the weather, it has turned cold sooner than we anticipated forcing us to cut short our visit to Wisconsin and Minnesota. It also has been intermittently rainy for the past few weeks making it hard to get out and go hiking. It seems to be following us south.
This one surprised me. I never expected these tiny creatures would become such a big concern but every region has their own variety of colorful, yet menacing looking flying or crawling creatures. And, we are convinced, with each each new apocalyptic-looking bug we discover, the extinction of mankind cannot be far behind. One time while working under the RV something bit me on the left shoulder. The bite became red and swollen like a large mosquito bite. That evening my entire right shoulder began throbbing like I had a muscle tear. It became painful to even move my arm (And, no, I wasn't having a heart attack). But by the next morning I was fine. The pain was completely gone. I have to surmise that the muscle soreness was somehow related to a bug testing the effectiveness of its venom on a human.
* TICKS. We do a lot of hiking. A few months back, we found a few embedded ticks on us, so we went and got tested for Lyme disease. My test came back negative but Lorraine's came back marginally positive. As a precaution, the doctor had her take a regiment of antibiotics. She has since been retested and there are no signs of the disease.
* RECYCLING: None of the RV parks, and most southern (and western) cities, don't recycle. I don't understand why not but it is, what it is. So right now the back of my truck looks like we are hoarding empty plastic containers.
To date, we have stayed in 56 RV parks, driven over 22,000 miles, met 100's of wonderful people, visited numerous attractions, visited 23 states, been awed by God's creation and travel mercies, and can't wait to see what this next year brings!
"Now, bring us that horizon!"