Day 1

Ehem… Yes, We’re RVers

Nothing like rainy day welcome to life on the road

Aaaaaaand… we’re off! After finally, finally falling into bed just after 2am this morning.

This first time RV co-pilot, and brand new RV rental recipient, was up so late because the long awaited for trip had arrived, the RV successfully steered into our driveway ready to be nested (yes, all verbs can be turned into adjectives when you’re tired enough), and I was at its mercy trouble-shooting an RV fridge, which is not like any fridge you (unless you are an RV veteran) or I, have ever seen. I was nursing a sore back for having lugged (alone, all other family members being in bed) 20+ loads of supplies, food, linens and toiletries into and packed every nook and cranny, with after midnight logistical problem solving skills, and packed the hobbit-of-the-shire sized fridge so full that all food would after the packing, emerge perfectly square.

Nervous, excited, and staring at the blinking orange light on the fridge door that said “check gas if blinking.”

I quickly found the exact problem and how to solve it on a RV forum online, and went through all the steps, only to find the light still blinking, and now being too tired to go any further, the car running to charge the battery, the stove burning to dispel any air in the lines and the AC off to divert all One hundred and Twenty measly volts of electricity from our back yard’s extension cord to the RV, I faced the fact that I was going to have to now unload the blessed fridge… and figure it out in the morning.

My back, my aching back.

And for the first time since January when we decided this was the year to finally do our cross country trip, for the first time since March when I picked out and reserved the RV, for the first time since April when I began planning the route, for the first time since May when I began making deposits on state park hook-up campsites (not that kind of hook-up silly) and deluxe pull through and budget back-in spots in RV resorts, for the first time since June when I realized the worst possible (likely) thing that could happen was that no one would have fun, and I wouldn’t win mom of the year, and I’d decided I could survive that and stopped worrying about the trip at night, for the first time since July when I’d changed the reservation yet one more time to accommodate the newly released information that Dollywood, our first official destination, was closed on the day we were arranged to be there, for the first time since August when I ran the budget numbers one more time and ensured we could afford not only the trip, but the break in income for closing down the Bagel Grove (while still paying everybody), for the first time since last night when we’d met the RV owner and been handed the keys to this adorable and quirky 2006 (ancient in other words) 31 foot home on wheels… I thought to myself,

“This is a terrible idea.”

I had hurt my back in a 40 year old creaky body sort of a way a few weeks ago while single-handedly (while my husband was at work lifting 200 lbs loads of bagel dough, so I am NOT complaining) ripping up the wall to wall carpet in my son’s bedroom while he was away for the weekend as an early birthday present to him (the dog’s were house trained on that carpet maybe just one too many times… which is why your kids should listen when you say to them “keep your door shut so the dogs don’t go in there”).

And as I sat looking at the blinking orange light, and the trouble shooting advice on my phone screen that said “the refrigeration unit isn’t running if…” and the 2 weeks worth of refrigerated goodies meticulously packed, and not so meticulously hauled by the crate full out one screen door (SLAM… I hope no one wakes up) through another screen door (Fast Annie before any bugs get in) and up 3 rubber steps that take you from driveway to home (up in the same airspace where truck drivers live, for whom I now have a respect that I feel nothing but guilt for gaining so late in life… you cars, you cars do NOT KNOW HOW TO DRIVE ON THE HIGHWAY, because you only learn how to drive on the highway when you’re steering a until that can simultaneously kill you, the five cars passing you 3 inches from your god given lane, a mile of guard rail and about fifty trees in one miscalculation)

I decided it was time to cry for help.

So I woke up my husband who at my instruction was sleeping soundly to prepare for the lion’s share of the following day’s 13 hours worth of driving (a sacrifice we had to make in order to still fit Dollywood tickets into our agenda). And wouldn’t you know it? The AC had been off for long enough that the RV’s battery, still not sure which one.. are there two different batteries? or just the battery and the generator, and one runs this if you do that, and the other draws from that if you do this (I will be a licensed electrician in some lawless southern state by the time I am finished with this trip), had recharged and when he switched the fridge power source from “gas” to “auto’ he pointed and said, “look, working,” and went back to bed. (Let me try to explain a little, the problem of the blinking light first appeared while the unit was on auto, and my online forum gave specific instructions to fix this or that, then start the fridge on gas, ie propane for those of you who are fuel source confused, and once it was working on gas, switch back to auto… I never got past “working on gas”).

I stayed up for another hour or so, running a few more items I’d said I’d leave till the morning, but now had too much adrenaline to ignore. I believe I fell asleep at 2:20am. I KNOW I woke up at 4:50am this morning (we are on day 1 as I write) and said to myself “what the hell” and got up, made coffee and finished my to do list long before anyone else even peeped (except my 15 year old step son who is one of those people who, when something is planned for “today”, will not be at peace sitting around for more than 10 minutes until the planned thing has started happening, and will keep sort of pacing and looking at you wondering “what you are WAITING for to get STARTED?!” My grandmother was this way. She would have gotten us to a dinner reservation 3 hours early if we’d let her. I find it very endearing). But the rest of the bunch was still enjoying the bliss of their own beds for the last time… Next up was my 12 year old, who hits the ground running, and was promptly given enough little jobs to keep his heiney in gear all morning, and then I decided it was time to rouse the royal driver (my husband) and get this motor-show on the literal road