What I did last summer

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IMAG0776Last summer I embarked, with the littles, of course, on a 3,000 mile trek across the country. Now most of you may think this is no big deal, but it was a HUGE deal to me. See, I loaded up our 35 ft. motorhome, packed the littles and the dog into it, attached the car which was weighed down with bikes, and away we went.

I was terrified. Seriously terrified.

I had driven the motorhome many times before, but I always had back-up in the form of a 6 ft. tall good-looking soldier.  I had never been responsible for EVERYTHING, meaning all the “man” things he did. I handled the set-up and break-down of the inside.

So what was I afraid of?

  • I was afraid I wouldn’t hook the car up correctly and it would go careening off before we even left the neighborhood. I was obsessed with watching the car in the backup camera.
  • I was afraid I would forget to do something vitally important when we were setting up or breaking down at a campsite.
  • I was afraid I would go under a bridge that wasn’t the right height.
  • I was nervous about our safety at campgrounds without a man around.

I know I really screwed up though when I had to make sure the then 9 y.o. little went to counseling when we got home. She and the then 7 y.o. were amazing at handling the inside set up and break down. I think a little too amazing. She became neurotic.

You might be wondering why we decided to do this trip. Well The Man was planning a year long vacation in the desert and all of our friends had just moved. We decided we would visit a couple of those friends to ease into this deployment. The prep kept the littles and their mother occupied.

So there we were, all ready to go finally. I banned any talking until I managed to make it to the highway and set the cruise control.

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Our first stop was at a campground in Lake Charles, LA for the night. I didn’t need to worry about unhooking the car because we weren’t heading out anywhere. I did have to plug in the electric though so I could run the a/c. Our motorhome has a refrigerator and pantry so I am sure I just whipped something up for dinner. I probably fed and walked the dog and then collapsed on the couch with a beer.

The next morning we headed off to our first destination….San Antonio, TX. This part was a little more stressful because the resort we stayed at had smaller “spots.” Unhooking the car for the first time was a challenge and I was doing it “illegally.” I missed the sign that asked all campers to hook and unhook before heading to our spot. Oops.

We settled into this resort for a few days and all was well. I wasn’t too nervous there because it was a family friendly place. There were lots of moms. I get apprehensive when we show up a campground that has more men than women and children.  The door on the motorhome isn’t like a house door and my dog was 12 and deaf. Plus, not every state we traveled through is recriprocal with AL’s weapons permit and I certainly didn’t want to have a felony on my record even if I was defending myself.

The best part of the trip was the journey to our next stop in OK. My battle buddy was heading north to Nebraska so we caravanned. It was nice to know someone was with us. We spent the night at a fun resort and let the kids swim and eat pizza. The next morning we trekked off to Kansas where we parted ways. The littles and I spent a couple of nights in Platte City, MO while we visited friends at Fort Leavenworth, KS.

We had 1 more family to visit and they were in Iowa.  Off we went. The campground we stayed at was the most primitive. There was a water hook-up, sewer hook-up, and electric hook-up but that was it. There was no pool to entertain the littles with. It was pitch-black at night. The littles spent a couple of nights with their friends and I had to navigate from my car to the door of the motorhome alone, worrying if there were critters, big or small, lurking. I learned to carry a flashlight after that.

In spite of my nervousness, fun was being had by all. The kids were enjoying the heck out of the trek and visiting with friends. I was gaining confidence with each overnight stay, gas fill-up, and highway adventure. We had gotten things down to a science. The countryside was beautiful, even if all we saw was corn LOL

When all was said and done, we logged about 2,800 miles. There were no catastrophes (unless you count the 18 wheeler that clipped my side mirror) and we returned to our humble abode 2 weeks after we started all in one piece.  I am not sure I would do it again alone, but at least I can say I did it.

 

 

Comments

  1. WOW! as much as I love to travel, I don’t think I’d have braved a motor home by myself! You Go Girl!

  2. You’re so brave. I knew you had a motorhome, but I didn’t realize it was a MOTORHOME! Good for you for taking a chance and living outside your comfort zone. I struggle with that daily, and this post was inspiring.

    • Jennifer W says:

      I just knew we had to get moving. I didn’t want to sit home licking my proverbial wounds when The Man left. I would have probably done just that if it was just me, but the littles deserved better.

      And yes, the motorhome is HUGE isn’t it??!! The driving was easy enough as I have done it many times. It was all the other “stuff” that scared me to death lol

  3. Oh my gosh you have very big BRAGGIN’ RIGHTS lady! I am very impressed. I motor home traveled for many years but by myself with children? Never in a million years!

    b+

  4. Oh, my! That’s an accomplishment. I’m not even 5 feet tall, so driving a standard sized vehicle presents problems. (I have had a half dozen accidents over the years due to poor vision while parking–mainly during my first few years of driving. I now know to walk around my vehicle and triple check my direct view and my mirrors.) Good for you for your “get ‘er done” attitude.

    • Jennifer W says:

      Karen, I am all of 5 feet tall myself. I was pretty nervous that something out of my reach would happen. Then I just resigned myself to the fact I might have to ask someone for help if the need arose. Thanks for the words of encouragement!

  5. My husband’s dream is to travel the country in a motorhome. I’m beginning to warm up to the idea.

    • Jennifer W says:

      We have been RV-ing for years. This is actually our 2nd one. It is family friendly for sure. We don’t have the one my husband dreams of when we have zero little at home. His dream is to stop at every brown sign he encounters HA! As long as I have my own bathroom complete with shower I am happy :)

  6. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    Well, I am impressed. I could never have done what you did! At least I don’t think I could. I would have been nervous about all the things you mentioned plus a dozen more. Congrats for pulling it off so well.

    • Jennifer W says:

      There were a myriad of things that I was nervous about Helene, but I felt I had to just “do it” or be paralyzed with fear. I bet you could do it. My in-laws have never visited us unless we were in a short driving distance. For Thanksgiving this past year, the littles and I took a 24 hour train ride “home.” My mother-in-law finally decided to give it a shot and was surprised at how fun it was.

  7. Good for you! Sounds like an amazing trip. Something your kids will talk about for years to come!

    • Jennifer W says:

      I hope they remember the good parts not the stressful parts!! Actually, I know they do, they talk about the different parts of the trip all the time. Plus, I had them keep a journal :)

  8. Dang, you’re brave. I wouldn’t even consider driving a motor home. I felt like Super Mom when I hooked up and drove our tiny Eriba camper once.

    • Jennifer W says:

      I don’t know it could go either way, brave or stupid LOL It was nerve-wracking for sure. Good for you for hooking up your camper and heading out!

  9. Nope. No way. No how. I couldn’t do that. You are my new hero.

    • Jennifer W says:

      Don’t underestimate your abilities :) If I can do this ANYONE can, trust me.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  10. You were brave and because you were brave, your trip was amazing. Thanks for sharing!!!

  11. Wow, you are an amazing woman- not just about taking the motor hme- but about holding your family together when your guy deployed. I’ve experiencing it, I realize that your biggest show of bravery was keeping things together for your family over that year. You deserve all the kudos in the world! You’re my hero! Virginia- FirstClassWoman

  12. Camping without a male escort is pretty darn brave! I’ve done it and felt all the same worries you did (without the added motorhome stress). But like you, every time I did that I came home feeling much stronger and braver, proud of myself that I faced a fear and lived to tell the story afterwards.

    Great post!

    • Jennifer W says:

      Thanks Chloe! It is scary, isn’t it? And I get annoyed that I am afraid, but a healthy dose of fear keeps us on our toes doesn’t it? Thanks for stopping by!

  13. I think you are super brave to have taken all this on. Color me impressed!

  14. That is a very brave thing to do. I would’ve been scared to death. And the part about going under bridges, I can totally see that. Good for you for facing your fear and doing it anyway!

    • Jennifer W says:

      The bridges were so nerve-wracking! I have a note on the dash with the height to remind me, but I still panicked. I held my breath a few times for sure. Thanks for stopping by.

  15. Rock and Roll!!!! That is a pretty huge undertaking for anyone to tackle solo. Wear it like a badge of pride.

  16. YOU have officially been promoted to “Super-Hero” status in my book. Any military wife will get the “Hero” award from me, You ladies are such an integral part to the success if our nation. BUT a SUPER hero is one who has faced…with bravery…any vehicle larger than an Astro-Van {which happens to be the largest vehicle I have ever driven without white knuckle fear!}.
    We have a pick up that will be the death of me {I posted about it the other day} and so a motorhome??? May as well have flown a 747!
    So glad it all went well and the kiddos will not need too much therapy :).
    Has the Man returned? I must get to know you a bit more on your blog…but tomorrow. It is 11 PM here in PA and I am “plumb tuckered out”…is that a good southern phrase?? I didn’t want to scare you with my Brooklyn, NY accent :).
    Enjoy the night…

    • Jennifer W says:

      I giggled reading this! If you could hear me say “coffee” and “office” we would sound like sisters ;) “Home” is Connecticut.

      And yes, The Man has returned…woo-freakin’-hoo!

      I am a can-do kind of chick. I may have been terrified but I was determined not to let this get to me.

      I enjoy getting to know you too!

  17. Wow! I have globe trotted across Europe, but never would I have the courage to drive a motor home 3000 miles, especially with the kids aboard. You are one brave woman!

    • Jennifer W says:

      My dream is to globe-trot across Europe some day. Til then I will live vicariously through those around me :)

  18. I have the deepest admiration for those who can blithely negotiate one of those beasties, let alone with a car hooked to the back of it. Way to push yourself AND get in some good visting-family time.

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