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RVng, A Great Way To Make New BFFs

July 20, 2011 by · 6 Comments 


I just finished reading a book about time travel. The lead character finds himself in the early 1900s in New York City. He finds a more optimistic and open society. People were less suspicious of each other; worrying less about someone else’s ulterior motives and hidden agendas than just being hospitable. It made me think about how nice it would be if the world were more like that.

My story this week is about our RV trip out West and the seven days we spent with a family we had never met before who opened their home and lives to us. They live on a picturesque hobby farm in the beautiful state of Washington, with a picture postcard view of Mount Rainer.

But first, we had to get there. By the first of the year, 2010, all of our belongings were in storage. We spent the first several months RVng around Florida, our home state for the past 15 years. We visited a lot of the places we had always wanted to see and said our goodbyes to family and friends. By May, we had reached Florida’s gorgeous, Caribbean-like Panhandle. After a week at the outstanding Topsail RV Resort we were ready to begin the rest of our journey. We would fulfill a 45-year old wish by spending as much as the rest of the year RVng across the United States.

We’d follow I-10 westward from Florida through Texas and then make our way up into New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California. We planned to visit as many national parks and forests aspossibleand still try to be in the San Francisco Bay Area by August. Waiting there in beautiful Marin County was a promised get-together with my wife’s family. A couple of weeks there and we would head north up the California, Oregon and Washington coasts; a much anticipated portion of our trip. We’d culminate our westward journey by staying with brand-new friends in Washington before heading back to our new home in Tennessee.

I had come to know Hans through the internet, having exchanged stories about modifications we were making to our RV’s. One thing led to another and, after I mentioned that my wife and I had finally decided to take the plunge and RV across America, Hans invited me to stay on his farm with him and his family.

Our friends and family thought that we were taking a chance; a chance that we wouldn’t like each other; a chance that, as one of our more neurotic friends warned, “Maybe they’re ax murderers!”

I had visited Hans’s family blog several times, enough to see the similarities between our families and confident that we could count on the traditional bond that naturally exists between family campers who love the outdoors and making new friends.

We continued to keep in touch as we began our travels westward; filling Hans in on where we were and what we had seen and done. Or at least we intended to.

Our new Acer 3G Netbook, made in China, refused to connect to the internet for most of the trip; leaving us out of touch via email. We finally had to ship the PC to a repair center in Texas, where the techs replaced the 3G modem, the motherboard, and the keyboard. This was after several weeks of arguing with customer support in India that the cause of our problems was not software; as they had argued, but hardware. After we got the PC back, everything worked well, except, by that time, we had entered the American southwest; a seeming black hole in internet communications. Ah! Technology! Ain’t it great!

By the time we reached western California, we were back in touch with Hans and receiving suggestions for stopover destinations that he was familiar with. Thanks to him, we enjoyed a tour of the Tillamook Cheese Factory in Oregon, where we constructed a thank-you basket of goodies for Hans and his family, and stayed at numerous state parks along the Oregon and Washington coastlines.

Maureen and I loved all the charming coastal villages stretching from northern California all the way up into Washington. Oregon seemed to have a beautiful state park; all equipped with water and electricity, every few miles, all the way up its coast. Although we had to cut inland shortly after entering Washington in order to make up some lost time, we promised ourselves that some day we would revisit the entire coastline from San Francisco to Seattle. If you ever get the chance, make the trip; every turn of the road is another postcard view of the fantastic northern Pacific coastline.

Hans had a surprise waiting for us. Not only did he have a full RV site setup for his travel trailer; he created a second one for us next to his trailer; with electricity, water and a sewer hook-up! Boy, I wish that I had one of those at home!

During our stay, Hans opened his fully equipped workshop to me and shared his prodigious fabrication and repair talents; fixing and modifying all those little and not-so-little annoyances and loose ends that pop-up during a long distance trip.

We spent a week with Hans, his gracious wife Sandy, his beautiful equestrian daughter Nora, his handsome, strapping son Colton, and their lovable Corgi dog Olive (as well as their many cats, chickens, ducks, goats, sheep, glorious horses, and a partridge in a pear tree). ;)

I will always be thankful to Hans and Sandy for sacrificing their valuable spare time to entertain and help Maureen and I. Their graciousness toward people who had been only strangers a short time before was heart warming. People like them make this a great country to live in. Even if Maureen and I never get out their way again, I will look for opportunities to return his kindness by behaving the same way with strangers-in-need that I might meet along the road. As Maureen and I always say, you never know; the next stranger-in-need might be an angel-in-disguise!

By the way, for you social networking newbies, BFF means “Best Friends Forever.”

Till Next Time,

The Traveler


6 Responses to “RVng, A Great Way To Make New BFFs”
  1. Don & Irene Ritchey says:

    What a heartwarming story to share, our generation has seen the best and the worst in human behaviour but by far we should be so thankful that we live in North America Even though we live in Northern BC Canada we have found similar experiences in our travels throught Western Canada, the Yukon and Alaska. People are people and will react similarly on how they are approached. These sorts of experiences you had with the family in Washington really is truly heartwarming.

    A few years ago we also travelled down through Washington State , Oregon and into California, and for those of you that have not taken that trip it reallly is a “must see” and if you ever get up to Canada, Northwestern BC and up to Alaska is also very memorable.

  2. Traveler8343 says:

    Don & Irene,

    Thanks for your comments. It’s so true. There are a lot of good, honest, caring people out there. And people who need help. As I stated in my post “An Angel in Cowboy Boots,” you never know when the next person-in-need might be an angel-in-disguise. Being nice doesn’t usually cost you anything, but even if it does, my wife and I have learned that something good usually happens to us after reaching out to help others.

    9-times-out-of-10, my wife and I will normally reach into our pockets when we see a street person asking for help. You never know what your money is going to be used for, and that suspicion causes that 1-time-out-of-10 that we look the other way. I turned my head away from a young lady begging for help outside the Mormon Tabernacle in St. Lake City when we passed through last September. Half a block later, I felt bad about it and went back to give her some money. When I reached her, she had her back to me She was crying her heart out. I felt so bad, like I was the one, by turning my back on her, that caused her to break down. It’s true, we don’t know what use these people will make of our money, but maybe we shouldn’t need to.


  3. butterbean carpenter says:

    Howdy 8343,

    You’re so good-hearted you should be a Texan !!!! All ‘Hans’ are that way, helpful, caring, happy..

    I should know, my name in German is Johan(Hans for short).. Happy to hear you are on the trail

    again.. Come to the ranch, but bring lotz of rain, please…

    Smooth roads, clear skies & balmy breezes !!!!!!!!!!

    german is Johan…

  4. Traveler8343 says:

    Hi Butterbean, or should I say “Johan?” My name in German is the same as in English, but it’s pronounced “Yorch,” like porch. Yes, I’m just one big bleeding heart, I guess. They say that we get more conservative as we grow older; something about protecting all of our hard-earned wealth. Not having much wealth to protect, I don’t have to worry about slipping a $5 bill to someone in need.

  5. christina says:

    Omg, That was such a nice story, I would love to travel all over the world and for you to be so lucky to have met such nice people. I really enjoyed the story and I will be here at your blog more often. Thank you for sharing such a heart warming story with us.

  6. Traveler8343 says:

    Thanks Christina,
    We do consider ourselves lucky to have met many nice people during our travels. Please do come back often. I’ll try to keep my posts interesting and, hopefully, fun.


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