Filed under: Campgrounds & RV Parks, Destination Camping & RV Resorts, RV Maintenance, RV Modifications, RV Repair, State & National Parks, Uncategorized
RVng, A Great Way To Make New BFFs
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.
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,