Monday, August 25, 2014


Edit Note: I usually post on Mondays but on Saturday, August 30th, I will do a special guest post with Elyse Salpeter's and her release of "Flying to the Fire." There will be prizes that day. Don't miss it!  It will be up for all of the following week.

This week I did something I've not been able to do for a couple of years.  

First, the explanation of why it has been so long. My mother-in-law will be 102 next month. She has lived with us for the last three years.  The past two years, she become more wanting to not leave the house. This last year, it became difficult for us to care for her. With a heavy heart, the family - my wife and her siblings - decided to put her in a nursing home. She has been there for a couple of months and is doing very well and enjoys living there.

Continuing with the explanation.  We travel.  We have an RV.  It's a 28-ft wonder I bought used when I retired so we could travel and travel we did.  It had just a little over 9k miles and is now sitting at 58k. The last time out, the three of us - my wife, my mother-in-law and I - were enjoying a trip through Michigan.  We'd just left a campground and I was attempting to cross an interstate, yes, 4 lanes, so I could take a rural road to a lesser used highway.  Anyway, my mother-in-law, aged 99 then, couldn't hear or see well and never seemed to know when the RV was running. My wife was up to get me a drink and Mom decided she would go to the potty. She got up and I didn't notice. There was a clearing in traffic and I lurched across the 4 lanes of interstate.  She tumbled down the aisle, ripping her paper-thin skin on her arm.  My only thought was - Where's the hospital?  We were out in the wilderness, sort of.  I knew there was a town about 20-30 miles down the road, but ...  They (my wife and her) decided it wasn't an emergency and put a large bandage on it with a lot of antiseptic stuff.  They seemed okay and we continued our trip.  The arm healed although it was a very large sore.  Of course, since that incident, her heart in traveling lessened and her leaving the house became a moot point. It was simple, I went out, my wife stayed home OR my wife went out, I stayed home.

Now, about two weeks ago, my wife and I decided we should take the RV and do a maiden voyage to test out the equipment that had lain dormant for over two years.  To make it even more memorable, we'd take our four youngest granddaughters along for the fun.  

Uh, yeah.  Fun.  We took a four year old, a five year old, a nine year old and a twelve year old camping. On an experimental trip, at that.  Fortunately, we only were about 25 miles from home at a state park.

We headed out Wednesday morning.  Shall I say that moment could have been our high point?

There was a 'water' leak which is still under investigation.  So, no water, but we could still use the toilet.  A gallon jug of water on the bathroom cabinet made sure everything flushed down.

We'd taken milk, fresh fruit, pizzas, hot dogs, sausage, bacon, bologna, fresh 'out-of-the garden' corn, tomatoes and beans, butter, chocolate bars and other assorted sundries along which needed refrigeration and freezing.  Bet'cha see where this is going!

Yup.  The refrigerator didn't work.  We questioned it before we left and were hoping it would kick in. It didn't.  We'd taken a cooler along as backup insurance.  Oh, yea!  Wet food.  Ice melts and food seems to sink immediately down into the water.

Yes, we had electric hookup but the refrigerator wouldn't acknowledge there was electricity.  It would acknowledge LP and the freezer section - a smaller upper section with it own door - didn't actually get to where it would freeze food, but kept it 'cool' - just a hop, skip and jump from cold.  Shall I say that the sausage and bacon were to be for breakfast on Thursday and Friday, not Wednesday night supper.

The stove's burners work and we were able to fix the food, like the sausage and bacon and whatever. Almost delightful, one would think.

Now about those pizzas I mentioned earlier.  They weren't frozen ... well, they were, but not for long, anyway. Since they didn't need to "thaw" anymore to bake, the baking time would be faster.  Of course, if the oven had worked, the baking time would have been short.  Unfortunately, the oven didn't work and the baking time didn't come into play.  My ingenious wife 'baked' them in the iron skillet she'd brought along. The all-meat pizza was sacrificed in the learning curve.  I can handle a crispy burn, but ...

The air conditioner worked.  See?  God does smile.

The awning wouldn't release so we couldn't get it open to sit under when the sun was shining.  Fortunately, there was a small tree with almost shade.  The gentleman at the campsite across from us came over to help me with the awning.  Whew!  It wasn't me!  He couldn't get it to release, either and I knew he knew what he was doing - his awning was extended.

I'm an old scout.  I started scouting when I was eight, being a Cub Scout, then a Boy Scout and as an adult, I was an Assistant Scoutmaster, a Scout Master and finally a Commissioner.  I've been around the block.  I made 'bug juice' in the 5 gallon cooler, set it outside for the girls to get their drinks whenever they were thirsty.  Little did I know that 4 young girls would have an aversion to drinking 'bug juice' until I assured them that no bugs were used in the making of the refreshment.  I started with 2 gallons of Tang, when it got low, I added two gallons of fruit punch, then I replenished that mixture with pink lemonade.  This cooler keeps ice forever!  The next morning I added Tang again and followed it up with cherry drink, regular lemonade and finally some more fruit punch.  It is now Sunday night, we're back from the camping trip but the girls are in love with the bug juice and we've just kept adding different flavors including grape, tropical and lime.  Interesting flavor, I might add.

To save our sanity (at least my sanity) there was a playground very near the back of the RV and the girls spent much of their time playing on the different items there.  They made friends with other kids and strangely, even some adults - parents of the other kids.

Friday, we broke camp.  Cleaned up the site, made sure the fire was out and headed home.  

Not exactly the camping trip I wanted, but after two years, it could have been a lot worse.  My wife and I had a great time.  Like I say - A bad day camping is always better than a good day sitting at home.  Most of the fixes should be easy - as I tell my sons who I hope will help me fix them.  I have talented children.

My wife is already planning another trip - this time just the two of us - off to someplace exotic, like someplace up in Michigan again.  After all, I live in Ohio.

Until next I ramble on...


  1. Sounds like a travel book in the making! God bless you for the compassion and care you gave your mother in law, very touching.

  2. Written like a true Scouter. Be prepared - for everything to go wrong.

  3. As a fellow RVer, I read this with a smile. On a trip last September from Kentucky to Northern Maine, we had three flat tires on the fifth wheel camper, the radiator on the pickup began to leak and had to be fixed, and discovered one of the skylights had a leak. All in all, we cherish our trips in our camper.

    I hope we have better luck this September when we take it to the Rockies for two weeks.

    Great post.

  4. @Tara: She raised my wife, it was the least I could do.
    @Scott: Murphy's Law at its best.
    @Dana: We are undaunted. Going again this coming Weds for a couple of nights. We still remember our tent camping days.

    All in all, we had a great time.

  5. Oh my god. That is hilarious. I am so sorry! I don't mind camping, and if all goes as planned, it's even fun sometimes. I'm highly allergic to most things that fly, slither or crawl around camp sites, and I get heat rashes, as well as cold hives if it gets too cold and damp - so that gives you an idea as to how many times I forge onward for camping... Still, I've been many times and enjoyed myself thoroughly. If it's a good temperature out things can be quite lovely! Sorry for all the broken things... What a pain!