I was hanging out at the golf course today after work when I spotted a friend of mine who had just returned from vacation. I asked him how his trip was and he replied ( and I am not so sure he was being truthful) ..”oh, I just LOVE spending 2 weeks in a RV with my children”. He had packed up his family and took off for parts unknown in what is basically a studio apartment on wheels.
On my way home, i got behind 2 such studio apartments being towed by a couple of giant trucks (8mpg at best I assume). Because I was not going AROUND this convoy on the little 2 laner I was driving on, I just settled down for the 15 minute ride home…and starting thinking…and reminiscing.
RV….short for “recreation vehicle”. It seems to be a uniquely North American mode of vacation because in most of my travels, I have never seen such a vehicle in Europe or the Middle East. I do however fail to see the “recreation” part of this design. Allow me to explain.
I perhaps have a different definition of “recreation”. To me, it implies a break…a rest from the drudgery of daily work, such as housework and cooking. Dragging a small building on wheels around all over the country doesn’t sound very relaxing to me.
To me, my perfect RV is my car. My car will take me to a very clean hotel where a nice clean bed awaits me and somebody else will make the bed, wash the sheets, and clean the shower when I am done. My car will take me to any number of restaurants where some very nice person will cook a meal for me and somebody equally nice will serve it and take the plates away, never to be seen again. I don’t have to hook up my car to any device to suck the poop out of a holding tank, and I don’t have to plug it in to anything to keep all the lights on. It fits in every parking spot on the planet and I dont have to make special allowances as to HOW I will get out of the lot I just drove into.
Likewise, I dont have to pack nearly half of everything I own (including the kitchen sink). I don’t have to hope I have enough water to make that next flush, and if I want to take a shower, I can do so with impunity.
I remember as a kid, we used to go camping. (this was pre “RV” term) For the record, Pharmacy Chick was never given an opt-out of these events. Honestly, I never saw the appeal for the women-folk. Mom had to clean out the camper, which my father dutifully dirtied with his dogs, dead animals carcasses, hunting gear, and various work supplies (since he worked in the mountains a lot). 99% of the time, the camper was a mess that even Hazmat would defer. Nevertheless, Mom would clean it up then go about the chore of getting it ready for the camping trip…loading it up with fresh food, making sure that the food already in there was in date (doubtful), and that the water tank was full (never was), and that the potty was empty (don’t go there). We’d pack camping dishes, camping clothes, camping furniture, camping..well you get the picture. Then we would take off and drive for hours on roads that even the Forest Service has no record of, until we were so sufficiently “away” from people that likely even GOD would need GPS to find us.
We were then encouraged to enjoy the great outdoors whilst Dad and Brother would do “man stuff” , like build a fire ring …which also made no sense since the camper had a “kitchen”. Dad liked to camp next to a creek if he could find one in case we wanted to bathe…yea…RIGHT…bathe in 36 degree water that only 20 minutes ago was snow pack on the mountan we were parked on.
After about 20 minutes of enjoying the “great outdoors” Pharmacy Chick would usually BE discovered by the great outdoors..namely mosquitoes….mosquitoes large enough to require lisences and leashes. Slathered in enough deet to frost a cake, I would retreat to the farthest INTERIOR corner of the camper, scolding anybody foolish enough to open the door and let one of the blood sucking creatures inside. I would also risk asphyxiation at night by sleeping 100% under the covers, lest even one of them bite me on the face.
It never worked.
30 years later I am still scarred by this character building experience of “camping”. After a couple of nights in the wilderness we would pack up and drag our smelly aching bodies back home. the BOYS would grunt and retreat to the showers, and dad would turn on the news. Mom and I would be left to the task of cleaning up the camper, the dirty dishes, the dirty clothes, the dirty dogs and..well, you get the picture. I would also spend the next week nursing my various bites and scratches, cursing the very ground upon which my father walked if he EVER suggested another camping trip…which he inevitably did 3-4 times each summer.
So just in case you are wondering.. Pharmacy Chick doesn’t ” RV”…she doesn’t “CAMP” either, unless you consider Motel-6 as camping..that is as close to roughing-it as I am ever going to get. Every year a group of my church friends likes to go camping…and every year they invite the Chicks for a “day in the mountains”.
I think not.
Now where is that mint that is supposed to be on the pillow…………..