When Mitch and I met, we talked about traveling across the country. This trip was conceived over 42 years ago. It’s not like we discussed it each week for 42 years, tweaking our plans to perfection while charting our journey. But it was in the back of our minds….one day we will…
Man Makes Plans….
Both of us retired; we were now ready to travel. 2019 was going to be the year we embarked. But then a beautiful miracle happened; our granddaughter was due during the weeks we planned to be out west. Attending Noa’s birth and helping their family prevailed over traveling! OK, we will try again next year.
2020- Hmm…why didn’t we go? Oh yeah- COVID!!!
OK, maybe next year.
2021 we decided to get an RV for the trip. When we ordered our 2022 EKKO (KanVan), the dealer informed us the due date was July 2021; perfect timing to embark on our adventure out west. But computer chips, cargo hold-ups, and every other delay pushed KanVan’s arrival to October 2021. Thus we missed our window for the Big Trip plans, again.
Did I Mention This?
In the meantime, my book Raising Jess: A Story of Hope (OK, OK, I may have mentioned that!) was released, and I was beginning to promote the book with signings and speeches; which, delayed my ability to leave prior to October 20th.
We had a wedding in Atlanta on October 23, and I INSISTED on returning before Thanksgiving, again limiting the duration of our trip. So, we modified our “plan” and decided to travel from the wedding in Alpharetta, GA, to Santa Fe, NM, and then shuffle back to Buffalo.
We left on October 20, 2021, our first fun stop was Camp Creek State Park in West Virginia. It’s a pretty location and we have camped there about four times. Next, we drove to our friends in Ashville and if you haven’t been there yet, make a “plan” to go.
Directly after, we drove to the FUNtastic wedding in Alpharetta, near Atlanta. So far, the trip was amazing!
From there, we went to the sheep farm, mentioned in the blog RV Arrogance.
DIY Covid Travel Kit
And then Mitch developed a cold. Is anything a cold anymore? How do we know it’s not Covid, we were just at a wedding?
So, I bought a do-it-yourself (or Do-It-For- Your-Husband) Covid kit. Has anyone tried it yet? It’s like a pregnancy test. One line, you are negative, two bars, you are positive. I had to put the swab in Mitch’s nose, and 15 minutes later, he was negative! Do I trust this test? Who nose? (Bad Pun)
Furthermore, for those who don’t know the reality of RV living, suffice it to say it’s impossible to quarantine in an RV. Within a few days, I had the same cold and redid the testing. Also, Negative.
We continued our journey, the next stop- Vicksburg National Park, in Mississippi. The battles at Vicksburg and Gettysburg on July 4, 1863, turned the tide of the Civil War. (I am sure I knew that at some point but it was not in my limited repertoire of trivia) The views were breathtaking, and historically this park is a national treasure.
We had one more cool adventure before the plagues hit. We slept at NRS Ranch in Decatur, Texas. Mitch and I witnessed real ranchers showing their roping skills. Our “NEIGHbor” was a horse! Plus, I bought my first real pair of cowboy boots!
We left Decatur and headed to Oasis State Park in New Mexico. And that’s where the first plague hit. They came in the form of flies. I am not talking a fly here and there. There were FLIES Everywhere! I campaigned vigorously to let’s get the F@#$ out of here. Alas, there was nowhere to go, and it was getting late. So, we (I) sucked it up.
THE BEGINNING OF THE END
I hid in the back of the RV, pretending a curtain raised 2 feet above the floor was deterring the flies from entering. Netflix blared in my AirPods while I listened to Mitch swatting. His refrain, repetitively, was, “F@#$ Fly!” SWAT, “ Got the last fly,” repeat. Little did we know this was the beginning of the end of our trip. We left early the next morning heading towards Santa Fe, New Mexico.
It was day 13 of our five-week trip.
The next plague came in the form of RV wall discoloration. I posted the photo to our RV Facebook group and received many replies saying, “that looks like mold.” But our RV is only 3-months old; how can we have mold? Of course, my next thought was did Mitch and I really have colds, or was this mold-related? I talked myself off that ledge by reviewing our symptoms and attributing it to a virus – DON’T argue with me, I will go down that rabbit hole.
We called Winnebago and found a repair person in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Astonishingly, Le Mesa RV was willing to drive 1-hour to Santa Fe to service KanVan. But that was just the beginning.
As we drove to Santa Fe, we received a phone call that a family member may be admitted into the hospital back home. We were 1800 RV miles away from Western New York. Now what?
We talked all day with family and decided to drive home the following day from Santa Fe after the potential mold was resolved.
That night, we received a call that our family member needed a blood transfusion, and I was DONE with our trip. It was 1 AM in New Mexico, and Mitch and I agreed that I would fly home ASAP. We made a reservation for 7 AM in Albuquerque and left the hotel at 2 AM towards the airport.
Daniel the Road and Flight Dog
Daniel, the “road dog,” needed to fit into a carrier, and although he is Italian Greyhound small, he is a bit tall for the carrier. I had no choice. I purchased the carrier at the airport and tried to fit him in the cramped space before our flight. The other passengers looked at me suspiciously and probably thought, “Why is this woman bringing her FOOFOO dog on the plane.” Little did they know, it was an emergency.
Another Daniel dilemma was the potty. Did you know that airports have dog bathrooms? Complete with AstroTurf grass, a hydrant, sink, wall hangings, and all other bathroom accouterments. It was very Zen, but Daniel wanted nothing to do with this fake plastic version of the outside. I finally convinced him to go, but by that time, we were both exhausted.
We boarded the plane and while searching for the safest seat, I saw a pilot who was hitching a ride to Buffalo. For some reason, I thought sitting next to the pilot was equal to drinking wine preflight. I imagined that he would save the jet from disaster. In reality, while airborne, I kept checking his face for signs of distress. Why is he looking out the window? Why did he put his book down? Frantic flyers may understand this train of thought. At the end of the flight, I confessed my seat selection theory to him. He gave me a brief smile as if to say, “Ok lady, and your squished dog – time to deplane NOW!”
Here’s the bottom line because this blog could become my next book. I hope you made it this far, and if so, Thank you.
Our family member did receive two transfusions and remained in the hospital for a couple of days. As of today, things are all good, and we all hope this was just a blip.
Albuquerque Le Mesa RV worked all day trying to find a leak. Mitch said they were exceptional and wrote one of his first online reviews, which is receiving a lot of hits online. (They never found the source of the leak and we are pursuing this locally)
Mitch drove home 1800 miles in four days by himself.
A few spores were identified from my DIY mold test. KanVan will be repaired, under warranty, and we are planning another trip out west. Man makes plans….
My newly released book Raising Jess A Story of Hope is a powerful memoir of one family’s survival when faced with adversity. Written with compassion, honesty, and humor, it tells of a family changed forever by the birth of a child with a disability and the courageous decision to choose hope.
“Couldn’t Put it Down! Raising Jess is an amazing book! I started it at 9 pm and stayed up all night to finish it in one sitting. Vickie Rubin’s writing is masterful! Highly recommend!” – Mike S.
Is this book for you? Click on the reviews