This blog is dedicated to a couple of ladies who are lazing around Maderia Beach tonight enjoying a waterside campsite for the weekend. Least you think it is all fun and games, read on.
Roberta Gives Them the Granny Pants Salute
Pulling and backing a camper with a pick up truck can be challenging. There is a very good reason that YouTube has so many instructional videos posted to help the novice. It’s really hard and it takes a lot of practice. It’s not intuitive. Watching it on a video or reading about it is one thing. Actually sitting in the seat and attempting the feat is quite another.
Arnie and I have had this talk more than once recently. Backing isn’t exactly his forte, but researching it is. In fact, in terms of researching the subject, he is the Steven Hawkins of campers; the theory of all things camper. That’s my husband; hunched over the computer doing a wonderful job of research on how to do it right according to a variety of experts. But, I am pretty sure that Steven Hawkins probably can’t back up a camper……….no disrespect to brilliant scientists in wheelchairs intended.
Let’s skip over backing for now and just talk about pulling the camper on the highway. Yes, let’s start by talking about simply pulling the camper down the road with the truck. It’s all good when you strike out from home for a fun weekend and see that long stretch of road ahead of you. Who could imagine the obstacles that can pop up; road blocks, detours, low overhangs, road construction with pot holes, intimidating 18 wheelers, quick lane changes and the list goes on. My pet peeve is luxury RV’s.
In Florida, luxury RV’s are often a lethal combination of a commercial size vehicle with limited maneuverability and an aging driver whose children are contemplating taking his license away. This is the guy who is dangerous driving to Publix on a Sunday afternoon, but he has no problem strapping on his leg brace that he’s worn since the stroke in 2011 and climbing up into his rig, named Second Childhood, to take a spin. We saw them in droves a couple of weeks ago when we visited Camping World of Tampa. They had their rigs in the service shop for a variety of issues most of which appeared to be as a result of contact with a solid object. Dings and dents, scratches, bumps and bruises to exteriors were all there for the RV doctor to fix before the kids see that there was another accident. As they pulled out, we marveled at the power of prayer.
These are the same fellows who pull up alongside of you on the highway at top speed and blow their ear-splitting air horn at you for some unknown road transgression. That’s the air horn that gives you cardiac arrest when it lifts you right out of your seat on the highway. Just the startle effect from that horn could cause a pile-up! Grumpy Grandpa has road rage and he loves to unleash it when he saddles up his tall horse. Angels have mercy on you if you come anywhere near his personal space racing down the road at 70 MPH. Not to mention that for a brief moment in time he was driving that monster one-handed as he gave you the single digit salute!
But we accept that we have to drive somewhere to get somewhere. And all the tension drifts away in a fog of relaxation when we get to camp, settle in and have that first campfire. It was worth it.
And then the weekend ends and there’s the trip home.
Let me tell you a story about our friends recent trip home from a weekend of camping with their pretty new camper. Roberta and Deb just bought their first camper to spend weekends enjoying the Wild Wood.They have been so excited about going camping, especially over by the beach. They took their new playhouse out for its maiden voyage a couple of weeks ago with all the rush of anticipation that accompanies a new adventure and a new toy. They loaded dogs, food, blankets, beer………all of the necessities……..and off they went. After a wonderful relaxing weekend over on Madeira Beach, they headed home. Now remember, when you leave home on your trip all is rosy and you’re in your happy place. The dogs are clean, the laundry smells like Fabreeze, the food is inviting. When you come home, the dogs are full of sand, every stitch of clothing is musty and smokey and the remnants of the food just simply stink like leftovers. Also the beer is gone.
So, Bert and Deb are driving home on Interstate 4, a bit tense from the traffic and the inevitable happens. Just as they arrived at the storage facility to park, unhook and unload their trailer, the heavens opened up in a typical Florida afternoon torrential downpour. Now, after a trying enough drive on the highway, they have to back that camper into a space that was adequate when they left. That parking space was cavernous when they departed, but, is now diminished in size due to fresh parking job on the part of the two big boats on either side to them. There is room, but barely! Now, Deb, who does the driving, must squeeze their unit into a barely adequate reserved space, in reverse, in the pouring rain, without being able to hear Roberta’s directions over the roar of the rain.. Visibility is only what she can catch between the wind-shield wipers flying by on high. Not exactly a Zen moment to be sure. So, Roberta did what any self-respecting mature woman would do in such tense circumstances. She screamed at Deb over the roar of the rain, “I have to pee really bad!” Disappearing between two of those obnoxious luxury RV’s, she dropped her granny pants and let loose a steaming stream right there. Just like a true woods woman. Without regard to convention, she channeled her inner camper and paid proper tribute to the RV’s who routinely run us off the road. Take that you luxury beast!
Now relieved of that pressure, so to speak, the ladies called up the courage of their fore-bearers to push through the wind and rain, They unhooked the sway bar and did the bump and grind backwards into the space. These are the time that make us women. We resist calling our brothers, husbands or neighbors for help. We push through it ourselves and solve that problem; we climb that mountain. They are still not quite sure what that loud noise was or how that hole got punched in the bumper of the new truck, and Deb’s foot will heal in a couple of weeks? But they did it. What is important is that they made it home. Most importantly, they made reservations for this weekend to go back again! Like I said, these are the times that make us women.
You go girls,
And Roberta……….you go whenever and wherever you need to. It’s the Wilderness Way.