Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Training Wheels - Part 2

After the crazy first day of my RV vacation, the rest of my vacation will seem boring to some of you.

Day 2 - My niece and her two daughters were arriving today, so I took my first shower in my rental RV. It might have been difficult to use the toilet in such cramped space, but the shower was roomy with great hot water and water pressure. Although if I wanted to dry off properly I had to move into the main part of the rig. Something tells me this is quite common in RVs. The rental had a separate vanity area, which was nice.

Fantastic Umbrella Factory
After Lindsay and the girls arrived, Lindsay and I went grocery shopping for my provisions and for stuff to feed everyone at Sunday's cookout. There was a large Stop 'N Shop close to the campground. After shopping, Lindsay and I joined Marlaine, Bob and the girls at Scarborough Beach, the place where the family cookout would take place on Sunday. The girls love the beach and the wind and chill in the air didn't bother the 6 and 7 year olds one bit. It wasn't that bad on us adults either as we sat and enjoyed the view and fresh air.

That night the oldest girl decided she wanted to stay in her Grammy's trailer, while the youngest and Lindsay stayed in my rig. Lindsay took the upper bunk and after smacking her head a few times, decided to sleep on the dinette bed the next night.

Day 3 - Today Marlaine had a "mystery day" planned. First we drove to the Fantastic Umbrella Factory, in Charleston, RI, which was a collection of small shops on a farm, complete with chickens, goats, and emus. It had a definite '60s vibe and every shop was playing vintage music and burning incense. I bought a pair of Day of the Dead socks.

Beavertail Point in RI
After, we took our packed lunch to the Burlingame State Park picnic area on Watchaug Pond. This was a beautiful picnic area with tons of tables and we had it pretty much to ourselves. Across the pond from the picnic area is a large campground that I must explore once I have my own RV.

But the day wasn't over yet. Next we drove to Beavertail Point State Park in Jamestown, RI, and plopped ourselves down on the grassy area above the sea in camp chairs. This was a very rocky and beautiful area with crashing waves beneath. Below the grassy flat was a table of rocky cliffs where the girls played and explored.

That night both girls and their mother stayed in my RV with the girls in the loft bed.

Teaching Moment #5: Children are exhausting, especially children recharged after a night's sleep.

Day 4 - After Lindsay and the girls went to Marlaine's trailer for breakfast, I settled in for some quiet time and a bowl of oatmeal (the only thing I cooked in my RV). I sat at the dinette, ate, and gazed out the window at the peaceful camp ground. I was also reminded of a dream I had several months ago when I was first thinking about RVing full-time. In the dream I was seated at a table inside a van RV and writing on my laptop. The door was open and through the wide screen door I could see a clearing in a wooded area. It was raining lightly, but not cold. But the most important thing I remember about that dream was how at home and at peace I felt. Sitting at the dinette eating oatmeal in a rental RV, I felt something similar.

Teaching Moment #6: I'm now sure full-time RVing is for me when I retire from my day job and turn to writing full-time. It feels like home.

2 nephews, 1 niece,
1 great nephew and 3 great nieces
Today would be a busy day. My nephew Derek showed up with his son and daughter, both teenagers. We packed up tons of food and took off once again for Scarborough Beach. There we met up with my nephew Tom and other members of our extended family for a cookout. It was windy, but sunny and warm. The girls flew their kite and played in the sand while the adults chatted and caught up. After, everyone departed for home while Marlaine, Bob and I headed back to the campground. Later that night we headed out for a yummy New England seafood dinner. I also hooked up my sewer hose without incident - yay, me!

Teaching Moment #7: Family is very important. While I have tons of cousins, I don't have much in the way of immediate family and have lived 3,000 miles from them for decades. About every two years I journey back for a visit and come home wishing I had more time with them. Once I retire, I plan on doing just that.

My last night in the RV, I listened to music, packed and cleaned. I was ready to go home but sad to leave. In spite of loving my time with my family, it would have been nice to have a few days alone in the campground, but that will come soon enough.

Day 5 - After another restful morning of oatmeal and reflection, I took my last shower in the rig, touched up the bathroom, dumped the black and gray tanks (again without incident!), unplugged the power and water, and gave goodbye hugs to Marlaine and Bob.

Unlike the drive to the campground, the drive back to Cruise America was uneventful and even relaxing, thanks to a fully charged phone/GPS. I wish I could say the same about the flights home, but air travel is anything but relaxing these days.

Teaching Moment #8 and last thoughts: I cannot wait until I retire, have my own RV, and hit the road to explore this beautiful country. Renting an RV was a great way to confirm my path. In spite of the initial ups and downs, it was a wonderful vacation.

As I write this, I have 590 days until retirement.  But who's counting?


Vickie W. said...

I do envy you...I lovely traveling and have also dreamed of doing this...My fingers are crossed for both of us...

Mark Baker said...

Jealous! So jealous. I have many wonderful memories of camping trips, and it sounds like you are starting them as well.