We’re not the kind of family that has vacations and special events planned out far in advance, written in coded colors on our calendars. In fact, people who do that make me kind of nervous. Like back in high school when someone would casually mention that they were working on a project that wasn’t due for two whole weeks.
The worst is when another mom asks me, in late January, if we have plans on February 18th, “because, you know, that’s a school holiday.”
“Oh, right. Of course it is! I’ve had February, 2016 planned out since before Andrew was born. “Yes, we’re free that day.”
My stepdaughter, Jenna is one of those admirable left-brained planner types. She just turned 30 and I’m pretty sure she already has a will and her advanced directives written out. She’d probably set a reminder on her phone to do that on her 29th birthday. I’m not making fun. More in awe than anything.
Way back in October, Jenna called to say she was coming from California to spend the boys’ spring break with us…. and had already scored cheap airfare.
I hadn’t even planned dinner. And the only thing I could tell you about spring break was that it’s sometime between winter and summer.
Fast forward to early March.
JAMES: Spring break’s in three weeks. And Jenna’s coming. We should plan something.
ME: How about spaghetti?
JAMES: I was thinking more like renting an RV and driving down to Florida to catch a few spring training games.
ME: Sounds good. I’ll make some garlic bread too.
So that’s the back story on why we’re bouncing through North Carolina on I-95 at 62 mph in a 25-foot RV that sleeps five…but not all at the same time, unless you’re a family of underweight pygmies.
The boys are in their loft, playing on their devices. Jenna is already snoozing, with her head down on the dining table/work station/game table/computer desk/ironing board. James is, of course, driving, sitting proudly upright in his captain’s chair.
It’s kind of funny the way van and RV commercials always tout “captain’s chairs” as if we’ve always dreamed of feeling like a captain when we’re driving. (Perhaps why a toilet is sometimes called a throne) If a vehicle is going to come with captain’s chairs, then captain’s hats should be included too. And maybe a couple of those fancy jackets with tassels on the shoulders. At least we do have a box of Captain Crunch in the pantry/chest of drawers/dresser/closet/night stand/shower. That should make James feel more captainy.
We’re passing through Dunn, NC. I always chuckle at their oversized billboard, boasting “Dunn, NC, the Dump Truck Body Capital of the World!” I wonder how many towns were competing for that prized distinction.
I picture all the citizens of Belmont, Nebraska being crushed after another year of coming in second in the dump truck body capital contest. The judges were obviously biased.
South of the Border is still 75 miles away, but we’re already seeing their famous Pedro billboards every half mile. Have you ever stopped at that place? Based on all the roadside fanfare, you’d think you’re pulling into a Mexican Disney World Fiesta Heaven. But it’s almost creepy. A desolate carnival atmosphere with festive, brightly colored buildings, rides for kids, over-sized happy looking animal statues everywhere and dozens of employees operating nearly empty rides, waiting to take your lunch order and cleaning the already immaculate grounds.
But only a sprinkling of visitors. It’s very Twilight Zone-esque, as if everyone else knows to stay away from there, because at the top of every hour they sacrifice any lingering visitors to their God of the Pedro Statue.
We’re in Florence, SC now.
I have to go to the bathroom, but I’m a little scared to. It’s only about 20 feet behind me, but this drive is so bumpy, there’s a good chance I could fall and break a hip or lose an eye. It reminds me of being drunk and realizing I have to go to the bathroom….but just sober enough to recognize that trying to stand up and walk is probably unwise.
I MADE IT!
Reaching down to flush the toilet, I instinctively braced myself for the abrupt, ear pounding, pressurized flushing of an airplane toilet. How, for a second, you worry it’s going to suck you down and empty you straight out the bottom of the plane.
But this flushing sound was very quiet. Pleasant almost.
Two Hours Later.
We’re back on the road now, having just filled up the RV gas tank.
JAMES: What’s 321 divided by 44?
ME (pulling up my calculator app): 7.2
JAMES: That’s our gas mileage.
We’re now cruising along behind a tractor. In no hurry to pass.
Monday Morning 7:30 a.m. – Made it to Daytona Beach around 8 last night.
Sleeping in an RV bed provides that refreshing “beaten with a crowbar, while caught in a storm at sea” feeling.
I keep thinking about the phrase “If this van be a-rockin,’ don’t come a-knockin,” referring, of course, to mobile fornication.
What I didn’t expect was that our rented camper would sway and rock dramatically with every footstep, drakatic sigh and sneeze. As many times as I turned over, trying to get comfortable last night, I can only imagine what the neighbors must think of us.
The Nova Family Campground is surprisingly beautiful…with lots to offer families, retirees and fugitives hiding out in plain sight. I don’t know why I keep thinking things like that, eyeing the nice 60-something man across the way, speculating about where he disposed of his victims’ bodies.
The upscale couple next door, sharing sections of the Wall Street Journal embezzled 27-million dollars from the security software company where the husband was a comptroller. They’ve changed their appearances dramatically since absconding. I’d recommend she use some of that bounty to purchase a nicer wig.
The clean cut teenage boy vacuuming the pool was run out of his polygamist community by the elder men who saw him as competition for the upcoming crop of ten year old wives.
Nothing says “I’m so glad you’re here” like accidentally sneezing a mouthful of strawberry PopTart all over your step daughter, which I’ve just accidentally done. Yes, it was the frosted kind. This place is Hell on my nose.
“You’re sneezing up a storm!” observed Jenna, while wiping slimy crumbs off her face and iPad screen.
It would be neat to be able to control the weather with your sneezes. But terribly inconvenient during allergy season. I doubt I’d get invited to too many weddings or sports events.
Jack and I are going sightseeing now. Dark clouds are moving in. And the forecast says thunder showers. I’ve taken a Sudafed, though. Hopefully that’ll help.
We’re heading to a Braves-Astros game at Lake Buena Vista this evening and will be camping at the Tropical Palms RV Resort. I hope I don’t make it storm there too.