Originally published Jan 28, 2018 Over at The Virtual Campground by Liz. Thanks so much for allowing us to repost!
You want an emotional journey? Well look no further my friends. Here is my account of the VERY FIRST day on this full-time travel journey.
A little background.
Be me, fresh out of the army. I’ve been stationary RVing for about a year and a half. All was well (enough) while never moving. Getting out of the army was stressing me TF out. So, let’s drive 1200 miles as fast as possible… to my dad’s house.
Just wakin up in the morning, gotta thank God. I dunno but today seems kinda odd…
Thanks Ice Cube, but today is not going to be a good day.
Starting the day off with a bang.
We wake up early because my wife is obsessed with something she calls “front loading.” I’m not sure exactly what the means except she likes to do a ton of stuff at once then sit around the rest of the day.
Go to put the slides in on the motorhome. We need to be at a coworker’s house in a couple hours to buy a tow dolly for the Ford Focus I loathe with everything in me. Living room slide goes in, no problem. Bedroom slide makes the lights flicker like a damn rave is happening.
Break out the ratchet.
The only painless part of the process was finding the location of where to work. After disengaging the motor, I started turning the motor. I was not pleased to find how hard it was to turn. I thought to myself…. Self, use the drill.
Duh, why didn’t I think of that…
Wait I did.
Anyway, it doesn’t matter, cause’ it didn’t have enough torque to turn it.
Back to the ratchet, I suppose.
Soon after I began manually bringing the slide in with the ratchet, I began to see a major design flaw. When ratcheting the slide in, the motor is almost instantly 100% covered by the slide. So it begins to be a very slow process, almost right away.
I’m talking like 1-3 clicks in the ratchet.
At this point, I realized yet another flaw with this operation. I’m 6’5″– not what you would call a skinny guy. I’m a solid 270 and this slide is-a-comin at me. I mean, not fast with all 3 clicks at a time… But it’s coming.
Think, steam roller on Austin powers slow. (please tell me you get that reference).
Liz doesn’t save the day
As if this isn’t going well enough, I asked my dear wife to get me all the extensions I own for the ratchet, along with a swivel.
Extensions come at me… like 8 minutes later. Mind you, I’m wedged between the mattress and the rear wall of the RV waiting for tools. Problem now is, I’m using a 1/2 inch ratchet with 3/8 extensions. So I need an adapter.
This is where the true fun comes in.
See, Liz doesn’t know tools.. like at all. You know that part on Moana where Maui is all paralyzed and is trying to tell Moana how to sail? Think that but with tools.
Everything she is showing me is wrong. I tell her it’s most likely stuck in a socket. And she can’t find it. So while she is taking each individual socket out of my tool box I had reverted back to the 3/8 ratchet.
I’m just straight suffering folks.
I FINALLY get this damn slide in, situate all of the crap back into the under-the-bed storage, and put the tools away. Liz is STILL looking for the adapter so I kindly reach into the toolbox and put it in her hand.
I said “Love, this is what I needed.” (cue hard eye roll)
Keeping the party train moving
So, slides were in. Now we just have to dump and go. This part is pretty seamless since we haven’t been hooked up to sewer in months. Dump complete. The only other problem is we had no place for the doo-doo wagon. Against everything in me, in the RV it went. Just a rollin’ around.
Within an hour, I pull up to ole Brucie’s house. He takes one look at my setup and says everything I have to use his dolly is completely wrong.
Then he offers to give me the drip hitch and everything that goes along with it.
We get the car on the dolly and realize that the straps that he had were not going to work for my Focus. (Gosh, I really hate this car.) They barely had enough length left to ratchet on. So what’s a poor civilian to do?
I took a chance and drove away. I had had my fill of dealing with this 65 year old hardass, a wife complaining she had to pee, and a kid throwing a tantrum in the middle of a residential street.
Is this adventure ever going to start?
Our RV completely set up for the very first time. We had done it! We were living the RV dream!
Off to Camping World we go. There are just a few items we need– an over-the-ladder doo doo tank holder, an atlas, and a big ole Good Sam campsite book.
Are we there yet?
At this point, things started to calm down. We drove for a while and let Chelsea play on her tablet.
When the tablet started to die, Liz went to the back to plug it in. That’s the moment we learned the outlets don’t work in our rig while we are driving. Hmm, okay… we’ll just come up with a Plan B.
Liz tries to turn on the TV and DVD player but those aren’t working either.
Liz says we are just outside of Atlanta and we should look up a Walmart now. I need to buy this kid a portable DVD player stat! Shes driving me crazy with the whining. Liz mutters something about being empathetic. I don’t know. I’m only really listening to the GPS lady. And if you have ever had a stressful morning like mine, you know what I’m saying.
We stop at a Walmart. It’s freezing. The kid is trying to run in the parking lot.
Please oh please let there be a DVD player in here…and some caffeine for me.
Of course, good ole Wally World came through with the player. It was over $100 but at that moment, I would have spent $1000. I could practically hear Liz biting her tongue. After what seemed like hours, we got the player unlocked, paid, and got back in the rig.
The day that never ends
After an annoying setup, we get back on the road.
With the songs of Wreck It Ralph in the background, I’m feeling confident I could drive through the night. Liz says that is outrageous.
About 3/4 into the movie, Chelsea starts whining. Admittedly, it was getting late and we realized we had no idea where we were stopping. The plan was to just stop at Camping Worlds on the route and plug in (hopefully) for free. I ask Liz to look up the closest one.
She says “Camping World Atlanta. 15 miles.”
How is that even possible? How slow am I going?
Whatever. I just want to go to bed at this point.
Following the directions, we go about 15 feet in the wrong direction. It’s dark and we are in a neighborhood. This cannot be good.
I thought to myself, I can back this up 15 feet, right? False. In the process of backing up there were like three cars flashing their lights and doing all sorts of douchebaggery. So forward I went.
There was a dead end sign, but in the moment I was ticked and let rage steer my direction. Up ahead was what looked to be a small culdesac. I went for it. FAIL. I was on the grass, over like 3 people’s driveways, back on the grass, backed up like 5 times, it was a disaster… but i made it out.
And that was the day I learned just how terrible the turning radius really is in an RV…towing a focus…on a dolly.
In a dark parking lot we rest
So we FINALLY figure out what the GPS is trying to tell us and get to Camping World.
It’s dark, cold, and there are no hookups to be found. Whatever. I’ve slept in worse places. I park in the most flat looking place. Liz does her mommy thing and I go out to check on the dolly.
This damn thing was like a foot from being off the dolly!AH! What a day! I took a deep breath and redid the whole setup. I was too tired to think of the reason why.
Day One in the books. 9 hours of travel. 4 hours actual driving distance. At least we get to put a sticker on our map, right?
Submitted by Liz, author of Tales from the Blacktank, available on The Virtual Campground Website.
Stay tuned next week for more hilarious and horrific Nomad Stories.
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