My husband and I had been discussing it for a while: after all the overseas trips we’ve taken, we realized we’d hardly seen much of the USA. It was time. But how to go about it? Do we fly and hotel everywhere? Do we rent some sort of RV? As we began to research it, the idea of have our hotel room travel with us became a fascinating possibility: at least for exploring the National Parks. As it turns out, the cost of renting one of these mobile homes gets pretty rich if your trip is any more than a couple of days.
Then serendipity happened. We were driving home from doing errands and there she was: sitting on a corner down the street from our house with a For Sale sign.
The perfect travel mobile: not too big, with all the basics and drives like a car. It had a queen-sized bed that opened with an automatic push button. All we needed to do was remove the table top and add it for support, and bring the two seat cushions together, and voila! we had a comfortable bed. It included a microwave and a flat screen TV, along with a two burner stove and small refrigerator. The bathroom included a small hand spray shower and a flush toilet. Storage seemed to be everywhere in small tucked away places. Four bucket seats up front would allow us to travel with friends and find a motel to stay in for them and occasionally for us. What else could we possibly want? We negotiated a good deal and she was ours!
We decided our first venture out should be an overnight stay to test the motor home and let us figure out some of the technical challenges. Given my husband tends to only be patient enough to skim the manual and not look up topics or read it from beginning to end, that was my job. The first challenge was when a strange dashboard icon lit up. I looked it up and found it was indicating we had a tire issue. Off to Mercedes we went, to find out there was nothing wrong with the tire, just an electrical issue with the dashboard. Five hundred dollars later, we were once again ready to get going, cowed by our encounter with a luxury dealer’s pricing.
We decided to do a two or three hour trip south to visit Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon.” We had heard it was worth seeing. The story goes that farmers in the eighteen hundreds did not know about crop rotation and wore the soil out to the point that it began to erode with each rainfall. Over the years, it continued to erode and create huge crevices. It is now a state park that is tucked away in Lumpkin, Georgia. People discover it on the road or by word of mouth, unless they have a book like the one we bought entitled, “The 1000 Places to See in North America Before You Die.” We were told it was pretty awesome to see.
We packed the Motor Home with basics: sheets,towels, some ice for the refrigerator while it cooled, dog food for our newly acquired rescue dog Ginger. We figured we’d buy dinner on the road before checking into the RV campsite, so we didn’t pack any food. First mistake.
The trip down I-85 past Columbus was uneventful. We enjoyed the scenery and began to pass through many small towns when we began to hear our stomachs grumble. It was time for dinner. After pulling off the road into a small town, we did a Google search for restaurants. It gave us fast food and a few names of unknown restaurants. As we explored the town, we discovered the listed restaurants were either out of business, or so seedy, we didn’t feel we wanted to risk eating there. Finally, we found a place advertising BBQ that had a sign indicating “For Lease” but they were still open. Given we had a dog with us, we asked if we could sit on their porch with the dog. They agreed.
Five minutes later, a full plate appeared for each of us with pulled pork, beans, and cold slaw along with a lemonade. Just as we began to enjoy our meal, tiny gnats and flies began to buzz around us. We saw a nearby garbage pail, and figured that was the culprit. We moved to a table farther away to no avail. The buggy porch got the best of us. We decided to eat in a hurry and get back in our vehicle.
We arrived at Florence Marina State Park at nine o’clock at night to find the main registration building closed. We almost panicked, but continued to drive into the park and found a small building with some volunteers there for late comers. My husband got to ask one of them to help us since we’d never hooked up an RV before. “Why sure thing!” was his answer and we were relieved!
As night fell, we pulled out our sheet to prepare our bed for the evening. Somehow, my husband had grabbed a twin rather than queen. We decided our upper bodies deserved the sheet and we’d suffer along for the evening. We tried watching television in bed, but couldn’t get the darned thing to operate. We had connected the water source and it worked just fine for the bathroom, but for some reason, the kitchen sink didn’t work. Something else to check when we got home.
The next morning we headed to the Providence Canyon State Park in Lumpkin. Once there, we stood in awe viewing the site. We only needed to be there for twenty minutes to enjoy the views and take pictures. It had taken us three hours to get there, but only a few minutes to appreciate the view.
We learned that if you paid to stay at a state park, your admission to another state park was waved for the day.
We headed north and decided we’d go for breakfast somewhere near Columbus where there was more opportunity to find restaurants given the increased number of residents. We ended up at a Waffle House where we had breakfast for lunch.
What did we learn from this adventure?
- Always pack some snacks and water.
- Do more research to plan your trip stops for food.
- Take care of yourself and then worry about the dog!
- Make friends on the road who can help you out when needed.
- Double check the size of your sheets.
We’ll be fixing the technical things that didn’t work on the motor home before we head out again. Our next venture will be two nights in Asheville, N.C. We’ll be sure to have the right sheets for this trip!