RV Reluctance has been my schtick for over five years. So how did it happen that I’m now living full time in a motorhome?
Flash back to 2015:
“I think we should buy an RV and travel the country,” my excited husband said.
“You want me to leave my garden, my orchids, and my friends?” I asked. “No way. Not going to happen.”
“Try it, you’ll like it.” Michael cajoled, sweet-talked, and, in time, won me over.
“Short trips,” I said. “It’ll never be my life.”
Fast forward to 2017:
“Oh, no! Just when you agreed to go full time, I shattered my shoulder. Not fair,” Michael said, wincing in pain.
“Not to worry,” I said. “You’ll heal, and then we’ll be on our way.” I’d finally agreed to sell the house and live on the road. We’d started sorting through decades of accumulated stuff that bulged out of closets and every available drawer in the house. Soon we’d be nomads!
However, it didn’t happen like that. By the time Michael’s shoulder healed enough to travel, I’d changing my mind about fulltime RVing. How could I possibly let go of all the roots I’d planted, both the literal and the figurative ones?
“But you promised,” my sweet husband said.
I took a very deep, guilt-ridden breath, swallowed hard, and said, “Okay, I’ll do it.”
Fast forward to 2020:
We traded to a larger motorhome and left Tampa in February for a planned two-month shakedown cruise. New motorhomes often leave the factory with problems. “We’ll identify the issues, then get them fixed while we empty and sell the house,” Michael said. Need I foreshadow the rest of this story with the famous Robert Burns’ line that “The best laid schemes of mice and men Go oft awry?”
“Can you believe the news on every major network?” Michael asked. Coronavirus updates dominated the news, and we couldn’t seem to stop listening.
We pulled out of New Orleans after eight days of Mardi Gras. Five days later, Michael reported the morning updates. “They’re now blaming Mardi Gras for this COVID-19 surge. Sick people on those floats tossed slimy mucous-infected beads to us.”
I’d been reading Microsoft News on my iPad. “Speaking of New Orleans, listen to this. The National Guard commandeered the state park where we just stayed and turned it into a COVID hospital for homeless people.”
In San Antonio, we went to a final Spurs basketball game in the AT&T Arena before the NBA closed the season early because of the virus. We drank in bars along the Riverwalk, not realizing that in a matter of days those businesses would shut down.
I’d lined up book talks at RV parks along our route, only to have park staff cancel every presentation because managements no longer allowed group gatherings.
When we hit the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, our last planned stop before returning to Florida, we learned we were the last RVers allowed into the park. Texas went on lockdown two days later.
“I think we should boogie-shoe home,” I said. “This is getting too scary.”
“They’re closing campgrounds. Rest areas are locked, stations are running out of gas, and people are having to eat chips and candy from truck stops because restaurants have closed.” Michael paused to catch his breath. “Not sure we could get back to Florida even if we wanted to.”
We hunkered down in that RV oasis in south Texas, leaving the compound only for groceries, doctors’ appointments, and prescriptions. We bolted from Texas six weeks later when the Governor started opening the State despite mushrooming coronavirus cases.
“To stay safe, we’ve got to go to small, isolated places where locals take this thing seriously,” my wise but scared husband said.
“Well, let’s at least try to find good weather and outside recreation.”
The lines blur as to when we became bona fide fulltime RVers. Did our new status begin on February 12th, the day we left Tampa? Maybe it started in mid-April when we realized we couldn’t go back to Florida. Or was it late May when we signed the listing contract on the house, or July 1st when we closed on the sale? Does it matter? We finally made the decision we’d toyed with and I’d equivocated on for over two years. The pandemic had pushed us over the edge.
“This was certainly a convoluted journey,” I said in early September to my wonderful husband. We were hiking along Turquoise Lake, a few miles south of Leadville, Colorado. The air was crisp, the views spectacular, and my spirits soared.
“What are you talking about?” Michael asked.
“I can’t believe how friggin’ free I feel. I thought I’d at least feel a few pangs of regret about selling the house, but I don’t. It’s like this huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders.”
My husband grinned. “See, I’ve been trying to tell you all along. Buying you an RV is the best thing I’ve ever done.” I rolled my eyes.
I guess it’s time for me to give up my reluctant schtick. It no longer fits. The pandemic notwithstanding, the open road so far is the best home I’ve ever had.