Sunday, July 15, 2012


For the last few days, I've been lurking on Craigslist's used RV's postings.  It's been an interesting use of my time.  I've been thinking about RV's ever since I saw a refurbished one on Pinterest.  It was super cute, with new carpet, new mod wallpaper and simply done window treatments.  The young couple gutted it out, basically, to make it their second home for themselves and their young son (see "Hugo Gets a Facelift")

This  inspiration led me to Craigslist, wondering about the possibilities of taking a tired old RV or camper trailer and updating it.  Which is not like me at all. Dennis had pitched the idea to me 15 years ago, and I pitched it right back.  Dennis was in the military back then, and  the gypsy lifestyle didn't appeal to me at all, when all I longed for was to be in one place for at least four years.  We have been in Lansing Michigan in the same home for 10 years. The pendulum has started swinging in the opposite direction.  I'm the one who's comparing Winnebagos, camper trucks and five wheelers. 

I don't want to think about the bathrooms in these vehicles--no bigger than a fridge and located in awkward places in the layout.  I don't want to think about loud generators, dump sites and grey water.  I don't want to think about steep grades, punctured tires and sway bars.  Anything that would puncture holes in my fantasy of climbing into a rolling baby apartment with my honey and taking our time going where ever we want to. 

When I was sixteen, I went backpacking with my fellow Girl Scouts in northern Washington.  We would scoff when we encountered these behemoths sporadically when we went off the trails and into the campgrounds.  Who wants to watch tv while camping?  We did secretly, but that was beside the point.  Camping was for enjoying nature with nature occasionally making our lives miserable.  We had become proficient at pitching tents, making fires and putting up with being semi-clean, and eating unpredictable food.  And hauling our own drinking water, sleeping on the hard ground and the romance of taking everything we needed for life on our own backs. 

The fellowship of commiseration while the sun beat down on our heads as we climbed up switchbacks, or huddled in our tents fighting boredom during rain, or even aching muscles helped us be alert to not miss why we were doing what we were doing--the unforgettable vistas on top of South Baldy, finding wild blackberries for breakfast in remote places that weren't over picked already, waking up to hummingbirds zipping around us, sleeping under the stars watching them fall, taking a cold shower under a waterfall and for me, hiking a short distance in front of the group and therefore the only one who rounded a bend to see a buck jump over the trail, crashing down the side of the mountain with one magnificent leap. I was thrilled then, but now I think, what if it was a bear coming out of the brush above me? I had no way of knowing--the noise I heard before it appeared was definitely bigger than a squirrel.  I would have been an appetizer, not a privileged witness of  God's glorious creation. Well, I still would have been, but  in a vastly different way.

I think back to those trips, and it amazes me that I actually did that.  I've forgotten the blisters, the arguments among the backpackers about pace (yes, Girl Scouts argue), the mud, being hot and sweaty without relief and being  freezing cold.  I'm glad I did it, but I did it with the expectation that sometimes I would be uncomfortable because I wanted to truly "rough it".  When it comes to RV's, my expectations are higher and probably unrealistic. The RV experience is about comfort, leisure and luxury.  I would be comfortable, but would I really enjoy it more?

Dennis is not thinking about camping in a camper, but about traveling in a different way.  I am thinking about camping but having more protection from the elements and bears.  I see that the right RV could meet most of our desires, but it's a big investment and from what I heard, a different lifestyle. Hey, what about backpacking again?  I was looking at newfangled backpacks at an outdoor sports store.  They look a lot more comfortable than the one I used 34 years ago.  There are tons of new types of gear available.  Might take an RV to haul it all.
Before renovation:

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