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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Camping obsession

It all started with a conversation at breakfast a few weeks ago. I mentioned to Ron that I'd like to go someplace to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. We discussed Key West, our favorite vacation destination, UP of Michigan, a place we've never been before, or Seattle. Then I suggested we consider renting an RV. I'd already investigated renting a vintage camper and discovered that just doesn't happen. I can see why no one would want to share their vintage gems. I thought we could find a vintage camper rally and just chat with various owners about their tiny rigs. In any event, we googled renting an RV and discovered a rental place just 20 minutes away.

Thomas Wolfe's writing muse draws upon his life in Asheville, N.C.

 We hopped in the car and headed over to inquire about renting a for a week in June. (I learned that we were looking at Class C rv's. Their calendar was already filling up, but an early June booking was open! The 2014 campers had not yet arrived from the Forest River factory, so we had to wait a few weeks before we could see what we had rented.

I found a dealer that sells the same model and convinced Bob and Paulette to go with us to see a variety of models. The salesman was very informative and commended our choice of rental. We suggested that if all goes well,  we'd be back next spring to talk about purchasing a new one. After we arrange for a second house mortgage...these rigs are not inexpensive! You can get a 20 year loan and if it has a toilet, shower, and kitchen, it is a tax deductible purchase. Oh yeah! I was already California dreaming, and headed for the Rockies.....fiber festivals here and there, and early retirement was calling my name!

Kate wants to go with us. And most campgrounds accept petso n a leash. At this point we hadn't determine where to take our first adventure, but, we picked up some campground directories and learned about the various amenities of RV camping. 50 amp/sewer/city water hookups, camp stores, swimming pools, game rooms, golf cart rentals and so on.

Allie wants to go, too. She hasn't ventured outside since the day we brought her home, but, she looks out the windows of the house and reproachfully notices the dogs go in and out and in and out and....

Jack is already in the cab! and Marilyn want to be wherever I am. Always and forever.
Having NEVER driven with Ron longer than 4 hours, and that was for a 3 hour drive, I knew it would be a challenge for him to take a real road trip. In the spirit of wedded bliss, he cheerfully gave me free reign to select our location. I first considered Charlottesville, Va. where Paulie and I traveled last fall. Then I remembered some of the white knuckle winding roads through the mountains and thought that might not be such a great idea for our first ever 31 foot truck camper drive. I looked at the coast of Virginia, eager to see the wild horses of Chincoteague and decided it was too restrictive for camping with pets.
I researched the Smokies, the Poconos, the UP, and we poured over atlases and maps together. I eliminated most campgrounds as being too citified, which I was beginning to learn is the nature of RV "camping". Others were naturally geared to family activities, some were too close to Interstate highways, or other conveniences that I doggedly (get it) wanted to avoid on our first time out.
Ron's only request was to have access to a campfire for cooking (this, when we have a microwave, 3 burner stove, oven and full refrigerator/freezer on board) and at the top of my wish list was a VIEW from the campsite and enough space not to hear camping neighbors snoring, watching TV, and /or other activities. Ahem.
I finally found the perfect (I hope) location near Ashville, N.C. And so it begins. My obsession with camping. I started a list, read the RVer's Bible (twice), the Idiot's Guide to RV Camping, and guidebooks on North Carolina, and have begun a staging area in our dining room! Here's the plan. Pick up camper at 1:00, get a one hour instruction on......hookups, flushing, running the A/C, chemicals needed in the commode, how to back up and level a camper, use the automatic awning, slides, and generator, ....and, head back home to load 'er up, hit the road by 5, and drive at least 3 hours south (no sense in breaking our driving distance record) yet.  Stay tuned for blogs on the road, I think the campsite has free WIFI. Oh, we haven't decided yet about taking the rest of the family. I'm not sure we're ready to add that to our camping learning curve yet.