We are what we know

It was quiet last night, except for the constant buzz of millions of cicadas. Lori’s cousin Lisa had visited us and her friend Tammie had generously left her pickup for us to use today for doing some exploring of the town before we were to meet her at a family potluck dinner at 2 o’clock.

So after taking Yogi for a walk and having some coffee, we drove to “the right Harris” and had a delicious breakfast at the Town House Café. It was in an old, worn downtown area that was obviously struggling. We walked around a bit after breakfast and then drove to an old grocery store that featured a giant, dump truck sized bull, high in the air above its sign. I have a lot of questions about this, but I guess I can just boil it down to, why? After grabbing a few things in the store, we went into an old pharmacy next door and looked around. When we came out we both realized that the old downtown, with its faded signs, abandoned buildings and the lack of something new was actually depressing us. Not that this town seemed much different than many others that we’d driven through on this trip, but we both decided to get the hell out of there and head back into the woods and the safe newness of the RV!

Yogi was glad to see us back at camp. So much so that he barfed a big wad of welcome grass on my bed spread! Poor guy. Riding in the motor home as it rattles and shakes around still makes him nervous. I guess all three of us are out our element. Hmmm… Our emotional state is easily affected by our surroundings and our surroundings are affected by our emotional state. Result? Puke on my bed!

As I was cleaning up our embarrassed dogs puke, our camp host stopped by on his golf cart. His arm was in a sling. “What’s up with your arm man?” I asked while rinsing out a dog puke rag. “Oh, this? This is to keep me from moving my arm. They put a pace maker in me cause I got this here A Fib thing.” He was a contractor before he retired and bought the trailer park, so we talked for a good 20 minutes about old guy medical stuff. Good times! I like that guy.

At dinner, I met some of Lori’s relatives on her moms side. They were a hoot! Really funny and great hosts. You know… I think they really like it in “the right Harris”. It’s what they know and it’s become part of them.

When we finished dinner we called Lori’s mom in Florida and tried to walk her through watching the live Facebook video we were broadcasting. That didn’t work, so we just went old school and talked on the phone with her and Lori’s brother David.

Right now Yogi is laying in bed next to Lori and I, snuggled against my leg. Safe.

Tomorrow… Kansas!

Small world in a big country

Day 3

After a meal of some great “Mississippi barbecue” last night and a good night sleep in a surprisingly comfy RV bed, we woke up this morning and were sitting outside drinking our coffee when another camper pulled up in his pickup truck and struck up a conversation. He asked about our rv, how the mirror visibility was, what kind of motor it had… you know… “rv talk”. Then he paused for a long awkward moment, looking straight ahead with his trucks motor running as we sat at our picnic table looking at him. Suddenly he turned towards us and said “Are you going to church this morning?” I’ve always been pretty quick on the draw mentally and verbally, but as I’ve gotten older, I find that I’m less prone to even filter something and more prone to just “cut to the chase”. In this case (and I kid you not) all of the following optional responses and many more “colorful” ones, ran through my mind in about three seconds: “What are you, my mom?” “That would be none of your business, pal.“ “I’m not quite drunk enough yet.” But, I could feel Lori looking at me, so I went with, “No.” He immediately drove off.  Ok, I know that we were camped squarely on the buckle of the Bible Belt, so maybe he was going to invite us to go to church with him or it was his way of seeing if we were “fellow Christians” or maybe he was doing some kind of mandatory Christian recruiting.  I certainly don’t  judge anyone for having their own religious beliefs as long as they do the same for everyone else, but this seemed like an obvious “Why aren’t you in church“,  So… I’m thinking he got off too easy.

Anyway, soon we were  packed up and on our way to our next stop…Arkansas!

A half hour into the drive I pulled into a “truck stop sized” McDonalds and Lori hopped into the drivers seat to take her turn. She insisted on driving it once around the parking lot first, to get the feel of it and then she did an awesome job driving us for the next 3 hours, all the way to “Where the hell are we” Arkansas (My wife is awesome!) even with me… navigating? The question mark is not a typo.

I don’t know about the rest of you couples, but Lori and I have a great system. One drives and the other navigates. I know that leads to a lot of arguments for some people, but it has worked really well for Lori and I for 20 years now. Never any problem.  Today, I had the simple task of putting in our destination and repeating the directions so Lori could hear them over Thor’s Mighty Roar. Simple. Except an hour past the Mississippi River I realized that I had absentmindedly clicked on the “over helpful spellchecks” suggestion of Harrisburg instead of Harrison, Arkansas. As it turns out, even in Arkansas those are different places, however, luckily for me, the directions to these cities were identical, up to the point in our trip that I figured out that I had screwed up.

Despite my apparent inability to read, we are finally at the end of our six hour journey and set up at a great campground in the “right Harris”. When we checked in, we found out that the park is owned by a really nice couple who just moved from the same place that we’re heading to…Colorado Springs, Colorado. It’s a big country, but a “small world”.

Tomorrow, we find out more about Lori’s Arkansas family tree!

The Mighty Thor and Tupelo Mississippi

After spending last night at the cabin in Hiawassee Georgia, we took the 3 hour drive to the RV rental place on the west side of Atlanta and were introduced to what would be our motorhome away from home for the next 14 days. The RV is a “Thor”.  “Awesome!” said my double dose of Scandinavia heritage.  I’m going to drive down the interstate with my head hanging out the window, yelling “Make way puny commuters! Behold! THE BALD HEADED GOD OF THUNDER!”  Yeah, Lori put the brakes on that.

After an hour of signing away our constitutional rights and showing us where the poop goes in and where the poop comes out and how to get in and out of the parking lot… we were off! Through the wrong gate. (And yes Fred! I was driving!)

Once we found the interstate and got it headed towards the west, the Mighty Thor proved to be a pretty nifty ride with great horsepower from its V-10 engine. It is the smallest Class A available, (24’) and it seems like it has plenty of room. (He said after the first 4 hours into a 2 week trip) Lori’s only critique so far is that there wasn’t an “Oh SHIT!” bar on the passengers side for her to hang onto… especially through Birmingham.

A couple of hours later we pulled into our campsite in Tupelo Mississippi. A place I would have never come to see otherwise. No offense to Tupelo, but there’s very few places that aren’t on that list for me. So, we’re plugged in, our bed is made (so that Yogi can get a good nights sleep) and dinners almost ready.  At least that’s what the “Tupelo to go” app on Lori’s Iphone says.

Ahhh! Camping!

The Rv to Colorado Chronicles: “Getting started getting started”

F84BD1BA-8E36-4AF1-8B4F-9DC9F310CABDIt sounded pretty simple a couple of months ago. “Let’s take an RV trip this summer to Colorado!” But then, my wife Lori and I started making plans. Where do we go? How do we get there? What are we driving? Where do we stay? What the hell do we do when we get there? And then the big one; what about the DOG!!! Oh yeah… and how do we manage to “sneak away” from our business and our family commitments for over two weeks.

I could write an entire book on all of those preparations, but so far as how well we prepared; the proof is in the pudding. (Is it Pudding? I’ve got to look that up later.) Anyway, the actual trip will be the best judge of that and because I like telling stories, my friends reading this blog can judge us too. Because that’s what real friends do!

It was our friends Kitty and John that gave me the idea to share the experience via a blog. They gave me a journal for my birthday! For you kids out there, it’s made of paper and you smear ink or graphite on it in “caveman font”. Anyway, with fingers crossed, my wife and I kiss, load up the dog and 1,500 lbs of stuff in the truck and we’re on our way.

“Do you have my keys?”