This is a guest post written by the hilarious Laura of Chapter 3 Travels. I first heard of this site when someone told me there was someone out there just as funny as me. Of course, my ego quickly picked up my phone to check out this outrageous claim.
Well folks. It’s true. This Laura chick might be even funnier than me. I knew she had to be on my site. So read this funny story. It definitely should have been in Tales From the Black Tank.
There I was, laying in the hospital bed staring in shocked disbelief at my grotesquely swollen knee.
A few moments before, a sad-faced ER doctor had placed an X-Ray of my leg in my hands, and pointed out the light grey lines that indicated where my knee was fractured. After explaining that this type of fracture doesn’t always require surgery (just 99% of the time), he muttered “I’m really sorry… ” and wandered out of the room.
Laying there, staring at my leg, all I could think was, “Well… This wasn’t part of the plan.”
Just days before, everything had been going so well for my husband, Kevin, and I.
There had been visits to see old friends, trips to breweries, photography outings to gardens, trips to breweries, relaxing drives along back country roads, trips to breweries, and lazy afternoons at the campsite enjoying the relaxing sounds of nature.
There had even been trips to breweries!!!!
But now, everything was terrible.
All our carefully laid fall plans had to be let go. Remember the end of Titanic where Rose had to pry poor Jack’s frozen blue hands from hers and let him sink into the icy abyss?
It was like that… except instead of Jack sinking into the icy abyss, it was all our awesome RV plans.
(Though really, I kinda think Rose could have tried a little harder to make space on that big wooden plank for poor Jack. I mean, she had a LOT of room on that thing.)
Anyway, that’s not the point.
The point is, all of the sudden, our super cool RV dreams were sitting at the bottom of the cold, dark, Atlantic Ocean. Next to poor, put-upon, Jack.
And just like at the end of Titanic (I may have watched that movie an unreasonable number of times. Don’t judge.) there was a lot of crying, (of the “Ouch!” variety as well as the “Why me?” variety), followed by a lot of trying to find the bright side of our predicament (a difficult task), followed by assuredly telling myself that, someday, it would all make a great story.It took a while, but here we are.
So, let me go back in time….
When we first put our RV plans in motion, we were proud representatives of that insufferable new breed of cliché RVers… you know the ones.
The overstressed workaholic corporate climbers who one day decide there’s more to life than money, so they quit their jobs, sell everything, and hit the road in search of meaningful adventures and true happiness?
You’ve seen them before. They’re all over the internet going on and on about how they just want to “inspire you to live your best life and chase your dreams!!!”
On the plus side, we weren’t trying to inspire anyone. We were just burned out in our careers and needed a break.
And we really did conclude that we didn’t need all the stuff in our house or even the house itself.
And we really did realize that if we wanted to travel, we needed to do it while we were young enough to physically be able to manage it.
And we really did suspect that, sadly, we weren’t getting any younger.
And, rest assured, we didn’t go off and do this like some half-baked yahoos.
I mean, we’d done our research.
Mostly on Instagram.
I mean, there are a LOT of dreamy RV pictures on Instagram and we’d looked at all of them during our planning phase:
The Airstream trailer parked in the desert, the sun’s glorious pink rays reflecting off its shiny silver exterior.
The former members of the rat race staring knowingly off into the distance while drinking craft beer and thinking deep thoughts.
The gorgeous young couple who’d apparently hiked to the top of a mountain wearing completely on-point clothing, but not breaking a sweat, and who were now holding hands and staring off into the sunset while some unseen photographer serendipitously captured the moment and then put it on the young couple’s perfectly curated Instagram page.
The small group of cooler-than- you 20-somethings sitting around a raging bonfire surrounded by their hipster friends who are all wearing knit hats even though it’s August because those who’ve eschewed the trappings of modern day corporate ladder-climbing to find the true essence of life know you can’t do any of that unless you’re wearing a knit hat…
Wait….What was I talking about?
Oh right. Whatever…
The point is, we looked at a lot of Instagram pictures and after concluding that the best way to live life like an Abercrombie & Fitch model was to sell our stuff and buy an RV, we quit our old normal boring
life and hit the road.
And then I got run over by two Labs.
Yeah. Labs. Labrador Retrievers.
You know… The normally goofy, friendly, “We love everyone!,” “The only way we would ever hurt you is by loving you too much!,”
“Every day is a celebration of joy!” Labs?
Yeah…those ones. They ran me the hell over.
Their owner lost control while walking them in our campground and they started running right towards me. One of them ran on my right side while the other ran on my left side.
All of which would have been fine (they would have just run right by me) except their leashes were tangled up, so when they ran on either side of me, their leashes went across my body and clotheslined me, knocking me backwards.
Each Lab weighed 90 pounds and they were running full speed when they hit me.
It felt pretty much like it looks.
The kicker (no pun intended, of course) was that this happened less than one month after we’d
given up our careers, our home, and our friends for a life on the road.
Not exactly the look we were going for.
And it got worse. All of this happened in Massachusetts at the beginning of September, 2016.
I needed three months to recuperate from surgery and go through physical therapy before we could even think about leaving. While the first few weeks were OK weather-wise, as the fall wore on, the days got shorter and the nights got colder.
Then the days got cold too.
Our RV isn’t meant for winter use and we never planned to be living in it when we were somewhere that cold. The frigid air came up through the floors, and passed right through our single pane windows.
The cold was our constant companion.
Suddenly I knew exactly how Jack felt. “Dammit Rose. Just scoot over!!”
In the meantime, we were going through all the growing pains of having a new RV.
If you’re not familiar, here’s how that goes:
You spend a whole lot of money on a very shiny RV and console yourself with the fact that “it’s all under warranty!” Then, about 2 weeks after you drive it off the dealer’s lot, you start noticing random stuff that doesn’t quite work right.
Because the guy who was supposed to install something-or- other at the factory got a text message mid-wiring job.
And then decided to take a bathroom break.
And then decided to check baseball scores.
And when he finally got back to working on your rig, he looked at it and said “Wait, what was I doing?” before completely forgetting to attach that one thingymajig.
That happens a lot, and so, for the first three months of ownership, you spend a lot of time trouble shooting various issues.
(Warranties don’t do you much good when you can’t bring the RV into the shop because one of you has a broken leg and it’s your house.)
Then there were the old “Let’s add insult to injury” nights.
One evening I had managed to get a load of laundry into the washing machine. This was a huge win for me because I had basically been worthless for weeks as I hobbled around on crutches. As the machine was chugging along, suddenly I heard Kevin yell.
“Oh shucks, darn it!” Except he didn’t actually yell “Oh shucks, darn it” but rather a string of expletives that would make a sailor blush. But, this being a family blog, we’ll just keep it PG.
Anyway, Kevin yelled several unmentionable words, followed by “The gray tank is overflowing!!” as he ran for the front door.
Then he bounced off the front door. He rammed the door again with his shoulder. He bounced off again.
It was stuck. Completely. It simply would not budge no matter how hard he pushed on it.
“Son of a bagel!” he didn’t yell as he realized he couldn’t get out the door to go release the gray tank valve.
Turns out, in my Vicodin-induced haze, I’d forgotten the all-important task of checking the gray tank level before putting clothing in the washing machine.
And that turned out to be the exact same night that our front door jammed.
That night taught us a valuable lesson about our new life: When disasters happen in RV life, they usually present themselves as “Buy One, Get Three Free!” Super Value Paks. In other words, when things go wrong, they go epically wrong and all at once. Yay!!
Now, you might be thinking that all of this bad luck soured us on RV life. But, actually the opposite happened. Like other painful life events, they made us appreciate when things were going well.
So, once we extricated ourselves from Massachusetts, we made it a point to enjoy the hell out of our journey.
And we have.
After busting out of New England, we headed down the east coast, making it to Florida for Christmas. Then we headed west across the panhandle and into New Orleans just as preparations for Mardi Gras were starting.
We spent the beginning of Spring in Galveston before heading north through San Antonio, Austin and Dallas.
By the end of Spring, we’d visited Hot Springs, Nashville, Memphis, Lexington and Louisville.
We then headed toward Virginia for a friend’s wedding before heading up the East coast again, this time stopping in Vermont and Maine before making our way around the Canadian Maritimes – New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia.
Along the way, we took every opportunity to make the most of our visits.
From food tours in Charleston to historical tours in New Orleans, from sampling the best barbecue in Texas to the best bourbons in Kentucky, from cheering on the horses at the Kentucky Derby to the performers at the Grand Ole Opry, from exploring the deserted beaches of Florida’s Gulf Coast to the packed beaches of coastal Maine, from catching up with high school friends in Pennsylvania to college friends in Texas, from spending happy hours with fellow RVers to spending quality time with our families, we have been having an absolutely terrific time.
Absent our decision to give up our home and start traveling this way, there’s little chance we would have ever visited many of these places, and we certainly could not have done it in the economical and comfortable way we have.
Being able to travel slowly has reduced the stress on our lives.
And the stress on our budget. But most importantly, we’ve been able to do it all with our beloved German Shepherd by our side.
Looking back, the whole broken leg ordeal taught us a lot of valuable lessons. For example, you should never trust a Lab. But more importantly, you should never let go of your plans, even if you do face some inauspicious beginnings because, in the end, it might turn out better than you ever hoped.
Laura, Kevin, and their sweet pup Dixie live in a 38 foot foot RV. They’ve been traveling since the summer of 2016. Click the links below to laugh some more at their misadventures.
Read more awesome stories at: http://www.chapter3travels.com
Liz’s personal favorite: http://www.chapter3travels.com/thing-fear-fear-spiders/
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