Because we like adventure, for our summer vacation, Evan and I have opted for a road trip.
In an RV.
Like the 25-foot kind. We’ve never done this before.
Since I had a couple of days of work at USC, we opted to rent the RV in the L.A. area. Ahead of us are national parks, hundreds of miles of road, and RV campsites.
Renting the RV was easy enough. We used Cruise America. They were all business. Omar, the guy who checked us in was overly serious for my taste. But we weren’t taking ourselves or him too seriously. Omar offered us a chance to watch a 20-minute video on how to operate the RV. How could we say no?
The whole thing was very amusing to me. For whatever reason, the narrator of the video was British. For something so typically American-RVing–why an Englishman narrates the training video is beyond me. The family is perfect, but not too perfect. The dad is just out of shape enough to still be handsome in that Dad-bod kind of way. The children are exceptionally well-behaved sitting in the back of the RV as it cruises the American Southwest. The wife is very pretty and definitely out of the husband’s league. They are the perfect RVing family with their British narrator. We left before the credits rolled.
Omar donned a giant hat and took us out to the vehicle. The tour was nothing exceptional. I learned about gray water and black water. My favorite feature of the RV is the dog in the window of the camper door. It’s the door where you enter and exit the living portion of the RV. It seems too perfect that our RV is wrapped with a photo of Yosemite since we will be going there.
Omar got us all checked out and we were on our way. All was going well until we hit the 405 and then it went to hell. I’m to understand the 405 is bad enough on the normal in a car. But in an RV is is worse. I think the first 20 miles took us an hour. I think this might have been the biggest test of our 14 and a half years together. We were calm. Mostly.
Let’s just say it was tense. I wonder if highway planners know they are directly responsible for the high divorce rate, because I’m sure the 405 has ended many a wedded bliss.
Then it was on to Santa Clarita for groceries at Ralph’s.
When I tried to use my credit card, a card I use only for vacations, it wouldn’t go through. This was not a surprise because I’m sure the security people at Alaska USA were wondering why suddenly I was spending $300 at Ralph’s in Santa Clarita. 20 minutes later Paul from Alaska USA was calling to check on me.
We returned to the road. The GPS was telling us we would arrive to the campsite at around 9:30. We’re not in Alaska anymore which means it would be dark when we arrived. I was a little stressed about this. What will parking in the dark be like? Will we be able to see anything? Will we wake people?
However, the drive was lovely. When the sun went down, we were up near Bakersfield with the rolling farmland and oil pumps. The light was gorgeous as it slowly faded to dark.
Once we parked, I was immediately taken with the sky and the stars. They were so bright. It’s not that I don’t see stars in Alaska. I do. It’ that I don’t see them while wearing shots and a t-shirt drinking a Napa Valley Cab.
We were parked. We had wine. We had no firewood or charcoal, so we ate peanuts in the shell and chips and salsa and called it a night.
And there did seem to be little cultures of people. From the neighboring campsites you could see flashes of fire and headlamps until eventually it all slowly faded to black.
If you’ve never gotten off the grid and gotten away from it all, do it. So far, an RV is a great way to go, as long as you don’t have to drive it on the 405.