By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Still unpacking the rig after several weeks on the road, we’ve finally hit the point where we can slow down a little and philosophize a bit about the trip. Our trip was one of those “planned out pretty well, but you know, things got in the way” affairs. But in some cases, maybe it was for the better.
The idea had been to circuit up from southern (or “inferior,” as my father-in-law put it) California, north through Oregon to Washington. Across the top of the map through Idaho and Montana, down into Utah, over to Colorado, back into Utah, then down into Arizona. Total time on the road – end of July to end of September, with plenty of little dots in the travel map for stories we were to chase down, sites to be visited, and friends to reach out to.
But as any seasoned RVer will tell you, the road doesn’t always cooperate with those kinds of plans. Mechanical failures can (and fairly often do) get in the way. A lot of those proposed points on the map were never reached, route changes became routine, and a lot of those “things” we planned on doing/seeing just didn’t get done/seen. But after years of RV touring, you would’ve thunk we would have already connected the dots with one big resolution for next time: SLOW IT DOWN.
After weeks and 4,833 miles on the odometer, we had to reflect on what parts of the road trip were the “best” of the bunch. While it’s true, the journey is half the adventure, being awake enough and rested enough to appreciate the journey certainly figures into it. What were those best parts again?
When a tire and wheel failure caused us to hunker down for a few days, waiting for parts, that little, bitty, almost-dry-lake in northern California had to be one of the quietest, most picturesque spots we’d seen. How about that remote part of the National Forest from the wife’s childhood camping experiences – the one we never planned to visit – it just happened we made our way there? The seemingly endless days in Utah’s high country – 30 minutes from the pavement, and another 20 from town. We hadn’t planned to stay there for a week, but you know, one thing led to another, and some of our better memories (and best sunset-hour photographs) came from “out there.” Maybe that little bit over a week spent along the Columbia River where the wind howled for hours – and we got plenty of hands of cards played.
No, we didn’t get the “number of stories” that would have made the trip more “profitable.” We certainly didn’t put on as many miles as we had originally planned. But those days where we sat in the saddle and toughed out mile after mile of roadway to “get there,” just weren’t near as nice as those when we just “stayed put.”
So next time? Next time we plan a few less miles, but still as much time as we can work in. We’ll find some of those quiet spots, where a little bit of cogitation just seems to come naturally. And yes, we still have to pay the bills, but we’ll leave the trailer in camp and plot out a few “hub and spokes” trips out into the surrounding countryside to get some of those oddball stories that RVers like to read.
We’d like to think of this is as our own great idea – we won’t need any mechanical mishaps to recommend it to us.