First, an apology. I didn’t post yesterday. For those of you who were on tenterhooks, waiting anxiously for my first amazing batch of photos of a brilliant road trip, I offer here a pitiful sampling of day one – NOT (I hope) a forerunner of things to come.
Let me explain. After doing the last-minute packing and then rushing to the store to get a few last-minute things (toilet bowl scrubber, leveller fluid, dish towels) we hit the road at noon. Ah – freedom! High fives and even tens all around.
We drove. It rained. We drove anyway. Somewhere north of Qualicum Beach we pulled over at a truck rest to quickly walk the dogs and eat amazing sandwiches picked up at Bodhi while we were at Canadian Tire. (note: Canadian Tire was Simon’s idea – Bodhi Bakery – mine! ‘Nuff said.)
After lunch, I discovered the pleasures of the reclining passenger seat and had a nap. The dogs found their places: Abby behind the table where Simon thought Shanara would want to doze and Shanara in the passenger seat, kindly leaving a bit of room for me as long as I kept my feet up on the dash.
First big stop was the Shell station on Wills Road at Campbell River where Simon cleaned out the poop tank (see photo). I was very proud of him. Anyone who cleans my poop out of a tank is my personal hero!
Next: a drive through Campbell River to Menzies Main, the beginning of a 16.5 K drive to Brewster Horse Camp. I’d had a few misgivings about driving down a dirt road but hey – it had RV camping sites, right? What could go wrong?
As it turns out, many things could go wrong. First, the road: washboard and potholed the entire way. The RV, towing Simon’s car, rattled and banged its way up, creating the most alarming cacophony. At one point I was quite sure my side window was going to fly out into the ditch. But we made it without a single broken glass or dish (!!!) and pulled into a site – not what you might call the perfect spot: dark, deeply treed and kind of – well – “Do I have to stay here for a whole week?” kind of place.
Yes, I said to myself, I can make this work. There are trails for the dogs and we’ll be backpacking soon in Strathcona. Okay, It’ll be fine, I said. First – take the dogs for a walk. We did a short loop and that was okay – not what you’d call pretty by a long shot but it was fine. Then we got into the RV and started the systems – um – actually, Simon started the systems. And there’s where the problems began. The water worked but only cold. No hot water. The stove worked but the propane refused to reach the fridge.
So – two systems not working. My $200 bottle of Dom Perignon was getting warm. Maybe not really warm but certainly too warm for champagne, which, as everyone knows, should be just above the freezing point served in chilled flutes (which were also in the fridge.)
Simon tried – goddess knows he tried. He pushed every button and ready every page of every manual that could possibly apply. I did my best to help – read the same manuals, made a couple of extremely unhelpful suggestions and then stayed out of the way.
I have no idea how late it was when Simon finally gave up. We opted for sandwiches for dinner and a game of Scrabble. We were done, tired, exhausted and working very hard at keeping our chins up.
I wanted to be silly and jokey about the whole thing, but I felt somehow sad. I questioned the entire idea of this sort of lifestyle. I didn’t like our dingy camping spot and it didn’t feel like home: I couldn’t take a shower, the kitchen felt too cramped to spread out and DO things and, the fridge. Well, it was what it was. What else was there to do? I couldn’t do my blog or indeed much of anything.
Simon continued to be my hero – he kidded around about it and made the best of it.
We went to bed early – comfy bed! Water for brushing teeth and using the toilet! There were certainly things to celebrate. Best of all was the decision we made to pull up stakes early in the morning, drive into Campbell River and find an RV place to sort things out for us. We also vowed never to drive down one of these roads again – not with a Class A pulling a vehicle.
I couldn’t shake off my sad feeling. I kept flashing back to easy vacations – get on a plane, a train, check into a hotel and hike. Simple. Hike hard every day and come home at the end of it all to a hot shower and total relaxation.
The motor home seemed to be a massive project. That said, I was also getting far more familiar with the systems.
We went to bed early. Simon had little sleep – his mind working like crazy – and then a nightmare that woke him up. So – not only a less than ideal day, a not really great night.
It rained during the night and that was good news for us: it settled the dust on the road for the drive out – and cleaned the car. We woke up at about 6.30 to a very cold morning. Simon, brilliant man that he is, had turned off the propane, forgetting to take into account the fact we were having breakfast before leaving. Happily, he got it on immediately (hero again!) and the place warmed up quickly. No showers – just a wash, tooth brush, breakfast, dog walk, repacking things, coupling up the car and off.
Simon drove slowly (can you say 10 – 20 KPH?) and we made it to a paved road in under an hour! The excitement never ends! We found the only RV dealership in town (by pure chance!) and today, they will look it over and, hopefully, fix it. Now we are sitting in a coffee shop, keeping ourselves warm, doing our Internet stuff and waiting until this afternoon for the word on the vehicle.
Here’s my hope: it gets sorted, we drive into Strathcona and find a super site at either the Hydro Dam or Ralph River, that we love our site, that we get all excited and happy again and that I get rip roaring drunk on expensive champagne. Oh yes, I also hope that given my drunken state, Simon take advantage of me. Yup – those are my hopes for the day – and I mean, really, is all of this too much to hope for?
I think not!