We started off on our two-week “RAGBRAI or Bust” trip with high expectations (and a great deal of nervousness on my part! think of all the things that could potentially go wrong with a rolling house on teeny tiny tires! we have absolutely no idea what we are doing! Philip refused to read the instruction manual … “real men don’t read manuals!”). Ahhh……
I drew upon my inner Zen, however, and replaced fear of the unknown with curiosity instead. Instead of “Geez, I hope my curling iron plugged in the bathroom outlet doesn’t ignite the the 75 gallon propane tank directly underneath us” with “Golly, I’m really curious how long it will take the fire department to arrive to Nowheresville, Kansas, to put out the fire!” See how easy that is?
Day 1 was 425 miles through Payson AZ-Winslow AZ-Holbrook AZ-Gallup NM-and lastly an overnight stay in Albuquerque. Day 2 … 490 miles through FOUR STATES … Tucumcari NM – the upper corner of Texas – the panhandle of Oklahoma – and finally overnight in Dodge City, KS (Gunsmoke RV Park! Yee haw!).
A couple memorable sights along the way were: (1) on the “Navajo Nation” (Indian reservation) of New Mexico — a billboard for the SACRED TEE-PEE SMOKE SHOP (“Large humidor!” “We sell film!”); and (2) the CHURCH OF HOOKER in the town of Hooker, Oklahoma (“Home of the Hooker Horny Toads” …. really??)
Philip also enthusiastically embraced place amongst his long-haul trucker brothers on the highway, cherishing being a part of their caravans (much the way he drafts in a group of bicyclists) and threatening to buy a CB Radio so he can chat with them. I told him they might not be so welcoming when he tried to break into their tough-guy cliques with his cheery “Breaker, breaker, this is Charming” ……
The people in RV campgrounds are amazingly friendly and everybody has dogs (like us, clearly part of the reason they chose an RV in the first place … to bring their pets) which is a lot of fun. Speaking of dogs, someone asked where Bella and Sprinkles hang out while we are driving. There is a sofa that lays flat right behind the driver seat, and they are happy as can be there while we are rolling down the road!
Philip and I are splitting the driving and many friends have asked me, “Aren’t you afraid to drive that big thing?” Truthfully, it’s not as difficult as it looks. However, one thing that is very disconcerting is what we affectionately call THE WHOOSH. In an RV, which is not only tall but broad, it can be really disconcerting when you pass a semi-truck (or they pass you), which happens often on major interstates like I-40. The air vacuum WHOOSH that is created when that happens can frequently make the RV lurch dramatically to the side and if you’re not ready, it’s pretty freaky and can be a little violent on the person using the toilet in the back. BEWARE OF THE WHOOSH!
The other thing that you have to get used to, is that the rearview mirror points INSIDE the cabin instead of behind the vehicle, so while you get a good view of the dog or the refrigerator, not so much the traffic around you. There are side view camera and a rear camera, but after 25+ years of driving, checking the review mirror can be a hard habit to break, and actually our rearview mirror points directly to a large inside mirror behind the dinette, so what I really get a good view of, is the back of my head.
Day 3 will take us all the way to Iowa and the start of the RAGBRAI race! Hip hip hurray! So far the bikes have not fallen off the back of the Lucky Charm and Philip is eager to get “back in the saddle” with 10,000 other crazy people!