Saturday, August 29

My First Solo Trip July 29th

My first solo trip! Picked up Lily at 9:00 am. I got organized and
then went and got Gas and Propane at Five Points. I was very glad to
find that place! Rather convenient, and they were helpful, and
reasonable. Close to home with easy in and out. Before leaving on my
trip, I was picking up Mary Ellen and Mary to celebrate Mary's
Birthday. Mary hadn't seen Lily yet, so that was fun. We went to a
little Italian place in Gibbstown. I got Chicken Cacciatore and
Spaghetti, and saved half for dinner on the road. We had a very nice
lunch. Mary is still recouping from her fall. It's been a long road
for her. My sweet and generous friend Mary Ellen insisted on paying
the check, she said it was a going away present. Love that girl! After
lunch we went back to Mary's and sat out in the RV and and had a
chocolate cake, and I mean chocolate, from Wegmans. We talked for a
while, and then I dropped Mary Ellen off at @ 2:45 and hit the road.
I had an intentionally very loose plan. I planned on traveling the
back roads. I found out later in my trip not all plans to not plan are
perfect. Who'da guessed?? But off I go into the wild blue yonder! I
drove through Princeton to Morristown. It was a beautiful drive. I
had been to Morristown 30 years ago, and wanted to return. Well,
Morristown has really grown in the past 30 years.... I drove around
and around and around, and finally found 2 parking meters together. I
pulled in and patted myself on the back. I am on top of the world.
Hummm... quarters.. I only had 4. And two meters together, you guessed
it, they were a couple blocks from the stores and the possibility of
change. Okay, so you do need to plan a few things. So that quick...
the beautiful blue skies turned black, opened up and it didn't rain,
it was more like a flood falling on me. I sat there for awhile
wondering what to do. Then I realized people were driving by very
slowly giving me the evil eye for taking TWO parking spaces in this
crowded little city. I think I must put my four quarters in the meter
NOW, so I can think. Ah! Stacey made me buy that umbrella! Where could
it be? In the locked outside compartment on the other side. I'll run.
Quarters in hand, I jump out. Two quarters in each meter. I can now
stay in Morristown for 24 freakin' minutes. I get back in the RV. I
could have swam the ocean and been drier. But I am in my little home
on wheels. I can change my clothes. I'm starving. I'll put my dinner
in the microwave, and peel off the the wet clothes. They sit in a
puddle while I dry off and get dressed. Sniff, sniff... is that
smoke?? Then I realized I burnt my dinner. IN THE MICROWAVE! Damn. So
apparently, I can't take my little old attention span two feet away
from what I am doing. I now have about 5 more minutes on my meter. I
don't even like Morristown anymore. Well, I was hungry. It was a bit
crunchy, but it worked. (When I got home Donna asked me how it was
cooking in my Microwave/Convection Oven. Then a small (sad) smile
crossed her face when she realized who she was talking too. I don't
remember if I told her about my first meal.... I swear to God, I used
to cook. And my cooking never hurt anyone... ) My meters have expired.
In big red letters. Time to go. As I sat there, trying to pull out, I
realized this was my first Lily rain, and I had a wonderful Zen moment
listening to the beautiful sound of the rain on the roof. It was
absolutely beautiful. I pull out. Where am I going??? I'm getting out
of Morristown. I drove for awhile, and realized this was another
first. I was driving in the rain. And I was doing fine. Why does this
all feel so good? It just does. Drove for awhile, and then I pulled
over and iPhone'd the closest Walmart. Not too far. I arrived at about
8:00 in Newburgh, NY. Lots of other RV's already there. I went in and
shopped for awhile. (Prices here amazed me. Everything was $1, $2 or
$3 cheaper than Jersey). Thank you Walmart. I know a lot of people
hate you. I don't. I love you! What a day. Good night. It is time for

Friday, August 28

Mini trip... Buena Vista July 13th

Next trip with Stacey and the boys.... Buena Vista. Love that name, but the name sounds more romantic than the campground actually is. It was nice though. They had a nice pool, and a little lake. It was cedar water, which didn't appeal to the kids, but they were happy to wander the edge and play in the sand. It was really nice. Since Sta is working, we only had a few days. What was nice was check in time was 1:00, but they let us park just inside the grounds early, and use, basically, the whole camp. And we were allowed the same privilege after checkout. Some places don't allow that. Or they charge you for a half a day. Since Lily is self contained, it was fine. We went in the water for a while, had lunch, then went to the site. They had mini golf. The boys love that. That also had an awesome water slide! It was really nice. I think you can go to the water slide without staying at the park. It was only $3 per person, for a half hour. A half hour of running up the stairs was plenty for me... Liam absolutely refused to go on the water slide. No changing that boys' mind. EVER. 

Shame, cause he would have loved it. So he made quick friends with the lifeguard in the pool below. She let him play in the water. Wyatt loved it. These little trips are nice, cause I can find and make a list of little things that need attention. Then I let them know when I return Lily. Sun, water, campfire and s'mores, beautiful weather... What more could a person ask for?? Oh, ice cream, and yes, they had that....

Thursday, August 27

Yogi Bear Campground July 4th

It is actually more than a month later, and I am pretty much writing from memory here. Good luck with that. I have never been good at remembering detail. I just have too much going on in my brain to store all the information. But what I remember....
I feel pretty comfortable driving the RV. I don't like backing it up, but I'll get that in time. Just take it nice and easy, ask for help and it will be fine. Got a nice site, at the end of the road, which was very nice, because it gave the boys a lot more space and freedom. Plenty of dirt and sand to dig in, so they were happy! This was a great campground for the kids. A lot of activities, and they had a great idea here. Every morning the park had a "clean-up" The kids get a small trash bag and plastic gloves, and walk around and pick up trash. That place was so clean, it was hard to actually find any trash! That was ok, they didn't have to fill the bags, just try. It was great. Started good conversation about littering, and responsibility. When they returned their bag, they had a choice of a small ice cream cone, a soda or a candy bar. Great idea! And the cleanest park around!
They also had a nice pool. The boys are doing great swimming! They are like fish! They have been taking swimming lessons, and they were well worth it! I enjoy the pool so much more now than I used to. I could take it or leave it before. Ed spent a day, which was nice. They had a matchbox car ramp, the kids loved it. They made Yogi Bear pillowcases in the craft area. They were very nice and they were also reasonable. Ed really enjoyed that. LOL.
Danielle and the kids came to visit for the day. That was very nice. We are only 30-40 minutes from home.... The weather was great the whole time we were here. NICE!
I feel comfortable with the workings of the RV. I am surprised at how easy it is. I guess I expected it to be a bit more difficult to figure out. So glad it's not.
They had a dirt bike hill that was nice. Stacey and I brought chairs and sat and talked, while the boys played. They ran up and down the hill forever! They are not real into bikes yet, but I kept thinking how much Brian and Sam would LOVE this! Of course, if you combined the running and riding, I'm sure we would have gotten to visit the local hospital : ) Just got back from a visit, just before I got the RV. But I missed them none the less. And am going back for Sammy's 7th birthday.
Got propane on the way out, and learned that for the convience of getting it at the park, you pay twice as much. Didn't really see that coming. So better planning next time.
Brought Lily back to the dealer. I have free parking there for a year. It's 20 minutes from home, so that works.

Wednesday, August 26

Just Beginning July 4th

On my Way

Today I purchased a dream - my dream - July 1, 2009. She is beautiful. I have decided to call her Lily. Why? God only knows. Just seems appropriate.... Can't refer to her as "The RV". I'm sorry, I can really feel her cringe when I refer to her in that cold, impersonal way. Lily is a Mini Vista Cruiser that was born in 2007. She waited so very patiently for me in that lot on the side of the road for two years.  I walked in, and was at home. Who would have thought home could just take up a mere 24 feet of space? And FINALLY, an excuse for wearing the same 6 or 7 comfortable shirts! Who needs more than that?  Felt like a warm hug the minute I walked in. 
          The first time I took her out was July 4th. Independence Day! I met Stacey and the boys at Walmart in Deptford early in the afternoon. The boys ran around inside like she was a 24 room mansion! Up and down the ladder to the loft. From the bathroom to the sofa to the loft. OMG! I have a LOFT!!!  Granted, it is only the size of a queen bed, but big dreams have been launched from smaller places. When I was a child, bedtime was not the end of the day but the beginning of a journey. I would roll up my blankets and edge my bed , then sail off in my raft to other countries with only Raggedy Ann beside me.  Well, my little sister too, but she slept and knew nothing of the places we traveled.  I am grateful to these little guys who thrill at the thought of a loft. My God, did I forget to grow up? Oh well, too late now. We headed off to visit our kind host and did some Lily shopping, in preparation for the first trip out. Towels, kitchen supplies, etc. Little did I know this was the first of perhaps 8 trips into Walmart before midnight. I think after trip 5, they assigned a little Asian man to follow me around.  I smiled, and tried to win him over, tempted to tell the man I honest to God was not casing the joint.... Back to trip 1. We got this and that , and every 3 or 4 minutes Stacey would say,  "Are you sure you really need THAT?" All I had to do was glance in a certain direction to elicit that response. We're all getting cranky, its time for lunch. Do you know Walmart actually sells BOX LUNCHES?? This is now my new favorite place in the world. At the moment I am enjoying this place almost as much as I enjoyed the Grand Canyon!  So we got a couple box lunches, a couple sandwiches, and went back to have our lunch. The kids had a swim lesson, so they left after lunch, and I played house. I put things away, made the bed, rearranged. Just had a good old time. I still needed silverware and dishes, so I met them after the swim lesson and we went to Ikea. I found the perfect silverware and dishes! This was a short and sweet trip, and I was soon on my way back to Walmart to meet Pete.
          I haven't told Peter I actually purchased Lily. He is meeting me for dinner. He thinks we are meeting at Applebee's. I called him about 15 minutes before we meet to ask him to pick me up at Walmart. I told him I couldn't start my car. I sat on a bench in front of my new favorite place and gazed at Lily across the lot  : )  Peter arrived, picked me up and asked me where my car was. We drove right up to Lily. He was pretty excited. It crossed his mind how nice it would be to park in the Hospital parking lot, since he all but lives there now. Then he examined every nook and cranny, and thought perhaps we should go back in Walmart and get a little velcro, and other things I probably need and couldn't live without. I now have three different types of Velcro and a few other things. It was a fun AND funny trip . And the little Asian man isn't following me yet. Again, it's time to eat. I had visions of cooking up a nice steak, but my son is no fool, he opted for dinner out.  I used to know how to cook. Then I just forgot. Trust me, it's not "just like riding a bike".  We went out for dinner. Then we came back to find something to Velcro. We were back a few minutes, and there was a knock on the door. It was my brother Jimmy and his girlfriend Patty. I told Jim I'd be here if he wanted to stop by and meet Lily. They came in and Patty looked cute in her swirly skirt. They sat on the sofa, Patty holding her little pocketbook in her lap, looking like she was waiting for a bus. Patty's head went from left to right a few times, taking it in. She then looked to the right, and saw the  closed door. She said, "what 's in there?" I said, "the bathroom'. She sat a few moments and like out of the clear blue, said, "May I please use the bathroom?" Perhaps you had to be there, but it was priceless...
          Two minutes later, another knock. If I knew I was having so much company, I'd have baked a cake. Alright, I would have bought a cake in Walmart.  I think I'll have to refer to Walmart from here on in as WM. My fingers are beginning to hurt.  It was Stacey, Ed and the boys. When they pulled up, there were five or six people milling around in a mix of Spanish and English admiring Lily. The shades were up so I was unaware of our admirers... They were locked out of their car, waiting for help. So now the whole gang is here. Jimmy, Ed and Peter try to figure out the TV. Segway to the third trip back into the store. And I'm bringing more men with me. The cheerful WM greeter is beginning to wonder. Sta, Ed and the kids only stay a few minutes. Pete takes off. Jimmy stays and works on the TV. Damn analog > digital. And me... techie girl with an analog TV! Jimmy think I should return the HD antenna. I probably need a converter from Uncle Sam. Jimmy and Patty leave. I am returning to WM. Cheerful WM greeter growls at me. This is when I think she calls for backup. Back out again. Stacey calls, "did you buy bread and milk?" WM is open 24 hours. I sense the little Asian man behind me.  I smile. He doesn't. I feel like a criminal. This is it! I'm not going back in there. I get the bread and leave. As I unlock the door I remember the milk.  I am exhausted....
          After I get the milk , I am ready for bed. OMG! Me and my pepper spray take a shower in the WM parking lot!!! And I survive!!! I am happy again. Then I prepare to spend my first night alone at the WM, since that is part of my "big see the world plan". Since I was a bit apprehensive about actually staying at WM... I needed to do this. Now, although Independence Day is symbolically a lovely day to begin a new endeavor, nodding off to the sound of fireworks  that didn't sound exactly like a demilitarized zone may not have been the easiest thing I've ever done. After the initial terror wore off it was actually quite amusing. I think I fell asleep to the grande finale . Now... did you know they use big street sweepers to clean the parking lot? Did you know they do this at three in the morning? The guy cleaning the parking lot decided to really clean around Lily. He circled Lily like the Indians circling the wagons heading West.  The guy finally amused himself enough and went off to clean the rest of the lot.  I really wanted to use my pepper spray.   I finally fell off to sleep,  slept well, and woke so happy. I drove across the street to the McDonald, met Stacey and the boys, we ordered breakfast and ate in the RV. Then we headed off to Yogi Bear Campground in Elmer for our first trip.

* For those of you who might just miss Yogi and Boo-Boo copy and paste the link below, it is lovely: