Right now, on a highway somewhere outside Tulsa, my dad and grandfather are slowly making their way out to Colorado in my dad's motorhome. When picturing the scene in my mind I can't help but think of the original National Lampoon's Vacation substituting Cousin Eddie's motorhome in place of the woody wagon (although dad's motorhome is a lot nicer than Cousin Eddie's green machine.)
While I worry about my father having to share an undue burden of the driving duties (supposedly he's going to try to do all the driving through all the busier cities) I'm actually glad they're both getting to to go. My dad bought the motorhome not only for tailgating at Alabama football games (excited that's coming up again soon) but also to get out camping again to see the country. Last year my parents took it out to Montana while Holly and I were up there visiting her extended family and they had a blast. Yeah, the gas may cost a fortune now (wish it was a diesel) but the memories from a trip like that are worth it.
Back when I was a senior in college, my entire immediate family (plus Holly and an ex-girlfriend of Adam's whom shall remain nameless) made a similar trip in our older motorhome. The mechanical difficulties we encountered all along the way in that RV were the stuff of legend and too long to go into here. Suffice it to say I learned a lot about the inner workings of a motorhome and how to use the generator and an A/C battery charger to bypass a dead alternator (jerry-rigged so well it made it over 500 miles through western Kansas and eastern Colorado.)
But despite the mechanical hardships it was totally worth it. I got to:
- Learn that Blytheville, Arkansas is the mosquito capital of the world.
- Meet extended family I hadn't seen since I was a toddler.
- See a massive thunderhead develop FAR off in the distance as we drove through Kansas (something you can't see here thanks to trees/hills.)
- Cultivate a fear of heights on the Royal Gorge Bridge.
- Wish for more time to climb all over Garden of the Gods.
- Eat at one of the most fascinating restaurants I've ever visited.
- Immerse myself in breathtaking mountain scenery.
- Trod barefoot through the Great Sand Dunes.
- Drive through the rain on the spine-tinglingly fun mountain road from Silverton to Ouray.
- Experience a post card moment sleeping in a tent next to a mountain stream nestled in a beautiful valley outside Durango.
- Get a taste of large scale wildfires on the way to Mesa Verde.
- Experience the massive scale of Carlsbad Caverns.
- Get a sense for just how big and undeveloped most of the country is.
- Discover the meaning of true heat as we languished in Dallas, TX with a weak A/C and record temperatures reaching 115 degrees with heavy humidity.