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Our First Adventure (but not our last)

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Dear Readers,

I have always wanted an RV. I love the outdoors and I love to travel. I looked a long time before settling on a 2007 Gulf Stream Tourmaster with 17k miles that I purchased for 20k less than book value. It has everything I wanted in a coach, and it looks good, too. No buyer's remorse for me.

I'll introduce you to my traveling companion: my lovely wife of 17 years and my best friend, Wendy. I would describe her as a somewhat reluctant RVer. You see, she camped all of her life as a young child with her family in a small travel trailer. When she was still very young, one of her trips ended in disaster when the trailer came off of the car and was destroyed. This happened right after she had been standing up in the front seat of her parents' car. No doubt angels were watching over her when her mother insisted that she sit just before the accident occurred. Remember when all kids road lying down in the back windshield or the floorboard? And no one wore seat belts!

My other companions for this first great adventure were Gracie, age 5, and Coco Chanel, age 8 months, our two maltese. Unlike Wendy, Gracie and Coco are keen on traveling and were very excited, like me, to finally hit the road after prepping for our trip for two months.

I have read enough in this forum to know that all RV trips are adventures, full of fun and excitement. I also have read enough to know that all RV trips have at least one misadventure. So, as I prepped the coach, I also prepped my wife, for I wanted this trip to be fun for her, too -- not just for me and the dogs. I told her that we could expect that at least one negative thing would happen and the key to success on this trip was how we handled the negative and our attitudes. I assured her that short of a tragic accident, equipment could be repaired and "things" could be fixed. More importantly, our marriage was strong, so I knew it could survive this "shake-down" cruise as it were, right? Right? So, it was in this light that we began planning our first great adventure: to Big Bend National Park, Texas, a place I have never seen.

I am an Eagle Scout and the Boy Scout Motto is "BE PREPARED." Those who know me say I have taken this motto to an extreme in my 52 years, but hey, what were all those merit badges for if not for this? My wife and friends will tell you that when I go somewhere, I tend to take everything I own plus the kitchen sink. I say I would rather not need it and have it than need it and not have it. Plus, an extra kitchen sink might come in handy.

Actually, as you all know, the planning of the trip can be just as much fun as the trip itself. So, I bought a few books and read them cover to cover. I actually bought two written by the same lovely couple with the same intro, RVing for Dummies or something like that. I had our coach looked at from one end to the other by certified mechanics. I had all fluids and belts changed. I put on new tires -- no inexpensive purchase as you know. I had my 2008 Chevy PU fitted for use a "toad" (I told you I read books).

I bought all of the right stuff. I even had a great TV (which I pilfered from our bedroom -- I never watch TV in bed anyway) and had it mounted in the front bay so I could watch all the great sporting events while sitting outside. Oh yeah, I got the new in-motion dish and every channel DirecTV has, plus a couple more. In short, all systems were set and ready to go.

Now, for those of you who are blessed to live in a more desirous climate than east Texas, you don't have to worry much about the heat. But where I'm from, it's all I worry about, especially now. Today, for example, it was 97 degrees most of the afternoon in my back yard. And that's in the shade, folks. And it's not a dry heat, either.

So, as I began prepping for our Big Bend National Park Adventure, I started looking at the weather forecast for our week of travel and it was not pretty. The predicted highs in Big Bend were to be 114 degrees every day. And although Big Bend is in the desert and therefore the heat would be "dry," the Eagle Scout in me came to believe that the two roof airs would in no way keep our coach cool enough to be pleasurably occupied. This also led me to believe that Mrs. Wendy would not be happy in a hot coach even if it did have a TV on the outside. And you know what they say, "If momma ain't happy, nobody's happy (and that includes the dogs).

So, I did what any good Eagle Scout would do under the circumstances. I decided to point the motorhome in a different direction: Santa Fe, New Mexico. And boy, am I glad I did.

Well, I'm new to this blogging and my fingers are getting tired, but do I have a story to tell you, you betcha. But, it's going to have to wait a while as it's after 10 p.m. and therefore, way after my normal bedtime. Plus, I got to work tomorrow. Remember, I said those tires cost lots of money. Good night, everyone!

Brad Steele

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OK, now I have 2 "mentors" blogging to be my guides in this journey of "newbies". We just picked up our first motorhome 2 days ago, spent most of yesterday trying to find a place to kep it parked while we prepare for this first adventure. Both Bran and Wendy, and ,Jack and Peg, are going where we want to go, even if only figuretively-we will head to SW Utah for our first adventure-hoping that can be a future base for exploring the west. I like Brad's positive attitude, acknowledgement that for every great adventure there is bound to be also a great learning experience, otherwise known as a "misadventure". We may have possibly already had ours. We parked the RV at the Real Estate office I call "home" when I am "working" because they have a huge parking lot! When we went to pick it up to take it to the "by the month" parking lot, our key would not open the door to even get in!!! Teeth gnashing, mumbling, a call to AAA to find out this vehicle is not covered by their service-all led us to the close by Home Depot to get a tube of graphite. Luckily, that solved the problem and we proceeded to the lot without further incident. OK, we have survived the first mishap (like the Steeles with their bathroom door) and we are all moving forward now.

So. Brad. Wendy, Jack, Peg - lead the way, document it for those of us following this gypsy band of merry people and let's have fun!! Judy and Jerry from the North Georgia Mountains.

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