A Little Road Wisdom

Yesterday I talked about being at Prude Ranch and meeting Osa. As I wrote that story, I thought of a few other tips I could share with anyone thinking about RVing.

Michael and I began to travel by RV when he was traveling a lot for his job. The last thing he wanted to do when he got home from the airport was to get on another plane. Eating at restaurants was another thing not high on his time off to-do list. Throw into that equation the fact we had dogs at home, investing in an RV made a lot of sense to us. With our home away from home on wheels, we could spend time off together, fix and eat our own food, and splurge on some very nice bottles of wine.

When we started down the path of being full-time RVers, we learned some dos and don’ts of the road. These are a few of the most poignant ones.

Be aware of popular events going on in the area you will be visiting. Our full-time adventure began the last part of September. We’d planned on going to Sante Fe for a few days on our way to Carlsbad Caverns. Even though Michael is a balloon pilot, he forgot the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta begins the first weekend in October.  When we tried to get a spot in one of our favorite parks, they were full. Every park around that area was full except for one park. They had one spot left. As we parked, we understood why this spot was open. We were on a little peninsula between the propane filling tank, the dump station, and the trash. It was a long three days in Santa Fe. Two big lessons learned on this leg of the trip. Plan way ahead and question the area around your camping site.

From Santa Fe, we traveled to Carlsbad, New Mexico. We’d made reservations at a campground there well in advance. We’d read the reviews and looked at the posted pictures. There were not many reviews or pictures–something we learned to see as a huge red flag. It was a long and hot trip to this rather isolated part of  New Mexico. I went in to pay for our stay while he waited with the dogs. As we drove down to the campground, what we saw was not at all what we’d expected. We parked and set up our site but decided we’d stay only long enough to see the Caverns. When we went up to tell the desk that we would not be there for our full stay, we learned they did not do refunds. As you can see by the attached photo, it was not a place where you wanted to spend a lot of time. Our lesson from this experience was to investigate the park BEFORE you pay. We would have had to pay a cancellation fee, but that would have been much less expensive than what our full week ended up costing us.

Living and exploring our beautiful country by RV is a priceless experience. We’ve met some of the most wonderful people on our journies. When we began our adventures, I kept a journal, making notes about all the people we met and the experiences we had at each stop. My last bit of advice for you is to start your own journal. As I look at that little spiral notebook and read the entries we both made of those early days, I am so thankful we have that bit of recorded history of so many unexpected discoveries and joys.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace, Y’all.

Osa

This is Osa.

We were told her name means “bear” in Spanish. The name fit her perfectly. She was the size of a bear, by far the largest dog I’d ever met.

We were full-time RVers when we met Osa. We were staying at the historic Prude Ranch, located just outside of Fort Davis, Texas. We arrived in mid-October and stayed through the first part of November. Osa was our campsite companion and protector.

If you are thinking about the RV lifestyle, there are so many things I could share with you. One of the most important things is, do NOT believe the pictures posted online by the facilities. If there are no recent reviews, think long and hard before you make reservations.

Prude Ranch is a guest ranch that has been in operation for decades.  At one time, it was the place to go for family vacations. When we were there, it was in dire need of repair. For the time we were there, we were the only RV in the upper RV park. It was quiet, peaceful, but a little scary. This brings up the other very important thing I want to share about RVing today. Please pay attention to the area you will be staying in. Determine how far you are from medical help? Will you have cell phone coverage? Internet was where we focused, not even questioning cell phone coverage. We were staying during the low season, once the few staff members left for the day,  we were alone. Yes, there was a pay phone at registration–which was at approximately a quarter of a mile from where we were camped. During the time we were there, I never once checked to see if the phone worked.

Osa took care of us. She’d come every day, mid-morning, staying through the night, leaving early for her job the next day. We have three dogs. They are not social. When I opened the door the first day Osa came, I was concerned. There was no containing this large dog. Our dogs would need to adjust. It was obvious, she was not going anywhere. We’d have to make it work. As I envisioned big battles that would have been very bad for our dogs, something magic happened. Each dog went through their own dog greeting, acting like they’d known each other forever.

We’d noticed our screen door would pop open if it was hit just right. Checking this door was the last thing checked before taking our dogs for a walk. One sunny afternoon, we were heading back to the RV when Michael tossed me his leashed dog, talking quickly while racing back to the trailer. What was being said was lost because he was moving too quickly. Grasping all the leashes, my gaze followed his path. In the distance, I could see the screen door was open, dog toys flying out into the yard.

Osa had figured out how to open the door. By the time I got home, Michael had retrieved the toys that’d survived her wild adventure, the inside dog bowls had been licked clean, every drop of water gone. Osa, in true Osa fashion, had made herself at home. As I surveyed the damage, I thanked God our dinner was sitting in the refrigerator.

On our last day, as we packed up to leave, Osa was there. I can visualize her now, meandering up the hill to our site, stopping close to each of us, leaning into our legs, finagling a pet and a treat.

There was a huge empty spot in our hearts as we made our way to the coast. We all missed having her outside the front door as we started our days. We missed having her big bear sized head under our hands. She’d somehow tamed our three dogs as she made her way into our lives and deep into our hearts. She was our gentle giant, our very own west Texas guardian angel.

God bless you, Osa. I love you.

I am…

B…simply being…

I wish you all love the size of Osa.

Peace