‘Twas a dark and rainy night deep in the heart of Texas. We had just travelled over 1200 miles the past two days when the 5-pointed star on the black metal gate came into view. In just a few minutes we would be safely in bed, asleep at last. Or so we thought anyways!
Rain had sprinkled the roads without incident for the last few hours as our caravan had made its way from Indiana to Texas. Since when does it rain in the Lone Star State? Well it’s good for them but not for the weary travelers who must set up camp in the muddy grounds of my in-law’s ranchette. As it should be, the horses roam free here and reminders of this are soft underfoot as we park near the barn. Holy crap!
The plastic mat near the door, that I read on an RV forum to be a nifty idea, went from good to bad in a matter of minutes! It would be another hour before we would realize that we should not wear shoes inside the newly outfitted travel trailer that would be our home for the week. Remnants of Armani and Buddy would grace our socks and that’s just the way it would be. Eventually we tucked our shoes underneath the camper to keep them dry. O.k. That works!
Our pup Elle adapted quickly to the wide open spaces. I never really saw where she decided to potty over the course of our visit and that is just fine by me. Eventually the mounds of racquet-ball sized horse manure would dry on all of us and we would figure out the clearest path from the trailer to the house in the daytime and in the nighttime too. We simply opted to wipe Elle’s feet every time before she entered our humble abode for the night. The rest of the time? I just cannot account for that. She settled in with the old girl lab, Leah, and darling retriever, Molly, in their respective pecking order and all was well with the world. Elle would be depressed for days after returning home for having bonded with everything furry out there . . .
But the tasks at hand upon our arrival to KK Ranch were not done yet as morning drew near. Attaching our heavy duty power cord tripped the breaker in the barn no matter how my beloved Steve tried to configure it. At 4 in the morning we just did not feel comfortable waking up Kyle and Katherine for advice. Lights, refrigeration, and microwave/convection power would have to wait; we had what power we needed from our stored battery power. Then in a stroke of genius, Steve attached the charger to the shore power via the smaller outdoor cord provided then attached the charger to the battery of the trailer. Ola! We had enough AC to run the lights and tickle the frig until we could figure out a better configuration in the daylight. In the end Steve ran two separate cords from each of the two outlets to the camper: one for the frig and a second one for the lights and electric heater. We simply would not use the microwave for this leg of our trip. No problemmo.
Then our attention turned to connecting water supply. Most folks not familiar with trailer and RV camping have probably seen the American Lampoon and Robin William’s RV movies that magnify the importance of good sewer lines and running H2O! If you don’t have access to fresh water, things go bad really fast! Steve attempted to connect our two hoses to the spicket adjacent to the barn only to find that the short threading of the former prevented attachment. No problemmo once again. That’s why we brought extra water in case of an emergency for flushing the toilet, rinsing our hands, and nourishing the dog. Within a day we were able to get everything together but the spicket leaked badly, flooding the ground around the barn. Within another couple of days our gracious host purchased some new hoses, pulled everything together with a firm twist of a massive wrench, and all was well with the world.
The day we over-filled the black water tank underneath the trailer came as a surprise. Only 3 1/2 days had passed and we were nearly maxed out! By this point we had already dumped the gray water tank onto the ground ’cause hey, this is the country ya know? A little soapy water from the sink and shower is good for the land anyways. But dumping raw sewage even softened with an biodegradable enzyme tablet is not exactly the best gift to leave behind after a holiday weekend with relatives! This created a dilemma for me. I need to get up multiple times in the middle of the night pre and post-seizure episodes to use the facilities. Walking 50 yards in the dark to go into the house would surely keep me up more of the night than would be advisable to sacrifice. Somehow in the end, we made it to the max of our capacity just one day before departure and visiting the free dumping facilities of the Flying J truck stop north of Austin. It is amazing how much “stuff” that tank can hold!
And just when we thought the initiation of the newbie travel trailerers would be complete, there was one final challenge and it came in the light of day at the end of our stay. Ya know, we don’t intend to use the television anyways! My beloved whacked the T.V. antenna on a lower branch of a tree as we were preparing to leave KK Ranch. The mushroom shaped projection on the roof got sheared off at its base leaving a black cord dangling mercilessly from beyond our reach. Oh well. Our roof is more streamlined now!
Arriving in a foreign land in the middle of the night poses a test of character for even the most seasoned of married couples. In the end I had to smile at the interpretation each of us had at all of the unfortunate circumstances we faced together. While Steve was facing the elements in the crud and cool evening air when we arrived, I was setting up camp inside our humble abode and taking care of the pup. This is how we work as a team and that is nothing new for us. We both get busy completing the tasks at hand. The bigger picture was telling a different story however; we shared that one with each another after some sleep.
My beloved was concerned that I might be upset that he requested we drive very long days to get to our destination in just two days instead of the almost three days we spent over the same route last year. Arriving in the middle of the night came as a consequence of driving 12 or more hours each day and leaving later than expected trying to get everything prepared for each leg of our journey. On the other hand I was concerned he would be upset with me that we have to bother with all of this travel trailer stuff and expense to meet my health needs. When the Lord graciously provided the resources to purchase a new-used unit and outfit it according to my sensitivity needs I did not realize that I had overwhelmed Steve with this project. Making allergy-free cushions, finding the right wheel chocks, assembling enough linens from here and there, and so on was fun to focus on when so much of my time is spent in the throes of illness and recovery. In the end we worked through all of it and had some fun creating this new memory together.
Somewhere in the middle of this night in a land far away is another starry-eyed couple making a cross country journey. Somewhere in the course of things they will encounter wacky setbacks and have to go to bed with remnants of those unpleasantries still stuck to their feet between the sheets. I hope that they too will discover the wonder of it all: ’tis better to smile and say goodnight than to expect things to be perfect and crash into bed in a different heart-place. “Trust the process” has been my mantra over many years as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and over many trials. Besides if everything worked out right all of the time, what would we all blog about anyways?
Happy trails campers! JJ
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