Sunday, May 3, 2009

The R word

There's been a lot of talk about RVs this weekend. First Dom came back from a trip to LA full of a story about how some friends there, with children aged 3 and 1, had flown to Vegas, hired an RV and visited the Grand Canyon and Bryce National Park among other American landmarks. They said it was spectacular - a hugely successful holiday. Then a friend from New York came to stay on Friday night and told us he and his family (with kids slightly older) were planning an RV trip next summer, starting in Montana, route not finalised. I'm not sure he felt so confident about his plans by the time he checked out of Hotel Myers, after we had regaled him with the story of our diastrous RV experience. But then, today, a family of five tipped up for brunch - they'd started in a 31 foot Winnebago in Utah and were ten days into their trip. They reached San Francisco late on Friday evening and spent a wet day at Alcatraz yesterday. But even though the idea of a hot bath at our house was too much to resist for one member of the party, they all looked like they were having fun. Sure, they had their stories of god forsaken holes in the Nevada desert and freezing mornings when everyone was up at 5am, and a 2 hour journey that ended up taking 12 because roads were still snowed in near Yosemite. There was the odd mention of a whining child and the small fact that the water heater had broken, but otherwise they were still talking to each other.
And do you know what, for all the horror of our trip three months ago, I couldn't stop myself from having a look inside their vehicle. 3 months it's been and Max still points them out with a loud and excited 'RRRRVVVVVVV!' when he spots one. It's if we were unkindly wrenched from that vehicle by heavies, when in fact we couldn't be shot of the thing fast enough. 31 feet. It certainly looked a beast to drive, and worse to park. And even though they admitted frequent trips to Wendy's for double stacks and value french fries they also said they'd managed to cook occasionally - no mean feat in my book. And they looked healthy enough. Checking out the RVs interior, I was reminded how you have to be fastidiously tidy, never my strong point, and especially so in the rain when muddy footprints are threatening to tramp through the living space. But one thing I have learnt is that there seems to be a pain barrier with RV trips. The family in LA had a terrible first night when they thought they could stay in a Walmart parking lot outside Vegas but then found they couldn't and had to hole up somewhere even more hellish til morning. And like us they had problems with alarms going off and calls to Customer Assistance. The family we entertained with hot baths and scrambled eggs today had had some adjustment issues, the inflatable bed nearly bursting at altitude for one. And like us they had lost a wing mirror. And frankly it can't be fun relying on the kettle for hot water. So I suppose what I'm hinting at is, perhaps we should have stuck it out for another night or 2 back in February. Perhaps we would have seen the light after 48 hours. I guess we'll never know.

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