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RV Traveling and The Importance of Road Signs

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Rounding out week two of our Motorhome sojourn I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on what’s working and what’s not.

I’m doing all the driving, because I’d kill him if I wasn’t. His driving is so bad…I’d rather stay home. Have I mentioned his driving resembles that of an irate NYC cabbie?

I’m doing all the cooking. I froze soups and meals in advance to make things simpler…but I’m still preparing everything.

He’s doing the grilling.
He’s handling the mechanics of filling tanks and emptying the crap, (literally) which makes up for a lot!

As we’ve been traveling, we’ve been eyeing the competition on the road for possibilities if we decide to do this for a year or so. The huge Class A buses are impressive…the 5th wheels are very spacious but look like a manuvering nightmare, the monstrous trailers look awkward and the compact, cute little RV’s look claustrophobic.

After the Grand Canyon we headed for Zion National Park.

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Spotting Buffalo beside the road was surprisingly exciting. You’d think I was a city slicker.

 

Mr AWSL was snapping pictures as I drove.

 

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California Bighorn Sheep, on a rock above the roadway. I was too white knuckled on the steering wheel to notice, so he shared later.

 

We did have a small collision with an oncoming vehicle’s side view mirror inside a terrifyingly long, narrow, low tunnel. It’s called the Carmel Tunnel and is apparently famous for a few fatalities so they turned it into a monitored, one way tunnel. Who knew?

 

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We arrived at the south entrance to Zion National Park, late. The park rangers had all left their post for the day. Our rig is 12 feet tall. Just as we raced into the darkness, I noticed a small sign announcing the tunnel was 11’4″ at the outside and 13″ dead center!
Guess where I aimed the RV? Yep, dead center.

This tunnel went through a mountain and was pitch black, no internal lights. It just kept going and going and going. We later learned it was 1.1 miles long. It felt like twenty. At every turn we held our breath anticipating the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. No such luck!

We were scared [email protected]#less!

Adding to our fun, we spotted a set of headlights coming our way…right  in the center of the road of course. I didn’t freeze but I nearly had a coronary. Pulling over as far as I dared, I slowed way down. Not good enough. Our mirrors smashed…but we both kept going. It was too scary not to.

Ignorance is bliss, but it can also be deadly.

And BTW…why do the Rangers just abandon their post at night?

Obviously we survived and it was quite the bonding experience. While we were in the tunnel, we were both screaming…at each other and the tunnel. Once out, we were best buds and proud of ourselves! Dumb asses is what we really were.

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The view from our campsite. Sunrise, late morning and evening. It was amazing!

I was feeling pretty strange about spending Thanksgiving on the road. It felt lonely. Even though people around us were clearly celebrating it in their RV’s. We talked about where to eat, what to do and in the end headed back to California  to spend it at my sons house. It was my daughter-in-laws first Thanksgiving extravaganza, and a smashing success.

 

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I couldn’t resist giving my grandson this Junior Ranger hat we bought him at the Grand Canyon.

We’re so glad we got to spend time with this little guy. He’s growing so fast. We’ve talked about how we would feel being on the road and not seeing him for long months at a time…and don’t particularly like the idea. Hmmm.

The following day we headed for the northern California coast and spent several days at Crampground Soggy Since the rain was so heavy and the wifi so lousy, we caught up on reading and relaxed.

 

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We’ve just got a few days left of our trip and plan to meander south towards home with no particular destinations in mind.
It’s been an amazing trip which we want to do again.

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30 Comments

  1. Lynn
    December 5, 2014 / 3:12 am

    I live in northern Utah and in the Scottsdale, AZ area, and regularly drive between the two places. The scenery in this part of the country is breathtaking….

    I went to Zion National Park once; never again…..I am terrified of heights….however, it is worth visiting once!

    Am interested in seeing your future road trips!

    • Jennifer
      December 8, 2014 / 10:15 am

      You live in a very gorgeous part of the country. Lucky you!! The heights are an issue for me too. I’m still not sure how I managed without a panic attack:)!

  2. Jen
    December 3, 2014 / 3:26 pm

    What a cutie in that ranger hat. Well done on the driving front. I think I should get first class honours for maneuvering my tiny glk so you get the “we’re not worthy” bow! Great photos.

    • Jennifer
      December 8, 2014 / 10:13 am

      It is a beast to maneuver but someone has to do it, and I can’t let it be him:))

  3. Barb Fullerton
    December 2, 2014 / 5:42 pm

    Driving sounds scary! Junior Ranger is very cute!

    • Jennifer
      December 8, 2014 / 10:12 am

      Thanks Barb! He’s the light of my life. I must admit to being head over heels for that baby.

  4. December 2, 2014 / 2:39 pm

    I am not a fan of driving so a huge kudos to you. I’d be white knuckling that RV the entire way. The California bighorn sheep are majestic. :] // ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲

    • Jennifer
      December 2, 2014 / 4:38 pm

      I’m doing more white knuckle driving because of his back seat driving. So far I’m only down one mirror and I had a slight issue with some low lying branches:))

  5. December 2, 2014 / 10:55 am

    I love road trips so much. I love that there is no hurry, no luggage to schlepp, and the roadside parks.

    • Jennifer
      December 2, 2014 / 4:35 pm

      Exactly. Almost like a cruise, but no porter bringing you tea in the afternoon:)

  6. Judy
    December 2, 2014 / 9:36 am

    Interesting adventure for the two of you. A year after I had left my 29-year-old marriage, my ex asked why, exactly, I had decided to leave. I explained it was all due to an RV. He had come out with the idea that we should both take a six-month leave from work and travel around in an RV. My immediate reaction was that there was NO WAY I was going to spend six months with him, in such a close environment. Then I wondered if I could tolerate one month? No. One week, perhaps? Again – no. So then the next question was “why am I staying?” The rest is history. But it was the best decision I ever made.

    I do hope you have a better time of it.

    • Jennifer
      December 2, 2014 / 4:34 pm

      Wow! That’s quite and interesting way to decide Judy! So far, we’re hanging in there!!

  7. December 2, 2014 / 9:16 am

    Wow I am impressed that you are doing the driving and that tunnel sounds very much like a Hitchcock scene….
    Our grandchildren (and their parents!) have been away for three weeks in California and Disneyland and my goodness we have missed them. I cannot even think what it would be like to be away from them for an entire year. Your plans for travel sound very ambitious…perhaps you will invite your grandson to join you for part of the journey. He is adorable.

    • Jennifer
      December 2, 2014 / 4:32 pm

      Funny you should mention it. I did ask at Thanksgiving and they agreed he could come with us!!
      We haven’t made the decision to do this…but this trial run has given us more info to consider.

  8. December 2, 2014 / 6:14 am

    Been in that tunnel – but in the daytime when they DO close it for Class A’s and monitor that noone will be coming atcha. Glad the only injury was the side view mirror. Funny about your husband’s driving. We travel in a 40-ft long 5th wheel so I’m not about to drive that – I take my little car – for a several reasons. One- I can listen to all the books on tape and/or whatever music I want (he likes country, Two – I prefer classical), Three – I can have marathon phone conversations with my kids or sisters or mother or whomever, Four – he doesn’t talk AT ALL when he’s driving so I get bored and I’m not the kind of passenger who can read or stitch or write while driving (makes me car sick), Five – I love to drive – especially on road trips and Six – when we get to a place we have the little car to bee bop around in – much easier than the big old dually truck.

    I love the photography – I think especially the rain drop captured on the end of the umbrella.

    • Jennifer
      December 2, 2014 / 4:31 pm

      I love all 6 of your reasons!! My husband’s back seat driving is hard to take. You’ve really got this down to a science!! Ever think about writing a primer for novices who want to try it?? We would need two vehicles to bop around in also!

  9. December 2, 2014 / 6:11 am

    YOUR GRANDSON……..melts me EVERY photo I see!The hat is perfect!!!
    I had guessed you were in CHARGE of the driving!GOOD JOB IN that tunnel!

    • Jennifer
      December 2, 2014 / 4:25 pm

      He melts me too! I’m insane for that baby!!

  10. December 2, 2014 / 5:31 am

    Jennifer that was quite an adventure and scary at that. I don’t know how you are doing all of the driving and holding up! Amazing photos though, really stunning!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

    • Jennifer
      December 8, 2014 / 10:11 am

      It’s an adventure! Not without its stresses, but. A lot of fun.
      xo

  11. December 1, 2014 / 7:49 pm

    OMG! That sounds INSANE!

    Well written story and some amazing photos. Quite the adventurers. I tip my hat to you lady!

    bisous
    Suzanne

    • Jennifer
      December 1, 2014 / 8:13 pm

      It was insane. Perfect description. Onward and upward:)Usually wearing a hat!

  12. Vanessa
    December 1, 2014 / 7:28 pm

    Sounds like a great trip so far! Quite the adventure.

  13. December 1, 2014 / 4:29 pm

    OMG–you had me holding my breath during that entire tunnel scene…..Wow! How scary! I didn’t realize that you are the only ‘driver’ for this adventure. You go girl! Excellent writing skills to boot. I’m glad you are both safe. How fun that you were able to get back to your family and adorable grandson for Thanksgiving. I guess that’s the point about driving around with your ‘mini home’ on your back isn’t it-flexibility? By the way, I have a FUN giveaway going on at Stylemindchic Lifestyle, including a $50 gift card and a Savvy Sleeper Pillowcase from Dale-speaking of luxurious! 😉
    Happy December my friend-
    xx, Heather

    • Jennifer
      December 1, 2014 / 5:27 pm

      Funny you should mention Savvy Sleeper! I brought her pillow case with me and forgot to mention it! I’d love to win your giveaway!! I’ll be checking it out tonight, now that wifi is back.
      Happy December my friend. xoxo

  14. Teresa Harrison
    December 1, 2014 / 1:56 pm

    What a wonderful trip you two have had…and bonding experiences too :). Let me know when your coming to the Smokies.

    • Jennifer
      December 1, 2014 / 5:23 pm

      Will do!! Maybe next spring:)

  15. December 1, 2014 / 1:13 pm

    Oh, that tunnel sounds terrifying!!

  16. December 1, 2014 / 11:09 am

    Aside from the high drama and mirror collision in the tunnel, this sounds and looks like a fabulous trip. I’d love to do a 3 weeker with one of those VW bus campers. So glad fuel prices have dropped dramatically as that is likely saving you a pretty penny !!! Looking forward to next installment.

    • Jennifer
      December 1, 2014 / 5:23 pm

      It’s an interesting experience for sure. Do it, you’d love it

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