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Thursday, June 2, 2011

RVs and Dogs

What would possess someone to take up RVing anyway? For us, it was a progressive process, same with our dogs.

Our first camping trip as a married couple was after our baby was about a year old. We threw some sleeping bags, a cooler, a habachi and a diaper bag in our van and away we went. We had a little black dog, Cole, said to be a schnauzer mix, who had joined our family when the first owner could no longer keep him. Since some of the wild life was bigger than he was, he didn't really care for camping.

Cole - usually referred to as Mr. Cole
Soon after our second child, we graduated to a pick-up truck and a cab over camper because, well, all our friends had them. This was a transition period in our dog-dom, too - the only time in our lives that we’ve had two dogs at the same time. Cole was joined by a puppy from my sister’s dog’s litter because my brother-in-law fell in love with one of the pups and insisted that was the perfect dog for us; he was right.
A few years later, my husband became fixated on a motor home he’d seen at work - a 1972 Pace Arrow without a refrigerator.  Mike eventually got it. We stuck an ice chest in the big hole; worked for us. By then, our little black dog was gone and our puppy had turned into a big tan dog. Rocky, an Akita mix, who thought he was one of the kids, especially when it came to eating popcorn and going camping. 
Rocky with our kids on a camping trip.
Mike was so strict about dirt, that motor home experience wasn’t so great. He didn’t want any dirt on the floor - camping without dirt? I knew that wasn't going to work and the motor home became a memory.

So, we dropped out of the RV scene for awhile and as the years went by, our Rocky developed hip dysplasia. We watched as our poor buddy deteriorated until he could no longer stand and cried out in pain when his legs would give out. We still miss that dog.

Psycho Jane - because if you
 pointed a finger at her, she
showed her teeth!
A month later our son found our next canine family member, Jane, at school, dirty and scared. It appeared someone had dropped the pup, which the vet said wasn’t even 8 weeks old, to fend for itself. We never were sure what her bloodline was, although everybody made guesses from Doberman to greyhound. 

Not too long after that, we bought a personal water craft. Most of the time, we would just go out for the day at either the lake by my folks’ or the one by our kids’, both about 150 miles away. Every now and then, we would pack our tent and stay at a lake for vacation. On one trip, we finished in the water and came back to our tent site to shower and eat dinner. It was so hot, after our march back from the bath house, we were sweaty and ready for another shower. I started to fix our food and noticed my husband was sulking. When I asked him what was wrong, he pointed to a fellow parked below us in a motor home. He was relaxing in a chair, munching his popcorn and didn’t look the least bit warm. Mike said he was never going tent camping again. I thought that meant we weren’t going to take anymore tent vacations; I was wrong.

I did my best to point out the drawbacks of owning another motor home, including his behavior the last time we had one. I couldn’t convince him but he promised to behave himself this time around - the grandkids would be allowed to get it dirty. I resigned myself to this fact: our bank account was about to take a big hit. It didn’t take Mike long to find just the right motor home, a used 1995 Winnebago Brave.

Turned out, camping and traveling in a motor home was a lot of fun this time. Jane proved to be a great traveler who insisted on riding shot gun most of the way. When I would finally insist on a front seat, she would go under the dinette table and pout. Unfortunately, she didn’t live too much longer after we started RVing.

My husband said he wouldn’t get another dog and I said we weren’t getting another motor home; we were both wrong. As it turned out, my husband had always wanted a golden retriever and mentioned it enough that on Valentine’s Day, 2003, we brought home our pal, Archie. As it turns out, we bought our new motor home about a year later, a 2004 Itasca Sunova.

When we talk about traveling by motor home, some people like the idea of being at home wherever they go while others prefer room service. It’s a lot like the reaction we get when Archie comes up in a conversation - either people like dogs or they don’t. They either understand the lure of the open road and seeing what’s out there along the way or they don’t. They either get what a dog adds to your life or they don’t - simple as that.

1 comment:

  1. That was a great post. Since I've been with you in the motor homes, I know how much fun you have.