A month ago I wrote my first February column from the comfort of our waterfront townhouse in Florida, pausing occasionally to enjoy the view of the bay from the window.
It was a mediocre column, but it was a great view. Today, I’m writing my first March column from the family room of our home in Nevada, pausing occasionally to take in the view of the brush and weeds occupying what once was my lawn. February was a somewhat eventful month.
In the 28 days it took to get from January to March, I lost my job, moved out of our place in Florida, drove across eight states towing a travel trailer, slept in a Walmart parking lot, survived a ice storm in Texas and barely missed hitting a tumbleweed the size of my truck blowing across the road in New Mexico. To a lesser man this may have been a stressful month, but Sandra did most of the work, so I pretty much took it in stride.
We’ve made the trip between Nevada and Florida several times, but this was our first adventure in a travel trailer. Despite my ruggedly masculine appearance, I’m not a seasoned camper … no really it’s true. Travel for me normally involves airports, hotels and an expense account, so this camper business was new to me.
Towing the trailer turned out to be easy enough — it followed right behind the truck and I felt pretty manly steering my rig down the freeway. I felt a little less manly when Sandra had to back the trailer into our spot at the RV park after my attempts were more like parallel parking than backing in.
Our trailer was well appointed, but it was certainly not the Marriott. You know you’re roughing it when the bathroom has less square footage than a phone booth (if you’re under 40, Google “phone booth”) and you’re sharing a queen-sized bed! Queen-sized!
With the antenna raised we only received about 20 digital HD channels on the TV, and the lights dimmed whenever we used the microwave. When I pointed out that this must be how the pioneers lived, Sandra commented that the pioneers probably made it just fine without the TV, microwave or all of the whining.
Our first day on the road was a huge success as we managed to cruise through five states from Florida to Texas. I made a wrong turn shortly after entering Texas, exiting the freeway and entering the infamous Texas treadmill. We drove and drove for the rest of the day but never seemed to make any progress so after hours we found a convenient Walmart parking lot to stop for the night.
For the first time I felt truly humbled; just a days before I had been living large on the Florida coast, and now I found myself snuggling under a goose down comforter trying to stay warm in a Walmart parking lot in Texas. Instead of my usual continental breakfast by the fireplace at the Marriott, I trudged across the parking lot to buy a latte and a McMuffin from the McDonald’s inside the Walmart. We’re deep in the wilderness now!
We managed another 650 miles the next day and, to my horror, we were still in Texas! We had navigated as far south as possible to avoid a threatening winter storm but it was a frigid 21 degrees when we pulled into a nice RV park that night. We cranked the thermostat up and snuggled under our trusty comforter to get warm as we surfed the web and watched TV using the WiFi and cable TV they provided; it was primitive but I’d become a grizzled pioneer.
The next day we escaped Texas and spent the remainder of the trip staying with relatives before we arrived home on Friday night. I survived 2,400 miles of roughing it, and Sandra survived almost a week of my whining, but when all was said and done, it was a great adventure. We laughed, I cried and we made it safely home.
Now that we’re here, I have no idea what happens next, but I’m ready to get started.
I’ll miss getting paid regularly, but I won’t miss the job; I’m better suited to being a semi-employed writer anyway. I probably should be worried about financial matters, but Sandra is a multi-talented woman, and I am very good at packing her lunch, so I’m pretty sure things will work out.
I’m just glad February is over!
Rick Seley is an award-winning humor columnist. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.