Sometimes It Feels Like a Long Lost Friend

Back home again...we made it with no more mishaps. Now we're going to spend the next couple of days getting back to what passes for normal here at the Three Cats Ranch. Today I'm just writing a quick post to show you a few of the things we saw on the way home.

Gorgeous Fall color:

We were still in Wyoming when we passed a sign warning us that we were driving on an open range. Around the next bend, we saw this real-life cowboy rounding up some strays that had wandered a little too close to the road.

Not too long after that, we rounded a bend and caught our first view of the Grand Teton Mountains. And a little further on, we drove right through the park. We visited the Tetons just two years ago, and so we stopped for a quick picture, then drove on. If you've never been there, you simply must go at some point in your life.

There were cattle and horses grazing just in front of them. A sign told us that there had at one time been a huge cattle ranching operation here. Now, the horses and cattle belong to the national park.

It is an incredible landscape.

We drove on through Idaho, stopping for a quick visit with my friend Marei who just recently moved to beautiful Swan Valley, Idaho. To call her new place a private piece of heaven would not be an exaggeration. Marei and her husband chose wisely indeed.

And then, on to Oregon, beautiful Oregon. Whenever we travel, we always consider whether we could live in this place or that. And when we get home, we are always incredibly grateful for our home in Oregon. I imagine everyone feels that way about their home. Here's the city of Portland. 

Another 45 minutes west, and we arrived at the Three Cats Ranch, where two cats were very happy to be liberated from the trailer.

Smitty has already had a couple of meals of mouse. I didn't take any pictures. You're welcome.

The potted annuals are pretty much done in after being neglected for a month. There were a few tomatoes, but the plants are looking pretty sad. The plums are gone, and the only ones I bit into before we left were so tart they made my jaw hurt. Thanks to the work of the squirrels this summer (those that survived Smitty's snapping jaws), there were blooming sunflowers.

We've brought in a few things from the trailer so far, but the major packing will begin in earnest this afternoon. First, I need to go to the grocery store since there is not a crumb of food left in the house...or in the trailer either, for that matter. There is cat food, however, so the world can continue turning on its axis.

Before I finish up today, I wanted to say a few words about RV travel and the dreaded mechanical problems that are inherent in this kind of a trip. If you've been following this blog and our travels over the past four years, then you know we've experienced tire tread separations, found our bed infested with carpenter ants, had our awning rip clean off the side of the trailer without making a sound, experienced a burned out jack motor and subsequent broken jack complete with trailer falling on that side. The jack is now broken for a second time. Mike will be replacing both jacks with hydraulic ones that are better up to the task. We've run into other cars, and been run into. We've had kitties escape from the trailer and go missing for hours. We've driven into flood zones of Biblical proportion (the weather man's words, not mine). Oh, and let's not forget leaking plumbing and leaky roofs (because some low-hanging limbs ripped a hole in the roofing material). Now I can say that we've had our largest slide get stuck in the out position. Yes, RV travel has its challenges.

But here's the thing: for our money, it's still the best way to travel. Travel is inconvenient...not just RV travel. Who hasn't experienced mechanical problems on the road? Tire problems? Who hasn't had a flight canceled or delayed, or dealt with surly ticket agents and security people? Who hasn't sat next to a crying baby on an airplane? Who hasn't eaten bad food in a restaurant, or experienced terrible service, or waited an impossibly long time for a bill just so that one could leave? Who hasn't slept on an uncomfortable motel/hotel room bed or used a too-flat or too-fluffy pillow? Oh yes, and bed bugs, anyone? Who hasn't heard noisy plumbing in the middle of the night or been awakened by loud voices in the hallway? Who hasn't experienced traveler's, um, toileting issues, including disgustingly unclean public restrooms, or empty toilet paper rolls? Who hasn't eaten or drunk something that made them sick?

When we travel by RV, we cook our own food, use our own toilet, sleep in our own bed--which, by the way, is the exact same sleep number mattress we use at home. When we want a snack, we get one from our own stock of food in our own cupboards and refrigerator, including ice cream. There are no suitcases involved because our clothes are hanging in our own closet and tucked away in our own drawers. Our RV includes a washer/dryer combo, and so we are not forced to us public laundromats, and those are only a few of the advantages we enjoy. Besides, we get to bring our kitties along, and so they aren't boarded with the problems inherent there.

I saw this on Facebook recently, and it seems a good way to think of problems while traveling in an RV.

RV travel isn't for everyone...and it certainly isn't for the mechanically disinclined. Mike happens to be an engineer and a good mechanic, and so he can usually fix anything that breaks. If he can't fix it himself, he knows how and where to get it fixed. Even on our worst trips (and this might be one of them), we still love traveling by RV. It's the best way to see the world, in our humble opinion, and if we could figure out some way to take an RV to Europe, Australia, or the Caribbean, we would do it in a heartbeat. When mechanical or weather problems happen, we just deal with them, gripe about them, and then brush them off when all is well again. And when we talk about the problems in the past-tense, there is always something to laugh about. It's all part of the journey.

As for me, I practically grew up RVing. My family traveled from West Coast to East Coast and all the way back again in the trailer you see here by the time I was seven. We visited national parks all along the way, and I never feel more at home than when I step out the door and find myself among the tall trees. It was a good life, and it still is. Our trailer then had an ice box...not a refrigerator...and we used pit toilets more often than not. There was no GPS, no cell phones, and yet, we loved it. 

So I didn't mean to get off on all of that, but there you go. And now, I really must get a move on and get to the grocery store. And don't be thinking that I'm not watching the calendar because the NewFO Challenge goes live on Tuesday. Are you ready?

22 comments from clever and witty friends:

Kate said...

Glad you make it home. You are so right, no matter how you travel there are adventures. It's funny we remember the near disasters better than we do than all the stuff that went smoothly.

NancyA said...

I agree wholeheartedly about the RV as being the best way to travel. I love sleeping in my own bed, not having to eat in a restaurant 3 meals a day and not having to pack and unpack a suitcase every time you stop. And we can take our dog and cat. Perfect!

Glad you made it safely home and loved going on your journey with you. Thanks for the excellent blog posts and pictures.

Christine M said...

Glad to have made it home safely, Barbara. Those last scenic photos are just beautiful. The Grand Teton Mountains look magnificent. Thanks again for sharing your trip with us. Hugs, Christine

Jeanie said...

Welcome home! I think there will be ups and downs whether you are in an RV, a fancy hotel, a plane, a car, a boat... whatever. Life will NEVER be smooth and it's how you take the downs that make the ups that much sweeter. Thanks for letting us tag along for the trip!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

The road to home is always the sweetest. Welcome back and thank you for sharing your vacation with us.

Cath said...

I have really loved your RV trip, seeing the US through your eyes, and read each and every post avidly almost unable to wait for the next installment. I think I even learnt something as the other day I heard a reference to Nebraska and I thought....Oooh, I know where that is! So glad you are all home safely.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I still hope to travel by RV one day, but, probably a rented one.

Betty said...

I'm glad you made it home without further mishaps. I have certainly enjoyed the trip! The kitties look happy and I'm sure Smitty will be a busy guy getting his territory back in order.

Marei said...

Glad you made it home safe & sound. Thanks again for stopping by. Next time it'll be for longer than an hour, I hope! I see us talking quilty stuff for hours while the guys do tractor stuff, then a cocktail (or 2) and dinner and a couple games of cards...where I WILL beat you all. It's just my way :)
BTW thanks for no mousy feast pictures. Some things are just better left unseen.

Junebug613 said...

You are so right about all the pitfalls of traveling. No matter how you go, something can put a damper on it. So glad you're home safe and sound!

quiltzyx said...

Welcome home! And thank you so much for taking us all along with you too!
I had to laugh - my computer was taking its merry time d/loading the pictures & the first one stalled at about 1/3 down, so I saw "Gorgeous Fall color:" and blue skies with a line of green trees!! Just like home! Hah!!
Glad y'all are home & that the mousie population has already been decreased by some.

Kirsty said...

Truly, there is no place like home. Welcome back. I so enjoy following along on your travels and thanks to you I can absolutely appreciate the convenience of RV-travelling (goodness knows, anything is better than camping in a tent and don't get me started on the pitfalls of that holiday method!!). Most of all, I love that you really make it your own with a fitted catio so 'all' the family can have fun travelling too. Thank you for the wonderful commentary and pictures. I'm looking forward to your next trip already.

Kirsty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dana Gaffney said...

I'm glad you're home, when we travel we always think about how nice it would be to live in other places, but really there's no place like home and you see it with fresh eyes and it's beautiful. Some of things that have happened to you are scary when they're happening but what an adventure you've had, the biblical flood is a good example, now you can look back and just say "Wow".

Siouxzq64@gmail.com said...

Well said. You see, and experience more driving or RVing than you ever would flying. I have been back and forth across the country and am astounded at times by people's lack of knowledge of the great things available within their own state.

barbara woods said...

Love reading your blog

Terri in BC said...

Travel is an adventure, no matter how you do it! The biggest thing I learned (and very quickly) is to be flexible and adaptable. Glad you are home!

Diane Wild said...

Welcome home to all.

Lou said...

I know after a trip we are always SO glad to be home.
Thank you again for letting me travel with you and your family:)
You are going places I will probably never travel to so seeing it through your eyes is just wonderful!!!! Your blog and pictures help me get away after a bad day caring for inlaws and some make me laugh!
I always look forward to your entries and of course Smitty's advenures!
I am SO thankful for you!

kc said...

Oh my gosh, you've summed up my sentiments EXACTLY! Some of our more "grounded" friends just don't get it - heck, our FAMILY just doesn't get us sometimes (most of the time, if I am going to be truthful about it). They all think camping is work. I'd much rather be stuck on the side of a road somewhere, due to mechanical failure, than sitting in an airport lounge, or worse, out on the tarmac (or worst of all - up in the air!) due to some mechanical failure. And, as you mentioned, it's all YOUR OWN STUFF. I always tell people that I know the cook, and I know I didn't spit in my food! (or yours either!)

And if there's pet hair floating in the air, I know whose pet hair it is, and I know I gave her a bath about 3 days ago! And don't even get me started on my bedbug phobia!

But, you left out one of the really big advantages - if the neighbors are too noisy, or they smoke, or they bother you, or whatever, heck, you just pack up & roll on down the road. The scenery is always changing, and, as you prove so well, time and time again, there's always something new & interesting to see just around the bend.

Keeping my sewing machines permanently set up, and having a real closet to hold my stash, and another one for my notions and patterns is nice. I have to admit, it's nice. And I've gotten spoiled by having a cutting table (as opposed to the floor), but, gosh, I do miss our road trips & adventures! I'm glad I get to live vicariously through y'all!! Sending you all hugs & pets! (you can figure out who gets which!)

crazy quilter said...

I too took many a vacation in my childhood in a camping trailer. Love the out of doors and saw many a national park this way, as I am sure many a baby boomer did as well. Yes there is almost always some kind of mechanical issue but keep on traveling you are sure Not to encounter any bed bugs or surly TSA agents. Love getting to travel with you on your journey, and do hope I get to see the Grand Tetons before I get too old to travel.

Ruth said...

When we lived in Texas (for 30 years) we always were happy to return to the "promised land" as our son called it. Now we live in Oregon too and since our home is now here we are so happy to return to it. We RVed all over the USA and I think it is a wonderful way to travel. I agree with loving to have my own bed, be able to cook our own meals and use our own bathroom. Sometimes I would go into a public restroom and turn right around to use the one in the RV. Next week we're taking a short trip to the coast and then we're thinking about selling our 5th wheel. Maybe this trip will help us decide if we should or not.