…often go awry” -Robert Burns
I have a bee in my bonnet, a bone to pick, something in my craw.
You see, when we began our RV journey, we set out to head west with our only direction as The Oregon Trail. We did not make many plans, afterall we had been so busy downsizing, turning over our jobs and renovating our RV that we just flat out did not have the time for planning. So, we took it week by week. We made our way from Pennsylvania to St. Louis and then followed the epic journey of the thousands of settlers before us through Missouri, Nebraska and in to Wyoming. Then, we took a detour to see some of our nation’s great parks: the Badlands, the Black Hills, Yellowstone and the Tetons. Next, we hit the Big Five in Utah and headed back to Pennsylvania to see our families before the necessity of driving south for the winter. While we sat still in the winter months, we finally had some time to think about our upcoming plans. We wanted to tour the southern states in the Spring and make our way to the West Coast. We had a big desire to see Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies in Jasper and Banff National Parks. We decided that our main focus would be to make it to British Columbia and Alberta during the few summer months that they are passable. That was our plan, and knowing that campgrounds would be difficult in Yosemite and in Jasper and Banff in Canada; we decided to book those campgrounds in January (6 months in advance). We had two big objects in our sites now with dates that would give us a bit of a schedule to keep; but otherwise we were going to follow our same style of planning week-by-week as we went.
Fast forward to June, and it was time to visit Yosemite. We had kept our schedule to make it there in time, and what happens the day before? Our trailer brakes short. We find ourselves stuck in Fresno, California at a Camping World overnight. Thankfully, when Chris called the gentleman at the campground in Yosemite, he was very understanding and allowed us to remain flexible without charging us for the first night we missed. The next day, they found the problem at Camping World (a wire that had been worn and was resting on metal), and we were able to retain the rest of our nights at Yosemite. That was the first time in almost a year on the road that we had to cancel a campground.
Fast forward to the end of July, and we are burnt out on the West Coast. We loved it, and yet we were ready for a break. We had been on the West Coast for two months and the outrageous cost, the traffic, the poor road quality, being so far from home for such a long time, and visiting multiple cities in a row left us burnt out. We began to long for the wide open spaces of the West. The ease of small RV parks with space between the sites and reasonable prices. Diesel that didn’t cost a fortune and was actually available at all fuel stops. Free parking for the taking, everywhere we went. And the list of desires went on, but we are made of tough stuff. We wouldn’t quit now, we were so close. We were in Washington in fact, and were spending over $50 a night on an average campground with terrible internet and had just spent $36 on parking in Seattle for only two hours of exploration, in which we had to fend off the most aggressive panhandlers we have ever faced! Perserverance, people! That is what we kept reminding ourselves, and we spent our last few days before crossing in to Canada submitted to the fact that we should just keep moving forward with our plan.
We pushed passed our reserves and struggled to the border, but we faced an additional problem there that put us over the edge. How could it be that both times we had problems keeping our reservations, were the only two times we had booked in advance!!! We had finally come to a crossroads. Did we really want to go to Canada? Or were we ready to start back East? In Canada, we were facing a week in Vancouver. Yes, I absolutely want to see Vancouver; but the thought of spending yet another week in a large city dealing with a big diesel truck and the expense of it made the trip lose some of its appeal. Plus, after Canada, we would be rushing to get to Florida in time to vacation with my parents there. But, if we started east instead, we would have plenty of time to get to Florida, and we could be in the open American West in the course of a day! We searched our hearts and found that our feelings for wanting to get back to what we loved about RVing were true and justified. So, we chose not to cross the border, and instead we headed to Montana.
How do we know we made the right decision? After making it, we did not feel disappointed or guilty. We did not feel as though we were missing out, or as if we lost our resolve. Instead, we felt a deep sense of relief. A relief from a weight that had settle over us slowly, and we did not even realize it was there. It was the burden of strapped finances and the frustration of RVing in places that just weren’t as RV friendly. Perseverance is important, and it is a part of facing struggles and seeing some of the best places while RVing, but perseverance can turn to pride when we push for things that just don’t make sense at the time. We want to enjoy a visit to Canada, but our guts were telling us we weren’t going to enjoy it as much as we should. Needless to say, by the next day in Montana, we were revitalized and rejuvenated. Ready to continue RVing and exploring and looking brightly forward again!
What about Canada? We do still want to visit Vancouver and the Rockies, but we would plan the trip differently. Instead of burning ourselves out on the West Coast, we would cut across the center of the country and then in to Canada. Actually, we think it may work to our advantage, and we could do it as a part of a trip to Alaska!
Do we hate cities? Absolutely not! We love visiting cities. Even in Pennsylvania, we typically visit NYC each year, and D.C. once every few years. But, we have found that RVing is more difficult in cities, especially as fulltime RVers on a tighter budget. We like cities, but we like the open spaces of the West and Midwest more.
So, keep it in mind as you lay your traveling plans, or any plans for that matter, to have the courage to step forward in perseverance when needed, and the wisdom to know when changing plans is the right decision.