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Monday, 04 June 2012

Hold the Mayo

By Nancy Leitz

We've probably driven a half million miles around this country in the more than 60 years we have been married and I've always wanted to try out a big RV instead of the small car we've always traveled in.

I was always envious as those gigantic Rvs whizzed past us with names like Grand Caravan and Tour Master brilliantly painted on their sides, and with a picture of Road Runner hanging onto his hat and suitcase as they flew by leaving us in the dust of their enormity.

How they blew by us, probably guessing that we were secretly admiring their girth and convenience although I would never give them the satisfaction of even glancing in their direction as they overtook us.

Many times I suggested to Roy that we try to borrow or rent an RV just to see what it would be like to drive around the highways and byways of America in our own super-large, self-contained motor home.

Oh, the thrill of passing those poor unfortunates in their subcompacts and thumbing our noses at the Holiday Inn Express (Take that, HIE, and you, too, Motel 6. you can turn that light off now.) We will be sleeping in our own queen size bed in our very own Winnebego tonight, thank you very much!

But, folks, don't get your hopes up. So far it has never happened and after the experience we had on Route 41N in Indiana, I don't think I ever will have the thrill of taking a shower or making a pot of coffee in my own motor home.

Here's what happened that day on our way to Chicago from Florida.

We had just passed through West Lafayette, Indiana, the home of Purdue University and were busy reminiscing about the contests that had always been held there for the apprentices in Roy's Union.

It was quite an achievement to be selected to compete at that great school of technology and engineering and we were talking about that and also about the fact that 22 graduates of Purdue had gone on to become astronauts including Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, and Eugene Cernan, the latest man to walk on the moon.

As we were cruising along talking about Purdue, we were overtaken by a huge RV and as I glanced in the side window (breaking my own rule about not gawking at them), I could see the lady of the "House" standing in her nice little kitchen frying bacon.

Can you believe it? I was so jealous. I could not stop talking about her. "Imagine that, Roy," I said. "If we had a nice big motor home like that, I could be fixing you a nice, juicy bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich instead of the Dollar Menu hamburger you'll get at McDonald's if we ever find one."

I didn't stop talking about her frying bacon for 10 minutes. I didn't mention the Mickey D's Fries because they are really good.

By this time, we are approaching the town of Kentland where Route 24 comes through and we see that there is a backup of traffic ahead and wonder what the tie up is. Then we hear the sirens and two fire engines and the chief in his bright red car pull around us and tear up Route 41.

We are held up there for about 20 minutes and when we finally are slowly creeping ahead we pass the cause of the excitement. There it is, the RV, burnt to a crisp, smoldering and melting before our eyes.

Yes, and poor old Road Runner is scorched almost beyond recognition and his little tail feathers are lying alongside of his hat and his suitcase in the gulley which is full of the water used to extinguish the blaze by the firefighters. The Winnebago is a goner. Done!

And there they are! The proud owners of the RV sitting on the side of the road. Their pride and joy motor home has been reduced to a cinder and, so it shouldn't be a total loss, they are eating their BLT's on plain white bread (their toaster is totaled) and they have no Mayo. She is scrolling through her cell phone looking for Geico's phone number. The cute little Gecko is nowhere to be found.

We move ahead, as ordered, and in a few minutes come to a Motel 6 with the lights on, just for us, and a McDonald's next door. We pull the little Ford in and get a room for the night.

As the Dalai Lama once said, “Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck."

I know, I know. But I really DO want to try my hand at that bacon.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Funny story. I have observed that everybody is attracted to the vagabond life and RV's make it possible for those of us who are addicted to comfort. I had a few experiences in them--both wonderful and dreadful--and am glad for those opportunities, but am happy now to stay at home and cook my bacon in my little kitchen.

What's that old saying? 'Be careful what you wish for.'

What a good story Nancy. I have no experience with RV's either; and at this stage in my life I don't think that will change....but I've always thought they were pretty cool...just like you. ~Joy

Your story reminds me of the movie, The Long Long Trailer, with Desi and Lucy going over a narrow mountain pass and Lucy trying to cook as they traveled. It didn't work out so well for her, either.

I'll take the Holiday Inn, thank you, because you don't have to make the beds or wash the dishes.

Great story Nancy, but I am with Darlene and like to sleep in comfort and come down to the full 'Irish' in the morning! No dishes to wash makes it all the sweeter.

We started camping in a home made tent, that leaked. We envied those parked nearby in their off-ground tent campers. We bought a used fold-out camper and envied those camped nearby in their self-contained travel trailers and motor homes. We bought a motor home. Despite overnights at motor repair garages when we broke down and Walmart parking lots when we couldn't find a campground nearby, we had lots of fun traveling until gas prices skyrocketed. Our cottage on the lake, turned into our full-time home, with an occasional motel trip is the best.
Thanks for reminding me why I am not sorry to have made every change along the way. Good story.
Michigan Grandma

Nancy - Think of what you are missing.

Searching for pumping stations, looking for trailer parks, backing into your allotted spot, plugging into the electrics,stepping out into a mushy field infested with black flies and mosquitoes, carefully propping up your, "Nancy and Roy" sign on an old folding lawn chair. Then waiting in eager anticipation to see and meet whoever it is that is parked next to you!

Bring on Mickey Dee's and Motel 6. Not only do they leave the lights on for you, but they change the sheets and wash the dishes. - Sandy

Cooked their bacon alright. Great story Nancy.

We lived in two different RVs (small trailers - a 24 ft and then a 32 ft) over a period of five years and had a blast. Rather than towing we parked them permanently in a senior's park and camped full-time. I loved it, and only the realities of age and difficult health made us give it up and move back into what RVr's call "mortar and bricks". Stripped back to two changes of clothes, one set of dishes (for four), no gee-gaws, just the bare necessities, is very freeing. But I'm with you on the monster 5th wheels being towed at highway speed by 80-year-olds who otherwise drive an Escort (and are perhaps towing it!) Either pull over and let them get miles ahead or cower in terror as they drive it as if it were easily controlled as a baby's pram. Yikes! If you've ever seen one hit the ditch they splinter into toothpicks and styrofoam in an instant.

I loved it! Never wanted an RV for the thought of that tiny kitchen to wash dishes in and cook in turned me off, but your story put all our jealousies in place. Never look for greener grass cause it just ain't there.

Great story Nancy. I always thought I might like to try it once just for the experience.
However, doubt that I ever will and now feel as though it's just as well....

I've never had the urge to travel in an RV but I loved your story. Thanks for sharing.

I suppose you are right. Everybody's been dreaming of the Vagabond life since Valentino pitched his tent in the Sahara all those years ago and the ladies went wild.
Glad you are still happy cooking your own bacon at home.

Exactly! Be careful what you wish for. I guess the Dalai Lama had it right the first time.


I saw that trailer picture and,as usual, Lucy was a riot.
The Holiday Inn appeals to me,too, after seeing poor old Road Runner burn up.


I love that full "Irish" breakfast,too except maybe for the Black pudding. That I could skip. Too bad that lady wasn't making black pudding instead of bacon; could have saved herself a blaze.

Michigan Grandma:

I enjoyed reading your comment because you two seem to have made all the right moves as you went along. You kept upgrading yourselves right into that nice "Cottage on the Lake". Sounds like you enjoyed every minute of it.


You had me chuckling all the way through your very funny,but accurate comment. I laughed out loud at the thought of putting my Nancy and Roy sign on the old folding chair to attract the other folks at the park.


Thanks for the nice comment. Nice to see you here! Yes, the bacon was done to a crisp.
Literally..So was the RV.


You know I've often thought about that as the 80 year old driver passed me doing 75 (Or the 75 year old driver doing 80)in a gigantic RV and towing an Escort or Jeep with bicycles strapped to the roof.

We do follow your advice and give them plenty of room when they want to blow by us.

It sounds like you enjoyed your RV life and only gave it up when health problems cropped up.

Hope to see you here again soon.


Do they have these big rigs on the roads in China? Probably not.

You're right about the greener grass.. I was so jealous until I saw the fire,then my ardor cooled like Road Runners tail feathers.

Claire Jean:

Just think of all the time and trouble, not to mention money, I have saved you.

You can spend it on a nice room in a New York hotel and see a terrific show instead of cooking bacon in an RV.

Hello Diane,

Thanks for your nice comment.I appreciate you reading my story and taking the time to let me know you liked it.

I'm a day late, but as I'm sure you can appreciate how tired I am after 4 days of partying, maybe you'll forgive me. I have also wanted to try driving in an RV. The freedom to get up and stroll and use the RR when you want is very appealing. Alas, it will never happen, unless one of my kids gets the idea to rent one and take us someplace....lol (which I doubt) Too bad theirs was a total loss.

Hi Judy,

Yes, you are forgiven for being late.

Maybe you should have had an RV to ride home in from D.C. and you wouldn't be so tired.

That's what appeals to me. I like the idea of being able to take a nap and still get where you are going.

Thanks for your comment.

We have just been talking about getting a camper. These stories were priceless for me.

Oh, WMH, please write your own story if you do get a camper.

Your story would be priceless to ME!

Oh, those enormous things! I've never had the yen, but most of my mom's side of the family have or had a big honking RV of some sort or another, and they love The Life.

Not my thing--a travelling shanty--because it's no vacation if you drag all your chores with you. Who wants to clean a toilet on your day(s) off?

Now that you mention it, Nance,I can to see your point,but wouldn't it be nice to have a lovely motorhome?

Just think,you could take Marlowe and Piper along on your trips and not have to leave them at home. Wait! Who wants to clean a litter box on their day(s) off either?

As our friend, Emily Latilla, would say "Never Mind."

Nancy! LOL! Here's our Solution: We get a lovely motorhome AND a servant. There. That's done.

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