Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back Home & Thankful

We're back!  I didn't mean to leave my blog unattended for so long but was faced with the blogger's dilemma:  Do I let people know that we're out of town for two weeks? Or just let them guess?  Not only did we spend 5 days in Washington DC, but we stopped at my parents' home in Ohio on the way out, and again on the way back.

I hope to post lots of pictures soon, but for now, I just want to pour out my thanksgiving to God.  We had safety while traveling, protection while in a large city, and we never lost a child even for a few minutes.  We managed to see, do and eat all over DC without breaking our bank (it's great that so many places are free to visit!), and best of all, our family had a great time together.  Our little kids had a blast, and the older ones were trying hard.  They got bored a couple of times, but mostly they were engaged and happy, and took turns looking out for the younger ones.   The trip was exactly what I hoped it would be--a great family memory, probably the only vacation memory that all 8 of us will share.

I am also grateful to God for helping us begin to detach from our much-loved trailer.  That is the positive way to view the problems that we had with it!  We had everything loaded up, kids in the van, and the last thing was to close the slide, or glide room, which extends out on one side of the trailer--and it wouldn't close the whole way!  We had to drive with it sticking out a few inches, straight to the sales/service place where we store it, praying the whole way.  Would we have to turn around and unload everything?  Could we dig out our old tenting equipment?  Fortunately, they were able to fix it right there in the driveway, replacing the bolt that had dropped off, and realigning the tracks.  And they didn't even charge us!

Which was a darn good thing, because although they had supposedly checked all the various mechanisms when they de-winterized it, we discovered, when we got to Ohio, that we couldn't flush the toilet and we didn't have hot water.  We were able to get those items fixed a few days later at our campground in Maryland, by a guy who came to our campsite to do it.  And oh yeah, he had to replace the water pump as well, because we forgot to switch it off on our trip between Ohio and Maryland.  (Pumps burn out when you forget to turn them off and there is no water in the tank. Ayup.) 

Pulling that trailer over the mountains on the way to DC and on the way back from DC to Ohio was no fun either.  The temps were in the 90's both days, and our van's powerful engine kept approaching the overheating zone as we lumbered up each hill, unless we switched off the A/C till we got to the top, which made the kids complain every time.  No matter how many times we told them that we would be turning off the A/C on each and every hill, to our amazement, someone would irritably complain every time!  Poor Papa Rooster felt like he was part of the rig, straining up each hill and white-knuckling it down each steep descent.  He has never let me drive when we were pulling the camper, and wasn't about to start me now, so those were long, stress-filled days for him.  He had zero maneuverability if another driver did something unexpected, so we both were concerned about safety the entire way as well.

Overall, it was great to use our trailer for one last long trip.  It reminded us of all the good times we've had with it in the six years we've owned it, and it was a cozy home-away-from-home on our trip, cheaper and more inviting than hotel rooms.  But the headaches of second-home-ownership confirmed our thoughts that maybe the time has come to close this chapter of our lives.  When we bought the trailer, we could watch the weather forecast and slip away for a nice weekend whenever we wanted.  All our kids were homeschooled, and Papa Rooster was one of several priests at our old church.  But now that our older kids are in school and have jobs, and PR has no back-up priest at Light of Christ, we can hardly get away at all.  When we bought the trailer, we were able to store it next door to our house; here in WI, we have to pay hundreds of dollars each year in storage fees. Add maintenance and insurance costs, and it's just not cost-effective to keep it.  (Especially with 1-2 kids in college for the next 17 years. Just figured that out.)

Today, I am unpacking and emptying the trailer completely of all the dishes, utensils, games and camping supplies.  We'll have to give it a thorough cleaning too, before Papa Rooster takes it back to the storage place, and then we'll have to do some research on a price and list it.  It's kind of sad, but I know it's right.

I am just so grateful--for the camper, for the trip, for the kids, for Papa Rooster, for the opportunities we had on this trip, and the enjoyable vacation we all had together, possibly for the last time.  I'm sorry that it's over, but I'm thankful to be home, too!

Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.
1 Chronicles 29:13

1 comment:

MomCO3 said...

Maybe it's time to begin a new tradition of tent camping!