In order to get the bike into the rear storage compartment I had to remove two storage boxes. They now reside on the passenger seat of the cockpit when I'm parked and in the cabin when I'm underway. It drives me crazy that they no longer have a home, but I wanted the bike more than I am OCD crazy. The shop opened at nine and I was there three minutes later. I knew I'd have to remove the front tire to get the bike in the compartment, but I also had to remove the seat and the left pedal. The mechanic who instructed me how to remove the tire and pedal gave me some foam bits to cushion the bike. He suggested I buy some foam piping insulation to protect the aluminum tubes. He said I could get it at ACE, and I reversed direction in order to do so. I bought six feet of it, and a metric hex key set. I cut the pipe insulation in the parking lot and realized I needed more. I went back into ACE and discovered GlassPlus and Rainex. Heaven! I Googled ACE to see where they are located and whether they have any job openings of interest to me: Oak Brook, IL, and no. Bummer.
My second night in Steamboat, after making the rear storage measurements, I was sitting at the dinette when a truck backed an Airstream into the site two to my left. A young woman emerged from the passenger seat carrying a French Bulldog. She put it in the trailer. She then removed a Pug and put it in the trailer. Another French Bulldog followed as did a small Boxer. Clearly, they like squishy-faced dogs which breathe like sixty year-old men whose septa have been deviated by...boxing. Four dogs and two humans in a travel trailer caused me to look up Airstreams’ products and their layouts. That led me to clicking on the "Company" information which led to "Careers" and bingo! Airstream needs a VP of Finance and Operations! I wrote a short blurb about BOB: how/why I bought him and what I'm doing; I love the Mercedes, hate the Coachmen (poor workmanship); I ran a jewelry company that made Tiffany-quality products. The next day I received an email from Airstream saying my resume was blank. I resent it and the receipt was acknowledged. I'm sure it hit the circular file as soon as it was read: well, she has no RV industry experience, so how can she possibly contribute? Call me cynical, but there is a groupthink mentality in the workforce: everyone has to have had the same experience for the team to work together nicely. Am I the only one who sees value in the contrarian position? Have you ever tried this?...done that?...what about???
I've had two contacts from firms which want to "market" me to employers, i.e. pay to play. Fuck off. Yesterday, a "recruiter" had a job for me in RI as an "Order Processing Assistant" for $16/hour. Fuck off.
Yesterday, I took my new bike for a spin. My RV park in Glenwood Springs is on the bike path that runs between I-70 and the Colorado River. Before departing, I went to the front desk to ask the obese, heavily tattooed attendant to hold my keys. I gave her the spiel: "If I have an accident while cycling, the police won't have to break into my RV to get my dogs out." She looked at me in horror and went to get her boss. He said yes as long as I cracked a window and put on the AC. I said I'd be back in one or two hours.
I've had two bike accidents, I witnessed my father have one in Alberta, and I watched Kim go down in The Netherlands, so it's not as though it's improbable. Texting and talking on the phone while driving have only increased the risk that cyclists will be hit by inattentive drivers. I could have attached the park's business card to my key ring so the police could connect the dots, but what if someone steals my backpack? The bike is registered, so my ID could be traced through it, but probably only between nine and five central time Monday through Friday. I'd rather have someone know that I'm riding and wonder why I haven't returned for my keys.
I only rode 12 miles. When I returned I spent some time in my hammock – seizing the opportunity since I've never had two trees in any site I’ve rented. Around four-thirty I took the dogs for a walk and the site manager stopped his golf cart to ask about my ride. We chatted about the bike path and he asked if I was coming to the bar and grill that evening. "What bar and grill?" I asked. In addition to having a rafting company and ropes course, the site had a restaurant (of sorts). I said I'd stop by for a drink later. I didn't really want to but the new me is trying to be less of a wallflower. Less than an hour later, and fresh out of the shower, I heard a man's voice calling to me. The chef was standing outside BOB wondering if I'd like to eat dinner at the restaurant. "Well, what are you serving?" "Burgers, hot dogs, and chicken," he replied. "I'll have a burger, medium rare with Swiss, no fries, please." "What time are you coming?" he followed. "How about seven?" So, I had an appointment with a burger.
I left BOB at twenty of seven for my two minute walk fearing the burger would be served promptly. The manager intercepted me in his golf cart, and I said I the chef had come to see me and I have an appointment with a burger. "Hmm, he didn't mention it to me, and I've already let the kitchen staff go for the night since we're not busy," he explained. "That's OK," I said. "I have leftovers, so I can eat at home." "No," he countered. "I'll take care of it," and, he drove me to the bar.
There was an older couple at the bar having drinks and waiting for their hotdogs. I ordered a glass of Cabernet and paid the bartender for the burger and wine. The manager cooked the burger for me. It was medium well, but obviously I didn't say anything. He sat down at the bar and chatted with me while I ate. The bartender closed up and went home. When I finished my wine, the manager got up and unlocked the bar and poured me a drink on the house. He did this one or two more times. He also insisted that I try what he considered to be the best tequila (which was interesting given he doesn't drink). I took a small sip and sad it was very good, although truth be told it was wasted on me. I learned from him that most restaurants’ staffs drink on the job, including the management. He said he didn't play that game, and that he is lucky his bartenders and chef work sober. I also learned that all of his restaurant employees go broke between pay checks (except the bartender who can make a grand a night in tips during the high season). So, he floats bridge loans to his staff, and they always pay him back.
My last lesson from the manager was on which head lamps and flashlights I should buy. This came about after he told me that taking my keys that morning was against company policy. I explained that I don't like to do a lot of things alone because I'm afraid of bears, rattlesnakes, and men (not in that order). He said they get the occasional bear in the park, but they're only really dangerous in the spring when they have cubs. He said there aren't any rattlesnakes in the canyon because of the elevation (I’m not sure I believe that). He knew of no incidence of women being attacked by men in the canyon. Mountain lions, he said, were another story. Those concerned him. He demoed the headlamp and both flashlights and I texted the information to myself. Then he gave me a golf cart tour of the property and dropped me off at BOB.
It's very interesting to spend two hours conversing with someone who didn't ask my name, where I’m from, or what I do. I knew the manager’s name because it was pinned to his shirt. After two hours, I also knew that he grew up in LA, spent most of his life there, took two companies public, is 52, is best friends with the owners of the park with whom he is going to Denver in a few days for the Journey concert, lives in an apartment below the restaurant, and he spends March in La Quinta, California. I would have guessed he was in his mid-to-late-fifties. I also thought that if I'd taken two companies public I wouldn't be running an RV park for my friends – no matter how much I liked them.
I realized two days ago that I needed to get blood work before the month ended. Originally, I thought I would be in Durango in August – before my insurance changes from United HealthCare (UHC) to Blue Cross of Butt-Fuckistan (an Obamacare plan which is cheaper and better) – but I changed my plans and forgot about the insurance timing. The order for the lab work lists UHC as my insurer and I didn't want to risk having a problem with either the lab or the insurance company. Grand Junction had the only UHC lab in the area, and it was on the way to Montrose from Glenwood Springs. By ten o'clock my blood had been drawn and I was back on the road.
Montrose has a real DIY truck wash and I couldn't resist debugging BOB. Although I finally mastered the two-handed power sprayer, the foam brush once again got the better of me. Because it's a truck wash, the foam brush is about 12 feet long. It oozed an electric blue soap which ran down the handle of the brush. When I finished, I had blue soap all over my Nantucket red khakis and cream colored cotton-linen sweater. My hands were so blue you would have sworn I'd given a Smurf a hand job. I left the truck wash and got diesel, food and wine - not at the same place, unfortunately.
I got propane at the RV park. The attendant told me to pull up. Then he told me to take my dogs out of the RV: no people or pets during propane fillings. I told him no one had ever made me take the dogs out of BOB. When he was finished, I backed up to swing left to go to my site. There was another RV at eleven o'clock so I swung hard to miss it. In doing so I nailed BOB's reflector at the starboard stern. I should have backed up more and turned more softly: lesson learned.
I dumped my black tank in Glenwood but I didn't take to time to flush it. It wasn't full, but I didn't want to carry the weight. I flushed the tank with my blue hands when I arrived in Montrose. The guy in the Class A to my left got to watch me do that, set up, top off the DEF, and top off the windshield fluid. We had been chatting about this and that and he invited to come over and sit. I said I had blue hands, was filthy, am somewhat OCD, and I needed to shower and do laundry. "What time is Happy Hour?" I asked. He said that it is at four o'clock at the RV perpendicular to his left. I remarked that that is a little early for me, and he said most of us don't drink. He went promptly at four. I was inside folding some of my laundry. He returned a little after five just as I was returning with my last dry load. The wind started to blow and it started to rain. There was a severe weather advisory with thunder and lightning in the immediate area, so I reeled in my awning and brought my clothes drying rack inside – much to my dogs' annoyance. It rained hard at a 45 degree angle on my clean BOB for 15-20 minutes. The temperature dropped 15-20 degrees, and it was once again calm. I ate the leftovers I was supposed to have the night I had the burger, and I was grateful that I didn't have to cook after 11 hours on the go.
This morning I ironed my clothes and did some other domestic goddess things. Then I went for a bike ride in Montrose. I found a town loop online, so I printed it, and dropped my keys at the front desk in case I died. I headed into town to the local bike shop to buy a spare tube and repair kit, then I picked up some AAA batteries for my label maker at ACE Hardware. I inadvertently left my town loop map at the front desk of the RV park when I dropped off my keys. I retrieved it through Chrome, but it was too small for me to use on my iPhone. Nevertheless, I rode around town and reacquainted myself with riding in traffic. I was nearly broadsided by a woman running an alley. At the end of my trip I watched a guy pulling an RV make a left turn from the inside turning lane and cross into the outside lane cutting off a pickup truck. Old guys! Jeez.
Siobhan M. Knox
In May 2016, I bought a five ton, 25’ long Class C motorhome because I like to drive, I like to travel, and it’s more fun and less expensive than living in a hotel. No prior RV experience was required, and I had none: perfect. I’m writing a book about my adventures which will come to an end when I get a job. The dogs will be sad.