August 27, 2016
This morning I went for a bike ride. I intended to do the town loop, but I aborted it because it would have taken me at least two hours. I want to enjoy my bike and not have it become an instrument of torture, so an hour is long enough for now. I have trepidations about riding solo anywhere, but especially in unfamiliar territory, so when the loop called for a left into the unknown” countryside I turned right into the city.
The manager at the Glenwood RV park had asked me what makes an RV park good for me. I threw out a few criteria, but I'm going to list 10 now in no particular order and then pick the top three: a level site, personal space with grass, high efficiency washers and dryers, no dirt (dust), OK to wash the rig, a courteous staff, shade trees, the view from and/or of the park, proximity to town, and "real" Wi-Fi. My top three in order: shade trees, personal space with grass, and no dirt (dust).
A level site is more comfortable, and the readings from the tank sensors are more accurate. Great laundry facilities make the weekly chore faster and easier - and laundry is my favorite domestic chore - but as long as my clothes get washed and dried at a reasonable cost high efficiency machines are just a luxury. Even if it's not OK to wash the rig in a park, it's usually OK to wash the windshield (which means the whole front), so I can get the bugs off of BOB. I know when to expect mail from my father and Amazon tells me when my packages are delivered, so getting a phone call or a note from a courteous staff is just a bonus. A beautiful view from the park is a lovely thing as is a beautifully manicured park; of the two I'd take the latter. Proximity to town when one is car-less alleviates the feeling of being trapped, but so do bicycles and rental cars. Real Wi-Fi means I can stream NPR from my iPad without using my data plan.
Shade trees are particularly important because the sun at elevation is brutal and the wind above a certain speed will rip off an awning. Without them I am relegated to existing inside the rig in AC. Personal space with grass allows for a more enjoyable outside experience. There's something a little white trash about sitting in your driveway, and something a little middle class about sitting in your lawn; besides, the dogs like the grass. A dirt driveway creates a ton of dust which makes being outside unpleasant and the inside unclean, the latter being totally unacceptable to me. That is how I came up with the idea for Clorox wipey-feet: I put Clorox wipes under my feet and slide around BOB like Tom Cruise in “Risky Business.”
After my bike ride, the dogs and I took advantage of the late morning shade in the grass to our right. I was reading my geology book when a man walked by and inquired about my dogs. He left an hour later. Red is a "Jeeper" who has a Shar Pei, and we talked a lot about dogs, especially the downside of having alpha dogs. Tom, who is parked to my right, joined us and I learned a little about Jeeping in southwestern Colorado. You've gotta love 70-somethings with Rubicons with lift kits and winches! I excused myself because I needed to have lunch, otherwise I could have chatted with them all afternoon.
After lunch, I took out my trash and I noticed that Dick, who is parked to my left, was sitting outside with his cat. I introduced myself to the cat (you have to admire a cat who will sit in a camp chair), and Dick invited me to sit down. We chatted for a bit until the weather became cold and blustery, when we both jumped up to reel in our awnings and secure our outside possessions. I returned to his site with more clothing and he gave me a tour of his Tiffin Class A. It was great! I would buy a Class A if: one, I were a part of a couple; and, two, if I had six weeks of vacation a year (I need two weeks each year to leave the country). Dick is only the second person I've met who is solo, and the first was the "writer" in Oregon. I gave him a tour of BOB and we went back to his rig, sitting inside with a space heater warming his rig because the temperature had dropped. I asked him to fill in what I knew about his background, then I vomited my history without invitation. I never do that, but Dick is a real person I felt comfortable with him from hello and it was really nice to spend some time with someone who isn't self-absorbed. When I went inside his rig the second time to escape the cold, he asked if I wanted him to leave the door open citing, "Some women prefer it," he explained. I told him I'd follow my instincts and said he could close it.
Alone, in BOB, later in the evening, I learned yet another crucial life lesson: when you spill a bowl of arugula on the floor, don't let your 20+ pound dog eat all of it, no matter how much she likes it.
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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.