Maiden Voyage Of Our Home On Wheels

Winnebago Tour 42QD

Behold, our new baby! Actually, this is our next home. If you didn’t know already, my wife and I are addicted to RVing, and we decided to take the plunge and cash in our piggy bank for a Winnebago Tour 42QD motorhome, which will be our full-time home on wheels in a few years after the boys are off to school. And in the meantime, we plan to take it out every chance we get for some comfort camping!

We’d planned our maiden voyage to Fredericksburg, VA, which is a couple hours from where we live near Annapolis, MD. Things got off to an ominous start when I was doing my thing in the bathroom (in the house, not the RV, fortunately!) and the toilet overflowed. GACK!

The RV's Kitchen

Exploding commodes notwithstanding, we got everything packed up in our Honda CR-V, grabbed the boys and cats, and headed off to the storage lot. Getting things stowed away wasn’t bad, but I had a brief scare with hooking up the car to tow it behind us: I thought for a bit that the plug for the electrical cable that supplies signals to the car lights didn’t fit the socket in the RV, but finally realized that it was simply upside down from what I’d been used to in the old RV. Duh.

And with that, we were off! I gave the built-in navigation system a test on the way down. It seemed to work well, but I have to confess I was a bit disappointed that the system wasn’t tailored for RVs, taking into account vehicle length and weight like some of the newer RV GPS nav systems. Hopefully they’ll come out with an upgrade later.

Driving the rig, which is almost 43 feet long, was a breeze on the open highway. It has a fantastic ride and very easy handling. I can’t give an accurate measure of MPG, as we were trapped in stop and go traffic most of the way, but I’m hoping it’ll be around 8 on average (our last RV, a 36 foot gas model, got 7.5). Before you think that’s crazy, remember that you only burn fuel when you’re moving, and most houses get 0 MPG because they never move. Ha!

Anyway, because of the traffic, it took us a lot longer to get to Fredericksburg than we’d anticipated. I’d quipped not long after we left home that it’d be nice to get to a campground during the day, and without having to go along narrow, winding backcountry roads.

TV and Fireplace

And what happened? We arrived in the dark, making our way along narrow, winding backcountry roads. The entrance to the Fredericksburg KOA was just over a hill, and we missed the turn. I pulled over to get out of the way and give us a chance to figure out what we needed to do, and a nice lady pulled up next to us and told us there was a place farther down the road where we could turn around.

We did that, and came back to the entrance. Unfortunately, the turn was reaaaaaaally tight from that side, and I got about halfway around the turn before I had to stop, or I would’ve taken out the “Entrance Only” sign.

There we were, blocking both lanes of traffic, and when you’re towing a car with a tow bar, you can’t back up. Crap. But that’s the thing with RVing – you just be cool and do what needs to be done to get things going again, sort of like mental Metamucil.

I unhooked the car, and a fellow guest from the campground helped guide me back to the campground exit, which was much easier to get into! That appealed to me, anyway: I’ve always loved going in the out door (and vice versa).

Nina, the Bad Kitty

After we checked in and got to the campsite, we had our real scare: we couldn’t find Nina the cat anywhere in the coach. Her brother, Sasha, was just wandering around as usual, but she was nowhere to be seen. None of us thought she could’ve gotten out, but since we couldn’t find her…

Jan and the boys set off in the pouring rain with flashlights, calling for her, while I hooked up the coach. The more I thought about it, though, the more I believed the goofy cat sill had to be on the coach somewhere. I came back inside and started looking, and sure enough, she was under the recliner. Somehow she had squeezed her 12 pound body through a 3-inch gap in the chair and was curled up around the base. I recalled the search party, and everyone was much relieved, although Nina got a hearty round of “bad kitty!” calls for that one.

And now, my friend, I’ve got to get some more writing done on the next book!

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