That Story I Promised (Why is this man hugging a gas pump?)
(Mom, you can scroll down to the next headline…this is not a pretty story)
I mentioned in an earlier post that we have a lot to learn about driving this 42-ft monstrosity. On one of our first days traveling, we saw a sign for a gas station and took the exit off the highway. The town that housed said gas station was a bit…small for our big rig, and well, turning into the station was…tight. So tight, in fact, that between the low clearance over the pump area, our back end sticking into the intersection, and our axles straddling the curb, John was a little…stressed.
After pulling out of the street and into the station as best we could, we put into action our quickly-developing problem-solving skills. We purchased a plastic gas can from the wide-eyed gal at the station and John proceeded to tote 6 gallons of diesel back and forth from pump to truck. I sat on the curb with the dog who was seriously freaking out. (Might have had something to do with that curb we hopped coming into the station.) I had to wrap my arms around her in full “thunder coat” style to keep her from running to her daddy across the lot. I admit I wondered at that moment if they make a man-sized thundercoat 🙂
The pump shut off a few times and no one knew in the end just how much we owed for the fuel, but the gal at the station was pretty ready to be done with us, so I think she may have just made up a number. We made it out of that gas station in one piece and a minute or so down the road, one of us had the brilliant revelation: “Maybe we should just get gas where the trucks get it.”
Soooo….we googled the nearest Pilot. 40 miles away. The fuel range gauge said 35. Oh boy, were John’s knuckles white as we rolled along with no AC, praying that we would not run out of gas before we reached the truck stop! He will tell you that we were on fumes when we pulled in and found A LINE of trucks waiting to get fuel. We turned off the truck to preserve what we could. There was much rejoicing when our engine started up again and we pulled up to the very pump you see in the photo below.
AND THAT IS WHY THIS MAN IS HUGGING THIS GAS PUMP!!
OYAN Summer Workshop 2017–Where We Belong
June 12-17 our oldest three participated in One Year Adventure Novel’s annual Summer Workshop. Five years ago we brought our son to this life-altering event and after that for the sisters, it was all about being old enough to be an OYANer! I suspect we will attend until the youngest ages out in college. Or maybe we will have some more children so we can attend some more!
The Blessing of Friendships, Old and New
After West Virginia, our next stop was Trenton, Illinois at the home of Ray and Julie Swogger, friends we had gotten to know in Maryland. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit with them and their girls. One day a number of years back, Julie stood in my kitchen in Maryland and said to John and me, “You guys aren’t (cut from) cookie cutters.” Those words have stuck with me all these years. The Lord knew I needed to be encouraged that my family was not meant to do things the same way as everyone else. And here we are camping in their driveway!!
A beautiful send-off
The McSweeney family officially began our One-Year RV Family Adventure at 6:40pm on Thursday, June 8, departing from my parents’ home in Derwood, Maryland. The weather was picturesque, the hugs and well-wishes were warm and meaningful, and the dream we’d worked toward for many, many months finally became our reality. See our video of what is involved in closing the outdoor kitchen and pulling in the slides.
First Stop–Masontown, WV!
Late Thursday night, we arrived in Masontown, WV, at the home of my childhood friend, Regan. Her husband, Jason, wins the prize for the most encouraging, gracious, and helpful middle-of-the-night rig-parking coach. Quote of the night: “So they really didn’t give you any kind of course on how to drive this thing?”
After a good night’s sleep, a sweet morning visiting with Regan and Jason, letting our kids get their doggie and kitty-fix, thrill-riding in Jason’s Razor, and watching Sarah drink her body volume in sweet tea, we headed toward our next stop–Trenton, Illinois.
Walmart Parking Lot to the Rescue
After a few hours of driving, the cumulative effect of so much lost sleep began to catch up with John and he informed me it was time to find a Walmart. We’d heard that Walmart will let RV’s spend one night in their parking lots if you go in and get permission from the manager. Once we found a spot that we had confidence we could extract ourselves out from in the morning, we set up for the night and went to bed. Seriously! From “exhausted and uncomfortable traveling in the truck” to “pajamas and my own cozy bed” in under an hour. My giddiness was uncontainable!! Of course we made three requisite trips INTO Walmart for supplies and groceries–I think the deal is a win-win for travelers and Walmart both 🙂
The learning curve is steep…
Let me just say, our rig is big. Really big. This is not an easy trailer to haul, and we are new at this. Forward is much easier than backwards, truck stops are more accessible than regular gas stations, and mailboxes do best to move out of the way. We are learning quickly, however, and the Lord has His hand on us!
My Last Post From Maryland
We are still here!
Holy smoke, 86 subscribers–I’d better get a post up!!! As you can imagine we are in mega-high gear to bring closure to our 16 years in Maryland, and I have not had much time to blog, but my perfectionism drives me to get a post done before our literal launch, which is JUST HOURS AWAY! Please let me know if I have any typos or grammatical errors–I am functioning on 4 hours of sleep 🙂
Boy, I feel like I’ve been a slacker all my life. I am in awe of all that our family got into 10 days. Starting on Sunday May 28 with a final FEUDAL foam sword battle, and continuing that evening with a goodbye party with over 130 guests (do I even know that many people??), a 13th birthday celebration for Sarah on Monday, getting Bethany into contact lenses on Tuesday, a 10th birthday celebration for our nephew on Thursday, a double high school graduation for Daniel and Lilly on Saturday, Daniel’s baptism on Sunday, a drivers test for Daniel on Monday (he passed!), the sale of John’s Avalanche (don’t even know when that happened–just came home and it was gone!) and…well…saying goodbye to our lives as we have known them on Wednesday. Whew! I think we may just sleep for the first couple weeks!
Storing Our Stuff
Some of you know that I have been a habitual clutterer and this transition to live in an RV was truly nothing short of a miracle. Many of you have cheered me on as I have endeavored to sell, give, and toss enough of our belongings to fit into one 7×10 storage unit. Well, I reached for the stars but I so happy to say I caught the moon! I have fit EVERYTHING* into just two units totaling 1200 cubic feet at Extra Space Storage on Woodfield Road (Leo, the manager, is getting a Christmas card this year!). Check out how I maxed out my storage unit in my first video!
Oh my goodness, the sweetness of the well wishes, the hugs, and even the tears which are evidence of hearts having been joined in friendship by the kindness of God! Thank you to each one of you who attended our party, gave us a card or gift, sent us an email or an encouragement on facebook, took me out to lunch for a little one-on-one, and especially to those of you who have prayed and continued to pray for us. So many memories we take with us, as well as plans for our future visits and e-visits in the days to come! Stay tuned for the coming of our “friends photo gallery”!
OK, so today is the day! As my dear friend from high school would say, “EEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!” First stop? Masontown, WV!!! I am so excited to see my friend Regan, the “little girl next door” all grown up–and a proud grandma of a couple sweet little munchkins that I intend to hear about thoroughly during our visit 🙂 Regan had a Light Bright toy when we were kids that I loved to look at. I wanted one but didn’t have one. Never did get one. Its been 30 years. Not over it 😉
One of the big reasons we are taking this trip is to have more time for PEOPLE. I am venturing to guess that the 86 subscribers are people who have known us personally, so I’d like to take this opportunity to ask you to comment with a memory that you have shared with our family. We want to cherish YOU as we leave, even as we are putting miles between us. Or feel free to comment on anything else or ask a question. I will get to responding as soon as I can 🙂
*OK, so maybe not everything fit into the storage units. There might be a closet at my mom’s with my name on it 😉
Our story begins
Dad has an idea
One night several years ago as we sat talking together as a family on our screened-in porch, John said, “Know what I’d like to do? I’d like to get rid of all our stuff, sell our house, and go all over the country in an RV for a year.”
“Hmmm…that’s a nice idea!” I responded, ” Kids, would anyone else like to share a dream they have?”
“No,” John chuckled, “I’m serious!”
Mom is stopped in her tracks
I got quiet. Real, real quiet. John had talked like this before–generally during times when we were frustrated trying to organize all our stuff in our cluttered single family home. I had always tried to make him understand that “a woman and children need a home.” But this was the first time that he had included the phrase for a year.
The dream is born
Shortly after this family discussion, the Lord warmed my heart to the idea, I jumped onto the bandwagon, and John and I began to do what we do best–dream together.
Check out new home!
The next few years included a lot of researching, attending RV shows, visiting dealers, and finally deciding on a model that met the needs of our family. In January 2017, we stepped into our new home for the first time–an Open Range 427BHS.