Thursday, July 28, 2011

Part 1 - 7 People in a 28 Foot RV, Recipe for Disaster...Or Is It??

Whew! It is good to be back home, and I just know you all have been waiting with baited breath to hear about our trip (she says facetiously with tongue in cheek...hahahaha!).  As always, it seems that Team LaJoy never goes anywhere without some sort of mishap or adventure tied to it all, and this little camping trip a mere 30 minutes away from home was no exception.  So go grab a Diet Coke or adult beverage of your choice, and sit yourself down for a spell.  We'll have plenty of pictures to illustrate for you, stories to share, and maybe you'll get a good laugh out of it all.  This will have to be done in parts, which will be written and posted throughout today, or maybe tomorrow if I find I am too tuckered out and busy cleaning up to get it all done. we go!!

How do 7 people, one dog, 5 bikes, 4 scooters, and 7 folding chairs all get to your campsite, and what exactly does that look like?  Well, to put it bluntly, it ain't fancy and it borders on the chaotic with just a touch of "okie" thrown in for good measure.  We selected a campground close to home for a couple of reasons, one being that Dominick could then drive back and forth to work each day and the second one being that if we had issues with Big Bertha on what was really our first longer maiden voyage we would be close to home and able to hopefully fix things more easily.

Good call on that one.

First, let me begin our little saga with a few photos showing our handy work!  Might as well start on the "up side", right??

This is the view of the back of Big Bertha, the cab is behind the photographer, the bathroom and "master suite" are what are being shown.

I shared how we ripped out the ugly, filthy orange carpet, sanded the floor and painted it tan.  Here are the results.  VERY good idea, made things much cleaner the entire trip!  Didn't the kids and Dominick do a great job?

We turned this wardrobe closet into shelved space and it holds way more than it did before...and with 7 of us we  need every inch of storage space we can get!!  School stuff is on the bottom shelf.

I had to take one picture before the whirlwind hit it...floor clean and seats freshly stuffed!

This is our drink and silverware station. This is a waitress apron and we put silverware in it.  

Hooks in the shower hold 7 wet towels and keep us from having to spread them out all over the RV to dry.

Here he is, Mr. Fix It!!!

Now for the "down side"...

We were delayed in leaving home on Friday as Dominick thankfully had extra work, so we didn't leave town until after 4:00 pm.  Things were looking good, until about a mile from the campground.  I am following in the van and see Angela get out and look at a tire only to jump back in and they head on toward the gate.  Uh I am behind them I can see something is terribly wrong.  The right rear outside wheel (it is a dually) is wobbling like crazy, but I don't have the chance to yell anything as they pass through the gate and head towards our site.  It is REALLY rocking by the time Dominick pulls in and he knows something has to be wrong when he jumps out of the cab to find this:

Yup, you are seeing correctly.  The lower single lug nut is all that is holding that tire on, and the rest have been sheared off.  Greeeaaattt....

It wasn't 10 minutes before we then see this:

Oooooookkkkaaayyyyy...a water leak from our gray water tank.  Terrific.

We finally get everything out of the trailer we hauled behind it to hold all our oddball gear.  This is the trailer we ironically traded an old dead Bronco for when it conked out on us on another camping trip to Mesa Verde a few years back, but alas, that is another LaJoy Travel Nightmare to share at a later date :-)

Here is Big Bertha at the camp site:

I am sure our camping neighbors were delighted to see us pull up, wheel wobbling, trailer hauling, and kids emptying out like they would never stop.

Finally, we have chairs set up, everything hooked up even if it was leaking and the RV was leaning, and here is poor Dominick:

So much for a quicker and easier way to camp!  To add to the hilarity, later that evening we were heading to bed and I pulled something out of the fridge only to have the door fall off in my hands.  Sadly, I have no photo of that little incidence because I was standing there holding the door while Dominick successfully screwed things back together to hold it in place.

What could we do but laugh?  If there is one thing we have learned through the years, that is that getting angry over stuff like this is pointless, yelling gets you nowhere, and allowing the frustration to eat at you means that the situation "wins", and Team LaJoy will simply NOT let anything spoil our fun.

We had a remarkable offer from a dear friend to drive up on his day off and help Dominick fix it, and they did a splendid job so we were able to leave this morning and drive safely back to town.

That is until we discovered we actually had another flat tire on the other side :-)

Gotta keep smilin', right??  The LaJoy Travel Curse, it never fails us and always leaves me wondering "What's next?".  Actually, at this point, it is actually expected that something will go wrong...a flight will be cancelled or delayed, a car will break down, or some other such event will create a new opportunity to meet new people or see something new that otherwise would have been missed.  Keeping it in perspective is the key!

And really, it was all worth it.  While I am exceedingly glad we went with our gut instinct and camped as close to home as we could this first trip or two, everything that happened made the trip that much more memorable, and all's well that ends well.  If we hadn't gone, or had thrown in the towel, we would have missed this...

Beautiful views!
Or this...

Even more beautiful views ;-)
Or even this...

Recipe for disaster?  I think not!  Were we all crammed in a tiny little space?  Yup!  Did everything that could go wrong actually go wrong?  Well, not quite, but a lot wasn't perfect (including the minimum of 14 "biffs" on bikes and scooters that had to be bandaged over the course of the week).

Are we LaJoy's, was God present with us, and did we still have a total blast?  Oh YEA!!!  Absolutely!!!

More to come later tonight (I have about 500 pictures to sort through, kids to haul, dinner to get on the table and a Civil Air Patrol Physical Fitness outfit to go purchase still!).


Anonymous said...

well, it could have been worse? :)
I always think how much you are like this family, who live just down the road from you, in Durango CO.

Anonymous said...

Well, our philosophies with our current situation is "hope for the best but plan for the worst" and "it isn't a question of IF something will go wrong, but how you handle it when it does that counts." Next time, perhaps we will pitch a tent next to Big Bertha! Kelly

Lindsay said...

You've sold me on camping, lol! Love the photos - and what a view! Really, if you had to break down anywhere, could it have been a more stunning location. Gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

What would a vacation be without the mishaps, the mallaprops, the misplaced. It would be a vacation with no stories.

Laughting with you,