I’ve mentioned the Relay for Life several times recently, and I have to say, I never realized it would be the jumping off point for so many pieces, but here comes another one.
In the past we have stayed in a hotel during the Relay. One, hotels have air conditioning, something Coach can’t live without in heat and humidity. (This is the same guy who originally wanted to retire to North Carolina because it really didn’t get that hot there in the summer.) Two, it was right next to the mall, a welcome diversion during down time and air-conditioned. We have stayed in the farm house before, but not in recent years because the bedrooms were full of cousins and clothing. This year only one cousin was living there and he was wheelchair bound due to surgery on his ankles. I called and emailed receiving the response that there was always room for me at the farm, giving me a warm and fuzzy feeling of belonging. I was mentally planning what I would need to take with me; air mattresses, blankets, pillows, and a coffee maker, when my husband suggested renting a camper.
Camping. A word that does not rhyme with me. I know the blog’s name is Camp Colombo, but this is a camp with indoor plumbing and beds. I don’t sleep outside, I shower every morning, and I need that cup of coffee. I have been tent camping with JMumbo for Cub Scouts. I survived, but it doesn’t rank with my top ten vacations of all time. I don’t know if it is even in the top fifty. Nothing against the people we camped with, just the camping itself. But a camper is different. It sits up off the ground. There are actual beds. If you get the right size there is a shower and somewhere to plug in your coffee maker and hair dryer. I told Coach to go for it and on Thursday afternoon he pulled up with the camper.
After several attempts to back it up our oddly shaped driveway (it curves in the wrong spot causing people to sometimes end up stuck in the ditch at the bottom), he parked and got out. The troops converged and after a careful inspection decided it would work just fine. The next order of business? Explaining to JMumbo that we were not hooking up the water so he could pee in the camper’s toilet. A big disappointment in JMumbo’s world. Apparently this is something he has always wanted to do. Gotta love a kid with simple desires! He did convince me to sleep in the camper that night as it sat in our driveway. One of the hottest nights of the year during a week that was one of the hottest on record. There was an air conditioner, but even blowing full blast it had trouble making a dent in the heat. 3:30 am rolled around and a bathroom visit was in order. JMumbo commented that it was pretty warm in the camper and I pounced seeing my opening. I hustled him into the house where the central air had been running for four days. He did not protest and I settled into a soft and cool bed.
We packed the next morning, sweating the entire time, and headed out. No major mishaps along the way other than the realization that our Acadia probably wasn’t really the best choice to pull even this smaller camper. The road we travel has some mileage that hasn’t seen an asphalt truck in about 25 years. Living in a climate with below freezing temperatures five or more months of the year, you learn roads heave due to the ground underneath them freezing and thawing. Without regular maintenance they start to resemble a washboard. The small bumps are annoying, but not a hindrance, unless you are pulling a camper. I always wondered what it felt like when they described feeling like your belly button was being jerked from behind in books. Now I know. The camper took a few seconds to catch up with the Acadia every time we hit a bump in the road. A belly button jerk went with the catch up. Every time. It felt like an amusement park ride that you couldn’t get off.
A mile or so from the exit to the farm I called ahead for a parking spot. It needed to be close enough that we could plug in to a dedicated line and connect the water so JMumbo could fulfill that lifelong dream of peeing in a camper, but also open enough that we would just drive straight in and out. Once the words camper left my mouth, my uncle started to giggle. He seems to have spent a large portion of my life giggling at me. Once he giggled at Coach, the day he introduced himself as the guy who was marrying me. My uncle has a well-developed sense of humor. I should have known we wouldn’t slip quietly in and park. Sure enough, we pulled into the driveway and there was a welcome committee standing in the front lawn. I really wished we had an outside speaker so we could blare the Beverly Hillbillies theme song. My uncle waved us down the hill and we pulled up next to him, rolled down the window and Coach hummed a few notes from “Dueling Banjos”. I think my uncle is still giggling.