Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Tale of Go

Exciting, new challenges in the world of driving a 32' motor home were faced on Friday.  On Sunday, we took a completely different route because I NEVER want to do something like that again.  Apparently, even the campground website posted a warning to follow their directions, not the GPS.

 I did not visit that website.

But let's a have a healthy sigh of relief and hearty chuckle now that it's over.

I was happily be-bopping down the road in my enormous land sail, following the GPS to Desoto State park.  I'm always happy when the GPS and the brown state park road signs concur.   And concur, they did.

Suddenly, in the monitor, I noticed a new symbol indicating something more like a crazy u-turn than a right turn as my next move.  I peeked at the line tracing my intended route and noticed it completely doubled back on itself for a bit.

Slightly louder than a whisper, more self-talk than conversation, I uttered, "Girls, I'm a little concerned about whether we are going to be able to make the next turn."

Hannah waited a beat, "Mom, are you teasing us?"

"No.  Look at the GPS. That's a crazy-tight turn.  I'm not really sure if the camper can do that."

I think I heard her gulp.  (I editorialize now that I think it's good they see their mama face challenging situations with honesty.)

The electronic voice cut through the noise of the 20,000 pound vehicle bullying it's way down the small two-lane road, "Turn SHARP right in 440 yards."  Almost simultaneously, I saw the 360 degree turn on a seemingly 45 degree angle incline.

In a split second, I reasoned that the brown signs indicated they agreed with the authoritarian box on my windshield.  Surely, the state had accounted for the ability of RV's to follow their signs to the campground.

Nope.  They lied.

I paused, the nose of my recreational beast of burden at the edge of the pavement on the wrong side of the road, staring directly into the face of a rock wall.  The mirrors showed half a dozen miniature vehicles positioned precariously under our dangling bicycles.

I swallowed against the slightly acidic sensation rising in my throat and clanged the shifter into reverse.  The tiny suburban behind me had to know it was inevitable before he even saw my reverse lights illuminate.  I forced a handful of cars to shift uncomfortably closer together in their line as I spun the giant steering wheel for about two minutes to cut the angle necessary to proceed.  I backed a few inches and gave it another go.

Ha, triumph.

I smiled tightly, and waved apologetically as I passed back above the remainder of my own newly-assembled parade and lumbered up the mountain.  Before my blood pressure could return to baseline and my seven-year-old could regain her breath, I noticed my new environment.

I found myself on an entirely too-narrow road, without even the benefit of painted lines.  My quadriceps burned as I held the accelerator to the floor and the engine moaned.  The trees swatted the roof and then the camper sides as we climbed above their branches.

 The edge of the road met the edge of the earth.

The trees swayed below us.  I saw only blue out of the corner of my eye and noticed the utter absence of berm or guard rail.  I also noticed the rock wall on the left would prevent oncoming vehicles from making way.

Hannah nervously contributed, "Whatever you do, don't look down."

In about three miles and the gradual loosening of the clutch in my heart, we finally saw the campground office.  I parked, un-strapped, and stood on my jelly legs.  I tied my one-year-old to my back and announced our adventure had begun.  We walked to the office.

About an hour later, I was finishing hooking up to our site when my husband and son arrived in their two-seat, hybrid vehicle.  We greeted one another and my husband started assisting in the job.

Before I could even begin to share with him my harrowing story, he raised his eyebrows, gave a nervous laugh and asked if I had followed the GPS.

 I affirmed, "So, you must have also come that way..."