Being Home

There had been discussions about staying socially distant by remaining in Arizona for a while, traveling away from cities up the west coast, just enjoying the spacious outdoor living that RV’ing was providing us. But eventually we heard reports of closings to RV parks in the eastern part of the country and the decision was made to get home ASAP.

So, pedal to the metal, 2,800 miles (5,200 km) covered in 6 days of driving with one day of rest in the middle. It was really hard on the dogs, and Charlie had to be strongly encouraged back into the RV after each walk. We traveled from ideal weather conditions into cooler climates where fewer and fewer RV parks were open, not because of Covid-19, but because RV parks in the northeast mostly close over the winter months. Thankfully we found places to stay each night, and with precautions being taken everywhere we camped, we had bare minimum contact with anyone.

Wildflowers in New Mexico through a bug-splattered windshield.

The long drive was not really used for chatting a lot about our experiences. The RV is pretty noisy. We drove the way we usually do, in silence, offering comfort to the now TWO nervous dog travelers, occasionally listening to the news or a bit of music. The ‘quiet’ time was good for mulling things over in our own minds, or just spacing out and watching the countryside slip by, county by county, state by state, counting down to our arrival back home.

On our way through St. Louis.

We have, of course, talked a lot about what we experienced the past couple of months; the incredible pleasure of spending time with very special friends and family from New Jersey to Florida to Texas to Arizona, the surprising parts of the country we had no idea about, the places we loved and would never have imagined loving so much.

We are privileged and spoilt in life. We have a comfortable home and have enjoyed so many beautiful vacation stays in lovely surroundings. But our surprisingly favorite home away from home on this trip was Presidio, TX where we explored Big Bend National Park and the sister state park. Presidio, our stand-out experience! It was SO incredibly basic. We were camped out on a giant dirt lot with no extra facilities other than a small laundry room and single bathroom (that was unusable and disgusting), no store, no pool, not even an office to check in, dust on everything and in every nook and cranny, and yet we totally loved it. There was SO much space between the smattering of parked RV’s, the ‘dirt lot’ was surrounded by miles upon miles of open government lands where we were free to roam, the few people camped there were easy going and friendly, and there were no rules about dogs. That was big for us…being able to let the dogs run free. It was amazing for them too. And being out on the other side of nowhere and near to nothing, we had the bonus of the darkest of night skies that revealed the Milky Way in all her glory. We loved that every day at 4:30 pm there was happy hour under a canopy where we arrived drink in hand and plopped into a plastic chair and just chatted, human to human. And then there was the beauty of the Big Bend parks with so many different ‘zones’ of vegetation and geography, and right between the parks was the tiny town of Lajitas with a surprisingly lovely restaurant that had a patio where the dogs were welcomed. It felt like magic. There had been a deep anticipation of getting out west and into areas where we could look over many miles of lands to the beckoning horizon. And Presidio was the first place to truly offer that. And we were besotted.

We truly love the desert southwest, and we felt very much at home as we made our way through New Mexico and into Arizona where we enjoyed almost 3 weeks before making the decision to head straight back home.

We camped on more than one dirt lot. This one had self check-in: “drop $20 in the red box.”

As we got closer to home our thoughts turned to being at home again. We wondered what it would feel like to have more living space, convenient and easy to use bathroom facilities, a yard for the dogs to run off-leash…so many things. And then, we were home.

And wow, thinking about conveniences and then actually experiencing them was incredible. We are still wallowing in all the extra space we have, totally loving our bed with our favorite mattress, cooking with ease using more than one burner on the stove top, and of course, watching the dogs tear around the yard to exercise themselves.

But there is the other side of that experience too. We are acutely aware of all the excess. Why do we need so many plates and so many settings of silverware? Why so many glasses for drinking from? Why so many clothes, cookware, mugs and all sorts of other things? I can literally feel all the extra stuff as clutter. It has a feeling the way unfinished business has a feeling. And I wonder how long it will take for all this to stop being so noticeable or if it will linger and prompt me into some more cleaning out of the house? I mean, surely if we have 2 extra bedrooms in the house we don’t really need to have anything in those bedroom closets, right? Because…decent sized closet in our room and a linen closet in the hallway. I don’t want to even get started writing about the basement.

Swimming off the RV scents.

And as I type this I’m glancing up at the bird feeders. It’s stopped raining and the birds have discovered we are home and that we have put out seed. There is such a variety of birds out there. I love watching them. It’s good to be home. I’m loving the extra living space. The dogs are both right next to me. Of course they are. I wonder where Dennis is? I’m not used to him being more than an arm’s length away.

5 Comments

  • Cindi

    I loved this. Especially the last paragraph about “ why do we need so much stuff?” So true! I’ve already on my 2nd goodwill bag and can’t wait to haul this stuff outta here!

  • Birgitta

    Great writing Jenny , feel like I have been on this journey with you .
    The clutter we all have as you described it is definitely something that most of us are guilty of .
    What a blessing to have read yoir story and in the process feel connected to you on the other side of the world. Stay safe and keep writing

  • Mary

    It was lovely to read about your experiences on the road. It’s amazing where grace and beauty can be found out there and at home;-) Sounds like you and Dennis an outstanding trip😘

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