The Widow’s Travel Trailer Desire

I credit (or blame, depending on the view) both Lucille Ball and my writer friend Cait London for the fact that I decided to buy a travel trailer.

Have any of you seen the movie The Long Long Trailer, staring Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz? It was a hit of the 1950s. So much so that a version of the travel trailer used in the movie actually became a best seller for a while. Of course I am not old enough to have seen the movie first time around, but I have seen it on TCM reruns. My husband and I greatly enjoyed watching it together. It became one of ’our’ movies that we enjoyed over and over again.

Through the years my husband and I occasionally enjoyed looking at RVs, and we talked of getting a travel trailer or motorhome and traveling, just small dreams, paths never followed because we chose others.

Then about a year ago Cait London began telling me how her sister in her later years had traveled all over the west, by herself in an RV. I began to think of it. If I did travel by RV, I could take my dog. It would be bringing my little home with me.  I began to peruse online RV makers and look over styles and plans. Goodness! The modern RV is an amazing thing. I zeroed in on travel trailers. After all, I already had a full-size SUV with which to pull one. I do have experience hauling, for years had a truck and trailer to haul horses.

I knew it was all dreams of getting away. Being alone now in my house is often so lonely. Everywhere I turn something needs doing in the house and the yard. Then there is the care of my elderly mother. Responsibilities at every turn. Yes, I wanted to get away, and take the dog, and have a couple of uninterrupted days to write, and to see sites, widen my world.

But now I am widowed and alone in a way that I’ve never been alone. I have traveled often by myself, research for writing, but my husband was always at the other end of a phone call. And I certainly am not as strong as Cait’s sister, nor have I any experience whatsoever in RVing, as it is called. I know nothing about operating a camper! I certainly know nothing about grey water and black water tanks and how to operate them. From what I’ve seen, RVs need constant repair and upkeep. Why take on more? Oh, I’d be a disaster waiting to happen. Not to mention a stretched budget, and, the biggest of all: I was too old for such foolishness!

No, I decided in the end. I told my friends I was not going to do it, that I gave up the idea.

Only after a couple of weeks, I began looking at the travel trailer online sites again, just perusing them, as a way to relax, I told myself.

This went on for months, during which time I began to pray about the idea and to look back through the years and see that every time I had had such a longing that would not go away, it had turned out to lead somewhere I was supposed to go. And this was the first interest I’d had since my husband’s death. It seemed as if I was coming alive to a life of my own.

Really, God? I had a sense of peace.

I began to take small steps, to learn about RV options, and joined several Facebook RVing groups.

Christian friends encouraged me—far more than the wisdom of two witnesses scripture advises. Complete strangers encouraged me. I learned that many women are solo RVing, and many of them, amazingly, at 70 and 80 years of age. Many of these women are widows, too, who took to the roads in their campers as a way of dealing with the crushing grief, and as a way to discover and make new lives for themselves.

The Long, Long Trailer came again on TCM, and once more I watched.

Then I discovered ‘retro’ trailers, new travel trailers with all the amenities but styled as those from the 50s and 60s. I got seriously excited! I read specs and learned about tow weights and tongue weights and read reviews. I weighed pros and cons of the different makes and models, perused Craig’s list and watched YouTube videos. And I kept telling myself that it was a phase, it would pass. What I thought was: You have lost your mind.

The day came when I discovered that the object of my desire in retro-style trailers was at a dealer only an hour away. Added to that, my friend, Laurie, said she would go with me to look.

It was the Gulfstream Vintage Cruiser. It was what I wanted. They did not have the particular model I wanted in stock but they could order it, the salesman said, for a few hundred dollar down. “I promise you,” the salesman said, “if you don’t like it when it comes in I will refund your money.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

I handed over my credit card. And wondered what I could possibly be thinking, but I was happy, and amazingly peaceful.

For three weeks I comforted myself that I could change my mind. Only I haven’t. Tomorrow I drive over to pickup up my travel trailer. And I’ll have more to write about!

As Rainey Valentine says in Lost Highways, “I don’t know what I’m looking for, but I’ll know when I find it!”

16 thoughts on “The Widow’s Travel Trailer Desire

  1. Just so happy for you. We recently bought an older class 2 RV. We are on our first trip in it and are loving it. You will too. Hugs to you for being brave enough to follow a dream. 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I admire you for taking this step. Enjoyed reading about how you came to the decision. Makes me think of the “no one will tell you no as often as you will tell yourself no.” I’m glad you said yes. It sounds as if it was the right decision. I will await your “On The Road” blogs. And if you ever want an RV-ing companion, call me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really do admire you & all the solo women rv’rs! I love your writing as I am an avid reader. My favorite author is James Patterson. I’m currently researching rv’s & trying to convince my hard headed husband that this is what we need to be doing NOW! It’s a huge step but I don’t want to look back and say, I wished we would have done that!! Keep writing & I look forward to reading your adventures!

    Liked by 1 person

    • All things come in their time. I’m so very glad for the other desires I enjoyed, such as owning, raising, and riding horses, trailering horses, and building a country home, just so many dreams. It is now time for this dream. So lovely that you have a dream to work toward! Go girl!

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  4. People, please understand that CurtissAnn is a very special person with the ability to do what she chooses. I am so happy for her. After years of RVing, my sister no longer can, but she said it was the best time of her life. How wonderful CurtissAnn is starting on this whole new adventure! After all the life-stuff you’ve managed, CurtissAnn, this will be easy-peasy. So excited for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Have a great adventure! I’m 74 and just moved to Chicago and am having a blast. Am taking a weaving class and have met lots of nice people that way, my block had a block party, and the cab drivers are amazing and full of info. Can’t wait to hear about the trip–either in your blog or in your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I found myself laughing out loud as I read this post. One would have thought I was watching the Lucy movie for real! All the while as I was reading, I flipped back and forth between, “she bought an RV” to “it’s the premise of her new book”, no, I’m sure she bought an RV. I admire your strength and ambition. I could never see myself doing anything like that, in any way! I tremble at the thought of driving across the state if I am not able to call my husband for help, if needed. (Such as when he has worked out of town.) I know for a fact, I could not pull a trailer. I do know of several women much older than you and I who have done it and loved every moment of the freedom. I will live vicariously through you and your travels. I’m sure there will be a few books written while you are out on the open road. Have fun and enjoy it!

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