I thought about this trip for over a year. A long trip home to take Mama’s ashes to bury in the family plot by her grandfather and get her a headstone, see my hometown one last time and visit cousins and see sights on the way. The trip was one reason behind buying my new camper the past spring. I needed something bigger, with double axles.
Yet, I hesitated and waffled, one minute Yes, I’d am going to do it, and the next minute, How could I even think of doing this long a trip by myself?
I avidly read Facebook accounts by other women campers, especially older women, traveling solo clear across country. In a moment of Yes, I mapped the trip on Mapquest, choosing each stopping place. I named it my Fall Heritage Adventure. Round trip came roughly to 2200 miles.
My eyes widened as I looked at the number. My legs began to quiver and melt. My sisters-in-law jumped in to hold me up. “You can do it!” they texted. And God seemed to say the same thing.
So here I am, first stop after six hours pulling the camper, at the familiar and favored Oak Mountain State Park in Birmingham. I’m at a meet up event with other women campers, old friends and new, chatting and learning their stories. Faith and I walk the peaceful trails through the woods that have become dear to us. The weather is hot days with deliciously cool nights.
Praise God for the cool nights, because the air-conditioner in my camper quit cooling and could not be repaired before the trip—no air-conditioning, one of a Southerner’s greatest fears! But there was no waffling. I had campground reservations made for half the trip and high anticipating to lay eyes on cousins and dead relatives in cemeteries and get Mama to her final resting place. Surprise—I find life more peaceful without the rattling air-conditioner. Cold drinks, shady woods, and my trusty table fan provide perfect comfort.
I think of my character Rainey Valentine: I’m on my way. And as for Rainey, same for me, the place I’m heading to is myself.