With eager excitement, like a dog with two tails, I drove my trusty GMC Canyon pulling my travel trailer out of my driveway on September 22. I returned yesterday, two weeks and two thousand miles later, exhausted and with my two tails dragging, but my heart and mind filled with precious memories of time spent with dear family and sights worth seeing.
In south Georgia I enjoyed a good visit with a cousin and her husband, reminiscing over old times and family long gone. They sent me on my way with prayer, and I headed to Edisto Beach, South Carolina, where my sister-in-law joined me. I indulged my fascination and enjoyment of old churches and graveyards, got to see the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in many a year, the Charleston Tea Plantation–the only place in the U.S. where tea is grown–and the Angel Tree–a 300-400-year-old live oak.
Hurricane Ian’s approach cut this bit of vacation short. I went scurrying up to Hickory, North Carolina, which was directly in the path of Ian, but I was not going to miss seeing another dear cousin. There were a few bumpy hours of rain and wind buffeting the camper, but many more hours of chatting and laughing with my cousin. From there I headed west through the mountains and had the opportunity to meet up with a long-time internet friend, seeing each other face to face for the first time. What a treat! I saw the fog of the Smoky Mountains, and enjoyed blessed coolness. Then it was back into Alabama and staying at one of the best campgrounds I have ever encountered–Deerlick Creek, a Corps of Engineer campground outside Tuscaloosa. It was flip-flop weather again!
I was asked several times if I had written while camping. The implication is that I have all those hours of traveling alone. I did start out with the idea that I would blog about my trip as I went along. That idea is laughable now. When one is traveling alone in an RV, doing all the work to set up and take down, feeding and walking the dog, and myself, and seeing the sights and visiting family and friends–maintaining a life on the road–there is not a spare moment. I didn’t even have time for email! I fell exhausted into bed each night.
Yet, while there was no time to write, and I’m no good at dictating to a recording–I got into a near fight with Siri when she wouldn’t do as I expected her to do–the miles of highway driving gave me plenty of time to think, to ponder myself and where I am going in this last part of my life on earth. I returned home with my artist’s well filled with fresh sights and insights, sounds and scents and memories, and new solid confidence about both my capabilities and God’s capabilities.
Once I did not believe I could handle an RV. I learned I can. Once I didn’t believe I could possibly make a long trip alone. I did, and I thought that was a one-time adventure. Now here I have done it a second time.
We can all generally do more than we believe we can do. It has taken me a lifetime, but I now know that when a dream calls and nags, the thing to do it to step out and try. And I’ve learned that a nap followed by a cup of tea solves a myriad of problems.