Sometime in mid-January…

You’ve never been good at shopping. Never liked looking for stuff, making those kinds of choices, going through the whole purchase process. Big Dog also claims not to like shopping but you suspect he enjoys it the way a lot of guys enjoy shopping. He will mull it over for weeks…or months…or years, gathering information, comparisons, reviews. Guys are kind of shopping nerds – their approach is so technical, rather than emotional and impulsive. (Although your own dad was never that kind of guy – he was one to buy something on impulse and immediately be relieved enough to forget all about it.) It wears you down.

Big Dog’s been “looking for” a Sprinter RV for several years now so you’re pretty worn out.

“We need to talk,” Big Dog would say, every so often. It meant sitting you down and going over the details of every Class B RV for sale on the internet. Or some component of RV travel. Like inflatable kayaks. Port-a-potty systems. Conversions. You are able to feign interest for a while but you’d rather be out there on the road in an RV, or skimming over the bay in a kayak. Or even pooping. Whatever. Actually doing something than thinking about it.

It’s been a recent tradition for you and Big Dog to hit the road and travel during the winter. Late fall is Big Dog’s vacation time – hanging out on a beach somewhere, in a trailer or cheap bungalow, for weeks, but you’ve been maneuvering yourselves into more adventurous territory for the winter trip. For 2014, Colombia sounded great. (“I’d go to Cartagena, but that’s not somewhere you can stay for 6 weeks,” complained Big Dog.) Or Brazil. (“Too far, too expensive.”) Or the Dominican Republic and maybe around other parts of the Caribbean. (“Once again, too little for 6 weeks.”) Big Dog wanted to go back to the beach in Mexico and hang out. (“We’ve been doing that for years. It makes me nervous doing the same thing over and over – like I’m wasting away my life or something,” you say.) So, you figure a compromise would be to get that damn RV and hit the road. You desperately want to do Something Different.

So you find a Sprinter RV on sale, online. A 2005 Vista Cruiser. One owner. Only 10,000 miles. It looks pretty nice, at least on your computer, so you tell Big Dog about it and he takes over from there.

Turns out the seller is in New Orleans. (“Cool! I’ve always wanted to go to New Orleans!” “Maybe we can do some camping in the Everglades and slowly make our way back to California.”) Then, he finds out the owner (and vehicle) are in Chicago. (“Chicago? Now?” “We can buzz out of the snow and do the Deep South. The Blues Trail. See your relatives.”)

Maybe it was your pushing. Maybe it was the fact that the end of January was approaching and there were no plans in place for going anywhere. Maybe it was a moment of temporary insanity…or truth. (“I lost my brother, some of my closest friends. It’s telling me the clock is ticking. How much time do I have left to do the things I want to do?”) Big Dog decides to go for it.

The Midwest is having some of the worse weather ever. You hear about it every night on the news. The term “polar vortex” is now part of your vocabulary. You use it a lot, talking to others about your plans.

“We’re flying straight into the Polar Vortex to go pick up an RV we’ve never seen,” you tell people, even as you wonder why you are leaving the warmest place in the United States. San Luis Obispo in January had record highs of 93 degrees! That’s warmer than Miami, warmer than Honolulu.

You would have been just as happy traveling through Colombia. Or the Caribbean. Or the Amazon. But somehow, the danger and thrill of going to some place that is purported to be colder than the South Pole or “colder than Mars” according to one Trader Joe’s employee is sounding good and scary. You’re really getting into this thing.


Author: ontheroadwithsprockets

I've been traveling since I was born -- the first big trip was before I was two, across the Pacific, from my native Japan to Los Angeles on a cargo ship. There have been many journeys since then, through many continents and cultures.

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