Put together 3 adults, 3 children, 3 dogs (of the large breeds) and one cat in a 30 foot RV and let them drive from the Twin Cities in Minnesota out to camp in the Black Hills of South Dakota and what do you get? You get plot for a reality TV series for which Mark Burnett would pay good money. The story line includes fires, poop, golf cart accidents, lost personal items, no cell phone reception, a total melt down and my personal favorite, projectile vomiting.
As I start this I should say that all parties involved are still great friends and we all know each other A LOT better than we used to. Let's begin.
After work on Thursday, July 2nd I get the call that my friends have secured the RV a day early and would we like to leave that evening. Why not? I have most of my packing done. The kids are anxious to get going and we'll get out to S. Dak. in time for the July 3rd fireworks at Mount Rushmore. Let the good times roll.
We have going for us: Mike, our professional driver who is a veteran of driving semi trucks cross-country. He vows to do all of the driving. Sweet!
What we have against us: Three adults who have never camped in a big RV before...and everything else.
Sleeping arrangements: Mike and Lisa in the back room, Alex and Kevin in the loft, Nick I on the fold outs in the main area and dogs and cat wherever they damn well please. This should work.
The RV toilet: I never understood the word "throne" being used to describe a toilet until I had to use the potty in the RV. With very little room to maneuver one is expected to climb up on this toilet which must be mounted about 3 feet off the floor. Add another 2 feet for the actual bowl height and consider that I am only 5'3" tall. I felt like a contestant on one of those Japanese game shows every time nature called. Not to mention there was virtually no place to put your feet down once you were up there. Okay, I can live with it.
The dogs: I love all three of these dogs but I am currently not returning any of their phone calls. Here are some things to remember when vacationing with dogs.
1. Water bowls spill a lot when you are driving.
2. Nervous dogs shed a lot when you are driving.
3. Some nervous dogs drool a lot when they are resting on your leg for comfort.
4. Dogs who have just been walked have very dirty feet when they re-enter the RV.
5. Dogs with dirty feet love to jump up on your bed.
6. Calm dogs shed a lot.
7. Dogs like to escape after being cooped up in a RV for a long time.
I guess that's enough for our first lesson on the RV vacation. Stay tuned.