Veterans Air magic carpet ground transport…an RV named Gracie.
Come take a ride with me in the Veterans Air magic carpet. You know her as Gracie. You hear me talk about her all the time, because she is an integral part of my Veterans Air team. I want you to see who she is and appreciate the freedom and adventure she introduces in both my Veterans Air research project and my life with my husband, Harry.
I’m going to buy an RV. And you can come for a ride, if you want.
Harry tells the story this way. “One day, Gaye Lyn walked up to me and said, ‘I’m going to buy an RV. And you can come for a ride, if you want.'”
Harry says his first thought is “I knew I should have rented an RV to take the trip to Montana and Wyoming that she’s been talking about for years.”
My version is this. One day an unexpected, absolutely impromptu thought comes to mind. I need an RV so I can go visit my Veterans Air families and extend my research. I shake my head. Where did that come from? I’ve never even been in an RV…let alone driven one! And then I stop and say to myself, “Self,” I say, “actually it’s a pretty cool idea.”
In fact, it does not even occur to me that once I buy an RV, we can take that Montana Wyoming trip! No, my initial intent was to visit the Veterans Air families. For her, who soon gets named Gracie, to play the role of my Veterans Air magic carpet.
Once inside…can you blame me?
I am smitten. All the “must have” items on my list are here – plus an extra large “dining room” window. (You’ll see that later.) I locate a professional RV driving school. The instructor meets us at the home of the now-previous owner and conducts a 1-hour systems familiarization. Then for the next 6 hours (with one break), he coaches as I drive on and off California freeways, back roads and small town streets. Even practice parallel parking!
That very afternoon (Friday, April 7), we head out to a nearby RV campground for the first of three RV nights en route to bringing Gracie home to Santa Fe.
Montana and Wyoming. Not final destinations, but stops en route!
In fact, we do go to Montana and Wyoming — the very next month. What can I say? They are on route between Green Bay and Spokane! Okay! Stop laughing and hop onto the Veterans Air magic carpet with us.
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Solo RV travel means I’m in charge. Yipee!
In charge of everything! Hmmmm…
Harry’s and my first trip really was a Gracie shake-down cruise. I’m extremely grateful he was with me over those 6,542 miles and 36 days in April and May. During that time, Gracie got six new tires; a 42-mile tow because the Ford would not start, but which, for no apparent reason, “cured itself” right before the mechanics’ very eyes(!); a new roof-top air conditioning cover; replacement water check value; new front brakes and, 2,000 miles later, new back brakes, too.
By July 17th, I am ready and leave on my first Veterans Air magic carpet ride – this time solo (for 23 days, 3,395 miles) visiting families in Texas, southeast Florida, South Carolina and Kentucky. Harry joins me in Lexington and we make our way home through Minnesota. (No, our compass did not precess. We meant to do that!) The total trip: 35 days, 5,912 miles.
My next Veterans Air trip is completely solo. Leaving October 18 (still 2017), Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey add 37 days, 4,874 miles to my log book.
In final analysis, I love my Gracie and my daily chores!
I obviously love to drive Gracie. She takes me to my Veterans Air families over lovely expanses of our country. And I love my daily chores: Monitor fresh water and propane, hook-up and (especially remember prior to departure to) unhook electricity and sewer connections, dispose black water properly, research upcoming RV parks, navigate, be nestled-in on location way before dark, and occasionally invent tight-space cooking techniques. Most importantly, leave sufficient time to document my family visits and research findings.
In part, here’s what that looks like…
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