The Adventure Continues…
What I Lost Along The Way
“Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.”
― Erol Ozan
I find it interesting that each state, campground, hiking trail, breath of air gifts me a unique “adjustment” to my adventure. At the campgrounds near (what used to be) home, I practiced setting up, tearing down and sleeping in unfamiliar locations. I woke up embracing the sunrise and appreciative of the sunset. The in between times were more challenging. The middle of the day was met with resistance to finishing up the tasks I needed to complete before going on the road.
I darted out of Michigan as my life depended on it on Thursday, October 18th. At 8:55 PM I crossed into Ohio. My truck headlights provided a limited view of the scenery as I rolled down the highway. I was on a mission to get where I was going even though I wasn’t certain where I was headed. South. The intent was to go south and away from the fluctuating late-autumn temperatures of Michigan.
My visit to Kentucky was “grounding” literally and metaphorically. The fact that I explored three caves at the Mammoth Cave National Park may have a bit to do with that. This is where I landed when I left home. I was still in a hurry to get where I wanted to be, and not quite ready to observe my emotions. I simply wanted quiet; and sleep, lots of sleep.
I pulled out of the National Park parking lot like a woman on a mission. I had to get to where I was going even though there was no set destination in mind other than to go south then west.
One of the exit signs near Little Rock, Arkansas, read Visitor Information. Taking a break from keeping wheels between the lines was a wonderful idea. Shy of 70 miles later, I arrived at Petit Jean State Park on Monday, October 22nd. I was in awe by the terrain shift from flat farmland to rocky peaks and the steep incline on the winding and curvy road.
The campsite I parked at for four nights had a small creek flowing on one edge. It was very soothing to listen to the water. Here is where my emotions grabbed a hold of my shirt collar with a firm grip and shook me until I acknowledged them. There were a couple of very rough days at that campsite. In Trust THAT Feeling, I share a glimpse of my experience.
Another guest, prior to my arrival, reserved the campsite for the weekend. My options were to head down the road, or move to the overflow parking with a lake view. Guess which I chose. Yep. The lake view. It was there that I realized I was hellbent on getting to where I was going with absolutely no set target. The urgency to be somewhere other than where I was began to fade. Saturday I sat under the awning and was observant. No cell phone. No reading. No writing. Silence and a gentle breeze. It lasted maybe ten minutes; it’s a start.
To be on time for the appointment to get the camper fixed, I wanted to be on the road by 7:15 AM. Doing a lot of the prep work the night before departing saved me a lot of morning-time stress. I purposefully waited until I was leaving to empty the gray water (sinks/shower) and black water (toilet) since one of the tasks was to fix the sensors inside the water tanks. I feel it’s appropriate for me to get the shit out before someone has to “open” the black water tank. By four o’clock the service center was done and I was back on the road.
Initially I was reserving two nights at a time. Who knew when I’d “have to run”. Again, I have no idea where the urgency to be on my way somewhere comes from, nor the non-committedness of paying for two nights at a time in the campground. Maybe by the end of this post I will know. Doubtful.
Arriving after the Crater of Diamonds State Park Visitor’s Center closed, I found a campsite that offered an uninhibited view of the woods. The idea of parking my camper so close to another one that I can pass the salt to the guests in the next RV without leaving my kitchen area is a bit uncomfortable to me. I owned twenty acres of land for a reason; I like my space. In the morning, the internal dialog questioned my decision to secure four nights in one reservation. Maybe my fear is that I will become attached to a place and not want to leave. Nah, that’s not it. Maybe it’s the opposite and I’ll be forced to stay somewhere I don’t like. Eh, that could be it. Or, maybe it’s the illusion that I don’t have freedom. Huh…
This is the first campground I experienced the emergency squawk on my cell phone. Let me tell ya, it scared the doo-wop out of me. [Yes, I’m attempting to lessen my swearing. Be patient with me.] I can handle snow storm advisories and warnings. What I am inexperienced at is tornadoes. We don’t have tornadoes where I come from. Severe thunderstorms that rattle the dishes in the kitchen cabinet, yes; high winds that bends trees to their snapping point, yes; tornadoes – NO. I watched the radar on two apps as if I was watching the Super Bowl commercials on two different television stations. Alas, the severe weather stayed west and moved in a northerly direction around us. Oh, thank goodness.
It was here, at this campground that I took a deep breath and let go of a lot of worry. The tornado warning provided me with the lesson to trust everything will work out when I am patient enough and not to overreact. As I walked the one mile prospector trail with countless signs warning all hikers to stay on the trail because of rattlesnakes, I found myself observing the surrounding in a way that I saw nature differently. I paused more often. I slowed down my pace. I took more photographs of spider webs and trees. The urgency to get to where I was going sloughed off my shoulders somewhere on that trail. I didn’t go back to look for it. I simply knew something within shifted when I wasn’t paying attention to my thoughts.
Along the way…
Five Tips to Help You From Here to There
- DO NOT COOK OR WASH DISHES IN BATHHOUSE. I had to take a photograph of this sign after I read it. Really? It’s a public campground bathroom, for Pete’s sakes! Ew! Seriously. YUCK! Don’t do that. You don’t know who has touch what before touching that sink, counter or the door handle you grabbed to get into the bathroom. Ew.
- When purchasing a camper, ask a lot of questions. Be sure to record the verbal instructions and take notes. As a first-time buyer, you will forget a majority of what they show you (especially when it comes to the plumbing).
- Wash the laundry before you leave the campground with laundry facilities. The next place may not have facilities necessary.
- Follow your intuition. If you do not feel safe at a place – YOU ARE NOT SAFE. Leave the vicinity as soon as possible.
- Driving is a bad time to search for the next destination. You become the hazard on the freeway to the traffic, inside construction zones and to the semi truck drivers with a deadline. Start the navigation apps before putting the vehicle in drive.
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