Hope the memories hold me

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 5, 2011

This delightful touch of spring-like weather we are enjoying set me daydreaming.

The warm days punctuated with the welcome sunshine stirred my “on the road again” urge. As much as I’d love to roll down the highway in the motor home to a favorite campground, I know I am rushing the season. It’s February, and there’s probably more cold weather in store. Try as I would, I couldn’t quite push the urge out of my system.

I reasoned that even if I can’t head down the highway now, I can still dream.

Sometimes my husband took an armchair trip when we felt the pull to go RVing but couldn’t get away. “Tell me where you want to go,” he would say as he settled into his recliner with a map in his lap and a magnifying glass in his hand.

After we decided on our destination, he mapped out our route. We never really followed those routes when we did get away, but we spent some pleasant hours imagining how it would be.

I never had map-reading training as he did in the Army, so I am not proficient with maps.

Last week instead of using his armchair travel method, I flipped through our RV travel journals to refresh my memory.

In March 1988, we set out with our 1964 Airstream travel trailer trotting along behind our truck that spent more time in a mechanic’s care than it did on the road.

We caravanned with other rigs owned by members of our church camping group, the Wholly Rollers.

After having previous experience with both our aged trailer and truck, we approached the trip with our usual camping philosophy, “Expect the unexpected.”

Everything went along smoothly until we got into hilly country on our way to Claiborne Lock and Dam near Monroeville.

Suddenly the truck began struggling. My husband switched to the auxiliary gas tank. The engine spluttered. There was no surge of power.

I panicked, suggesting frantically (more than once, he said) that he pull off the road. He did so just as the engine died. What a relief it was to know that one or more of the rigs was somewhere behind us. One pulled off to help. In a few seconds, my husband started the engine and the power returned. We continued on without incident; but not without anxiety on my part.

That night the group gathered for a cooout at picnic tables near a concrete ring enclosing a glowing campfire. Later, we roasted marshmallows while we sat around laughing and talking. At bedtime that chilly night, we snuggled into bed under heavy covers and quickly fell asleep. We spent another night, then awoke refreshed and ready for more camping. “Too bad,” I noted in my journal. It was time to go home.

As I turned pages in the journal, it swept me back to memories of good friends and good times. Maybe they will hold me until I’m on the road again.