November 28, 2023

The Barely Mobile Homes


The next time you come up behind one of those lumbering giants called an RV on the road between Wickenburg and Wikieup here are some things to think about as you crawl along, waiting for the next passing zone.

Did you ever notice that you never catch up to one when the road is straight and flat? It’s always when the road is so steep and crooked that you can almost read your own back license plate, and the passing zones contain only two dashes. You creep up, trying not to think about dodging the avalanche of aluminum folding chairs that will fall off the back if a bungee cord ever breaks loose; or about that tank of propane, capable of blowing a hole in the road as big as your car; or the holding tank, that has been agitating, fermenting, and toxifying all the way from Iowa or Idaho or one of the other states that start with “I.”

Right now you’re probably thinking, “I know about Indiana and Illinois, but what’s the third one?” Well, technically it never was a state, the territory of Iiawah, (pronounced “eye eye uh wah”), applied for statehood, but the League of Iowan Speech Professionals, (LISP), objected to the name. They felt it was making fun of Iowans who stutter.

The territorial governor of Iiawah was stumped for a new name until he stopped at a traffic light, and a big, old RV pulled up behind him. It was so close that all he could see in his rear view mirror was the RV’s license plate. There was the answer: “HAWAII.” But, I digress.
RVs are marvels of efficiency. You can actually shave, shower, brush your teeth and go to the toilet without ever moving your feet. In fact, I think they should paint little feet on the floor, with a note; “For optimum use of this facility, place feet within designated space.” Of course, due to the similarity of fixtures, it might be wise to have a reminder that men should be cognizant of the proper direction. For clarification, the toilet is usually larger than the sink, slightly lower, and does not have faucets.

Sleeping arrangements are a challenge. You tear apart all the sofas and the dining table and rearrange the pieces. If you get something that doesn’t resemble a bed, you have put the pieces together wrong. Tear it apart and do it over. Of course, even if you put it together right, there are half a dozen cracks between the cushions; and some of the cushions don’t have enough material to pad a crutch.  If you’re more than two inches over the national average of five feet, eight inches tall, count on sleeping in the fetal position.

Tall people also have special problems dealing with air conditioner vents and light fixtures protruding from the ceiling, especially during the night. A quick trip to the bathroom in the dark will usually result in a bruised forehead and a broken light fixture. The non-replaceable cover will disintegrate on contact, (being brittle from age), and scatter little white pieces of plastic far and wide.

The first trip of the season is always unique. After remaining stationary for several months, most tires take on a shape other than round. Any attempt at highway speeds before they warm up will produce a vibration that will shake you bald-headed and rattle the fillings out of your teeth.  The response to this vibration varies from person to person. Kids will get a kick out of it, but your wife will probably react differently. Even though this vibration, properly applied, could be beneficial, perhaps even enjoyable, she will soon tire of this phenomenon and encourage you to make it stop.

All this is a small price to pay for the opportunity to work for a month getting ready, pack all your stuff into an aluminum truck, get away from the neighbors you can’t stand, drive a hundred miles with cupboard and refrigerator doors flapping, to a crowded campground, hook up your water and sewer pipe, and spend a week next to new neighbors you also can’t stand.

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