This past year, we began to dream a little. What if we could take a vacation? What if we could get another little travel trailer? Where could we go? Could we make it happen? Could we actually squeeze it in between college semesters and the kids' school schedules? As we finally wrapped up our fire/insurance settlement, we decided there was only one way to really get the closure we needed. We were just going to do it. We were taking a vacation!
We sold our travel trailer along with everything else we could for necessary cash when we were rebuilding the house and the truck we used to pull a trailer with is old and tired so we had to go to the drawing board and really wrestle with how to make this happen. Then, one day, all the pieces started to fall together and after much research, we bought this-
Meet the Cebu. As in 'the mute cebu.' If you don't understand the reference to the 'mute cebu' then you have obviously never been held captive in a minivan for hours with a cassette tape playing Silly Songs with Larry and five kids singing about a water buffalo and Larry's hairbrush. (In that case, I don't know if I envy you or dislike you.) A cebu is a water buffalo and for reasons entirely unknown, the Big Guy decided to christen our new RV The Cebu. Personally, I would have called it the Family Truckster, but then I don't usually name my vehicles so I didn't have a dog in this fight.
We drove the Cebu home and announced to the kids that we were taking a vacation! They were mostly impressed that the Cebu has stairs that automatically retract when you open and close the door. The Big Guy and I began working out the details of our vacation while the kids opened and closed the door umpteen-eleven times to make sure the steps really would still slide out and turned on and off every button and switch in the RV.
The only real problems with the Cebu were that it needed new tires and it was ugly. I'm serious. The interior looked like Grandma Gertrude's sewing basket. (I don't have a Grandma Gertrude, but I'm sure if I did this is the fabric her sewing basket would be covered in.)
Also, it was super clean. So, we got new tires and bought some blankets and throw pillows to cover up the ugly floral fabric with and tossed some kids, some dogs, and all of their accompanying mess and dirt in there and we called it a vacation home.
We loaded up the Cebu in late July and set out on what we called a Griswold-style family vacation. We were driving from Missouri to California (Wally World anyone?) and stopping at as many sites as possible on the way out and back. It would be a
14 17 day trip of a lifetime. The Big Guy had never traveled west at all and I had never driven west. The kids had never been out of the immediate Midwest. There would be sights we had never seen before. We were going to see mountains, canyons, deserts, and ocean- just as soon as we actually got on the road.
Let me just tell you- loading an RV with three kids (the oldest two have flown the nest), two dogs, mom and dad, and enough supplies for 14 days is quite a challenge. Doing it while working full-time and wrapping up a semester in college might be bordering insanity. Trying to do all of that while preparing for the upcoming school year before you leave because you'll be back the day before school starts? Well, I don't recommend it, but we're living proof it can be done. (We might have left at 3:00 pm instead of 9:00 am, and we might have been totally exhausted, but hey- done is done.)
I will try, in the next several blog posts, to share with you the pure joy and the inevitable insanity of a 14-day-turned-17-day vacation with a family of 5 in a 32' motor-home that covered 10 states.
It. Was. Amazing.
And, it was very healing. It was definitely a point of closure. I feel like now we talk about the vacation much more than the fire or the insurance. I hope that this vacation will live on in the young herd's memories for a lifetime. This was definitely the break this family needed.