From Thursday, July 1st, until Wednesday, July 14th, our entire family traveled by RV from Central Pennsylvania to West Texas and back. Here is the first segment of my version of the trip. There are no pictures of the first half of the trip, because my camera was acting up and Scott's camera, which DID have pictures of the first half of the trip, was stolen on Day 7.
Andy goes in for the last of his night shifts, while I stay home trying to remember to pack every necessary thing before departure time. For some reason, my "helpful" kids are not so helpful today, wanting to stop for frequent play breaks and rest breaks. What's up with that? Don't you all know we're leaving at the crack of dawn??? At bedtime, as promised, I tuck all the younger kids into bed in the RV, so they'll still be sleeping when it's time to leave.
5:07 a.m. My alarm is supposed to go off in 23 minutes. Instead, I'm awakened by Sarah shouting something to Scott over the noise of the bathroom sink. They both have been up all night. I desperately try to close my eyes for a few more precious minutes of sleep, as I know I'm gonna need it. No chance. There are too many things to remember.
6:30 a.m. Andy's been home for about 15 minutes, and we think we have everything. Those of us who are awake pile into the RV. Andy climbs into a vacant spot and promptly passes out. I take the helm and drive for the next 7 hours, out of Pennsylvania, through West Virginia, Maryland and most of Virginia. Scott takes shotgun, where he spends most of the trip because he gets the most carsick.
The trip divides itself into 3-and-a-half hour segments, because that's how long we can go between fill-ups. The RV averages a solid 7.5 mpg.
Andy takes the second shift, getting us from southern Virginia to Knoxville, Tennessee. There he needs a potty break, so he hands the wheel over to Scott, who, incidentally, has never driven the RV before. Thankfully there were no incidents during his two-hour shift, and Andy took over again until midnight. Then he passed the wheel to Sarah just after midnight (who also had never driven the RV before). Sarah drove 5 hours overnight through most of Tennessee, stopping only for gas and for the friendly Tennessee state trooper who just wanted to let us know that our license plate was partially obscured, causing Sarah a mild panic attack in the process.
During all of this, I was at my wit's end. As one of the principal drivers, I knew that I desperately needed to get some sleep, but I couldn't. The loft was too hot and I got indigestion from bouncing around. The back bedroom was too bouncy as well - every little bump and sway was magnified. Finally I was able to prop myself up with about thirteen pillows, and sleep sitting up on the couch behind the driver's seat. It wasn't much, but it was better than the sleep-deprived, hair-trigger insanity to which I'd been subjecting my family up until then.
Sarah got us across the Mississippi, through all of Arkansas and Oklahoma, and into Texas. Andy took over just before dawn, which brings us to the end of the first day.