Sunday, August 02, 2009

Must Be Iowa!

I simply sent a photo from my Verizon phone to the kids and they immediately knew where Ed and I had arrived with the Prevost. The shot of the green corn field gave away our location.

“Iowa!” came confirming the text messages. “Makes me shudder!” I replied.

Both Chris and Suzie remember our family trip in our first MCI bus conversion motorhome. Some ten years ago, we traveled to Ames, Iowa to attend a Family Motor Coaching Association Rally. This is a trip we will never forget and can only now laugh about the experience.

We were so new to the world of RVing that we didn’t have a tow dolly. No problem…Chris at 16-years-old and eager to drive would follow “Dolly’s Pride” (the MCI) in “Zippy” (the Honda Acura). We’d have a run about car and Chris could feel the thrill of his first road trip. We communicated by CB coach-to-car cruising west from Pittsburgh along Interstate 70. Miles flew by and our caravan held tight until we approached Indianapolis. Chris radioed information to Ed about turning on the beltway around the city. Ed confirmed then promptly missed the turn.

We heard Chris ask, “Where’d you go?” Then, we lost radio contact with him.

Immediately, I began to worry about my son – only 16-years-old, with a brand new driver’s license, somewhere off in Indianapolis. Surprisingly, Suzie reacted to this situation. The brother she claimed to find annoying and acknowledged frequently with a hateful sneer was her new best friend. “We lost my brother!” She cried big tears. “I love him. We need to get him back,” she pleaded. Her tears made me cry too as I hugged her tight.

What seemed like an eternity later, Ed turned the bus around and retraced the route to the turn where we lost Chris. We used the CB to call out to him and finally, got his reply. We found him sitting in “Zippy” calmly waiting for us at the roadside rest area.

Full hook-ups were not an option for us when our family caravan arrived at the Ames rally. We ended up boondocked in the parking lot of a veterinary school. Running the generator gave us power to run the air conditioning. This helped cool the coach a bit; but when we shut down the generator, the inside temperature climbed to suffocating temperatures. No breeze blew through the windows. In desperation, I left my bed, crawled over the kids sleeping on the front couch, and opened the coach door to feel the night air. I crouched there trying to get cool, then eventually laid down on the cold granite floor with my head practically sticking out the door. When the kids discovered me in the morning, they felt sure I’d suffered a heart attack or been murdered in the night. Ed didn’t see this spectacle of his wife laying on the floor with her head and arms dangling out the door. Iowa in July is hot as hell!

The rally exhibit area provided some relief from the heat by day; but it could not relieve the boredom of two kids – 16 and 11 years old. With some hesitation, we gave the kids permission to drive “Zippy” around Ames to see if they could find something amusing to do for the day. When they met us later, we expected to hear about their adventure. Instead they retraced their route on a map showing us the roads they traveled. All the roads were lined with corn and every road ended at a corn field. “We saw corn, corn and more corn!”

Now, we all just need a photo of a corn field to trigger the memory of this 1999 Chevy Chase –style “family vacation” and know with certainty “Mom’s in Iowa!”

July 19, 2009

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