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RV Trip with the Grandkids

Corky Cummings


Our daughter Jamie and her husband Mark recently attended an out-of-town wedding, so Patti and I took care of the grandkids, Hazel (9), Hank (7), and Mae (4) for the weekend. I’m fairly certain I know why kids aren’t normally invited to weddings. If they were, the couple getting married wouldn’t have any.

Patti had decided some time in advance that it would be fun to take them on an RV trip. They have traveled in our RV with Jamie and Mark but never with us. Ranking Patti’s decisions on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the worst, this one comes in at about a negative 8. They are great kids, but 2 adults, 3 kids, and a dog in a 296 square foot motorhome gets a tad cozy.

After loading everybody and everything up, we started our journey on a Friday afternoon. We had traveled about 18 feet when Hazel said, “Grandma, Mae needs you, and it’s an emergency.” Mae had managed to get the lid off her juice and instead of drinking it was now wearing it. It was obvious from what Hazel described as an “emergency” that she panics rather easily. After that mess was dealt with, we started off again on the 70 mile trip to the San Diego KOA, which because of heavy traffic took an “enjoyable” 2 1/2 hours.

When we finally arrived (there is a God) the kids weren’t too concerned about setting everything up at the site. They were more focused on which of the numerous available activities that they wanted to do first. Whatever a kid is doing, it ranks number one in terms of importance. You could be performing the Heimlich Maneuver on a choking person, and if a kid needed assistance finding a green crayon, that would become your top priority. 

After we got everything situated, Patti was going to take them all swimming, but unfortunately Jamie had forgotten to pack a bathing suit for Hazel. To Jamie’s credit, however, she did remember to pack shoes for each of them.

Normally when we start out somewhere, our first stop is either Target or Walmart to buy one or two pair. Since we didn’t have our car this trip, Patti took Hazel to the campground general store to purchase a bathing suit, but they didn’t sell them. Since Hazel wasn’t able to go swimming, Hank and Mae couldn’t either. Words can’t do justice to the emotional impact that this had on all three of them. It was time for some quick thinking on Patti’s part, and as always she came up with a diversion, which I don’t remember because there were so many of them that weekend.

Later on Friday we took them to the general store for some ice cream. Hazel and Hank got some type of frozen ice that was about 125% sugar and very sticky. They didn’t have any scissors to open them at the store so we had to wait until we got back to the RV. By that time the frozen ice had pretty much melted so the now “liquid" treats were a lot easier to get all over themselves. Mae had a push-up ice cream that for some reason she preferred to hold upside down, which pleased our dog Boomer because he was able to get a good portion of it. 

Saturday brought a whole new set of challenges highlighted by disagreements, accidents, potty talk, etc. Our son Kelly and his wife Carole drove down in the afternoon to have dinner and join in the fun. Patti and I asked them if we could borrow their car so that we could leave until the kids were all older, but they evaluated the situation and quickly denied the request. 

On Sunday, despite us checking to see if anyone needed to go to the bathroom before leaving, Hank needed to stop about 15 minutes after our departure. Heading to a campground isn’t a problem because there is a restroom on board and you can utilize the park’s plumbing system when you arrive. However, when you are going home, you don’t have the same flexibility. We managed to find a grocery store with a parking lot large enough to accommodate the RV, and when we stopped everyone wanted to go in. While Hank was in the bathroom doing his business, the rest of us hung out in the yogurt section for about 10 minutes until he finished. 

When we finally got home the first thing that Patti and I did was check the calendar to make sure Jamie and Mark didn’t have any more out-of-town trips planned. We needed about 6 months to recover.