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2006-12-18 - 11:34 p.m.
Part 3 of the Big RV Adventure: All You Need to Know About an RV in an Hour & How to Deal with Neighbors with Flamethrowers

Alright, so we finally go to pick up the RV. We were told that the *orientation* process would take approx. one hour. I wasn't quite sure why it would take so long. I've rented cars and Uhauls before. Usually they just give you a short speach that amounts to "You're on your own now, sucker!" You sign a mile long contract, and off you go!

Not so with an RV. You have to watch *The Video.* (Which, incidentally, is an hour long.) So you sit down in the little mini theatre, and they start up the VHS. Woo hoo! Cue the "Leave it to Beaver" background music, and be prepared to leave this time zone and enter a 1950's driver's ed film....narrated by a very cheery Ward Cleaver type of fella. Oh boy!

OK, boys and girls....let's get down to the basics of operating a recreational vehicle, shall we?

Of course, just like back in driver's ed, you don't really want to pay just want to get on the road, man!

But we watched, and we noted all the little things that they spent time emphasizing. Like, the fridge is not really going to keep your stuff cold, so you really should get a cooler and some ice (in reality, the fridge kept our stuff close to frozen solid the whole time!). Also, Do Not Drink The Water from the faucets, it's Ok for washing, but buy bottled water for all drinking and cooking needs (later we would laugh at this, but I'll get to that later). And everything you really need can easily be bought at *The Camp Store.* The video emphasized that almost all campgrounds have a *Camp Store,* and this place would solve *all* your problems. Of course, our campground (State Park) did not have a *Camp Store* so this became a running joke with us. Whenever something went wrong or a need came up, we always jokingly said to eachother, "Let's just go to The Camp Store!"

But the video just sort of glossed over all the important stuff. Like, you can only use a certain type of toilet paper in the toilet that is designed for RVs (but, we learned later in the instruction book, that the special TP can be purchased at *The Camp Store.*) And the video only touched lightly on a whole bunch of other things, like how to tell when your holding tank is full so it doesn't leak and spray all over you when you try to empty it.

It took us the whole trip to finally figure out all the little tricks and minor/major ajustments to make everything work. Also, we did finally find a *Camp Store* but it was really just the Sport Chalet at the local mall. And all we really bought there were some cool looking gadgets and folding dishes that we didn't really need. They did have the special toilet paper, and we bought some, but by then we had given up and decided to use the park restrooms, so we didn't really need it. I know how you people hate when I drag these things out.....but I'm going to leave the Flamethrowing Neighbors for the next part. And you'll want to stay tuned, because these people were a flamethrowing sort of way. They really deserve their own post. Also, I will have pictures up soon....maybe with the next post.

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2006-12-12 - 8:33 p.m.
DogsDontPurr's Big RV Adventure, Part 2: Mice Droppings on the Bed.

Ok, so after we check in and go peak at the room (note here that the room has a decidedly off aroma....odor....funk...pong....a not good smell), we fall into our usual routine. First, we sneak the cat in (although, technically, this place said it allowed pets, we always sneak first, let them ask questions later), then the cat box, the cooler, the food, then the rest of our gear. (We have a system, after years of travelling on the road.)

Next, I set up food and water for the cat. She's very spoiled and likes to drink her water out of a glass on the nightstand beside the bed (hey, she's around 20 something years old, she get's what she wants!). After I put out her water, I turn back the bed. This is our routine everytime we travel. It's the same every time....there are no suprises. Unless........

You turn back the bed and find.....MOUSE DROPPINGS UNDER THE PILLOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now at this point, it's probably about 11:30pm or so. We got in late, it took us a while to unload the car, etc. And I've lived in warehouses where there were mice and rats. And we're tired. So I pick the mice droppings off the bed (it wasn't much....just a few little pellets.) And we have our own bedding with us anyway.

Now that we've got all that settled, it's time to sit down on the sofa to have a drink, and relax after eight or so hours of driving. It's time to unwind.

So we're sitting there. The place is jumpin'. Rap music thumpin'. The walls are shakin'. People are humpin'.

And then the mice start to dart about the room. There are MICE actually DARTING AROUND THE ROOM!!!!


I call the front desk, and they are like, "Uh, yeah." Like what's your problem?

They did offer to move us to a different room, but I didn't see that it would help much. I figured the whole place was infested. And none of the rooms would have been any quieter....the whole place was on party mode. And we had already unloaded all our gear.....the thought of moving it after midnight....was not something we wanted to have to do. Argh.

So we went to bed and tried to sleep while the mice played and our neighbors played harder. I was determined to sleep in the car, but Alan wouldn't let me. Finally, sometime around 4am, I must have fallen asleep. The next morning, Alan brought me one of their "fresh baked bluberry muffins" that was supposed to be their specialty. I took two bites, and promptly threw up. How fitting.

I'm not quite sure my words here do the place justice....maybe you had to have been there (but fortunately you weren't!) What was advertised as an "All Suites Hotel" was really something less than a bad youth hostel. But as Alan put it, "This place is so entertaining, I've forgot all about the smell!"

Next stay tuned for:
DogsDontPurr's Big RV Adventure, Part 3:All You Need to Know about an RV in an Hour & How to Deal with Neighbors with Flamethrowers.

comments??? (5 so far...) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

2006-12-07 - 4:58 p.m.
DogsDontPurr's Big RV Adventure, Part 1

Well, we're back.....and still partially alive (I somehow came home with the flu and laryngitis, but we'll get to that later). This story will be done in parts because there is way too much to tell. Also, pictures will have to come later because they are still on Alan's computer. Anyway, here we go:

So the original plan was to drive from San Francisco to L.A., rent an RV, and stay at Dockweiler Beach State Park. We modified that a bit when we found out that we'd have to be in L.A. no later than 3:00pm to pick up the RV. As you know, I'm not a morning the idea of getting up at some ungodly hour to race down to L.A. to get there in time....did not appeal. Plus that would mean we'd lose most of the day just driving there, picking the thing up (an hour long process), driving to the park, hooking up, etc. So we decided it would be better to drive down a day early and get a cheap motel for the first night. That way we could be at the RV place early the next day.

Of course, I turned to to find something that would fit our budget. I found the perfect place: The Tradewinds Airport Hotel. The picture showed a fabulous looking tropical themed entry way with a Rolls Royce parked out front. Amenities included: a restaurant and bar, free champane happy hour, free appetizer happy hour, free fresh baked blueberry muffins every morning, a pool, a tropical courtyard internet cafe, and much much more. Perfect! Wonderful, even! So I booked it.

*Big mistake.*

When I booked it, I wasn't familiar with the neighborhood that it was in, just that it was close to where we needed to be. Also the pictures of the place looked good, so I wasn't too concerned. Well, you start to wonder if maybe you've picked the wrong kind of place, when the road leading up to it turns out to be Strip~Club~Row with lots of XXX signs and adult bookstores. Hmmm. Still, I am not one to be easily intimidated. I have been known to visit a titty bar or two.

When we finally reached the address where The Tradewinds Airport Hotel was supposed to be, there was no sign of it. So we drove around the block, checked our GPS, drove around the block again, slowwwly.....and found that the name had been changed to ADVENTURER'S MOTEL, Backpackers Paradise!

Well, at this point, I was still not *too* worried, after all, the Rolls Royce in the picture was still parked out front....and a limousine as well. The place looked pretty nice from the outside. It had a really picturesque tropical courtyard with a pool in the center and lush tropical plants growing all around. So we checked in.

*And that's where all the charm ended.*

Now, as this post is getting rather long, I'm going to cut it off here, but stay tuned for:
DogsDontPurr's Big RV Adventure, Part 2: Mice Droppings on the Bed.

comments??? (4 so far...) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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