Have you ever vacationed in a motor home or a fifth wheel? Nauseating closeness, far closer than a teenager could ever tolerate, or so I thought. When I was a teen, my parents accepted an offer to vacation in Florida with our neighbors. That in and of itself does not sound like a bad thing does it. However, this was to be a driving vacation, southward along the east coast all the way to the Florida Keys. We would begin our Florida vacation the day after Christmas. There would be no hotel rooms or overnight stays with family. We would be traveling in the neighbor’s new motor home.
I was as mortified as any teenage girl could be. All of us in the same moving square, sleep, eating, and showering? OMG what a humiliating trip this will be, I remember thinking. Not to mention, my little sister was barely five years old and as with many teens, drove me crazy. Can you imagine being cooped up, driving for almost four days with your parents, an elderly neighbor couple, AND your little sister. There simply were no words to describe how I felt.
I recall begging mom to leave me behind with friends. She would not allow me to miss an opportunity to celebrate New Years in the Florida Keys. Mom said the scenery was beautiful and Florida beaches even more so. Besides, she continued, it will be fun and we will be there before you know it.
After driving what felt to be days, we arrived for a dinner visit in Virginia with our neighbor’s family. I was glad to be out of the cramped moving metal box. The family dinner affair, on the other hand, was another whole story and worthy of a post all its own. What I will share though is my first impression of southern food, amazing eats!
One particular night as I was riding shot gun as we passed Miami Beach. The lights and buildings sparkled along the water’s edge while Palm trees and the ocean beyond present a breath taking backdrop for the city. It was sometime after midnight, after we passed the city the road was dark. My father told me to watch the yellow line. If the motor home crossed it, I was to poke him. That was scary to say the least and I am happy to report no poking was required. Are we there yet?
Just as I caught a glimpse of the Florida Keys Welcome sign, I heard a loud blast. The motor home swayed and swerved scaring us all half to death. Yep a tire blows out as we entered the Keys that just figures. It was no small task making a roadside motorhome repairs let me tell you. After much aggravation, a bit of fear, eight more hours of travel, and total tedium we arrived in Key West. Thankfully, the camp ground was loaded with kids my age and a New Years Eve party was scheduled. A huge amount of relief and excitement came over me. Driving home, with Florida far behind us, I remember thinking the party was the only fun part of trip. School would start in just one day and I could not wait to get home.
Looking back, Mom was right in refusing my staying behind. We did share some very funny family moments, took in countless breath taking scenes, and experienced New Years Eve in Key West. Moreover, I was the only girl at school with a winter tan! Other than the unsightly closeness and lack of privacy, it truly was a fun vacation adventure.