June 6, 2013

Everyone Needs an RV in their Backyard!

Schricker,-Mary-Dec2010By Mary Schricker Gemberling

If anyone would have told me a few years ago that I would be promoting the positive attributes of Recreational Vehicles, I would not have believed them. But, circumstances have led me down an interesting path these past few years. My perception of RV’ing, or camping as I called it, was based on my experiences many years ago sleeping in a tent on the sand-flea infested shores of the Wisconsin River near Spring Green. Although I enjoyed the camaraderie with friends and family, I eventually found it to be less than civilized, and ‘camping’ quickly became one of my least favorite summer activities.

Even though I had never been in an RV, I assumed it was just a fancy way to camp. So, you can imagine my surprise when I toured my first 40 foot Winnebago Itasca complete with fireplace, sleep number bed, solid surface counters and washer/dryer. My first motor home adventures included a trip to a St. Louis Cardinal game, a tour of the Amish country in Indiana, and fall color tour of Door County Wisconsin. It did not take me long to figure out that this was a great way to travel: no packing and unpacking, refrigerator and bathroom just steps away, my own pull-out writing tray, a great view of the countryside for miles and miles, friendly neighbors from all over the country……and on and on!!!

Little did I know, my fascination with the motor home would take on a whole new meaning! In September of 2010, a devastating house fire reduced my fiancé’s log home to a pile of ashes in a few short hours. With absolutely nothing left but the clothes on his back and the RV, we quickly found comfort in our new home on wheels. We stayed in the RV for close to two months, until the threat of freezing pipes caused us to find other temporary housing. While rebuilding on the property in the spring, we once again moved into the RV until the new house was completed in July.

Gary and I were married in December of 2011 and have continued to enjoy our motor home adventures. We are planning a trip east to the Finger Lakes and possibly the Adirondacks this September. However, with our growing blended families, the RV has been most useful as a guest cottage for the overflow of family and friends who have come to visit. Perched on its own concrete pad surrounded by colorful annuals, it is a welcoming, comfortable vacation home!

Adversity is a great teacher. We learn when bad things happen to roll up our shirt sleeves and put on our best face. In doing so, we have less time to be judgmental and rigid and become so very aware of what we have to be thankful for in this life. That “camper,” that I would have snubbed my nose at during another time in my life, became a warm comforting place where we focused on thanking God for our safety, our friends, and the gift of each other through a difficult time.

Mary, a former educator and Seniors Real Estate Specialist, is the author of two books, The West End Kid & A Labor of Love; A Personal Journey Through the World of Caregiving, available at www.amazon.com.