Road trip of two women a dog and a 1986 RV named Nomad drive across the country. This was my first long distance road trip with Nomad the RV. I had to go St Clair Shores, Michigan where I grew up because I was buying my sister out of the house we grew up in. I knew if I did not get out there in August that I would not be able to leave Michigan before the snow fall and I would be stuck there with my RV till spring.
Just to make sure that the RV was running right my daughter Babette decided to go with me and yes my new puppy Ki. Leaving Hollywood we were excited on the wonderful places we wanted to see and to take our time getting there and just enjoy our-self’s. Nomad the RV had other plans for us. Much like the drive from Mesa, AZ to Hollywood were a 7 hours drive took 7 days.
We stated out drive at 5 AM Tuesday morning with high hopes. I did not want to get caught up in Los Angeles traffic during rush hour traffic. Getting out of LA was breeze and at 55 miles per hour in the slow lane I knew that it was going to take a while to Michigan.
The sun started to up up as we pushed Nomad the RV to the desert and knew that this was a huge test of she would makes it. Reaching Mohave Desert we stopped to take photos at an abandon town. Driving in 109 degrees heat in the Mohave Desert as the RV over heated was par for the course. We turned on the heater just to cool the engine and it became 115 degrees in the RV even with the windows down. But Nomad the RV It made it through the desert through the mountains as we thought “yes this is going to be an awesome trip”.
The brand new belts started to make this screaming sound we did not know that this was the beginning of our nightmare. We stopped at a truck stop and asked a trucker what was causing the the belts to make this sound. He said not to worry that if we bought belt dressing it would stop the problem. We went though-out Las Vegas looking for belt dressing and two hours later we found some at Auto Zone.
We found out later not that no one uses belt dressing any more after we sprayed it on our belts. The belts sound got worst so we decided to stop at the first gas station just north east of Vegas as we could not stand the noise.
We noticed that Ki was not acting himself as the heat was getting to him inside the RV. We stopped at a Love’s gas station and turned off the engine and it didn’t start again. The RV was so hot inside that we put cold towels over Ki and made sure that he did not get heat stroke. We put ice cubes in his bowl and took good care of him. After a little while he was back to normal and wanted to play.
Most people would’ve turned around and went home but no we were stubborn and we wanted to keep going just to prove that we could. We were on a mission and nothing was going to stop us.
That was the beginning of our trip of gas stations, Walmart parking lots and repair shops and lots of laughter. Thinking back to when Babette first drove the RV she laughing and crying at the same time and yelling “I can’t do this” as the RV moved from side to side. We laughed so hard that it was hard not cry.
Sleeping in Walmart’s parking lot became our friend and it’s now off my bucket list. You may wonder why Walmarts? They are open 24 hours a day in most city so its safe to sleep there. Their parking lot huge and if you breakdown it’s easy to get a tow truck in and out. Also whats amazing is I’m learning the names of tow truck drivers all around the country because of how many times we got towed?
Through it all we kept it together and did not lose our mind even on the 5th day of breaking down. We kept telling each-other that someday we will laugh about this as we never lost our sense of humor. On the 5th day another well qualified mechanic fixed the problem or did he? Only time will tell.
Let recap….breaking down 5 days in a row from California to Michigan. The states we broke down were Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and South Dakota twice. We met some wonderful kind amazing people that reached out to us. The smaller the town the nicer the people as they welcomed us like family. We also learned if 5 out of 6 mechanic on the phone tell you that you need a alternator, it’s the alternator even if one or to mechanic tell it’s not.
Babette at one time bought 3 alternators from Auto Zone and took them to a Park City Utah mechanic and we were told it was not the alternator. We returned the alternators to Auto Zone and broke down in a Walmart parking lot 15 minutes later. The last mechanic after the 5th breakdown said it’s your alternator. So now you can see why we can laugh about this.
I got to see my daughter laugh and see how she handled stress day after day. She over came her fear of driving the RV and drove it like she owned it. She was kind and giving with all that she met. I can still see her smiling as we eat diner in our RV that was broken down in a Walmart or gas station parking lot. It did not matter what we were doing we were just a mother and daughter on a mission. That was a mission to get me to Michigan with big eyes sore of a RV.
Did we make to Michigan before pulling out our brains? Yes, we did and then Babette flew back to Hollywood. It’s what she said to me when she was getting into the Uber car that touched me in way that only a mother would understand. She give me a big hug and said “Mom, I had a wonderful time with you, it was a trip of a lifetime”. My daughter was amazing though-out this trip and kept me from freaking out. I was a huge lesson of staying in the moment of life and give her and I both lasting memories.
I have always been proud of her but this trip showed me all the wonderful things about her that I love. She never lost her way and when things got ruff she took control and used her common sense to find us help. She stayed positive and hopeful till the end.
All and all it was a wonderful experience but could have done without all the breakdowns but we saw amazing places and filled up the RV with laughter and magic moments.