We are planners. List makers. Double checkers. I have a 3 ring binder to keep track of all the camping trip details. Be Prepared is our motto (we may have borrowed it). But every once in a while we have an ODD TRIP. One where the trip starts out OK, we’re prepared, we pack well, the trailer is all supplied, we leave on time, everything good-to-go.
Your first clue that it’s going to be an ODD TRIP is when some bizarre thing happens out of the blue. This trip started well enough; our grandson Brandon came up from LA for a rare visit, and we had decided to treat him to a camp-out in the new trailer. We made reservations near Ocean City, on the southwest coast of Washington, because Brandon is a big fan of seafood, and they have plenty of it there. We also felt like a little beach camping (map inset courtesy of Google Maps).
Brandon arrived at the airport as planned, we had a nice dinner with a bunch of other family, as planned, and we all got a good night’s sleep, as planned. The next morning we even got the trailer ready to go in record time, as planned, and got on the road right on schedule. After an uneventful drive of a couple of hours, we made a pit stop for gas. Wendy and Brandon decided it would be a great opportunity to pop into the trailer to get us a snack. We were only 5 miles from the campground, but low on gas and not wanting to take a chance.
ODD Thing #1: I pulled the rig into a gas pump lane at the Gull Gas ‘N Market outside Hoquiam and hopped out to fill ‘er up. I’m in the habit of pulling the keys out of the ignition so the ding-ding-ding doesn’t drive me crazy and tossing them onto the center console. I did so this time, but also closed the driver’s door, not as usual. ODD (bear with me). At the same time, Wendy and Brandon jumped out the right side of the truck to jump in the trailer for a second, also slamming their doors. Clunk, the truck locks itself. For no reason. ODD.
Inside the cab of the truck are the keys, Wendy’s purse, and both of our cell phones. The truck and trailer are completely blocking the center gas lane. Ooops.
We realize all of this a few seconds later when Wendy and Brandon can’t get back in, and she asks me to “pop the door, please”. Only there isn’t going to be any “popping the door”, not from me anyway. My keys are in the center console, clearly visible through the rolled-up window, mocking my inability to reach the 15 inches it would take to get them. We can’t figure out how or why the truck has locked itself, but we do catch a bit of luck when I realize I at least have my wallet in my pocket with our AAA card in it, and Brandon, being a typical teenager, has his cell phone semi-permanently attached to his texting/gaming fingers. While I’m finishing gassing up the truck, and explaining to the nice Chinese lady (English is clearly not her first language) inside the store what has happened, Wendy gets in touch with AAA who cheerfully explains that they have “red flagged” the service call because we are blocking traffic, and it will be “no more than 60 minutes” for the tow truck to arrive, and “probably much, much sooner”.
We’re in the middle of nowhere, AAA-wise, and a little skeptical of her forecast, so we make the best of it and fully deploy the slides on the trailer, make lunch, and I even catch a quick 30 minute nap on the sofa. We get a few visits from the locals offering us suggestions on how to get back in the truck. One guy even offers his “break in” toolkit in the trunk of his car. Why it’s there, I can’t possibly know. If it was so he could break into his own car after locking himself out, wouldn’t he then have to break into his own trunk first? I didn’t have to ask because just then the tow truck arrived, and in 2 minutes the door is open. Odd, but not a calamity. Just ODD. As an aside, I decided to buy one of those “break in” kits (thanks Amazon!), and it’s going to stay in the bed of my truck, accessible and ready if I ever do this again. I wasn’t too terribly thrilled to find out from Mr. Tow Truck Man that my Ram Pickup was one of the easiest trucks to break into. The alarm didn’t even go off when the door opened. Phooey on my last Ram pickup.
ODD Thing #2: Buoyed by our victory over stupidity and oddity, we happily continued on our way, with my phone plugged into the truck’s USB port and WAZE giving us the needed GPS guidance. Because my phone is plugged directly into the entertainment system, which is off, WAZE isn’t talking, only showing our route. So a few minutes later, of course, I miss the turn into the nice, wide street that takes us right to the campground, and I also miss, for a few minutes, WAZE’s frantic attempts to get us to turn around. I finally glance down and notice that WAZE, not realizing we are about 60’ long and towing something, is directing me to turn into someone’s very narrow driveway. ODD. I mistakenly assume that WAZE thinks this is the direction to the campground, but intuitively know that it can’t be right. So a lively discussion breaks out on why our navigation has mis-directed us (not knowing that it hasn’t), and a long drive in the wrong direction takes us to a spot where we can finally turn around. All this time we haven’t had any cell phone service, so we have been flying in the dark with respect to where we are and where we need to go. Heading back south, finally, gets us back into cell service, and that finally connects us to good navigation, which directs us to our campground, something we passed way more than 40 minutes ago. Odd, not a calamity. Just ODD. Another aside: I am going to send a tip to WAZE, Google Maps, and Apple about their navigation systems. They will let me select whether I am in a car, on foot, using public transit, even riding Uber for my navigation instructions. So how about letting me indicate that I’m dragging an 8,000 pound, 30 foot long trailer? So maybe I won’t get routed down tight alleys and into small streets and driveways for u-turns? Back to the great ODD journey.
Our campground, Screamin’ Eagle RV Park in Ocean City, which we have never visited, is a winner! The spot we reserved, RV Site 43, is a pull-thru site and turned out awesome, so we deployed ourselves to enjoy a sunny afternoon.
We took a nice walk to the beach, and later drove the 5 miles south on that same beach to access the beach ramp up to Ocean Shores, where we ended up at Mike’s, one of our favorite seafood spots. We chowed down on their Clam Chowder (excellent!), fried Razor Clams (also excellent), and two of the house specialties, Pepper Pear Prawns, and Prawns Puntanesca (super muy bueno!). We highly recommend Mike’s.
We set up our evening campfire and discovered something new that apparently the Internet has known for a long time: an old washing machine tub works very nicely as a fire pit. We initially thought the campground owner was a genius, only to find that Etsy and Pinterest have thousands of examples of how to dress up an old washer tub to make some kind of fancy pants fire pit, with welded on legs and heat-resistant paint. I think it worked just fine set right on the dirt, and we enjoyed a great evening fire with some S’mores. I noticed in the morning that our firewood had almost completely burned up, leaving very little mess. Sweet!
I’m not sure if the ODD TRIP thing follows the Rule Of Three (3 disasters, 3 celebrity deaths, 3 plane crashes, etc.), but if it does, the Rule still owes us one.
Tippy has an ODD Tip:
Some day you must hear Larry’s story about a camping trip that he took with friends years ago which was filled with daily odd calamities. At least you survived nicely with your senses of humor!!