TRIP #1–OUR FIRST TRIP WITH “BIG BUMPY”

Our inaugural trip was to take our son, Ryan, back to college in Boston. We finally found some seat covers at Walmart, and we used an assortment of blankets to cover the rear sofa. We took the dogs out for another run Friday night to fill up with diesel fuel for the trip. I was sitting with the dogs on the rear sofa, but when Karl got out to open the gas door, Topper decided he wanted to try the pilot seat! (Just as he likes to take our seats at home.)

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Our plan was to depart by 9:30 a.m., drive the 4+ hours to Boston, drop off the dogs for a few hours for doggy day care, unload Ryan and get an early dinner. Our biggest worry was parking the RV in Boston. We were also anxious about dropping off Daisy, since she is a little nervous and fearful. Topper is used to being dropped off as we had boarded him a few times at several reliable places we like. The Pooch Hotel in Newton, MA was just outside Boston, just off the Massachusetts Turnpike.

We started loading up the RV Saturday morning, about 9:00 a.m. We were definitely glad we had purchased the extended model, which provided ample storage for our son’s belongings—he does not travel light! Ryan had the entire rear sofa to spread out with his laptop and headphones. We set up Daisy on one of the second row captain seats with her harness secured to the seatbelt. Topper started out on the other second row captain seat, but soon after we departed, he moved to the floor behind the cockpit, although he would have preferred to be in the cockpit.

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Both dogs seemed to be resting comfortably. All was going well for about an hour, when we heard some whimpering. I looked at Daisy’s seat and noticed some moisture. It appeared that she had wet the seat. Topper also seem agitated and when I picked up the blanket off the floor, it was wet there too. I was trying to clean up the floor and seat, while holding Daisy on my lap, when she started throwing up. This was all taking place during a tricky part of the drive when we had to be careful to exit left and get quickly right to merge onto the Hutchinson Parkway to Connecticut. Ryan was oblivious to all of the drama until we stopped at the first available rest stop. We threw away the blanket and removed the seat cover, which was definitely not liquid proof. So our new leather captain seat was already tainted, one hour into the trip!

Daisy continued to throw-up a few times on the rest of the drive. Since I had thrown away the blanket at the rest stop, my lap was the target. Ryan also informed us that he was feeling nauseous from bouncing around in the back. So we have decided to name our RV “Big Bumpy.” We stopped again about an hour from Boston, mainly to top off the fuel. Again, Topper resumed his spot in the pilot seat. We were getting conflicting directions from the RV navigation system and Google maps, but we finally got to the doggie hotel about 2:30 p.m. Daisy resisted slightly, but then went off with the worker happily.

We got back on the Mass Pike easily and were at Boston University in about 15 minutes. We had no trouble parallel parking on the road—there were plenty of spots so we could get two in a row. The major trouble was coming up with enough quarters to feed two meters. Each quarter only buys 12 minutes, and we needed two quarters for every 12 minutes. We knew from past experience that a five minute violation would result in a $25 ticket, which would be double since we needed two slots. We had brought a lot of change, but the meter only accepted quarters, so our dimes and nickels were useless. Fortunately, some kind soul offered us quarters so we could at least guarantee an hour to unload Ryan and get something to eat.

By 5:00 p.m. we were back in the RV headed back to the doggie hotel. Although Ryan’s dorm is only a short way from the Mass Pike, it is a little tricky, since there is usually at least one double-parked vehicle along the route. We got on the Mass Pike headed west, but somehow we got off and had a lot of trouble getting out of Boston. So what should have been a short eight-mile drive to Newton turned into a half hour of frustration. Even though blind-spot detection is a huge benefit, it doesn’t help if the road forks suddenly and you are in the wrong lane! The navigation system seemed to be dropping the ball, sending us around in circles. Finally we arrived and were happy to be reunited with the dogs—both had been fed and were tired from playtime and ready to relax for the ride home.

The ride home was considerably smoother—no mishaps and we only stopped once for a potty break. Daisy rode in my lap atop her favorite pillow and Topper alternated between the floor and a second row captain seat. Of course, he took over the pilot seat again when we stopped at the rest stop! We were home from our adventure by 10:30 p.m., exhausted, but overall it was a successful trip.

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