Published in the Rains County Leader on August 14, 2018:
Last week’s column ended with the comment that David was anxious to take our motor home, which is being made road ready after six years of sitting idle in our backyard, on a test run to a local campground to see what items other than the refrigerator and generator need attention. As it turned out, he was more anxious than I thought – last week we spent four days at Thousand Trails in Point.
After checking our calendar, scheduling an outing became a now-or-much-later decision since I will be recovering from rotator cuff surgery for the next several weeks. David opted for now, and I began making lists. Sunday after church we began shuttling back and forth between the house and the coach with armloads of clothes, food, and Kitty necessities. I almost backed out when David told me that I wouldn’t be able to use the refrigerator after all, but I simplified my menu plan and added an ice chest to my list.
One of the first things David did once preparations were underway was to get Kitty’s carrier out of the shed. In the interest of safety – both hers and ours – we had agreed that it was not a good idea to let her roam free while the motor home was underway. When he brought it into the house, David put the carrier on top of a box, and Kitty immediately gave it a good sniffing, stretching up on her hind legs to reach it. I put it down on the floor and opened the door, and she went inside and lay down. She was ready to go.
She rode quietly to the campground, but when we arrived and opened her door, she immediately disappeared. After we hooked up the water, electricity, and sewer and put out the slides, I went looking for her. I found her in the bedroom, crouched on a nightstand under a corner of the comforter. We didn’t see much of her until bedtime. She wasn’t interested in dinner, but when I brushed my teeth, she appeared in the bathroom, waiting expectantly for her nightly treats. After scarfing them down, she spent most of the night snuggled against my legs or lying between David and me.
We decided not to leave her alone in an unfamiliar environment, so Monday morning David dropped me at the church and took Kitty to the house. He said she took about four steps into the living room and collapsed on the floor as if exhausted from her ordeal. That afternoon when the three of us drove back to the campground, she was not quite as ready to go as she had been the day before. David had to coax her into the carrier with treats, and she whined a bit in the car. Once she was released in the motor home, she nibbled a few bites of kibble and disappeared into the bedroom again.
After the dinner dishes had been washed and put away and we were settled down with our computers, she ventured out of her hiding place, creeping warily through the hallway and scurrying back to safety at the slightest noise. She finally made it to David’s chair where she demanded constant petting and reassurance.
Each day she became a little braver, jumping up on the back of the sofa or the dashboard and inspecting the new scenery she discovered outside the windows. She spent most of the nights on the bed with us, but I did find her on the floor in front of the driver’s seat a morning or two. The last evening before we came home, she had become comfortable enough with her surroundings that we brought out the squirt bottle to let her know that kitchen counters and dining tables are off limits even when camping. She finally settled on the middle of the dashboard as the appropriate perch from which to survey and rule her new kingdom.
We’re all back home now after a successful test run, and we’re looking forward to venturing a little further soon. Kitty seems to have suffered no ill effects from her first camping adventure. Hopefully, next time she’ll adjust more quickly – and hopefully, next time we’ll have a working refrigerator.