whereyouparkitYou know that point in life where you realize your parents aren’t that stupid after all? You think they are kind of cool actually and for whatever reason they seem to like you and stick by you. That moment thankfully happened to me nearly 15 years ago and since then I have been blessed to get to know them as human beings with likes, dislikes, passions, goals, dreams, frustrations, and all that comes with it. I have been a shoulder for them and they, me. It seems completely natural then to not only ask them if we could borrow their fifth wheel camper long term but also if my dad would take 4-5 days to tow it down from Georgia with his truck (the same truck that over a year ago now was enlisted to pull our tiny house to its home in NC), help us set up, hang out a bit, and then head back home. Of course he said yes and since Part 2 of our adventure left you wondering how we would get to southwest Florida, I guess you can fill in the details.

Crystal and I left a day before my dad as we chose to split the 8-hour drive in half for the sake of our daughter who despite her best efforts seems to start asking “can I get out of here?” (in reference to her carseat) after the first 15 minutes or so. Thanks to her LeapPad books (or should I say Angelina Ballerina and her troop of merry mice movers and shakers), 2-Curious George movies on the iPad, 1-Elmo movie on the iPad, a random truck stop along the highway with trail mix AND cold milk though, it really wasn’t all that bad on either day. We had horrible weather on Day 1 causing us to meet up with rain more than once. And because we were a little too frugal (I guess?) we ended up staying the night at a renovated chain hotel that had entrance doors on the outside and boasted free cable TV on its roadside sign. But Day 2 started out with a beautiful sunrise and just after breakfast we met up with the rest of our convoy as my dad had been “east bound and down” since 5:00am that morning to meet us and get on to the RV park. We decided at our rendezvous point that my daughter would travel with my dad and I in the truck so Crystal could go all Thelma and Louise by herself for a few hours enjoying alone time without either of her babies; TM -or- me!

We pulled in to Woodsmoke Camping Resort at about 4:30pm or so after a rather uneventful yet satisfying trip down Interstate 75. After paying our balance due, getting the brochure tour of the park, and hearing a few of the essentials we would need to know, our convoy headed to our lot.

In our minds Crystal and I knew the lay of the land. We had watched the promo video online several dozen times over the last few months and we had seen Google aerial photos of the spot. We had an idea of what would go where and why. As is standard we pulled up and saw a concrete pad (roughly 12′ wide and 38′ deep) waiting for us. My dad took his spot – half in the truck and half out the window – as I proceeded to direct him from the rear. For the first minute or so it was a Laurel and Hardy moment as we had two different ways of using hand signals. After some 8 or 9 minutes though the fifth wheel was secure on its pad. Right about this time our next door neighbor Rick came over to ask us why we were parking on the pad. He told us most folks park next to it on the grass/gravel spot (also about 12′ wide but nearly 50′ deep) and use the patio for their living area. Sounded good to us. Dad jumped back in the cab and proceeded to move us. Just two feet from our fifth wheels eventual parking spot tragedy struck. My dad’s truck conked out. It died. Flatliner. DOA. Perplexed my dad looked at me and just shrugged. We unhitched the fifth wheel and pushed the truck out from under the gooseneck. Good enough was good enough. At least it was for us. For him though? No way. We spent the next three hours getting the truck in some semblance of working order so we could move the fifth wheel two feet back and square it up for the next five months. If nothing else I have learned dedication from my dad. He wanted everything as perfect as we did for our latest adventure.

That night we dined on Little Caesars “hot and ready” pizza out on the patio. We got most of our house setup and ready for life save a few things here and there. We all got a good nights rest and vowed that tomorrow would be a great day. We would get the truck fixed. We would get our RV home situated. Our daughter would get full access to her toy brigade. And daddy would figure out where he would call his office.

NOTE: I realize now that this post is going to spread out over several days. Please stay tuned to read Part 4 of our latest Tiny r(E)volution adventure!