It’s always bittersweet to say farewell to the holiday season. The cookies are eaten, the ornaments are carefully put away until next year, and the sparkling, colorful lights fade into the long winter ahead. Yet, the new year brings new beginnings, new adventures, and new milestones to achieve.
We had such an outstanding respite in Pittsburgh that it was tough to drag Bertha out of storage in order to resume our trek. We enjoyed a warm home, family, and fun times in the steel city. We had time to play games, shop in the Strip District, catch Shen Yun at the Benedum Center, and even take a winter hike at Raccoon Creek State Park. It was with a hint of heartache that we said bye to The ‘Burgh, but we shall return…
After a few months in storage, Bertha was covered in a dusty film, and was in total disarray. All of our packed “stuff” was tossed inside. The plan was to organize when we arrived at our initial campsite. I had imagined an orderly transition. What was I thinking? My optimism was misplaced and short lived. We pulled into cold, wet Hungry Mother State Park in southern Virginia, only to discover that Bertha was back to misbehaving.
If you pile a whole bunch of clothing, too much clothing, onto a closet rod, then bounce up and down the road for several hours, the plastic brackets will break, the rod will fall, and the clothes will become a tangled heap that is intermingled with the shoes, etc. that are on the closet floor. You learn some things the hard way.
While I sorted through the labyrinth of garments, my husband heard an audible, snake-like, hiss, which turned out to be a propane leak. Great. We resumed this crazy lifestyle, knowing that it was replete with imperfections. We proceeded, undeterred, to pull out the toolbox, rehang the curtain rod, and tighten a nut on the gas line. No hiss. Good sign.
All seemed to be reparable. Oh contraire, mon frère….
There was more in store.
“Optimism is a psychological disorder exhibited by those out of touch with reality.”Oliver Pell
As we hooked up the water, we realized our rebellious RV, Bertha, would have the last laugh. Nothing was flowing from the faucets, not a drop. The water filter, however, was overflowing and spouting like Old Faithful, all over the bathroom floor. We tried a number of liquid seals and caulks, which only slowed the leak to a gush, rather than a geyser. No running water for us until we could find a replacement. Thank God for bottled water and bathhouses.
It was not an ideal start but even through rain, cold, and indoor flooding, we were able to discover beauty in our surroundings. Hope springs eternal.
After three days without indoor plumbing we pulled into Lazy Acres Campground in Lenoir City TN. It was here that we found Kyle, a certified RV mechanic (and angel on earth), who determined that we were missing an O-ring, which undoubtedly was lost during the winterization process. He helped us to replace it and we were, once again, up and running. There was a tiny drip, but we put a sponge under it, and were at least able to wash dishes, take showers and flush toilets.
It felt like Springtime when we arrived at Noccalula Falls Campground in Gadsden, AL. The sun was bright, and the air had warmed to almost 70 degrees. Not bad for January.
This municipal park has numerous camp sites, multiple hiking trails, and awe-inspiring water falls.
Downtown Gadsden is only a few miles from Noccalula Falls. It is charming, with old diners and old theatre’s lining the main street. There are restaurants and antique shops, and The Back Forty Brewery, which boasts a renowned selection of craft beer and live entertainment.
I highly recommend throwing this stop into your bucket list. There are so many hidden gems in our own backyards.
We hiked under cascading torrents on the Gorge Trail. The mist created spectacular prisms as the sun shone through the dew. We were enthralled with the power and majesty of running water…
—until we discovered that our water filter was leaking again. Trying to address it was a poor choice. Tinkering only made it worse.
Water, water everywhere.
It’s good to have a sense of humor in the face of nearly continual adversity. Bertha is an unreliable beast.