Saturday, July 30, 2011

Half Way, But Almost Home

Our cross-country RV adventure is at the half way point. We have arrived on Vancouver Island in the city of Courtenay, BC. This is the place that my sister Linda has decided to call home. Although it is very inconsiderate of her to live in a place that is as far away as she can get while still living in Canada, it does give us “East Coasters” a reason to visit this beautiful part of our country.

Home Away From Home
When we originally informed Linda that we would be coming out with Dad and Sharon in the RV, she did some research and reported back with a number of local RV Parks we could use during our stay here. I informed her that this was not what I had in mind, and I would prefer if we could pull into her yard somehow. I have been out to see her before and as I remembered the house, there was an old driveway to one side beside the fence that I thought might be large enough for the trailer. I sent her rough dimensions and she assigned her husband Pete to work on the logistics of my request.

It would certainly have worked to park in an RV Park. There are a couple not too far away, and we could still spend lots of time with her, but there is just something nice about visiting family and staying close to them that made me want to park in her yard. You have to find a way to hook up water, household “outside plugs” are rarely 30 amp, so we would not have the use of the Air Conditioner if it got hot, and there is certainly no place to hook up the sewer, but, parking in the yard of family just somehow feels like “home” more than another in a long list of RV Parks.

Linda got back to me after a couple of days, and said that Pete was working on a solution. There wasn't room on the old driveway because there was a tree in the way – I don't recall a tree, but it has been five years since I was there. He was going to look at some other options. He had to measure the back lane and consult with some of his neighbours. This sounded positive, and a follow-up contact a couple of days later informed us that Pete had indeed figured it all out. He had removed the tree out beside the driveway – Linda said she didn't really like that tree anyway, and this was an excuse to get rid of it, and he thought that although we would have to park with the trailer door away from the house, we would fit there. He also had negotiated with a neighbour who would allow us to park in his lane-way at the back of the house which would also fit the trailer. He is a “Trailer Towing” RVer as well, so this kind offer is not unexpected – RVers are like that.

Linda & Pete's Garden
When we arrived I examined the options and elected to try to fit the trailer into the old driveway beside the house. There was a tall fence on one side and a large tree out by the road I would have to manoeuvre around to get it in, but Pete had done a great job of clearing a spot – there was even fresh grass growing where the offending tree had once stood. After looking everything over I decided to pull the trailer in so the door was on the house side and I thought I should be able to then back the truck out over the lawn. I asked permission to try this approach, because Linda and Pete are proud of their yard and have put a lot of effort into making it look its best. Deep holes cut by spinning tires would not have been appreciated. Pete said that he felt the lawn was hard enough, and besides, Linda was not home from the airport yet so could not object.

Everything worked perfectly. The trailer fit, and it is nice and level, the slideout didn't hit the fence, and using both water hoses I could get to the outside tap on the other side of the house. Pete had to do some more trimming of the trees around the trailer as he had underestimated the height of the trailer, but again assured us it was something that needed to be done anyway.

Dutch Style BBQ
And I was right, it does almost feel like home. Linda arrived with her oldest son Chris from Alberta, and our youngest sister Margaret and her daughter had arrived earlier. Linda's daughter Tracey was also here, and with boyfriends, partners and grandchildren, we had a large family barbecue in their back yard surrounded by Linda's twinkling dragon fly lights and beautiful gardens. There was a total of 14 people enjoying Pete's barbecue skills. As the rest of the family packed into cars to drive up the mountain to the chalet to go to bed, I was happy to allow Pete to pour me another glass of his delicious homemade red wine, and watch the sun set and the various garden lights come on, knowing that I was already “home”.

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