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Lifestyle: Why I Prefer RVing

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine

I’m just now recovering from my latest bout of terminal illness. No, I don’t have a dread
disease that is going to do me in. I had to fly to an event that I couldn’t possibly get to
in my motorhome — the Great North American RV Rally in Louisville, Kentucky. That meant
airport terminals and hotels, either of which is enough in itself to disturb the rhythm of
life that keeps me relatively happy and peaceful. In my opinion, all airplane trips and
airport terminals are bad, but this trip was worse than most. To begin my litany of gripes
about air travel, I have to start with the ridiculous ticket-pricing structure. To go
between two points can cost 16 different prices, with highs ranging up to three or four
times as much as the lowest fare. Unfortunately, if you don’t spend considerable time and
know-how in selecting a ticket, you can really get taken. Airline-ticket prices rank along
with used-car prices. You have to be savvy to deal with these people. On the rare occasions
that I have to fly, I go economy class. It’s a case of choosing between two evils: to pay
the outlandish prices first-class seats cost, or, as a six-footer, to suffer in the
medieval-torture box that the airlines call a seat. Since I have to watch my dollars as
carefully as most people, I opt for the low price, wedge myself in and try to lose myself
in a good book. That works; I do lose myself temporarily, but my knees still hurt when I
return to reality. The trip to Louisville was relatively uneventful, just the normal
waiting, lining up for security inspections, listening to unintelligible announcements and
people-watching. You see some unusual scenes at airports. Some are amusing and some are
appalling. I’m amazed at some of the young comfort-seekers who can sack out anywhere, like
those who prop their heads on a backpack and go to sleep on the floor, or drape themselves
over the arms of three seats. On the other hand, phone addicts bug me, particularly those
who are talking with obviously deaf people. One guy, with an ear-plug receiver and a lapel
mike, talked incessantly and rather loudly for the entire time we were in the
security-clearance line. Other people glanced at him frequently with obvious disgust.
Another cell-phone user, apparently attempting to convey an aura of importance, reported
loudly to someone, right up until we entered the airplane’s door, about the executive
decisions she’d made that day. Some of those phone addicts were still yakking from their
seats before takeoff. I wonder how they got by before cell phones were invented. One of the
sights that really boggles my mind are the glass-enclosed smoking rooms where
nicotine-starved addicts rush to get their jolts. Of course, at the Louisville airport,
which is in the state with the highest per-capita smoking rate, the smokers’ fishbowl was
particularly dense with roiling blue fumes. Then I had to stay in a motel for four nights.
I am not comfortable in someone else’s bed. I like my bed, my pillow, my toothbrush in my
rack, etc. My room was one that would have made a Motel 6 look luxurious – small, with a
bathroom lavatory that had no counterspace for my shaving kit, no real clothes closet (just
a knock-down, erect-it-yourself armoire) – all for only $129, plus $18 state and county
taxes, for a total of $147 a night! The crowning blow that set off my terminal illness was
on the return trip when, after two hours of waiting and just before boarding time, my
flight got cancelled. I was rescheduled and rerouted on another flight four hours later.
Not only was I subjected to a long wait, but I arrived in Spokane at nearly midnight and
had a two-hour drive home while very tired. I ended up getting into bed at 2 a.m. Is it any
wonder that I had a bad case of terminal illness? It takes these occasional air/hotel trips
to make me more appreciative of my motorhome. How fortunate we have been to have traveled
in them – always in the comfort of our own home with our own stuff in places that we chose.
And always knowing that we could choose when to start and when and where to stop. Of
course, we have a cell phone, but we talk in the privacy of our own space. Oh, I forgot to
mention that the airline, in a gesture of appreciation for our patience with the delay,
gave us free five-minute phone cards so we could notify people that we would be late. Now
wasn’t that just peachy?

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