Several times in the night, I wake up, lift myself off the bed on one elbow, and peer out the window into the moonlit forest.
I can barely make out the shapes of the trees, but I know if anything moves, I’ll see it.
Nothing. How frustrating!
Almost every day I see fresh evidence of deer – their droppings and hoof tracks – all around our campsite. They’re probably on their way to the nearby pond. Some of the tracks are big. Dare I imagine elk are sneaking around the BLT at night? No, that’s crazy. Still, I’d like to see what’s making those tracks . . . .
The crew has become jaded by all this natural beauty surrounding us.
“Let’s go for a walk, guys!”
It’s now eleven in the morning. We haven’t walked because it was so chilly earlier this morning. Bridget and Spike have been napping for hours. It’s time to get moving around.
I start us off on a new trail that passes the small pond.
I’m still within viewing distance of the BLT when I turn around and see that the crew has no intention of going for a walk.
Spike is nosing around Gail’s motorhome and Bridget is staging a sit-in in the middle of the grassy meadow. She sits there like a mutant blossom surrounded by all the little white flowers.
“C’mon, Bridget! Don’t you want to walk with me?” I scream across the bucolic scene.
I know better than call Spike. Once he’s involved in snooping around someone else’s home, there’s no pulling him away. Bridget sits staring at me. I can almost hear her saying, “If you want me, come and get me.”
I give up on them and take a short walk by myself.
After a few photos, I turn back toward camp. I see Spike has investigated Gail’s camp to his satisfaction and is headed back to the BLT.
Ha! He thinks we’re home. Good. He’ll get what he deserves when he finds out we’re not there.
I cross paths with Bridget who is nonchalantly sniffing grass.
We head back to camp. I can hear Spike barking. He’s infuriated because he thinks I’m inside and I won’t open the door for him! I hurry across the meadow to shut him up. He sees Bridget and me come around the back end of the BLT.
I have the last laugh. “SURPRISE! You little noodle-head!”
This tickles Spikey so he starts hopping and spinning around in circles. “Okay, nutcake,” I say as I open the door to the BLT. “Settle down and get your drink.”
I haven’t seen much of Gail or Ken the past two days.
The last time we spoke Gail was getting over her cold and Ken was doing most of the talking. Ken’s the kind of guy who says, “I hate to say it” a lot. For instance, he’ll say, “I hate to say it, but . . .” and then he goes ahead and says it. This cracks me up so much that my face must turn red listening to him, all the while trying to keep the laugh inside. It’s particularly inappropriate for me to get the giggles because the stuff he hates to say and says anyway is usually not stuff to laugh at.
“I’ve got New Hampshire plates on my RV and the cops are like,’Hey, what are you doing here?'” Ken bulges his eyes in mock disbelief. “Um, I’m RVing in my RV, that’s what. I hate to say it but . . . I’m profiled because of those plates.”
Ken relates an incident that has colored his view of fulltiming in a negative way.
“I hate to say it, but I’m staying out of states like Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas . . . . “ He trails off and shakes his head, remembering a particular day. It happened outside a small town in Tennessee . “The cops stopped me. They say, ‘You were weaving’. I don’t know what they’re talking about because I was just driving down the road.”
Soon they’re giving Ken a choice. “Either sign this paper giving us permission to search your RV or we can go through all the court stuff, which will probably take days, and then we’ll search your RV anyway.”
“This is the choice they give me!” Ken exclaims.
“So I sign the paper. As soon as I sign the paper, like eight squad cars pull up and all these guys jump out. They go through the drawers, tearing stuff apart, making a mess. They don’t care. They’re getting angry because they can’t find anything. They even dump out a container of creamer. Looking for drugs, I guess.”
As he’s telling the story, I see Spike is doing his own unwarranted search around the base of Ken’s Class C motorhome.
“Then they go outside and look at the compartments and ask me ‘What’s in there?’ I tell them RV stuff is in there. They tell me to open them up. They pull everything out. All my stuff is alongside the road!”
I’m distracted by Ken’s 200-pound-plus retriever which is scooting his butt across the grass, making a swath a yard wide.
“Finally they say, ‘Okay, you can go.’ By this time it’s dark outside. I’ve got two little puppies with me. My stuff is on the ground. Cars are whizzing by going 70 miles an hour. And they say, ‘Okay, you can go.”
It suddenly strikes me that Ken’s dog, which is still scooting at top speed across the grass, is named Scooter! How can that be? The irony of the situation gets the best of me, despite Ken’s terrible story.
Spike is acting like a drug enforcement officer over there, poking around in Ken’s stuff, and Ken’s dog by the name of Scooter, if you can believe it, is scooting his butt all around us. I can’t help it! Suddenly everything strikes me as funny.
Gail sees my predicament and smiles.
I realize she’s heard Ken’s story before. Thankfully, Ken is so much in the memory of that awful incident, that he’s oblivious to my inappropriate – no, I hate to say it, my rude — reaction.
“Not all cops are bad, don’t get me wrong,” Ken concludes. “I hate to say it, but . . . some of them are just looking for a way to wreck your day.”
P.S. to law enforcement officers: This blog tells the story of my life as a fulltime vagabond and includes the people I meet. I did not write this entry to criticize law enforcement personnel. I respect the difficult job you dare to face each day and thank you for the work you do.