Some of you may be surprised to learn that S is a schmoozer. On the other hand, some of you know that pretty well by now :-). He loves talking to people. Loves learning from people and loves hearing their stories.
Well apparently, RVing offers prime opportunities to do just that. Practically everywhere we’ve camped so far we’ve made friends with our neighbors (and hosts), thanks to S. First of all, these have been wonderful encounters since all these people are just the nicest and have interesting tales to tell to boot. Mostly they are retirees (or close to it) which comes as no surprise of course. But that just makes their stories even more interesting. They’ve lived longer and have that much more to share. Each, as we’re seeing, also offers up his share of RV knowledge to help us newbies along the way. Not only do they offer very welcome advise on every aspect of RVing, some also offered physical assistance and even equipment! I'm telling you, there sure are many good decent hearts out there who want to share their kindness with the world.
This, for example, is Charlie.
He's 93. Yup, 93. He’s been RVing for many many many years and still is, on his own. He did give it up for a while after his dear wife passed away but then got back on the road, taking her along with him in an urn. Yes indeed. As he put it: “We were together for 63 years, there’s no way I’m leaving her behind now!”
Charlie had life lessons and plenty of humor to offer up as well as pictures to share. He was a pleasure to meet and learn from. We’ll be thinking of him many times as we travel down the road.
Then there were H & K.
They were our neighbors at our first campsite at the Tetons. H is an absolute wealth of RVing and life information. He's led a most interesting life, many years of it in an RV, for better and for worse. H offered up advice on roads and campsites all over the country as well as technical tips and advice and, believe it or not, a great tool that has made our lives, as far as fresh water is concerned, soooo much easier: The Bladder! Huh?! What on earth is a Bladder you may be asking right about now....Well, it holds water, hence the name of course. It's basically a big blue plastic balloon like thing that one fills up at the spigot and then brings IT to the RV, instead of bringing the RV to the spigot. Obviously a much easier task! H offered it up, yup, just offered it up - repeatedly, since he had two. We tried to give him something for it, offer some computer service (he's a Mac guy too), but no, he wouldn't take it. All he said was "pay it forward, pay it forward". We saw H&K several times again before they left, you'll see them again in a future post.
At our second campsite in the Tetons we were lucky enough to find our honorary/adopted parents/grandparents. Honestly. Yet another couple, M&S. M&S have also led an interesting and varied life. They are fun, interesting, kind, loving, helpful beyond measure and for some reason really seem to like us :-). I know, hard to believe. We first met M when we were trying, really really hard, to back in to our site......it wasn't going too well, to say the least. Michael approached us and offered to back it in himself, being a former truck driver (as well as a former VC of a large company) and current motorhome driver he knew what he was doing. We, obviously, did not. S said no thanks.
HUH?? I know!
I couldn't believe my ears! But, he was right. He explained that he really needed to learn how to do this and the only way that was gonna happen was actually doing it, not watching someone else do it. Well, M ended up staying with us (thank God!) and guided us in, slowly but surely. I BTW was driving and S provided the directions for most of this prolonged effort! S took over for the final bit cause he was really itchy to do it himself. M was a Godsend to say the very least. Once again, we'd chosen the most difficult spot to settle in.
After that little adventure we got to know M&S better and better by hanging out by the fire with them, chit chatting and having prolonged conversations during the day as well. They have spent several summers up at this location. Come first snow and they head back to CA. They both have been incredibly helpful, offering advice, tricks and yet again, equipment. They even went and bought marshmallows for the kids to roast by their fire (yes, they had some...). They are wonderful people and are the reason we hung around this location for so so long. We look forward to hopefully catching up with them again in AZ sometime in January, and maybe even up here next summer.....
There are many other people, particularly here at this campsite in the Tetons, that have left their mark on us in a most wonderful way. There are B&K, M&S's friends who have not only been fun to hang out with, for both us and the kids, but have offered Labra plenty of love, veterinary advice and most importantly, as far as Labra's concerned anyway, buffalo burgers on almost a daily basis!
There was S (yes, a lot of S names!), another fellow free spirit who sold everything and took off in his self made RV.
The kids have also made some good friends during our stay here -
S&K, 9 and 11 respectively, proved to be terrific playmates and great friends. S and Analyzer were really like two peas in a pod. For a day and a half the kids played and played and had campfire time as well. All were very sad when they had to leave but we do have their info and hope to stay in touch. S&K's parents were extremely nice and I had a lovely time chatting with T, the Mom. She is about to embark on homeschooling both kids (11 year old is already homeschooled) and is a kindred spirit in both homeschooling and health philosophies. D, T's husband, will be deploying to Afghanistan in the next few months. We will be thinking of them, wishing all of them much luck and D a quick and safe return home.