Pilgrimage: A journey to a holy site as part of religious observance. A Hajj, peregrinate, or trek. An enlightening spiritual journey costing tangible secular money.
Last week Grandpa’s little tax deduction went on vacation with our daughter and her friends, formally known as “The Nerd Pack”. The world’s oldest teenagers pooled their funds and rented a condo in Florida so they could be nerdy somewhere else. They graciously took the kid because they wanted to be nice. Just kidding. They needed him along so he can interpret things like compass directions and orienteering information. You could say he kept them alive because I don’t think any of them could find their way around the block without a GPS and an obvious trail of glutton-free, caramel-latte flavored bread crumbs, but enough about them.
The guardian of my last request and I decided to take a vacation too. As free-range vagabonds, we needed to get away from getting away. I decided to go cheap and easy so I picked the place she chose. That place is Eastern Kentucky near the Cincinnati area. You know that city. It’s where the show WKRP was supposedly staged. It’s where they defy all that’s good and noble by putting weird seasonings and spaghetti in their chili. It’s also the locale of the new Ark Encounter. The venue is fairly close to Geezer Rock and Pie Palace so it fits as a cheap and easy trip.
We connected the traveltrailering device to the GMC Gas-Guzzler and then unconnected it. She-Who- Bosses noticed that the tires on the GMC had grown a nice head of wire. To the uninformed, that means we needed tires. Six hours and $900 later we reassembled the sojourning convoy and pulled out.
If you’ve ever pulled several tons with a truck you know that tons pulled are directly proportional to the fuel used. The ratio is one ton cargo moved 1 mile equals one ton of gas, more or less. Seven miles after launch we stopped for another tank of global warming for our cheap and easy trip.
We blasted off again. All systems were “go” for a minute so we went. We continued “wenting” until we needed more fuel, which was in Indiana, way short of the Louisville highway labyrinth. Without the pulled payload we could have been to Louisville four times on the same bucket of fuel. We filled up and got back on the sinter-state for a microsecond and the trailer tire exited the rim.
Louisville natives are not empathetic to a Geezer limping along on the highway, and they act really rude with all the honking and hand gestures. I had to pull over to change the $100 tire. A meager hour later my knuckles were bleeding, my favorite golf shorts were grease soaked but the tire was changed. I got back in the pulling machine without getting smashed like a bug and we ferried on to our cheap and easy vacation.
In a bit, I remembered I’d left my new jack and chrome tire tool on the side of the road. That’s another hundred bucks down the driving drain.
The cheap and easy trip to the Big Bone RV Park and Center for Unsupervised Plague-Carrying Carnivorous Child-Packs took 12 hours. That’s about three times the four hours we planned. Then again, it’s not the getting there, it’s the journey. To top off that journey, the campsite was about an inch wider than the RV and on the side of what we flatlanders call a “cliff ”. Two hours and a lot of cussing later, we’d backed in for our cheap and easy vacation.
The next few days were easy, if not cheap. We did all of the touristy things. We took the Grand Hajj to the Ark, we ate chili with pasta, and we drove in ever widening circles looking for free parking in Cincinnati. Incidentally, the word Cincinnati is an old Algonquin word for “Move along or you’re getting a ticket.”
To sum up our heavenly endeavor it wasn’t heavenly. In the first place, a pilgrimage isn’t part of Christianity, and spending a fortune to go in a commercialized prehistoric theme park does nothing for the faith.
Cheap and easy RVing isn’t, and I’ve learned that it may never be. My cheap and easy trip cost over $1000 in tires and tools, $450 in gas, $85 to get in the maybe-accurate Ark, and $24 in really bad chili. Oh yeah, there was the $54 in camping fees and the new $8 prescription for nerve pills.
In the plus column, I didn’t have to pay for a hotel. That would have set me back up to $189. That may have been easy, but not cheap at all.