The first few corners are nerve-wracking, the kind of white knuckled terror-inducing driving I haven’t done since the very first time I sat down behind the wheel. Or the time in Thailand that I claimed I could ride a motorcycle when I actually had no clue. It always works out in the end. So far1.
I have driven somewhere in the neighborhood of 250,000 miles, but this is the first time I’ve strapped myself to a 27 foot long monstrosity in unknown condition and promptly set off, barreling down a mountain on narrow streets through a town I just arrived in 2 hours ago. The prudent man would have done some sort of test drive I suppose. Meh, screw it, let’s go.
There’s one big hairpin turn at the bottom of the hill that I noted on the way up and it’s the main thing that has my palms sweating. It turns out to be nothing. I pump the brakes a bit, take it nice and slow and slice around the corner like it’s not even there. After that the road straightens out as it heads through downtown Mars Hill.
At the first stop light I pull up close enough to the car in front of me that the entire facade of the Travco is visible in the back window. I start laughing because it is quite simply the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.
Over the course of the next 180 or so miles home this will happen over and over again whenever I stop and catch a glimpse of this thing in some window or mirror. It’s not me either, it seems to happen to just about everyone. I get 180 miles of smiles and waves. The first time I stop a man is up at the window asking if he can take a picture before I’ve even taken off my seatbelt.
I get smiles and waves from hoodlum kids lounging on skateboards behind a gas station, a couple coming out of an antique store in Fletcher, NC. An old man walking through Anderson, SC tips a baseball cap to me and everyone I see looking my way it smiling. I pull into a gas station, but it proves too small (the tank is in rear and these pumps were not 27 feet from the door of the building) so I leave. My parents, who are in town and graciously agreed to following me back, stop and go inside and later report that the entire gas station is talking about the Travco, speculating on the year.
Pulling into Athens I stop at a light downtown and everyone waves. A man making a left comes around the corner and I watch his eyes widen as he takes in the Dodge grill and then he breaks into a smile and starts laughing. I completely relate to him.
Usually wanting is better than having. We call this buyers remorse, but it’s basic evolutionary biology — wanting, that is, imagining having, releases more dopamine than having. So you have all this dopamine associated with the thing you want, but then when you actually get the thing, well, no more dopamine.
Unless it’s a Travco apparently, because I get a huge hit of dopamine every time I see this thing. It’s been in the driveway for nearly a week and I still smile every time I walk out the door. Yesterday my wife and I stood in the front yard just staring at it and giggling like children.
To call it an RV is to say a Stradivarius is a violin. The Travco is not an RV; it’s a 27 foot long fiberglass container full of magic and joy. I have no idea what it is about it, but it’s clearly not just me that feels it. It’ll make you giddy.
I can’t wait to get it in top traveling shape.
Work on the interior is underway. I’ll post more pics later.
I hope it goes without saying that my kids were not with me for this trip. ↩