Three kids, two dogs, one husband, and an RV in a campground

The lake at Oak Mountain, probably cleaner than the shower water…

So, given that I still have to celebrate Thanksgiving for the children, and that even if we didn’t, the little darlings would be off for the best part of a week and need serious entertaining, Andy and I decided to go RVing for the first time.  We rented a little 32’ motor home and set off.  The reason for renting a motor home and not a pull along (that’s a caravan to us Brits), is that it is against the law to travel in a pull along, but in a motor home, the kids can bounce around completely unrestrained, on the sofa, at the dining table, on the bed, and most important when your top speed is 55 miles an hour going downhill with the wind behind you, the bathroom!   Health and safety concerns are for others – we like to hang free and pray we can brake in time…oh yeah.

Cute little thing, huh

We headed north to an Alabama state park called Desoto, it was pretty, and they had a sewage hook up.  This is important when the kids eat nothing but crap and then crap all that crap into the crapper.  Did I mention the RV was old and rickety and a little broken down?  Including the plumbing?  Andy became rapidly obsessed with odor control products …Anyway, a sewage hookup is important,  just trust me on that one.

Desoto is famous for its falls, except that the stream had dried up…we did find a little waterfall called Lost Indian falls, and the girls loved hiking to the bottom of it and then back up on Thanksgiving day as we walked to the State Park restaurant…ok, ok it was about 20 feet from the top of the falls to the bottom, but hiking to the bottom and back sounds good, right?

How on earth does an Indian get lost at such a small fall?

Andy came over all Crocodile Dundee on me, or is that Daniel Boone, and was tracking the route to the restaurant using nothing but a piece of string, a walnut-shell, and the angle of the sun, (and a map). At one stage the girls went ahead, Andy wanted them to come back because he was sure we had missed a trail head somewhere along the way.   The girls refused to retrace their steps insisting that they knew the way, as they had found vital evidence of their own indicating we were still on the right path…

I'm with you girls, sorry Croc. Dundee



The restaurant served up a Thanksgiving buffet with all the trimmings, which beat my plan of turkey sandwiches followed by pumpkin pie, hands down.  Not least because we had eaten all the turkey and I forgot to pack the pie…

I did it again, I should know better, I DO know better, but I just can’t help myself.  It’s like when you see an old woman sitting on a park bench, in a dress with her knees wide apart, you know you shouldn’t look, you don’t even want to look, but you do…and I did.  No, I didn’t peek up the dresses of little old women, I tasted the Sweet Potato Crunch.  What the hell?  I don’t even like sweet potatoes, even without all the guck that they add…and what exactly do they add?  I think, and it’s only a guess, that the ‘crunch’ was brown sugar, but it could have been my molar collapsing under the strain of all that sugar.  It could, really.   I really think that the sweet potato bit of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, is like Brussel sprouts in a traditional British Christmas dinner – no one likes them, but they have to be there – it’s tradition!

I have to confess that it was a little crowded on board, especially since the dogs are about 60lbs. each, but they settled down pretty well.   Goldie Hawn curled up at the girls feet under the little dinette style table.  One exciting feature of this table was that it collapsed down to form a bed for someone at night, not so exciting was its tendency to do this when we drove over a bump…sorry Goldie – you were a very patient, long-suffering dog as the girls and I dug you out from under, as we hurtled down the freeway.

Niamhy and Imogen modelling the dining table as a bed.

Bruce Willis on the other hand knew exactly what his job was – co pilot!  He spent the whole trip watching the road as Andy drove, growling at squirrels and deer, small children, other dogs, menacing things like that.  What would we do without him to protect us?

On guard against chipmunks and other evil creatures

Our final destination was Oak Mountain State Park near Birmingham.  Do not go here if you like to wash…the bathrooms, laundry and showers all looked like something out of a horror movie.  

Oak Mountain

 However, this park does offer trail riding and the girls were desperate to do this…Andy was too heavy for the ponies, and I wasn’t about to watch my babies disappear down the trail alone, so I signed up too…

Jojo’s pony was called Paint, Niamhy’s pony was called Angel, I didn’t hear the name of Imogen’s pony, but she called her Lightning.  As you would expect, every one of these ponies were as animated as a hibernating squirrel…so why did my pony skitter and shy around the yard?  Even worse, the girl trying to calm him down was saying, ‘Whoa, Kill Kill’ Excuse me?  Kill Kill?!  I am a middle-aged overweight mother of three, not bloody Indiana Jones – I want the one called Sleepy or Dozy, not Kill Kill…The girl reassured me that his name was really Achilles, but how did he get his nickname? Huh? Huh?

Imogen was the funniest little trail rider I have ever seen…her legs stuck out on either side of Lightning like a living Thelwell cartoon and she ‘explored’ as she trotted along, feeling the saddle blanket and turning right round to feel the pony’s rump.  I could hear her singing songs to Lightening and telling her stories, she flapped the reins about like she was trying to swat a fly with them and bounced up and down as if she needed to pee – Lightning’s reaction to all this?  Absolutely nothing –she just plodded along – that is until she decided to leave the path and go eat the hedgerow…Imogen was so busy chatting to Jojo over her shoulder that she didn’t even notice she and Lightning had left the group.  The guide told her to ‘just pull up on the reins’, but I think even he was surprised when Imogen explained that first she had to find the reins as she hadn’t actually been holding onto them…

Turns out, Lightning’s name was Joanna, but Imogen liked the idea of riding a pony called Lightning – I don’t think Joanna cared…

I was surprised by the size and palatialness of some of the RV’s in the park and by the little homey touches – like hanging a sign outside the door saying something like “Welcome to the Jones” , Or “Smith Residence”.   A lot of RVs had little twinkle lights strung up around the awnings, or running around the perimeter of the lot.  I definitely suffered from twinkle light envy.  Andy says if we do it again I can have twinkle lights too – I’m excited….

oooh! I want some....

Christmas came early to Alabama!

whoa! Look at the pop outs on that!

The 'loft' bed modelled by Jojo

trailer trash, if ever I saw it...


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Filed under Andy, Bruce Willis, Goldie Hawn, Imogen, Jojo, Niamhy

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