A Love of Water

The sun is still tucked behind the mountains when Bear nudges me. He’s ready for his morning walk. I had a rough night, a very restless night. So, I’m moving rather slowly this morning. A weather front had rolled in and the high winds kept rocking the RV all night long. Perhaps, one day I’ll get used to living in the RV and won’t be so worried about every sound, smell, and movement felt in this tiny home on wheels.

March 16, 2012 – Upon exiting the RV, I noticed the water level had risen even more. Soon our firepit will be underwater. Each night as more water is released from the dam, the water level continues to swallow up more shoreline and encroaching closer to our RV and campsite.

A few days earlier, the rangers came around notifying RVers that we’d have a few more days before we’d have to move. Some RVs, those that were camped closer to the boat ramp, had already moved on considering their slice of land was already covered with an inch of water. Since Lake Pleasant is a reservoir, water levels are closely managed and levels fluctuate a lot. During the fall, lake levels are allowed to go down and in the spring, the lake is allowed to fill. Soon our beautiful lakefront property will be underwater.

We loved camping along the shores of Lake Pleasant.

Walking the dog and reflecting on life.

While walking Bear, I glance up and down the shoreline. There’s only a handful of RVs scattered about. I take in my tranquil surroundings and admire the colorful sky as the sun begins to rise. As I leisurely stroll, I reflect on the past month of life on the road and ask myself, “Am I ready to head home or am I home”? I don’t have the answer just yet, but I do have a much better understanding as to why my mother encouraged me to start RVing while young and healthy. It’s a fantastic way to travel, and I feel a sense of contentment that I hadn’t felt in a long time.

Local wildlife – Burros can be seen hanging around Lake Pleasant Regional Park

I find so much joy and peace being near the water, camping in nature, and enjoying the wildlife.  Perhaps it’s due to fond childhood memories spent camping near lakes in northern Wisconsin. My mind wanders …

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My parents are originally from Germany and had traveled all over Europe on their motorcycle before emigrating to the United States.  As two very adventurous souls, they sold most of their belongings, packed two steamer trunks and a suitcase, boarded a ship near Amsterdam, and a week later mom, dad, and their two-year-old son (my brother) arrived in New York City. They then took a train from New York City to Chicago, Illinois, where their sponsor would help them get settled into their new life in the United States.

My father did not speak any English with the exception of some very inappropriate phrases taught to him by American soldiers during the war.  My father spent his eighteenth year in an American-French prison camp.  He had been a German soldier during World War II and had been captured by the Americans. So you can imagine the type of English he was taught. My mother was a bit more adept at picking up languages and knew enough English words (proper words) to get by. 

What guts and fortitude they had to leave their home, their family, and move to a foreign country … a country that had previously bombed and destroyed their homes and towns and imprisoned my father. Their intent was to explore the United States for two years then move to Argentina for two years and then eventually return home to Germany. 

Life did not go exactly as planned or expected.  I showed up a bit more than a year after their arrival to America. I guess the doctor was wrong, much to mom’s delight. Thus, with two kids and all the responsibilities associated with a growing family, the travel that they intended to do was slightly out of reach.

But they weren’t content to just stay housebound. Summer weekends were spent at Chicago’s Lake Shore with the additional car and tent camping trips to Wisconsin and Michigan.  During these explorations, my father developed a passion for fishing. Summer vacations were soon spent camping throughout the state of Wisconsin at various lakes. My brother and I loved these trips. We would spend hours swimming, making new friends, catching frogs, fish, grasshoppers, and lighting bugs. Television was never missed.

When my sister came along (doctors were wrong again), a pop-up trailer replaced the tent. My dad also added a boat, which was pulled by his fishing buddy and co-worker. The guys would fish early in the morning and again late in the day. I guess that’s when “the fish are biting”. During the heat of the day, my brother and I learned how to water ski. Oh, how fun these summer vacations were, and I thank my parents for such fond childhood memories. 

Fast forward … three grown kids, empty nesters, and retired.  It was finally time to see the United States of America, the whole reason for coming to this country all those years ago.  For over fifteen years and a few RVs later, mom and dad explored the United States making friends from around the country.  These adventures turned into the best years of their lives. My mom’s face would always light up just talking about their RV travels and the friends they had made.  

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Would history repeat itself? Would I too embrace this RV lifestyle with the same passion as my parents? Questions to ponder! Hmm, it might even be fun for Al and me to retrace some of my folk’s travels.

Moving on!

Our ten days camped at the spillway near the 10 lane boat ramp at Lake Pleasant were enjoyable and educational, but we had new territory to explore and new people to meet. It was time for us to move over to the east side of the Phoenix valley for some new adventures which would include group camping with the Escapees.

Salt River, Phoenix, AZ
Salt River
An egret lands along the shore of the Salt River near Phoenix Arizona. Snow capped Four Peaks can be seen in the distance.

37 thoughts on “A Love of Water

  1. Ingrid
    Your parents courage and spirit of adventure is both admirable and enviable. My parents took my brother and me camping as kids, but my Dad’s dream was to tour the country in a truck camper after he retired (and we left home). He died at 52 and the dream died with him. That’s a large part of the reason we RV. At 72 my motto is “Gonna do it as much as I can while I still can!” Great post–well written. Joe

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for sharing your story, Joe. That’s so unfortunate that your dad passed so young. I was blessed to see my mom reach 83 and my dad 92. They lived a full and adventurous life. But that’s all the more reason for us to do the same. Here’s to RVing as long as we can. BTW, unlike last year, I booked several summer reservations and can’t wait to get the wheels rolling again.

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  2. Some people – and they are many – just stuck at the question “Am I ready to head home or am I home?”
    This “What if” formula ruined thousands of lives if not millions.
    Am not sure if you chose the correct paths or not, but at least you have something to tell. You have memories.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My folks certainly knew how to enjoy life. Since that was our first visit to Lake Pleasant, the encroaching water surprised us at first. The rangers monitor the campers regularly. So, we didn’t feel a concern for our safety, but we still kept a close eye on the water level.

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  3. Beautiful post. We too are following the trails of my parent’s car camping travels throughout the US. From the Bay Area, a very touching moment was when we visited Earthquake Lake off the Madison River in MT.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh how fun! Do you have photographs from your parents to compare the scenery? I wish my folks had logged their travels better but at least I have enough info to guesstimate. Enjoy!

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  4. Ingrid, I love this post! Thanks so much for sharing your parent’s story. They must have had some wonderful adventures! I can relate to how you felt you weren’t sure if you were ready to return home yet. On every trip we made, I was never ready to go home. There were always special places I didn’t want to leave. There was always some reason we had to get back, usually doctor’s appointments or something boring like that.

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    1. Thank you, Beth. This six-week road trip was enlightening on so many levels, but it was the four-month road trip that ended in us selling the house. So many more fun adventures to be had. Now that we have an annual lot/home base in Phx, our returns to the valley are similar to when we had a sticks and bricks … taking care of boring necessities of life upon our arrival.😏

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  5. That was thoroughly engaging, all the way from the beginning to the end of the post, Ingrid. I remember you mentioning about your German roots but I had not read these details before. Calls for a book. 🙂 Hope you have been well. The burros are adorable! xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Arundhati. I’m not sure I would ever write a book to be sold to the public, but I do hope to put these blog posts into a printed format of sorts to pass onto my children and someday grandchildren. Whenever I come across the wild burros in the desert, I get excited and try and take as many photos as they will allow. The babies are the cutest!

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      1. I would think they are! I have a soft corner for donkeys – and the burro looks like a close cousin. I hear you on the book. But it does sound quite fascinating. Like a teaser about the kind of stories that might be buried there. Your written records are the greatest gift to your family. 🧡🧡

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        1. Hopefully, my children will be entertained by these stories. They are already familiar with many, and it has also been very enjoyable for me to step back in time and remember some of these tales. 😊

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  6. “Am I ready to head home or am I home”? Strange how that evolves. That magical transition that may or may not happen. One thing is for sure. There is a freedom to the road that is rarely experienced at home.
    On another note, I remember camping out at a campground near Fort Brag once and waking up to gulls floating outside our RV. That was a wake up call! 🙂 –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Eek! Sounds like the water got a little too close to the RV. The freedom of the RV lifestyle is addictive, and every time we think we’re ready for a sticks and bricks, we get cold feet. 😆

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  7. Loved hearing your parents’ story. They were true adventurers. As my dad says “the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree!” My maternal grandparents immigrated to the US along with my mom’s oldest brother. They followed my grandmother’s sister to the US. So fortunate for me since we now get to rv over our great country. My dad wanted to do what we did, but instead they just roadtripped during their retirement years until health affected their travels. Wonderful that you have enjoyed so many places. What a great life!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, true adventurers with a lot more guts than I have. I too consider myself lucky that my parents came to this country and we get to live this lifestyle. One day, we’ll buy a house but until then we’ll try and keep the wheels rolling 😊 I can’t wait to hear about your TX travels. You’ll need to keep me updated.

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    1. Haha! My dad used to say that little saying a lot. I know I don’t have the guts that they did to move to a foreign country without speaking the language. But I’ll gladly follow in their footsteps via the RV lifestyle. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Just started following you. Your story is very similar to a friend I mine who now lives in Chicago. She and her folks immigrated from Germany.
    I am 77 and live in South Carolina but I still hope to RV my way back to my birthplace in SW Michigan and beyond.
    Your Post is very well written.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you John for stopping by and reading. I already have some reservations made for a visit to the UP this summer. Fingers crossed, my plans go unscathed. I love Michigan and never spend enough time exploring that state. Hope you make it back for a visit.

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  9. I have followed your blog for a long time, and am enjoying this trip back to the beginning very much. I always want to have more to read at the end of each post. Courageous folks, your parents! What a wonderful childhood they gave you. Looking forward to reading more.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I appreciate knowing others are enjoying these tales. It has been therapeutic for me to write them and I hope my children and future grandchildren enjoy hearing about our adventures. I’ll keep the stories coming. 😊

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  10. This post just popped up in my email. Since we got off the road, my blogging slowed way down – Bill said we were still going to travel, so I did a few posts. Oh how I miss the life style! This was a fun read, your beginning, then so fascinating about your parents! Hopefully I’ll be able to follow along. My new sticks and bricks life style doesn’t seem to leave much time for leisure reading. But what I do read and love are “true” stories so I’ll do my best to stay connected!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So nice to hear from you Debbie and hope you are enjoying your new lifestyle. We continue to look for houses but always end up with cold feet. I guess we’re not ready to give up full-time RVing … just yet anyway. I have a bunch of exciting plans scheduled for this summer and am hoping and praying nothing messes with those plans 🙏 It has been a challenging year.

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