In 1992 we were pulling a 13-foot trailer we called “The Bean.” It was green and round. That was the year we drove from west to east across the Trans-Canada highway for the first time. If you’ve ever taken that ride, you know the center of Canada on that road is like Texas—more and more of the same. My wife says that when you drive across the States, if you have to go through Texas, when you get to the other side, no matter where you are going, you are almost there. Well, on a long road in the middle of Canada, there was a lake next to the highway. So we pulled in to check out the area. We were amazed to have the entire park to ourselves. It was our lucky day.
Standing on the edge of the lake, we took in the view. Then I saw a distant subtle cloud headed in our direction. Within seconds I told my wife we better run for the truck—we did just in time. The cloud was a swarm of flies, and we were lunch. My wife noticed a few spots on my shirt. A few of the fastest flies got to me before I got to the truck and bit me through my shirt.
Places to see
There have been a couple of places my wife has always wanted to see. She keeps a list, and we will visit those places when we get to that area. One of those places was in the movie Somewhere In Time. The movie was filmed in 1980 with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan. So, we visited Mackinac Island in May 2013. While there, we took a walk along the shore. I saw another cloud and this time it was closer. Within seconds we were swarmed by mayflies. Lucky for us, they didn’t bite. However, their favorite thing is to buzz around your face, land in your eyes and mouth, and be annoying. It’s almost as bad as biting! After we escaped, we sat on a hill (the flies didn’t go there) and watched people walking the trail. Within minutes they’d be flailing around to escape the flies. The flies were both pests and entertainment (when we were far away).
And then there was Bullwinkle
How about the moose? After we finished the Trans-Canada ride, we headed south into Maine. Late one afternoon, we drove over some buzz-bumps on a deserted stretch of road. Immediately I noticed two things: a sign that said MOOSE CROSSING and a moose about fifty yards ahead. As I took my foot off the gas, the moose headed for the road. Surely she sees me. If she did, that didn’t matter. Within seconds the moose reared up like a horse. That was good for me because she missed the windshield. However, she came down between the truck and trailer, putting a moose-size dent in the fiberglass. At the next town, I patched the trailer up with duct tape and continued on to New York, where the trailer broke from the hitch, left us on my wife’s side of the truck, and landed in a ditch. No more Bean.
These are three stories I’ve learned from. If you’re going to spend time somewhere, know what predators, nuisances, or large animals may be on the move. A moose may look like Bullwinkle from a distance, but they are fierce close-up. Stay away from moose and bison. The smallest things and the largest things can mess up a nice trip. And, if a campground or park is empty, there’s probably a reason. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be there, but you need to know why no one else is.
Read more from Gary in his book “The Story of RVing: Van Living Explained.”