And then there was… (silence)


Friday afternoon was the first opportunity on this trip to

  • turn the engine off,
  • have a few minutes of free time when we weren’t exhausted,

And it was eery.  There were:

  • No OHV’s.
    Ranger_recreational_off-highway_vehicle
  • No ocean sounds.
    OceanBeach12
  • Just the still of the forest.
    wisconsin--forest-carol-barrington

And….

  • There was Wisconsin Mucky Summer Humidity,  also known as summer haze…
    .Summer Haze

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not complaining.  It’s just interesting how quickly what I spent a lifetime becoming accustomed to can suddenly (in comparison) become foreign!  I don’t remember this much humidity.  I love the silence of the forest, but I miss the sound of the ocean.  The OHV’s — well, they’re just what they are: a joy to some and a nuisance to others  — but they were ubiquitous where we just came from and the sudden absence is a bit mind blowing.

We slept Ok last night.  It was hot like the previous nights — but seemed hotter.  We have not yet twigged the best way to keep the coach at a comfortable night-time temperature/humidity level.

That wasn’t a problem on the Coast — it was cool EVERY night.  And even though we might have kept the dehumidifier (freestanding – that we bought while we still had Journey to help control mold and mildew) running all night we never felt this kind of humidity.

You other RV’ers know that finding a comfortable temperature can sometimes be a sticky wicket.  If you set the A/C warm enough to be comfortable with it blowing on you it’s not cool enough to sleep without waking.  If you set it cold enough to sleep with you need blankets to keep you out of the breeze.  You can turn off the A/C and just use the house fans, but we go to bed early and often the heat of the day hasn’t dissipated — so it’s still to hot when we go to bed, and just right when we wake up.

We’ll suss it out in time.  And our technique will inevitably change as we move to other parts of the country.  This would all be much simpler if we could just learn to stay awake later and get up later — but a lifetime of early to bed and early to rise has not been an easy habit to kill; and 10 months on the forest didn’t do anything to help when we sort of had a time to go to work.

And so it is that retirement is a period of adjustment; and RV’ing is a period of continual adjustment. If you want calm stability in your life, never buy an RV.  But they can be SO MUCH FUN!

The Grand Scene

My mother was one to sit in her easy chair and watch the neighbors. She knew them all by name, knew their comings and goings, and commented on any deviation.  That doesn’t sound complimentary but I mean no ill will — it’s just one of the things she did.  Dad wanted to travel; Peg and I are living my FATHER’S DREAM to be sure.  Mom’s priorities were different:  there were local people she cared about and for and she needed to be near them.  They traveled a good deal, but she never wanted to be away from home more than a couple weeks at a time; and when dad talked her into the rare 1 month long trip she was ready to be home after 2 weeks.  And hope to heaven that no one had a heart attack or died while they were gone, that would have ruined everything.

Anyway…

Peg and I were driving down the road — someplace East of Worthington — and all around us were green, verdant fields and rolling hills and trees.  I looked at her and said, “Now isn’t this better than sitting on your sofa in the living room and staring out at all the neighbors?”

Indeed.  It is. At 55 mph on the Interstate life is quite luxurious in an RV.  You are way up there — over the top of all those short cars.

The view near Chamberlain S.D.
The view near Chamberlain S.D.

At that speed you are moving slow enough that almost all the traffic is pulling away from you (so you aren’t having to hit the brakes or change lanes to pass).  You aren’t going fast enough to really need to be super-vigilant — normal vigilance is OK.  🙂  In other words you can just enjoy being there.

The world stretches out in front of you...
The world stretches out in front of you…

We don’t need to travel a lot — but good gosh golly — it’s hard to get tired of this sensation — the world laid out in front of you like a … giant oyster … had to get in a little Coast humor seeing as this scene is so DRY!

This is getting back to the retirement we visualized.  And the one we bought the bigger RV to enjoy.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for stopping by, and God willing and if the creek don’t rise (after all, we are along the Mississippi where there was flooding earlier this season) I’ll talk with you tomorrow.  🙂

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6 Comments

  1. I love your description of the silence. I can remember a few times myself wondering, “Where did the noise go?” The sounds of silence are fleeting. Not to forget those moments when you know that the absence of noise is not a good thing.

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    1. Connie,

      I like that thought: times when ‘the absence of noise is not a good thing.’ That is a little askew from where my brain had been — but noise is such a ubiquitous thing and getting away from it is — for me — a great joy. In Milwaukee we could never escape the sirens, airport runway and truck noises (this from a guy who spend close to a decade driving semis). When we first went mobile one of the greatest joys was the ability to find a campsite where we did not have to listen to any of that. And we did. We were, and are, fatigued by city life. That said, one does become accustomed to certain things. The sounds of children playing — has to be the cliche of all cliches, for when the kids are making NO noise there is bound to be mischief, danger, or mayhem. For decades — after I had started traveling a lot — I would enter a room (at home or hotel) and turn on the TV. I wanted the sounds of human interaction. I rarely actually WATCHED it — but I wanted the NOISE. I’m still that way to a degree. I tend to turn on the TV in the RV as well. I’m seldom watching but I want the sound of voices. In the 80’s during a period of intense difficulty at work we took a family vacation to Guadeloupe. During our time there, in the middle of the Caribbean, the bird sounds were cacophonous. Day and night. In the rain and in the sun. It seemed there were millions of them and they made a racket. One day during our stay we took a hike to the top of the soufriere (volcano). As we approached the summit we were met by an acrid stench of sulphur and an absolute silence. Not a single bird call could be heard – and we stopped and listened intently – so indefatigable had been the current of bird noises that when they stopped the silence was deafening. I will never forget that moment. Nor the smell of sulphur. Even today – 30 years later – the smell of sulphur makes me think of birds, because of their absence. Noise is good. It’s the sound of life, and nature, and activity. I have known a few men and women who spend a portion of their declining years incapacitated: paralyzing strokes, muscle atrophy, etc.. I have long pondered what that must be like to be unable to move, unable to make sound, unable to communicate: locked in a body that will not respond no matter what the brain might be doing. It is incomprehensible to me. Indeed, the absence of noise can be a very terrible thing.

      P

      > >

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  2. I can relate to your RV issues. The silence while trying to sleep in the winter months with no air conditioner noise at night got so bad for us that we had to improvise a solution. We now plug in a white noise app to our RV sound system so that it sounds like a gentle rain outside. It keeps us from hearing every little noise outside and helps both of us sleep better. We usually run our ceiling fan at night at home and found that we were both struggling to sleep well in the winter months when out in the RV. It is a great solution, too. We are also living my fathers dream, as Daddy wanted an airstream trailer, and my mother would not go for it. I wish he could have lived that dream for awhile before he passed away, too.

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    1. Oh Dear!

      Ya know, I never associate anything with not being able to SLEEP because I FALL ASLEEP very quickly. My SIL even says I can sleep anywhere. What is not so easy for either of us is STAYING asleep. We had a 12 family apartment for 35 years and as a manager and maintenance guy sounds were not my friends. Running water usually meant a repair. Sounds in the hallway usually meant a drunken tenant. Smells had their own vocabulary too. When we sold the apartments in 2000 it took a long time to realize that we didn’t need to listen to every sound; then we bought the school in 2006 and we didn’t hear much of anything because we were living behind multiple 12” thick masonry walls. Segue to an RV, a Winnebago RV to boot, without a lot of insulation and the world became very different. We have, for a long time, used the TV as a nightcap. Set the sleep timer and I’m off to La La Land. Peg has a harder time falling asleep and she tends to awaken in the middle of the night for hours on end — whereas I get up, crank up my ‘puter, putter around for an hour or so and then come back to bed and fall asleep like a baby. We also use our iPod to induce sleep — a little something baroque and we’re off to the slumber races. Our Winnebago had a ceiling fan and we loved it. The Ambassador doesn’t – we are still learning how to moderate the temperature in our bedroom. We now have two heating/cooling/fan units on the roof and they cool much better than the Winnebago did — but they are also drafty (even more drafty than noisy). The temperature sensors for both units are at the extreme ends of the coach — the one near the windshield reads hotter, the one in the bedroom reads colder — finding a degree setting that makes sense is a game we play. A game that affects sleep. Funny the way our parents dreams sometimes become our own. Not universal but frequent enough. Cheers, P >

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