Telling travel stories is about recounting the highest highs and the lowest lows. Whether it’s rejoicing as the summit of the mountain is reached, or laughing along at the follies of a ride on a midnight chicken bus, readers are voyeuristically invested in the epic moments. (Although, let’s be real, we find the chicken bus story just a little bit more deliciously enjoyable.) As I recount our stories, it is the highs and lows that we retell the most, but sometimes I feel sorry for the stories that didn’t quite make the cut simply because everything worked out in the end. They had the potential to be the next chicken bus story, but instead, everything balanced out to the mundane. Every story gets its day, I say. I want to celebrate those stories-the stories charged with emotion as the balance of good fortune seemed to be heading towards tragedy, but leveled out. These are the stories of the things that could have gone very badly, but didn’t.
~From Whence the Water Came~
Act One: The (Almost) Flooded Camper
Running water is something that is easy to take for granted in a house. The water seems to flow from nowhere into the pipes with just the flick of a lever. Not so in a camper. Water must be connected to the camper, so you are intimately aware from where the water pours. It is also not as easy to assume that water will flow every time you flip the switch. So, it was not surprising when I flipped on the kitchen sink and nothing happened. The Mister immediately checked the outside water source, but everything seemed to be in working order. I flipped the lever at the sink a few more times to be sure there was nothing we could do to fix the problem. . As we headed past the exit to the campsite, the tell tale sign of water problems greeted us in the form of several backhoes, a large hole, and a contigent of plumber type people. A water main leak had been detected, so the water had been shut off to facilitate the repair. We set off for the day hoping that the campsite would fix the water problem before we had returned for the night
We enjoyed a day at Thomas Edison’s Lab in Orange, NJ and had moved onto lunch when I felt a sinking in my stomach. What if we had left the water in the “on” position and the water had flow had been restored while we were gone? We walked back through the steps of the morning, and the Mister was certain that the water had been left off, but I could not ignore my gut feeling.
Instead of carrying on with our sightseeing, I insisted that we swing back by the camper just to check. As I neared the door, I knew from the sound inside that my gut feeling was confirmed. Water was unmistakably running inside the camper. I tentatively reached for the door, expecting a sheet of water to greet me much like a cartoon scene, but when I stepped inside, there did not seem to be any water damage. The sink was running, and with the tanks full, an ominous level of water was creeping up the shallow sides of the bathtub. At the rate of flow, we probably had only 30 minutes before our entire camper was engulfed in flood. With simultaneous horror and relief, I shut off the sink. Under other circumstances, I would have been thrilled to "I told you so" my husband, but the narrow miss took all the wind out of my sails. I was far too grateful that our camper-and our trip-had not been destroyed.