Carolina: Cruising Past 70: Travel Mishaps Can Be Scary; How We Deal with them Makes Us Smarter

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Travel Mishaps Can Be Scary; How We Deal with them Makes Us Smarter



Mishaps are unfortunate accidents, pimples in the otherwise creamy complexion of an ordinary day. I’m not talking about those incidents when we fall ill but about simple occurrences that we could have easily prevented but didn’t. And because, as travelers, we are often in unfamiliar places, they seem to happen more when we are on the go. But it is what we do when we encounter them that matters more.

Early in our RVing career, we had to return to our home state for my citizenship interview with the CIS. We weren’t supposed to be in the north in November but we had to. We parked our RV at the Thunderbird RV and Camping Resort in Monroe, Washington. It is riverfront and there was some fishing to be had. But, all of a sudden, a snowstorm arrived and buried our RV in the snow. We got trapped and were forced to cancel our traditional Thanksgiving dinner and my birthday night out.  

trapped in the campground in Washington

We had very little propane left, our lone energy source for the heater and stove. So we confined ourselves to microwaveable meals.  Management could not risk their pipes freezing so we also were forced to scrimp on the little water we had left in the fresh water tank.  Fortunately, even with TV and Wifi available, we relished the unusual living arrangements and the opportunities it gave us for non-routine ways of interacting. The week became one of my husband being a good boy scout, venturing to walk through the snow for errands, and for me, simply to follow his instructions, for a welcome change!

Later, however, we had a scarier RV mishap. Driving down Interstate 71 from Cincinnati, Ohio to Louisville, Kentucky, the right front tire of the RV blew out. There were eight tires in all, two in front and six at the rear in two axles. It was such a loud noise, unfamiliar to my ears. I got scared. But Bill was able to steer our 20,000-pound rig off the road even if it was into a dangerous situation because we had very little space available right on the edge where the guard rails met the overpass ahead.

flat tire on I-71

But he remained calm and called Good Sam. He got the Rummikub game out and played a few games with me, even letting me win, while we waited inside the RV on that hot afternoon without air conditioning. After what seemed like a long time of playing, help arrived and the tire was replaced. The rescue truck accompanied us all the way to Louisville because he said a lot of our tires need changing. It was midnight when we arrived at their shop. We were tired but, as usual, my husband was that same old boy scout I had married!

And that is why, in Helsinki, I panicked when I thought I lost him.  After the failed hostel experiment in Oslo, we chose the Hotel Ava, very affordable because it was attached to a Hotel Management Institute that provided most of the staff. The only problem was it was twenty minutes away from the city center. We solved that with a Helsinki card that not only paid for all of the museums and cruises, but also for all the public transportation. We loved the hotel. It was as if we were going ‘home’ every day after our day tours.

Hotel Ava and Institute

When we had finished our packing on our last day, we walked around the neighborhood and found an old church, a nice neighborhood, and an antique shop of interest. The people were so warm that every time we looked at a map, someone would approach us and ask what we were looking for. You see the streets had double signs, in Finnish and Swedish! It was good everyone was eager to help. When we got back, we stashed our bags in the lobby, ready for the 3 pm public bus that would take us to the airport. Having more than thirty minutes left to wait, my husband went to look for the pharmacy that we saw just around the corner.

I waited, and waited, and waited. By 2:45 I was in panic mode. He had not come back. I berated the receptionist for not giving him a map. Then I cried. I imagined all sorts of things that could have happened to him.  At five minutes before 3, he sauntered in, a bit flustered. He quickly instructed me to follow him to the bus stop. I ran all the way, lugging my carry-on through the cobbled streets, unmindful if it gets damaged. He was calm, cool, and collected. Again, he showed me how to deal with mishaps.

waiting, waiting
They are just that, mishaps, not tragedies! And they teach us to be smarter!

HEADLINE PHOTO was taken when our old car stalled right in front of the Montreal City Hall, preventing many tourists from taking a good shot of the historical building!