The RV life is full of surprises. We never know what we’re going to come across from place to place. Some things are unpleasant and even scary. Others are fun and enjoyable. And some are just different. Here are our four most unique experiences of 2021, in no particular order:
Pillars of Smoke?
While heading east along Lake Michigan in the state’s Upper Peninsula to the Mackinac Bridge and the Lower Peninsula, we saw pillars of what appeared to be black smoke in the distance. As we neared them, the smoke dissipated, and a rapid-fire flicking sound emanated from Gulliver. It turns out the “pillars” were actually swarms of midge flies.
As the water of Lake Michigan warms, midges emerge from the lake to reproduce after hibernating for up to six months. The flies are harmless as they don’t bite, but they can be quite annoying–and quite messy. Both Gulliver and Tagalong needed a good wash after those encounters.
We’ve had some pretty unique camping setups from place to place. But our most unique would have to be parked next to our friends’ airplane hangar in Terre Haute, Indiana — inside the airport fence. Flyable airplanes filled our windows, and the humming of propellers made us feel right at home, beckoning us back to the Commemorative Air Force Airbase Arizona, where we both volunteer.
As it turned out, Airbase Arizona’s B-25 had a tour stop there the same week. Our little electric bikes got a good workout as we zipped from our trailer along taxiways to the airport to hang out with the B-25 crew and back again.
Bob’s gone on many hunts. I joined him on a few, but I never caught anything — not until this spring in Texas, that is. While camping at a state park and sitting by the fire, I heard a rustling noise coming from the bushes nearby. The volume of the sound convinced me the source of the noise was pretty good-sized, so I stayed in my seat enjoying the fire, not wanting to encounter a large animal in the dark.
Bob and his brother, Tom, decided to investigate the noise to see what caused it. But the elusive creature evaded them. At another Texas state campground, however, our investigations paid off, and we got to see an armadillo with our very own eyes. I’ve always liked treasure hunts, and this one did not disappoint.
Having camped for many years, we know birds and wildlife are part of the experience. What we didn’t know was that some birds don’t want to coexist with campers. We quickly found that out in our week at a campground near Dallas. It seems we had invaded a cardinal’s territory, and it made sure we knew how it felt about the situation. How? By continually flying toward our back window and pecking at it with her beak.
When that didn’t work, she’d go around to our side windows and do the same thing. This happened day after day until we left, two weeks later. We hope Polly finally found what she was looking for.
This is the travel blog of full-time RVers Bob and Lana Gates and our truck, Gulliver, and fifth wheel, Tagalong.