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The New Adventures of Jim and Gayle: The Adoption Story

James Foos
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Hi, everybody. My name is Shorty, the FoosMobile. Well, my real name is Leisure Travel Vans Unity Rear Lounge, but that’s a mouthful, so my new owners just call me Shorty. I’m a half-German (Mercedes) and half-Canadian (Leisure Travel Vans) luxury Class C RV. I’m really proud of my heritage. My dual upbringing provides me with the best of German engineering blended with the quality of Canadian craftsmanship. So that makes me very precise and quite polite, don’t cha know, eh!

I’m adopted, by the way. My original owners were unable to take possession of me due to life circumstances, so my adoption agent, Nanci Villegas of Van City RV, Las Vegas, matched me up with Jim and Gayle Foos, and the rest is history. They agreed to take me in right away in April of this year, but there was this little thing called the COVID-19 virus that put a stick in the bicycle spokes for awhile, and they couldn’t pick me up until the middle of May.

On the way back to my new home, which is quite a jaunt from Vegas to Victoria, Texas, I distinctly heard quite a few “discussions” about operating me properly. Being new owners with zero experience in the care and feeding of a specimen like me is quite a lot to handle at first. The learning curve is pretty steep. Think about trying to learn all the ins and outs of a new vehicle – how to work the buttons, cruise controls, sound system, seat operation, and navigation system, plus then there’s DEF for diesel engines (what?), the maintenance schedule, the handling of a new vehicle – and then put a house on it! There’s the air conditioning, the water heater, the lights, the funny toilet and miniature shower, the plumbing, the refrigerator that runs on electricity or gas or batteries, the electric system, the inverter (what?)… the list goes on and on. Jim described it like the experience of taking a new baby home for a spin and learning that reading about care and feeding isn’t the same as actual care and feeding. He also threatened to drive me into a ditch, sprinkle me with lighter fluid, strike a match, and wait for the insurance check, but I think he was just kidding (fingers crossed, and hide the matches).

Since that fateful adoption day, we have been on a few adventures together, and the number of times lighter fluid is mentioned has decreased significantly (but not totally extinguished). We’re actually on the road now, heading back home after an almost two-week trip to North Carolina with my owners’ friends, Norman and Glenda (yes, the ones with the Taj Mahal 40-foot fifth wheel). I can’t help but feel emasculated when we are side by side, but Norman has years of RVing experience and all those cool tools at the ready that he still won’t let Jim touch (bad repair juju might rub off).

Since my adoption, we have traveled over 8,000 miles together and visited 18 states (7 of which my owners have lived in – not kidding). We may have driven by their next home town of Chunky, Mississippi (yes, it’s real – Jim said he could qualify to run for mayor there). Jim and Gayle seem to have worked out a rhythm of working together, sharing driving and other duties, and Jim is trying to figure out how to get the computer and WiFi to work together long enough to continue to work on the road. He has started calling himself the Flip-Flop Therapist because he can do his work in a nice shirt, but also wearing shorts and flip-flops.

So, I’m feeling pretty good about the adoption process so far. Their children are getting a little more used to having vagabond parents, but I have heard them say, “OK, boomers, what’s next? Beachcombing in Bali?” Well, not this year, anyway. After all, they own a van and stay down by the river.

Maybe I’ll chronicle a few more road trips for Jim and Gayle, to keep you all up to date on their next adventure, if you’re interested.

Shorty

James Foos

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