There’s always great anticipation knowing that Today is The Day! The day that you’re taking your Six Wheels on the Road. There’s excitement in the air no matter if your plans have you leaving for the week. Or the weekend. Or perhaps you’re driving away from Winter and heading towards Summer, conveniently located Somewhere South of Somewhere.
The Journey itself has been planned in your mind for what seems like a long time and now this is it! You’re finally driving the drive, on the road of roads. It’s superb and idyllic and just like you’d imagined a totally pleasant and perfect experience. One that will leave you, at the end of the day, arriving at your destination with a smile on your face.
But is there really such a thing as The Perfect Journey? We should all anticipate hitting a few bumps as we drive the road filled with twists and turns. Some you can plan for.
Not so much. Either way, one thing’s for sure, it’ll make for a great story as you arrive at your destination, ready for arrival beers and an easy peasy scrumptious meal. A really great story, perhaps a little bit like this one:
And for the sake of all great stories, know that all characters and incidents are the product of this author’s compilation of actual events. Any resemblance to anyone out there is total… intentional. We swear it happened to friends of ours.
Imagine for a moment. You’re sitting in the driver’s seat, zooming along at just below the posted speed limit for better fuel mileage and less of a gas-guzzling ride, right? You’re heading somewhere, hoping there are no detours anywhere. But most importantly? You’re in your favourite Leisure Travel Van. Perhaps you’re Exploring with Wonder? Enjoying the Serenity? Or perhaps you’re driving a Unity IB (like us)?
It’s a beautiful day, the sun is shining and the radio is tuned in. Perhaps you’re humming along. Or, if you’re tone deaf like me? You’re probably singing out loud.
All is well and good in your world and then all of sudden… Slam-Ka-Thunk !! Holy shoot you swear out loud. What just happened? What was that very loud noise? A quick pull over to the shoulder of the road, because no one ever gets up while their partner is driving (right?) Some investigative sleuthing reveals that it might’ve been the bathroom door that, because it wasn’t latched properly, slammed open when we turned that corner. Or perhaps it was the pantry door that slid open when we hit that bump.
Or how about that time you notice the draft suddenly change the otherwise perfect interior temperature of the vehicle as you’re driving along. You didn’t leave any windows open, did you? You look up and holy shoot, the fan vents are still open! Or worse, the sunroof hatch is up? Another pullover as you quickly secure all windows, vents and hatches.
And then, when you arrive? You’ve noticed that the soap dispenser that usually sits on the bathroom counter? That didn’t get put away before you left. It’s fallen to the ground and of course, it cracked, and now there’s a large sudsy mess of soap on the floor. And in the shower? The shampoo bottle with the cap that just wasn’t clicked shut? It’s laying sideways in a rather large puddle of foamy mess. And that garbage bag has fallen sideways and spilt open, and all those vegetable peels and coffee grounds? Why, they’re all over the floor. Sigh.
Sure doesn’t sound like this was the perfect journey, does it? To avoid some of those holy shoot moments, here’s our habit of a routine that we practice every single time before we leave. Except for that time that… we forgot.
Before every trip, I start at the back of the MoHo. With the bed made, I make sure the nightstands are free from wayward books (in the cupboard or under the pillow they go) and make sure the bedroom window is closed and shut tightly. I check the shower, making sure everything is stored and the caps are on tight. I take the sponge and quickly rinse the bathroom sink, wipe down the countertop, and lock the cabinet doors after I’ve put the toothbrushes away in their bins.
And always, always put the toilet seat down! And not because I am a woman! We don’t even want to discuss what a crappy mess it all could be (no pun intended!) if something fell in that you didn’t want to have fallen in. Like that toothbrush? I look up and make sure the fan vents are closed. I double check that the toilet door is firmly latched, I grab the garbage bag, put the soap dispenser in the sink and head towards the main living area.
I double check that the pull-out TV and all pantry door knobs are clicked/locked shut. I rinse the kitchen sink, emptying the drainer into the garbage. I clear the counter, ensure the fridge door is closed tight, and double check the side door to make sure it’s firmly locked. Oh, and is your outdoor step IN? And last but not least, I look up, making sure that the galley windows are closed, the fans are off and vents shut, and the sunroof is down in the locked position. I tie a firm knot in the garbage bag and I’m ready.
Dave in the meantime has done a walk around outside. Putting everything away, and making sure we don’t leave anything behind. Storage doors closed and locked, and voilà, we’re ready to go. It’s truly a simple 5-minute process and it saves many holy shoot words along the way.
As we travel on our journey of many miles, we need to stop for fuel (and drop off that bag of garbage, right?) The most frustrating problem as we’re travelling through the United States (used to) happen at the fuel pumps.
As Canadians without an American Zip Code, we were always blocked from using our credit card when paying at the pump. Directly from our credit card company to us, and now from us to you, here’s a simple way around the system.
Next time you’re faced with the “Enter Zip Code” query at the pump, enter ONLY the NUMBERS of your Canadian Postal Code, in their order. Once you’ve entered your three numbers, add two zero’s, and voilà… you’re allowed into the system. So if your Postal Code is G4G 2B6, you would enter 42600. Easy, Peasy! Fill’er Up.
And while we’re fuelling, it is inevitable that someone will come over, and start to chat about our rig. How’s it drive? What’s the fuel mileage? Do we like it? And so on, and so forth. Sometimes it ends up in a MoHo-showing, right there at the fuel pumps! Which makes me very glad I took 5 minutes before we left to make sure the insides were ship-shape!
“What’s for supper?” Asks Dave, “want to BBQ?”
“Great minds think alike” I reply, “we have a Pork Tenderloin. How about some Garlic Smashed potatoes?”
I grabbed a Ziplock baggie and pour in some simple ingredients… some soy sauce, something sweet (honey, brown sugar, maple syrup, orange juice are just some ideas), a bit of olive oil, and some herbs and spices. Why not add some chopped garlic, some crushed ginger, along with a large dollop of Dijon mustard. In goes the tenderloin and seal it all up, making sure it’s nicely smothered. Leave it on the counter to marinate, or if you’ve prepped it before your journey, stick it in the fridge overnight or for a day or two, until you’re ready to use.
Then I grab a whole head of garlic and place it on a piece of tinfoil, drizzling it with some olive oil, salt and pepper, and any herbs you might fancy. Wrap it all tightly and securely. And last but not least, I peel and dice some potatoes and leave them in a pot of water.
Dave, who has been busy prepping the table and BBQ, is ready for his arrival beer before I am.
We have a Napoleon BBQ and we love it. It’s sturdy yet light, is a perfect size and when not in use, it stores perfectly on the driver’s side lower exterior bin.
We bought the quick disconnect kit online for approx $30. It was a quick install, and now we just connect the BBQ to the Unity’s propane tank.
Sometimes the picnic table is mobile, and we can move it closer to the MoHo and it all works. We also bought a small table,
That is easy to set up, yet perfectly sturdy and serves to hold the BBQ one those occasions when the picnic table is too far. Or there are no tables, perhaps we’re boondocking?
The campfire’s burning nicely, and we sit back and enjoy the surroundings and the moment for a bit, but our tummies soon rumble their insistence for some food. I head in and start the potatoes, emerging with the marinated tenderloin and the foiled garlic wrapper.
Dave places the wrapped garlic on the edge of the grill, as he preheats the BBQ at the highest heat for a few minutes. Once the BBQ is hot enough, we’re ready for the Tenderloin using our simple “7-6-5” method.
Voilà, it really doesn’t get any simpler than that!
That’s my cue to head in and check the potatoes, which have been simmering gently, and are fork tender! I drain and smash them with a fork, leaving some bits chunkier than others. I add some butter (and milk), and take the grilled head of garlic and carefully separate a few cloves, the skins sliding right off with a pinch, and the mushy cloves dropping right into the potato mash. I season with salt and pepper and mash the garlic into the potatoes and then taste it… hmm, might need another clove or two. This one’s up to your taste buds, not mine. Why not add some parsley for garnish?
The pork tenderloin is ready for slicing into medallions. You can drizzle it with your favourite sauce, or perhaps some mango chutney? Or whatever rocks your pork.
And to finish it all? Perhaps a glass of vino? We select our favourite brand of Cardboardeaux for the occasion. Boxed wine, quite a perfect alternative to bottles, for so many reasons. They store easy, they don’t clink together or worse, shatter! And once you’re done, the cardboard box itself is easily collapsed and can be used for campfire kindling. Our box of red fits nicely under the sink, and I keep my bag of white in the freezer, always perfectly chilled!
So here’s to life on the road. The Perfect Journey will always be full of bumps on the roads filled with twists and turns. Our advice? Take time to prep before you leave, it’s worth your five minutes. And then, when you’ve arrived? Set aside “7-6-5” minutes for a Pork Tenderloin on the BBQ. Everything in between? Sure makes for a Great Story!
We hope you enjoyed Ours. Cheers, my friends, drive safe.