With only one day left in the Fiddler (our campervan’s license tag is FDL161, so it is the Fiddler), I feel a compulsion to describe life in a campervan.
The six of us share roughly 135 square feet of living space (that includes the bathroom and kitchen counterspace. Put differently, we have 20 square feet of floor space when both lower beds are in use.
That is not exactly spacious.
But it is better than you might think. Of course, after that description, it would almost have to be.
We have become a fairly efficient traveling unit. When we arrive, the kids are generally quick to volunteer for the basic tasks like plugging in the electrical, filling the water and taking out the trash. If we are in non-camperpark, the kids will search out large rocks to serve as wheel brakes in the event of extreme wind.
As I noted before, in many ways, our brood behaves better in tight quarters than in a roomy home. My theory is that they (out of necessity) severely constrict their territorial bubbles in the campervan. At home, they have much wider bubbles that then overlap when they inevitably intersect in the public areas of our home.
But here, we all just embrace this metal straight jacket that is our mobile home.
Here are a series of camper-related observations you might appreciate.
The Seat-check System
I am at a loss to explain how elaborate the “seat-check” system has become. The seat-check determines who sits where. You might think that there is not that big of a difference between seats in a campervan. You, my dear reader, would be dearly wrong.
Lives hang in the balance based on the your seating arrangement.
The seat-check is the process by which each child “calls” his or her desired seat. There is an elaborate and arcane set of rules that dictate the calling of seats.
- You must be within view of the vehicle and within hearing distance of another rider who is not a parent. In this case, you can “dibs” the seat of choice.
- It must be within 20 minutes of travel time.
- If you are in a seat you like, you can “seat-check” to reserve it.
There are also “iPad checks”.
As you might imagine, this process does not ever get old.
Oh wait, I am wrong. It absolutely gets old. Really, really old.
The Vehicle is Taller than you Think
I am not sure I want to go into extreme detail here, but I can tell you that one several occasions I have driven the Fiddler under “close cover”. By that, I mean that I seem to be endeavoring to remove all the paint from the top of this fine ride. Trees and street signs have done their best to aid us in this endeavor.
In fact, as I think about this, I might leave this topic where it lies. Let me simply say that I am delighted that the top of the van has not been pulled off this vehicle.
I struggle with how to share this with you, but I feel a need to share all aspects of our trip with you. This includes flowers, adventures, history and culture.
But it must also include some harder facts.
The van smells.
We have teenagers in here. Teenagers are ultra-ripe. They are like old cheese.
We have had some spills. Here is a list of fluids that have found the floor here:
- Sesame oil. We wanted to sauté green beans in the sesame oil. Apparently, one of our children failed to seal the bottle. It leaked. A lot- the bottle was empty when we discovered it.
- Olive oil. Same thing, different oil.
- Beer. Bought for a marinade, dropped on the floor. Makes parts of the floor smell like the basement of a fraternity house.
- Garlic. We dropped some on the floor. It adds an Italian flair to the floor.
- Red pasta sauce. A little tomato, garlic, parsley and love.
- Miscellaneous seafood. We have been enjoying mussels, cockles, and fish. So has the floor.
I suspect that we have become numb to the smell. I can think of no other explanation other than that. I think we could survive mustard gas.