Tales From The Road: Happy Trails
Roy Rogers and Dale Evans were my all-time favorite television friends. The Lone Ranger, Zorro, and Robin Hood were in second, third and fourth place.
After each weekly adventure, Roy and Dale (riding Trigger and Buttercup) sang in beautiful harmony, “Happy trails to you, until we meet again; Happy trails to you, keep smiling until then. Who cares about the clouds when we’re together? Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather. Happy trails to you, ’til we meet again.” Then after a short commercial, an exciting portion of the William Tell Overture introduced the Lone Ranger as Silver reared and pawed the air.
Those are happy and carefree memories of the early decades of our lives. But in these, our latter decades, Carol and I are setting out to create new memories by traveling the country in a trailer.
When we pulled out of our driveway to begin this month-long trek, “Happy Trails” came to mind; and, as the song intoned, Saturday was cloudy and rainy. But we didn’t care about the clouds because we were together; and our singing produced sunny weather — at least inside the car.
I’ve been driving cars since I was 15 years old, and I’ve driven 28-foot U-Haul or Penske trucks no less than 14 times across the western U.S.A. as we changed residences. But pulling a trailer is different, and many of you know what I mean. As I drive at 60-65 mph, the air pressure from the 18-wheelers and pickups pulling big fifth-wheel rigs passing me going 70-80 mph creates a little excitement. And I change lanes as few times as possible!
I suppose I’ll get accustomed to it, but so far driving is the hard part. Setting up for the campsite or getting ready to hit the road has already become an easy routine. But the best part is walking around the campsite and meeting people.
The retired U.S. Army colonel next to us was adjusting the water purification system to his doubleaxle Greyhound-bus-size motor-home as Carol and I walked up to him. Jim was an instant friend. He easily stopped what he was doing and gave me some pointers that a newcomer to R-Ving needs to know; adding that I check the air pressure in the tires. After thanking him for serving our country, we continued down the trail to meet other friends.
When Colonel Jim pulled out the next morning, I saluted and he gave me a friendly blast from the horn of his mobile condominium. Happy Trails to you, Jim.
When I pulled my studio-apartment sized trailer out the following morning, I went to the Shell station to add air to the tires. Do you know how difficult it is to turn around in a gas-station parking lot? I won’t tell you how many times I went backand-forth before I got it right. It was embarrassing when a man finally said, “Let me move my truck so you don’t hit it.”
Backing straight is easy, but backing and turning? I have a lot to learn. Pray for me — I’ll get the hang of it eventually.
This new phase of life is similar to what is involved when a person becomes a Christian and wants to serve the Lord. There is a lot to learn, and it reminds me of a Sunday evening church service in Quincy, Mass., back in 1962. Megan, calling herself a street-lady, confessed that she lived a raunchy life. After tearfully repenting for a life of sin and professing Jesus Christ as her Savior, Megan happily announced, “I’m glad I finally come to Jesus. I’ll have a hell-of-a-time serving Him!”
We didn’t judge Megan for that. She was excited to become a follower of Jesus, but it takes a while to learn a new way of living and a new way of talking.
Like backing straight, it is easy to stop what we call the major sins. But like backing and turning, changing a lifestyle takes some effort and training.
Oh-oh, a cloud just burst and the heavens are emptying their resources. I’ll go for now and close windows. Happy Trails to you.