While most Texans seek indoor activities during an August heatwave, we chose to hitch up Cloud 9 and head to Loyd Park, where we engaged in indoor activities. We had hoped that our heavily wooded site would provide shady relief from triple-digit temperatures, but that was not to be. An expanse of open sky directly overhead meant our rig was exposed to direct sun most of the day, making it difficult for our air-conditioner to cool the cabin much below 80 degrees. Still, we were comfortable enough to enjoy some of our favorite summertime pursuits: surfing (as in the Internet) and hunting (as in for things to watch on TV).
We arrived on Friday after work, and had everything set up by 6:30, leaving us ample time to fire up the grill for our Date Night dinner. A late-night walk under moonlit skies revealed many empty sites–clearly, local campers got the memo about the heatwave and opted to stay home.
Saturday morning’s walk around the camping loop was enhanced by the mildest temperatures of the day. After returning to Cloud 9, we settled in for the duration. Cliff made our brunch outside, but by that time the day had already grown too hot for us to enjoy a meal at the picnic table. While other folks availed themselves of air-conditioned shopping malls and big-box retailers on tax-free weekend, we availed ourselves of a tax-free afternoon nap, followed by a proper cocktail hour and a dinner of grilled lemon chicken, broccoli and cob corn. For our evening’s entertainment, we selected a favorite movie, “The Long, Long Trailer.” If you’ve never seen it, you should, especially if you consider yourself a “trailerite.”
Released in 1954, the movie stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as a newly married couple who buy a travel trailer and spend their honeymoon crossing the country. Arnaz plays Nicky Collini, a civil engineer who works on various projects throughout the United States. Ball plays Tacy, a homemaker who thinks traveling with a trailer would give them all the comforts of home near his job sites while also saving them money that would otherwise be spent on hotels and restaurants. After agreeing to the scheme, Nicky quickly discovers that the trailer life isn’t always easy or economical.
Nicky and Tacy head to a trailer show to see her “dream home,” but shortly after arriving, they come across a larger model, which Tacy instantly falls in love with. To tow it, they have to buy a new car and a trailer hitch. Nicky resigns himself to the fact that indulging Tacy’s passion will be pricey.
Early in the trip, after being overrun by overly friendly trailerites, Tacy decides to camp in the woods. But after turning down an old logging road, the trailer falls onto its side, which Nicky tries to level during a rainstorm. The next day, the couple visits Tacy’s relatives. But upon arriving at the home of her aunt and uncle, with other relatives and neighbors who are gathered watching, Nicky accidentally backs the trailer over a prized rosebush and then into the carport, destroying both. As the Collinis continue traveling, Tacy becomes determined to make their trailer a true home, collecting fruits and vegetables to can for winter, as well as rocks to decorate their front patio when they arrive at their ultimate destination in Colorado. Eventually, Tacy wants to drive, but after being constantly criticized by Nicky about her skills, she stops the car in the middle of a busy intersection, gets out and jumps in the back, furious. After having another fight that evening over who was sleeping where for the night, they make up again.
The following afternoon, Tacy attempts to cook dinner while Nicky drives, hoping to have dinner ready once he parks the trailer at their next stop. The plan goes awry as the trailer moves and rocks, causing the dinner to be ruined and Tacy to get severely bruised. Afterwards, Nicky decides to take an offer on the trailer, hoping he and Tacy can move into an actual house. But Tacy is still determined to keep the trailer, and refuses to sell it. That evening, Nicky orders Tacy to get rid of all the rocks and canned foods she has collected before they make a cliffhanging ride on a narrow road through the mountains. But Tacy thinks they would be throwing away precious memories of their honeymoon, so she decides to keep them hidden. As they drive up and down the mountain, everything Tacy has hidden rolls around inside the trailer, causing a big mess. Finally, when they reach the top of the mountain, the trailer falls over again, weighed down by all of the possessions. In a rage, Nicky takes everything Tacy has collected and throws it out of the trailer and off the side of the mountain.
The film is book-ended by the same scene: Their marriage has deteriorated to the point where Tacy decides to sell the trailer and move back home. In a final attempt to apologize, Nicky doesn’t know where to start and instead leaves. As he drives off in the pouring rain, Tacy runs to catch up with him, and they tearfully reconcile inside the long, long trailer.
We’ve watched this film at least once every year since we’ve been on the road, so this was our seventh viewing. Every time, we see something cringe-worthy related to our own travels. The towing challenges, the parking problems, the annoying neighbors, the unexpected expenses, and the petty arguments that can sometimes lead to hurt feelings and cold shoulders–we’ve experienced all of this and more as we’ve traveled border-to-border and coast-to-coast. But we’ve also experienced breathtaking beauty, unparalleled adventures, great escapes, and more memories by the mile that we could have ever imagined.
One thing we’ve learned: Home is wherever we’re together. And being together on the road is just so much more interesting.