It was July 1999. Our good friend, Karen, was arranging a family and friends camping trip at El Capitan State Park in Santa Barbara CA to celebrate the millennium. We knew we wanted to do something special for the New Year, but camping…come on. Betty had never camped a day in here life. Karen said “borrow a tent”. Betty said ” I’ve never slept in a sleeping bag, and I’m not going to start at age 44!”. Karen then said “rent an RV”. Betty said “a what?”.
So began our search for an rental RV. To our dismay, we found everyone was renting RVs for the New Year and there weren’t any to be had. Until…
“Hey, Jim. What’s the good word?” Steve said good naturally, as Jim was getting an ear full on the phone from Betty about the lack of RV rentals. “Santa Catalina is totally booked for Y2K, and we are invited to camp, but no RV’s available.” “Well, just take mine…” said Steve the smooth talking cardboard salesman.
So we had our rental RV. On New Years Eve, we met Steve in the group camp area of El Capitan State Park joining 80+ of Karen’s family and friends, massive party tent, and all the trimmings for a raucus New Year’s Eve Millennium celebration. Steve set up the RV and explained a few things to us, like how to turn on the generator (Betty has to have her morning coffee), then drove our car back to his house to return the next day to retrieve his rig.
Mind you, we had a house full including our 9 month old granddaughter, her Mom and Dad and our Santa Barbara friend, Barb. The wind howled that nigh, blowing over everything in the party tent from propane heaters to tables and chairs, but we all prevailed until the midnight hour, thankful to get back to our rigs and out of the path of the icy, coastal wind. The next morning, Betty awakened first and ventured outside with her first cup of coffee to beautiful blue skies. She was totally amazed at the beauty of the Pacific from high atop the cliffs of El Capitan. Not a breath of wind stirred as if allowing the revellers some respite from the previous night’s noisy onslaught.
At that moment, Betty knew her life had changed forever. She had been bitten by the RV bug. So began the search for our own RV. We took delivery of our brand new Class C Winnebago in April 2000. Twenty-two months and 14,000 miles later, on Valentines Day, we traded up to our current rig, a 2001 Winnebago Adventurer. We retired in 2003 and moved to Arizona. We are active in our community RV Club, camp with our grown kids as much as possible, and travel every summer with our now 11 year old granddaughter, introducing her to all that this great country has to offer. And the best part, we make friends wherever we go. RVers are some of the nicest folk you’ll ever met!
Submitted by Jim and Betty East of Goodyear, AZ as a part of the RV Centennial Celebration “Share Your Favorite RV Memory” contest.
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