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First Trip with KIT The Bus

We got our bus after searching for the right fit for a couple of months. This bus was already emptied of all the seats and had a fridge, a couch, and a husky tool drawer for necessities. We figured we’d take a short trip in it before we do a full remodel. To make it more fun we invited some company for our son: two of his best friends.

We had decided to drive down the South-Atlantic coast and come back North via the Cherokee National Forest, NC. After stuffing the bus with necessary kitchen supplies, making a DIY sink, securing seat belts to the couch, adding a couple mattresses to the bus along with a few curtains for privacy, we finally got on our merry way.

The windows were all open and the curtains were fluttering like mad in the wind. One curtain flew away completely! We tried closing the windows, but realized it was too hot. Not to worry! We stopped by a hardware store and grabbed a fan. Good to go!

Our first stop was a little blueberry farm on the Western shores of Delaware. We arrived late at night, looking forward to a little rest. It was a beautiful farm during the day but pitch dark at night. We had no idea where our parking spot was and couldn’t find the bathroom… To top it all off, our windows were open to let in the fresh, night air… boy, was that a mistake. Yes, we had made DIY window nets before leaving, but didn’t think of putting them on yet… We turned the lights on and oh the horror! Our bus was swarming with bugs… The kids were crying, I was crying, Tim started battling the bugs immediately, but to no avail. Resigned, we drove to a hotel. First night in the bus - uncheck!

The next morning we were all refreshed after unlimited waffles breakfast and set out on the road again. Luckily, the bus was bugs-free, but there was another surprise. The heavy overnight rain tested the bus’ exterior and found plenty of holes… Our mattress was wet, there were wet spots on the carpet…

But we were not in a Russian novel to ruminate! We pressed on with our adventure. The very nice people at The Blueberry Farm reimbursed us, apologizing for the difficulties in the night. With new hopes, we headed for our next site close to Assateague Island, National Seashore. After the rough beginning of the trip, we decided to treat ourselves to a nice campground with a waterpark. The kids took full advantage of it and Tim and I were in the lazy river the whole time. We felt great and were ready for more adventures, so we decided to head to our next reservation - camping by the beach with wild horses! It sounded exciting and the fun started right away as we spent a few hours bodysurfing. Our campsite had a great view and we did see a few horses, but the mosquitos in the evening were so insistent (despite the DIY nets!) that we had to keep moving the next morning (yay, house on wheels!).

Our next campsite was near Virginia Beach. We took a small road that led us deep into the woods and then to a quiet clearing, with perfect green lawns, RVs, and one tiny house all parked at a respectable distance. We slept right through the night. Buckets and trash bags taped to the ceiling helped us avoid the leaks (another storm had passed by). In the morning, we discovered that there was a saltwater pool. We were heading for the Kill Devil Dunes in the Outer Banks and figured we’d get a swim in before heading out. The pool was completely empty! We had fun in our private pool for an hour or two, took showers, and loaded into the bus to keep driving.

The dunes were a blast! Kids kept running down the hills and we felt calm and happy knowing that moments like that were what that trip was all about. We looked forward to having lunch at a local seafood restaurant and then going to the beach! We had visited the Outer banks before but were often met with stormy weather and even floods, so a summer beach stay was very much longed for. The warm Carolina waters, the fine white sand… Little did we know that our plans would change drastically.

So we were sitting at this table, waiting for the delicious seafood and suddenly one of our kids started complaining about not feeling well. He seemed pretty upset, so we panicked, picked him up, ran for the bus, and headed to the nearest urgent care. There was a long line so we waited and waited and then waited some more (not so urgent after all.) In the end the doctor told us that it was nothing to worry about, and our child was completely fine (whew!). We exited the office thinking that we could now enjoy a few hours by the beach, only to be met with a POURING rain. We soon realized that this storm was bigger than we thought and would not stop for days… Our plans were now rapidly changing. We were determined to chase the sun not only for our happiness' sake but also to keep the bus dry. Turned out the South-East was not the best destination in August. Lesson learned!

The good thing was, our house was on wheels! We decided to turn back north. The rain kept on coming down like it was the Great Flood. The bus was taking a lot of water (under our mattress, through the doors, and the ceiling holes). Needless to say, we headed for a hotel again…

Our next stop was Lewes beach in Delaware. It looked perfect and the weather was on our side… Not so fast, campers! The catch was the winds were so strong that trying to relax on a beach towel was more like fighting a sandstorm with a summer hat. Leaving that place felt like a reward and we were ready for a relaxing evening at our next campsite. We had booked a nice small RV site, clean and quiet. I let out a sigh of relief. We started on dinner. I figured we’d do something simple like pasta so that our youngest traveler wouldn’t give us any drama (I was really over drama by this point). Halfway through us warming up the water, our little gas tank ran out… and we didn't have an extra one. It was too late to go shopping... And even if we did go, we ALL had to go, remember? The kids were out and about playing outside, and just the thought of attaching everything again was… ugh! (sorry to remind, but we were living in a bus, and we couldn’t drive without making sure everything was secured!) I opened the fridge, and there was nothing there… some kind of weird salad with apples and nuts… The little one would never eat that. I anticipated screams and tears… and here they came... out of ME!

I couldn’t take it anymore. It was supposed to be a vacation and I was tired of doing and undoing the beds, absorbing the water from leaks, cooking, shopping for food, making fires, trying to find a serene parking spot, etc, etc, etc! So I decided to walk off into the night. As a good housewife, I did grab the laundry on the way out (we would be out of underwear tomorrow after all!) I got to the laundromat in the guest service area. It was open and everything was clean and the machines worked. Cool, cool. I did the laundry. I calmed down a little while waiting for the cycle to end. When I walked out of the laundromat, I realized I had no idea where I was. I was so mad and frustrated, I didn’t pay attention to where I was going when I left. I just followed the lights. Well, now I was surrounded by darkness: vague outlines of trees and RVs everywhere and no bus in sight… I resolved that the only sensible thing to do was to smoke a cigarette and cry (I am European and an actress after all.) I lit up and let my tears flow. It was all terribly romantic. Suddenly, I heard my native language spoken somewhere nearby! I saw two young people. They were campsite assistants on a “work and travel” program. I borrowed a phone to call Tim. The number he saw light up on his screen was from Vegas. When he heard my voice, he asked, concerned: “Are you... in Vegas? I confirmed, saying that I’d had enough and made it to Vegas in half-hour time. We laughed and the whole thing quickly turned into a joke. He came to rescue me and we walked back together. Our little one (miraculously!) ate the weird apple salad.

The next morning we drove up to Cape May. We were like a gang of barefoot travelers surrounded by fancy houses. We dared to use our outdoor solar shower right on the sidewalk of the suburban perfection. Life was good. In these last few days of the trip, we were finally used to our routine: all the folding and unfolding, securing and un-securing, dishwashing in field conditions, showering wherever we found running water. But most importantly, we knew: we can do this. We just had to patch up those holes for the rainy days.