On the road again: the saga of Large Marge

Large Marge

This is a colorful piece from 5 or more years ago. Bill and Karen eventually traded Marge in for a 5th-wheel dubbed “Big Booty Judy” in October of 2018.

~ Margaret

Divine Intervention in the World of Nursing

We have embarked on another adventure in our life, a return to travel nursing. In preparation we bought an older RV. It is a 1996 Pace Arrow Vision that was owned by our neighbors across the street and who took immaculate care of it from day one. We got it for a great price and it is now serving as our home away from home. It has been a learning experience, to say the least, and even something as simple as driving it is a learning experience.

The Unexpected Arrival of Large Marge

Karen and I had been mulling it over about going back to travel nursing and were standing in our yard talking to our neighbor, Paul. We had seen our neighbors across the street occasionally take their motorhome on vacation but noticed that it was suddenly for sale. Karen and I headed straight over and asked them to not sell it before we could talk to our bank. The RV was in excellent shape as Doyce English takes great care of it. It had everything we needed. There was only 40,000 miles on the odometer and it was completely self contained. Doyce had just put on new tires and new batteries and she was ready to roll. We went to our bank the following Monday and got approval for the loan. Just like that, we had become RV owners.

Introducing Large Marge

Now, I have an odd habit of naming my vehicles based on what personality traits they display. I realize that sounds weird but they do all have quirks that are unique to them. I have had a Chevy truck that was red in color and became known as Clifford the Big Red Dog, or just Clifford for short. I have a motorcycle named Sheila (“I rode Sheila for 4 hours and man I’m sore….”) and I had a Kia Optima named Opie. So, the RV had to be named. Based on how big it was and how ungainly it would be to drive, I voted for der Hindenberg. Karen did not think this a good name, probably because of the large propane tank below the master bedroom and came up with another name that immediately seemed to stick. It was a name that seemed to describe the old dame in a semi flattering manner and definitely did not refer to the explosive potential that I found so intriguing. Thus, Large Marge was christened. Not with a bottle of champagne across the bow but a nod to the old gals rounded corners, low slung ground clearance, and a rain apron across her rear end that flaps like a skirt when she is rolling down the highway. Large Marge fits her.

A Crash Course in RV Life

It would have been nice to have taken her out for some sea trials before we had to hit the road to Ft. Defiance, our first assignment, but this is not the typical Rice way and very likely not a McKinney trait, either. That being said, we knew absolutely nothing about having an RV and my best response is “thank God for Google and YouTube”. We had really wanted to take Marge for a spin but time constraints and schedules did not allow for such a common sense act to occur. I had never in my life driven anything remotely as big as our Marge but was impressed with her big 454 engine. Little did I realize when I jokingly applied a bumper stick that read “0 – 60 Eventually” just how true that was. I was nervous to say the least and was suddenly looking eye-to-eye with truckers as they passed me. And pass me they did. Everything passed me. School buses passed me. Old men in 1971 Plymouths passed me with their left turn signal perpetually flashing. Old ladies using walkers passed me. But we still made it to our destination, although not too rapidly.

Driving Marge is, like nothing I had ever encountered. I never knew that semi trucks push a wall of wind just ahead of them that feels like someone is shoving Marge to the shoulder at 70 mph. As soon as that truck passes there is a sudden vortex that immediately tries to suck the grand dame into said semi. I am sure that pictures of me as I drove would have revealed a middle aged man with his eyes bugged out, knuckles white as they clenched the wheel, and lips pulled back exposing teeth bared to the world. Oh, and crosswinds. Did I mention those, yet? In Texas and New Mexico there is not a day that goes by when there is not a “breeze”. We don’t notice these “breezes” so much when we are tooling around in our Chevy HHR, known as the White Rat, or even in my full size Dodge truck (as yet, unnamed). Anything with Ram and Dodge on the front end does not need a name unless it is Ted Bundy or Adolph Hitler. A crosswind can cause you to actually vacuum seal yourself to the seat when it hits…

Introducing Gizmo the Intimidating

And did I mention that there is also a cat on board? Gizmo the Intimidating was loose in the cabin and yowling like a banshee until he finally became hoarse or passed out. It was obvious that he did not care for a home that moved. He would perch on the passenger seat and stare at me with accusing eyes as he voiced his displeasure of the adventure we had forced upon him. After about 400 miles he finally decided that it was his job to sit on my left armrest (where the mirror controls are located) and cast evil eyes upon the truckers sailing past. I now understand why people sedate cats.

Large Marge’s Domain

Now that he is a seasoned traveler, Gizmo rides up front and watches everything that goes by. We took Marge to the propane place outside of town and since both of us were with him, he had a blast. The RV has become HIS domain and he graciously allows us to share it with him.

Marge in Retirement

Marge now rests on her hydraulic levelers awaiting the next trip to the dump station or more propane. She is a comfortable old woman who takes care of us as we take care of her. I get the feeling that vehicles almost have a soul, of sorts. If we show them love and attention then they in turn can take care of us. We have fallen in love with Large Marge and I feel that is reciprocated as much as the old gal can. Here’s to you. Marge, and even though you are a woman who just loves to stop at every gas station on the interstate, we still adore you.

Author: Bill Rice

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