We arrived at our San Antonio RV park, which was on the wrong side of town, in the pouring rain. Daniel always makes a point of arriving before dark, but today we did not achieve this. So we did not see a post on the side of the site, and crashed into it (at 5mph, so gently). “HEY”, yelled a voice, which emerged from the window of a gigantic motorhome. I hear the sound of an Englishman, I thought. So I asked the voice where it was from. “Phoenix,” it answered, in a distinctly English accent. “You don’t sound American,” I insisted. “Do you know English geography?”, reluctantly asked the voice, which was coming into focus as hailing from the North. Unfortunately, I did not know where Middlesborough was, but was told it was near the Scottish border. The man, whose face I could eventually make out, didn’t seem that interested in our invitation to come in for a drink. So we left it at that. When we emerged from the trailer into the next day’s hailstorm, he seemed friendlier: “Would you like to join us for a cup of tea?”, he called through a crack in the window, far above us. But of course! So into our first giant motorhome we went, satisfying our long held curiosity as to how proper RVers live. We sat on two very comfortable opposing sofas, behind the plush driver and passenger seats. When I noted that this was the furthest Daniel and I had sat from each other in about nine months, the man – Dave – demonstrated his motorhome’s slide-outs. At the push of a button, a section of his $200,000 Monaco slid in and out with the barely a quiet whir. It was very exciting, so he demonstrated this a few times. Sophia worked on her coloring, Lulu took advantage of all the space to crawl around, while Daniel and I drank Proper English Tea and heard about the life of Dave. Dave, whose career in the merchant navy led to the private sector in the form of shipping and meteorology, is now retired. Spending nine months a year in his RV traveling around the US, he uses his professional knowledge to follow the sun – and the summer in England. He was kind of confused as to why we would subject ourselves to such limited space, and such an old RV – and very worried about our shipping it to the UK – but was nice to us anyway.
Claire – On maternity leave from career as editor of monthly finance trade magazines, and occasionally a freelance translator. Half-American/half-English, raised in the suburbs of New York, has lived in London for almost nine years.
Daniel – Furniture designer/maker based on London’s Columbia Road flower market, for ten years, also an aspiring painter and DIY supremo. On one-year career break to reconsider options. English by birth, but mother is half-American and spent part of her childhood in Bronxville, New York.
Sophia – 3.5-year old spitfire who loves school, singing, swimming and being a big sister
Lulu – Born May 8 of this year, a model baby who eats, sleeps and gurgles.
Special guests – American, British and international friends and family who drop in along our trip to see whatever part of the country they fancy. They’re welcome to travel in the car with us and sleep in an adjoining tent.