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Holidays Far From Home

Bob Hazlett - Yucca Valley, CA
(Americans from Every Corner of the Land, All Enjoying a Day of Thanks)

The Joshua tree will never be a Christmas tree and most people call it ugly. My feeling is more one of appreciation. I have never seen anything in nature that is ugly -- just different. And, the difference is why we roam the country in our fifth wheel.

This Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years is different than any other in our life. We are from Ohio (read: north--cold, and east--wet).

Family and friends are spread around the country. Our son and his family live in Denver. One daughter and her family are in Fayetteville, NC. Our other daughter and her family live in Cincinnati, OH. Friends are scattered around the country, with a large contingent in Titusville, FL.

So where are we as the 2012 holiday season comes upon us? We are in the high desert of California, volunteering as camp hosts at Black Rock Canyon Campground in Joshua Tree National Park, Yucca Valley, CA. As you might guess, days are warm, nights are cold, and humidity is lowwwwwww all the time. Flies and mosquitoes do not live here.

The campground was full for Thanksgiving, many folks here for a four day weekend. Some just stopped for a respite in their greater journey. Others are locals looking to hide from the insanity of traditional celebrations (read: Black Friday).

Our typical population here is about half and half tent campers and RV campers. Wandering around on Thanksgiving afternoon, we met folks cooking turkey in more different ways than I can name -- deep frying was a popular choice. However, I didn't see any turkeys being done over an open campfire.

Young couples camping out of their car and sleeping in tiny tents remind me of our early years. Troops of Boy Scouts make me feel good about our future. Seniors, in all manner of RVs and towables, cheer me about what is possible in this great land of ours. As my mind rolled over the years from our own tiny tent, through years of camping with kids, to our present freelance life style, I am very thankful for the life we have been able to live and the country that has made it possible.

We did not sit at a big table overflowing with bounty. We did not enjoy the live company of family and close friends, but modern technology made it possible to speak with everyone in our life that matters. We spent the day with our larger family -- Americans from every corner of the land, all enjoying a day of thanks in our great outdoors.

The smells of Thanksgiving dinners cooking in 99 campsites was delicious and I'm sure the aroma reached all the critters in the mountains around us. I wonder what they thought.

Thanksgiving this year was different for us, but it was good -- very good.

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Nov 03, 2014
by: Dick in Montgomery, Tx.

Of course being away from family and friends is tough. But there are such wonderful people out there who are friendly, giving, and wanting to celebrate the holidays. I remember several Christmas' away from home while in the Navy. It was tough but we made. Give thanks to Him for blessings received.

Jan 14, 2014
On Spending our First Thanksgiving and Christmas Away From Family.
by: Gloria Sturm

Well we knew it would happen at some point. We spent the holidays away from our kids and grandkids. Because of unplanned circumstances, (a flood at the campground we were supposed to spend the winter at), we were forced to move further away from our family than we had planned. It was a different experience, it was bittersweet because we had never spent any important holiday away from family. But we all survived it, and I think the whole family made it through without too much trauma.

We spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with people of like mind and experiences and it was good. All in all, life as a fulltimer is one of the best decisions we have ever made. We are two years plus into this wonderful life, and we have never been sorry. If you want to do something DO NOT PUT IT OFF. DO IT. To often excuses and objections are just our way of saying that we don't really want to do it in the first place. IF YOU WANT TO DO FULLTIME YOU WILL FIND A WAY. Good luck in all your travels. Gloria.

Dec 24, 2013
by: Becky

We are going to be full time RVing soon. I have been kind of sad wondering about the holidays, but this made me feel much better and now I know it will be OK. We are so excited to get started!

Dec 23, 2012
Merry Christmas
by: Anonymous

Wonderful article. Merry Christmas to all!
The Studt's in Iowa

Dec 21, 2012
Excellent Article !
by: Impartation

Excellent article and very well written. Made me feel like I could almost smell the Thanksgiving dinners cooking in the campground. ; )

Dec 20, 2012
Xmas in RV
by: Mike C

We are full timers and find that you must find a way to make it happen for the holidays. Our Thanksgiving was a big bang with friends and we cooked for two days. Set up the canopies and tables and had a feast. No squabbling families to worry about. We hope and wish all well. We have been doing this on and off for 30 years in rigs. Mostly on. And we suggest you force yourself or make yourself to decorate, cook, and celebrate. Find a church and be with people on the holiday. Don't just sit in you camper.

Dec 20, 2012
RVing Holiday Story
by: Anonymous

Loved the story!

Dec 20, 2012
We Agree with Your Holiday Experience
by: Gloria Sturm

We have been to Joshua Tree National Forest, and it has a beauty all its own. We loved it. Thanks for sharing your holiday experiences. We have become full timers this past year, and we are spending the winter in the hill country of Texas, but since this is our first time away from family for this long we are going home for Christmas. But next year, depending on where we are for the winter, we probably won't be going back for the holidays. Thanks again for your comments on your experiences.

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