Nick’s Blog

RVs And Pit Toilets

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Feb 192019

Here is another story from the Nick Happens file.

The RV lifestyle has so much to offer. Your snug home on wheels can take you to wonderful places, you never have to worry about finding a decent motel or be concerned with finding yourself in some local greasy spoon named the Ptomaine Palace when you’re hungry. RVers travel in style and have everything they need with them wherever they go.

But if I had to tell you the one major benefit to RV travel, it is because you always have your bathroom with you. Roadside rest area bathrooms range from barely acceptable to pretty darn disgusting for the most part. You never know what to expect, but you can pretty well accept that your average rest area restroom isn’t very restful. Some, often on the back roads and old highways I love to travel on, don’t even have running water, just a pit toilet. I don’t like pit toilets. I have a history with them.

Back in my misspent youth I spent some time stationed at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, where I was a firearms instructor. It was great duty and if I could have stayed there doing that job, I probably would have become a “lifer.”

All noncommissioned officers who were rangemasters were required to carry a .45 semi-automatic pistol while on duty. The only problem with this was that base regulations said that if you wore a holstered pistol, your pistol belt must also contain a canteen, two loaded pistol magazines in a pouch, a first aid pouch, and probably some other things I have forgotten over the years. That added up to several pounds hanging on your hips all day. (This was long before I had all the pounds hanging on my hips that I do now.)

Being rather lazy and always pushing the envelope, I did some reading and found an out. Nowhere did the regulations say you had to carry the pistol in a holster. So I took to just sticking the gun inside my waistband. Then it was not holstered and I did not need all the extra junk. At least that was the way my mind worked, and nobody bothered to tell me otherwise.

I think you can see it coming. One day on the rifle range I made a pit stop at the pit toilet, set my pistol down beside me while I did what I was there for, and in handling the “paperwork,” I managed to knock my weapon down into the hole. Ouch!

The Army frowns on you losing your weapon or I would have just walked away from it. But what to do? I darn sure didn’t want to go in after it! So I asked my buddy, another sergeant who was senior to me, for his advice. He walked into our range shack, grabbed a coat hanger and the nearest Army private, and sent them both after my pistol. “That’s why God made coat hangers and new recruits,” he told me. Once the hapless GI had fetched (and cleaned) my pistol, I traded it into the arms room for a new one, complete with holster, pistol belt, two magazines in their pouch, canteen, and first aid pouch.

That wasn’t my only experience with a pit toilet. Fast forward to the mid-1980s. I was living in Tucson, Arizona and had just bought a sporty Mazda RX-7. My friend Lyle Worman and I met at the Pima County Fairgrounds for a gun show one Sunday morning, and afterward we were going back to my home on the northwest side of town so Lyle could fix something for me. (This was in the days before Greg White.)

We left the gun show and were driving down Interstate 10 when suddenly the hotdog I had bought for lunch at the gun show caught up with me and I needed a bathroom, really bad. Fortunately, the highway through Tucson always seemed to be under construction and this time was no exception. There were a bunch of construction vehicles parked for the weekend in the wide median, and with them was a porta-john. I whipped off the road, jumped out and beat feet for the potty, while Lyle pulled in behind my car.

When I came out a few minutes later my car was gone and Lyle’s truck was empty. Hmmm, I guess my buddy decided to take my new car for a ride. Okay. Then I heard a noise coming from Lyle’s pickup and went to investigate. He was laying across the seat holding his chest and seemed to be in convulsions. Fearing he was having a heart attack, I jerked the door open and asked if he could breathe. I was ready to start giving him first aid when I realized he wasn’t in distress, he was laughing uncontrollably.

“Are you okay?” I asked him, just to be sure. He nodded because he still couldn’t talk, and I still didn’t know what was going on. Once I was sure he wasn’t dying on me, I asked him where my car was. Lyle tried to sit up, burst out laughing and fell back in the seat, but did manage to point and gasp out “there.” I looked and sure enough, there was my little yellow sports car, a few feet past the porta-john.

Finally Lyle was able to compose himself and tell me what had happened. “You went running into the john and then I looked and your car started rolling right toward the potty. I realized you must not have set the brake and I was trying to get out and catch it, but it rolled right on past and came to a stop. Then I had this thought that only Nick could get run over by his own car while taking a dump on a Sunday afternoon and I just lost it. Then I thought that if it had rolled up against the door and trapped you inside, I was just going to lock it up, take the keys, and go home.” Yeah, that’s my friend Lyle. What a guy.

And that’s why I traveled in an RV for so many years, with my own toilet wherever I went. It was just better that way.

Thought For The Day – Givers have to set limits because takers seldom do.

The Trip Home, Part 2

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Feb 182019

Of all the big cities that I hate driving through, Houston is very high on the list. My buddy Greg White, who lived around there for years, insists that it’s not all that bad. Maybe not for Greg, but for a small town boy like me it can be intimidating. We were on the road […]

Feb 172019

Fulltime RVers and snowbirds, or anybody who travels a lot, know that saying goodbye is always the hardest part of going back to visit the people you love. And so it was when it was time for us to leave Arizona for the trip home. The good thing is that the highway runs in both […]

Catching Up, Part 2

 Posted by at 12:39 am  Nick's Blog
Feb 162019

Continuing from where we left off in yesterday’s blog, we checked into the Best Western in Apache Junction and spent five days visiting with Terry’s parents and sisters and touching base with some book publishing contacts. One of them was Scarlett Braden, the author of the popular Providence in Ecuador series. I first met Scarlett […]

Catching Up

 Posted by at 12:37 am  Nick's Blog
Feb 152019

Now that we’ve had a chance to get some much needed rest, answer a ton of emails, and get some laundry done, I’ll use the next few blogs to get you caught up on our trip to Arizona. We knew we were going to eventually go to Tucson to get my cousin Beverly out of […]

Feb 122019

Note: We are making our way through Texas and I don’t have time to write a full blog, so here is another story from the Nick Happens file. I try to be a nice guy. I really am not all that hard to get along with. Just ask any of my ex-wives. My motto is […]

Feb 082019

Okay, Arizona. Enough of this nonsense! It was 31o here in Apache Junction overnight Wednesday night and about 40o at 9 a.m. And it was cold all day long. I highly disapprove! Meanwhile, when I talked to my son last night, he was bragging that it was in the low 80s at his place in […]