The plan was to leave Nashville at 8 am to get a good start to what was sold by Google Maps as a 10.5 hour drive to Dallas. And even though we didn’t pull out of the driveway until 9 am, I felt that was still a fair delay, considering all the work that had gone into getting everything, and everyone, ready. Our motley crew consisted of me, my husband, my mother-in-law, a 4- and 6-year-old, our RV named Steve, and approximately 2000 pounds in stock that loaded the back end up so heavily that we couldn’t close the bathroom door. In hindsight, and I may say this again in a future post, an RV is not meant to be a cargo vehicle. Just.. no.
The road trip was harrowing. Driving through Arkansas and into Texas all day, with malfunctions in our electrical system that caused the cab air to not work for the majority of the trip. We couldn’t make use of the restroom in the RV because I had boxes blocking it. And there were boxes up into the cab where we were seated, such that we really couldn’t move around. Over one particular bump, my printer fell from the place where I had foolishly sat it precariously on top of about 4′ of boxes. (It wouldn’t work in the hotel room but I brought it back with me in case I can somehow fix it – it’s a larger, expensive model so it’s worth a shot at home.) The sheer weight of the RV made it very difficult for David to drive so I knew it was stressful for him.
Around 6 pm, after a good dinner from Cracker Barrel – our only real time-taking stop the entire day – I started to look up Mark’s number so I could ask him if we could set up later than the 8am allotted time. (Mark is a vendor coordinator for the conference and is FANTASTIC). In looking up the email with the unloading times, I noticed something shocking. At the top of the PDF, in bold letters, it stated: Unloading Times, Thursday June 28.
Thursday, June 28. As in, the day we were currently on. Not only was I facing another 6 hours on the road, I’d misread the unloading paperwork and I was a full day behind before I even started. In whatever nooks and crannies where fatigue had not filled, panic set up shop. I sent Mark a Facebook message. He was gentle and kind and I knew that short of teleporting Steve to Grapevine, Texas, there was nothing to do but work as hard as I could in the morning to get set up as quickly as possible before the vendor room opened for sales at 1pm.
We arrived at Homewood Suites at 12:30 am on the nose – a full 15.5 hour trip – carried both sleeping boys to our room, and immediately went to sleep. We all had some long days ahead; looking back, this is an understatement.
The lesson for our first day? Fully read paperwork. Check dates. Fill out a planner or calendar. Missing that first important date was a huge mistake and could have been very costly. It also set us up for a chaotic feeling about the whole event before we even got there. We were asleep by 1 am with alarms set for 6 am. The weekend was just beginning.