My second night’s stop was at Lake Vermillion State Park just over the border into South Dakota. I had been excited about being able to sit right on a lake, and the view was pretty, but the riprap kept you from getting actually to the water, which was a disappointment for Mr. Darcy. Much like life, the less exciting photo in the Missouri state park actually turned out to be a more magical place, though I enjoyed this one too.
I ended up naming my camper Alice. There were all kinds of epic journeys to draw from. I always loved the Odyssey growing up. But I realized that I don’t want that kind of male-centric, testosterone-laden template for my own journeys. So I named her after Alice Steinbach, whose book Without Reservations was the middle aged version of Eat, Pray, Love ten full years before Liz wrote her book. Alice showed the way to step out into the world following your own curiosity, relying on yourself, enjoying your own company, but also making space for new friends along the way. It’s as a happy journey instead of a tortured. One, and one where she reclaimed her sense of self after subsuming it for years as a wife/mother/employee. That kind of gentle and intelligent journey is whaat I prefer to use as my model. Her wisdom was a huge influence on me as I stepped out of an overbearing relationship that spanned my 20’s and figured out who I was again. And I like having a female name without a lot of flourish or pretension. It suits the adventures I hope to have in this camper.
The biting flies drove us in earlier than I’d left the water the night before, but the sunset was glorious. And we had a lovely walk the next morning along the lake with a beautiful breeze before taking off. I also passed a milestone as an rv owner and managed to dump the sewage on my own without help (though I’d gotten a little early advice from a friend).
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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