The Road Trip
It was the middle of July and Gordon, Paulo and I were bored out of our skulls. School had been out for over two weeks, and except for a day trip to the amusement park, a couple of fishing trips, three summer movies and a trip to the city to see a baseball game, our parents, as usual, had provided us with nothing to do. That, however, was about to change. Gordon, Paulo and I had just biked over to Gordon's uncle's house to see the new trailer he just bought. It was a huge 25-foot motor home and was literally a house on wheels. There was a full size bathroom, two bedrooms, a living room, and a kitchen. It had every kind of luxury imaginable.
"Wow, Uncle Ivan!" exclaimed Gordon. "What a great motor home. Where are you going to go with this thing?"
"Well, that's why I invited you three over to have a look at it. Your Aunt Jennifer suggested that we take you and your friends on a trailer trip out west for a couple of weeks. What do you think?" asked Uncle Ivan.
Immediately our faces fell. A two-week trailer trip with Gordon's uncle sounded awesome, but we all knew that our parents would never let us be away from home for that long. They'd miss us and worry about us every minute. They would never let us out of their sight for two whole weeks. We sadly explained this fact to Uncle Ivan, making it very clear that we really wanted to go, but that it was probably out of the question.
"That"s too bad," replied Uncle Ivan. "I wish I had known that earlier. We invited your parents over tonight to run the idea by them. I was sure they wouldn't mind. They should be here any minute." With that, Uncle Ivan went back into the house to help Aunt Jennifer get ready for their company. Gordon, Paulo and I explored the motor home and admired it.
"This place is better than my house," said Paulo.
"Mine, too," I echoed. "Look at the size of that TV screen!"
"Yeah. It's too bad we can't go on that trip with them," said Gordon, shaking his head. Just then, we noticed our parents arriving. They got out of their cars, stopped briefly to admire the motor home from the outside, and then rang the front doorbell. The door was opened by Aunt Jennifer who invited them all inside.
| "Hey, look!" observed Gordon. "The living room window is open. Let's go spy." Quietly, we climbed out of the trailer and scurried across the lawn. We ducked down behind the front bushes and listened to the conversation inside the house. We heard Uncle Ivan explaining that he and Aunt Jennifer wanted to take the three of us out west with them for two weeks. The next thing we heard was the unmistakable sound of glasses clinking together and palms being slapped in high-fives.|
Woo-hoo!" cheered a female voice that sounded suspiciously like my mother's. Curious, we peered over the window ledge and were surprised to see grins of sheer delight on all of our parents' faces. Gordon's dad raised his arms for silence. When the other adults finally calmed down, he said, "Ivan, I think I speak for all of us when I say that the boys are all yours for the next two weeks. What the heck! Make it three weeks if you like!"
* * * * *
Early the following Saturday morning, we waved good-bye to our families as Uncle Ivan backed the 25-foot motor home out of the driveway and we headed west.
Gordon, Paulo and I carried our duffel bags into one of the bedrooms, and before I realized what was happening, Gordon and Paulo had thrown their duffel bags onto the bunk beds, leaving me with the cheap folding cot. When we finished stowing all of our gear away, we headed up to the front where Uncle Ivan sat in the driver's seat with Aunt Jennifer beside him sorting through some road maps. Uncle Ivan was determined to drive as far as he could on the first day, and he didn't even stop driving when Aunt Jennifer made him a sandwich in the kitchenette for lunch. He ate dinner at the wheel, too. Gordon, Paulo and I passed the time by watching movies on the big screen TV, and when it grew dark out, we headed to our bedroom and soon fell asleep.
Around eleven o'clock, Aunt Jennifer told Uncle Ivan she would take a turn driving. "You've been driving non-stop for fourteen hours. Why don't you go and have a nice hot shower and get a few hours sleep?"
Uncle Ivan stretched and said, "That sounds like a great idea. I am a bit tired." He pulled over long enough to let Aunt Jennifer get behind the wheel and made his way quietly to the bathroom for a long, relaxing shower.
As Aunt Jennifer drove on, she became aware of a tapping sound on the outside of the trailer. The sound didn't stop, and after a few kilometres, she pulled over to the side of the road to investigate. Taking a flashlight, she circled the motor home until she discovered the source of the sound.
|One of the straps that held our bikes in place had come loose. She quickly fastened it and headed back toward the cab of the motor home. At that same instant, Uncle Ivan emerged from the shower and realized that the motor home was no longer moving. Curious, he glanced around for Aunt Jennifer. Not seeing her anywhere, he grabbed a towel, wrapped it around his waist and stepped out of the back door of the motor home, quietly closing the door behind him so as not to wake Gordon, Paulo and me. And then it happened. At the opposite end of the large motor home, Aunt Jennifer climbed back into the cab, started the engine and took off down the highway, leaving Uncle Ivan stranded by the side of the dark road swatting thirsty mosquitoes and wearing nothing but a towel!|
Hour after hour Aunt Jennifer drove on. "I hope Ivan's having a nice nap," she thought. "He looked awfully tired."
As Gordon and Paulo slumbered peacefully on their comfortable bunk beds, and I tossed and turned on my cheap cot, I was awakened by the sound of a police siren.
It was very close, and Gordon and Paulo awoke, too.
"I'll bet your uncle's speeding!" said Paulo sleepily. The three of us stumbled toward the cab to watch the excitement and were surprised to see Aunt Jennifer behind the wheel, being pulled over by a police car with its lights flashing and siren blaring. The motor home came to a stop. A large policeman approached our motor home and shone a flashlight into the cab. Aunt Jennifer lowered the window, asking, "I'm sorry, Officer. I wasn't speeding, was I?" in her sweetest voice.
"No, ma'am. I pulled you over for an entirely different reason," said the Officer. "You see, I got a naked man in the back of my cruiser who claims he knows you people!"
Gordon, Paulo and I glanced at each other. A naked man who claims he knows us? Before Aunt Jennifer or the policeman could stop us, we ran out of the motor home to get a better look at this sicko and tell him a thing or two. We rushed toward the police car and pressed our faces against the back window to get a good look for ourselves. We were shocked to see a very angry Uncle Ivan, wrapped in a towel, glaring back at us!
"Bedtime, boys!" yelled Gordon, and the three of us high-tailed it back to our bedroom and locked the door, leaving Aunt Jennifer, Uncle Ivan and the policeman to sort things out.
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Book 1 - The Dead Bird Collection
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