Smarter than the average bear.


A hundred miles outside Washington DC, through Warrenton and Luray and just across the Skyline Drive is Yogi Bear’s “Camp Jellystone”. Its a collection of RV sites, and wooden cabins with a big grassy field in the middle and paddle boats, giant trampolines and things to climb on. This weekend it had our GMC and us in it too, along with Maya, Liam, Alia and Darrel. They stayed in a cabin and we, of course, stayed in the GMC. It was the perfect, easy destination in which to try out all the GMC’s toys and iron out any problems.

Apart from having a cup of tea in it when we arrived in Woodbridge, Philippa has never actually driven in the GMC so I wanted it to make a good impression and sure enough the beds turned out to be pretty comfortable, the stove worked well, the heater came on when it was supposed to and the airconditioning worked so that was all very pleasing. Less pleasing was the fact that I broke the furnace thermostat in the night trying to turn it off, the sewer hose was ridiculously short and we awoke to find a damp patch of carpet outside the bathroom, of which more later. (can you bear the suspense). Anyway it was a grand weekend in which we assume Tom was with us, but we never really saw him accept for meals. The rest of the time he was rushing around with Liam and Alia and we could just about pick out his seven year old form, bouncing vigorously on the giant trampoline at the end of the campground, and waving at Yogi who appeared every now and then to say hi to the kids, who probably had no idea who he was, given that Yogi is probably in his late fifties by now, and some way from his heyday.

The grownups really enjoyed sitting about in the bright sunshine and doing not very much at all, punctuated with the occasional beer and book. Actually, quite a bit of my weekend was punctuated with sorting small things in the GMC like flushing out the anti-freeze in the system and filling it up with water. Then I tried out the ridiculous thirty-two year old sewer hose, which was so short that I had to park the GMC virtually on the drain in order to plug it in. Ho for the shop and $40 later I had a new sewer hose which expanded up to 15 feet but compressed down to 45 inches – small enough to be hidden away. Inevitably the fitting wasn’t quite right, so I ended up trotting back to the shop to get an adapter, but it all worked. Actually, everything does really and in a really ingenious way. The bunk folds out and swings up very simply for Tom, the water heats as you drive along, the bathroom is a perfect little demonstrate of form and function. Its all very satisfying. Apart from that wet patch. It appeared just after I plugged into the “city water fill” where you plug in your hose to their tap, and rely on their water pressure. Unfortunately there is a wardrobe and drawers in front of the connection but that seemed to be where it was coming from… Rats. It looked like it would be a complete pain to track down and fix and I didn’t want to add anything else to The List, but there was no avoiding this one. But I wasn’t about to start pulling things apart this weekend, so instead the seven of us cooked each other lovely meals, threw the kids in bed when it was dark, and chatted around a campfire into the chilly night. It felt like we had had the GMC for years.

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