Thoughts on RV Travel

Published: 16th February 2011
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Since buying my rv in the spring of 2007, I have driven just over 31,000 miles. This adventure in full time rv living is a lot of fun and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, however I have noticed that it is not always as relaxing as I originally thought it would be.

There are several reasons for that:

Most of those miles were logged during the past three summers and we did a lot of traveling, rarely staying more than 4-5 days in any one spot, and frequently staying just 1-2 days. That’s a fair amount of driving for one thing. In retrospect, I’d have to say that we moved too often and tried to cover too much territory, probably because we weren’t getting any younger and were afraid we might run out of time and energy before we’d had a chance to see everything.

And there is also some work involved in setting up for an overnight.

1. Unhooking the dinghy

2. Plugging in the power cord

3. Hooking up the sewer hose

4. Hooking up the water hose

5. Leveling the coach

6. Putting out the slide

7. Putting up the antenna

8. Taking personal items out of wherever you stowed them for traveling and setting up your household for living again.

Now, if you boondock (dry camp) instead of staying at a campground, you can eliminate items 2, 3, and 4. And, if you’re staying only one or two nights and don’t need to use your towed vehicle, you can also eliminate item 1. There’s no doubt about it - boondocking has a lot of advantages (one of which is to save some money).

If you boondock much, you do have to make sure you’re carrying enough fresh water – I find a 70 gallon tank will last about a week, but I don’t like to travel far carrying that much water, so I keep it about one quarter to one third full unless I plan to stay put for more than a few days. If you think you’ll want to run your generator much, make sure you have enough gas. A solar panel and inverter will help a lot, but it won’t run your air conditioner if that is needed.

Of course, if you’re not boondocking, once you decide to leave your camp again, you have to do the reverse of all the above items … and a few more as well…

1. Hook up the dinghy

2. Unplug, clean & stow the power cord

3. Unhook, clean & stow the sewer hose

4. Unhook, clean & stow the water hose

5. Retract the slide

6. Retract the levelers

7. Taking down the antenna

8. Stow personal items for traveling

9. Check the oil

10. Check the tire pressure in all 6 coach tires, and 4 auto tires

So, living full time in an rv is not quite the same as going on a vacation. Aside from the setting up and taking down exercises, there are regular maintenance chores like cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and maybe fixing a thing or two. But cleaning doesn’t take much time, and cooking can be kept fairly simple as there is not much work space, nor much refrigerator and freezer space either. This is fine with me as I don’t get too excited about cooking anyway!

Our travels so far have been a wonderful experience, with very few mishaps; I hope to be able to do it for many more years. And it has been good for me - I've already learned quite a bit about RV care and maintenance, and have become much more relaxed about going with the flow when things don't go as planned. I’ve met some terrific people, too.

Secretly, I suspect that if word gets out what a delightful lifestyle this can be, soon everyone will be doing it.

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