RVing in the heat of the summer or hot temperatures can make for an unhappy camping experience. However, if you know how to keep your RV cool inside, you and your family will enjoy your RV adventure and sleep well on those hot summer nights!
We had no idea when we set out on our course to live in an RV that our marriage was about to change. The whole dynamics thing…the closeness (as in space around us), intimacy and dealing with unspoken emotion. What used to be is now no longer. We have become….oh, dare I say….different, more pliable and more resilient. I dare to say even more than when we were an Active Duty Military Family.
While we were at a Toby Keith concert, between a set of songs, he explained that some of his most successful music he’s composed are called ‘bus songs’; offbeat songs he’d written in the back of his bus…errrr….RV. I guess if you’re going to find inspiration, it only makes sense for some to find it ‘on the road’.
People ask us repeatedly why we gave up everything, our livelihoods, jobs and house with everything in it, to live in an RV full-time. To be quite honest, we sometimes ask ourselves that same question but we always come to the same answer we did back in 2014. Though it was a challenging and downright scary time for us, we’d do it all over again. Here’s why, for the time being, RV living is so much better and easier than in our former sticks and bricks. Let’s see why.
RV and Camping Hacks are inexpensive remedies utilizing objects that are meant for other intended purposes. Through our years as full-time RVers, we’ve come up with our own list of cheap camping hacks and tips to make living in an RV motorhome or camper trailer simpler.
We’ve lived and traveled in our RV for going on 3 years and absolutely wouldn’t trade it for the world. Our lifestyle is incredibly amazing. We’ve been told people want to ‘be us’. While we adored our previous sticks and bricks home, we love the tiny-house simplicity, liberation and freedom to go when we want and where. We are blessed with so many people who come into our lives through our travels and remain friends for life. But that doesn’t say there aren’t things we’ve missed or day dream about that we had living in our former ‘S&B’ (sticks and bricks) home. We’re being honest here. In this lifestyle, you trade one for another.
This lifestyle brings a whole new set of challenges. That military mantra ‘overcome and adapt’ has followed us. It’s okay though, it’s what makes us stronger to enjoy the reason why we are doing this whole nomadic lifestyle. We consider ourselves lucky to be doing this but that doesn’t erase some disappointments or things we’d wished to keep. This is a brutally honest, hearts-on-our-sleeves blog piece. Don’t think for a minute that we’re complaining but, if you’re ever contemplating a nomadic lifestyle whether it be RVing, sailing, backpacking across the country, etc., you might want to know before cutting the cord:
- Soaks, Salts & Suds – I miss my big jetted tub! I used to take 2-3 baths a week with my favorite soaps, salts and essential oils; whether it be therapeutically or simple relaxation. Now, I’m lucky to get one every 2-3 months. If I visit a friend or relative, I always ask, ‘may I?’ and when we get a hotel room, I splurge and get one with a big soaking tub.
- Endless Hot Water – It goes with the bathtub soaks. Admit it, long showers rock…where it meant using the entire water heater tank in our former sticks and bricks, that we could stand in the shower for a good 30 minutes of pulsating hot water on my back and shoulders, but I digress. Now, our showers are limited to about 5 minutes unless we use the bathhouse where we are parked but then there’s the whole privacy thing. We sacrifice one for the other.
- Down The Drain – Doing dishes back then was so much simpler with one less step. Now, we scrape our dishes well or wipe them with a napkin before washing them. Weird I know, but we watch everything we put down our plumbing and tanks. If not, we’re in big trouble…perhaps bigger and more costly than when we had our S&B. On the same note, if we’re not hooked up to sewer, we then are very conscious of how much we put in our gray tanks. So, even that five minute shower gets cut to about two.
- Friends and Family – This is probably the biggest ‘low point’ but we try not to dwell or think about it. Our families are in Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Virginia and elsewhere and Lisa’s best friends are in Florida, Maine, and Kentucky. We make it a point to fly or drive to see our families and friends. It takes extra planning because of where we may be parked, who will care for our nomad cats and how we get there.
- Forever Neighbors – We knew exactly who had coconut sugar or special spices to borrow from in our former neighborhood. If a neighbor needed a babysitter, we were always there to help them. The Early Wyne Ladies gathered every month for Bunco, baby and wedding showers, cooked for sick neighbors, and took care of each other’s neighbors and pets while we would step away on vacations or trips. We miss the annual Kentucky Derby parties, Halloween Parties at Kim & Jim’s, Christmas Parties at Amy & Paul’s and New Year’s at whomever was bold enough to volunteer. We’ve even hosted a few. We miss the neighborhood community we had. We knew we could depend on each other without worry.
- Butcher, Baker and Candlestick Maker – It might sound like a fairy tale we lived in however, this part was important to us. We got our meats and groceries from our small Kentucky town Country Mart, our pastries and baked goods from The Tea Cup and whatever handcrafts, I bought from locals I knew. We don’t have that anymore. I miss it. But it won’t keep us from not finding the best in the places we visit. We make talk with the locals wherever we go to find their recommendations. We enjoy visiting Farmer’s Markets everywhere to compensate.
Dave & I chatting at our favorite bakery
the Tea Cup in Taylorsville, Kentucky
- Girlfriend Dates and Outings – nothing like all my peeps packing into our former home in funny themed pajamas to scrapbook until 4 am, lunch dates at the local cafes, and ‘playing the ponies’ at Churchill Downs with ‘da girls’ at Kentucky Derby time. But on a good note, I’ve met some fabulous lady friends whom I’ve gotten to know to do ‘girlfriend things’ with on the road. Some of us have grown extremely close because of what we have in common.
- Doctor, Dentist & Chiropractor – They knew us and our health like their own familys’. They knew our stories and personals. The knew how to treat without having to go through continuous comprehensive exams every visit. Our military medical care is perhaps, one of our biggest challenges on the road, but we make it work. We have to.
- Our Nomad Cats’ Veterinarian – As with our own Doctor, our fuzzyheads miss Dr. Shelley and the staff at Elk Creek Animal Hospital. They know them well and have been their patients since they were frisky kittens. Doc Shelley diagnosed Kandi’s Feline Hyperesthesia and understands her need for separate visits to get her immunizations because of her allergic reactions if taken all together. He also knows that Krissie is a Prima Donna, loves to be held by him but hates opening her mouth for him. On a good note, each year we return to Kentucky to get their well-kitty checks and to play with the staff.
- Home for the Holidays – Most look at this as a heartbreaker but we make the best of it. I can honestly say, ‘we’re used to it’ because of our former military lifestyle being stationed away from our families. We love the holidays and we love our families. But because of where they weather, location and time of year, travel is most times difficult, especially when we are parked a couple thousand miles away. We try to situate ourselves where we may meet with other RVers in the same situation or choose a location near(er) to other family or friends. Its hard to be alone but really, we’re not.
Our ‘RV Family’ OwnLessDoMore‘s Emily & Tim and son, Dane
joined us for Christmas dinner at Wine Ridge RV Resort
in Pahrump, NV
Almost every week it seems, on one or more of the RV related Facebook group pages we frequent, a topic we call ‘RV Wars’ happens and sometimes…no…EVERY time, it gets very heated. Comments end up getting deleted by the Admin of that group or the discussion is just plain shut down. They always end badly…ALWAYS!
Anyways, this morning, I rose with the sun, grabbed my big cup of hot joe and sat down to see what excitement I missed our favorite pages since during the eight hours I slept. All was going well until…yeah, until I start reading a new member post the forbidden, nails-on-the-chalkboard question that had me snort coffee out of my nose. There it was, staring right back at me on the computer screen…“Hi! We are newbies and were wondering what is the best RV type we should buy?” Now if that ain’t a loaded question, I don’t know what is. If only facebook groupies knew how to use the ‘search bar’ for said group’s page and typed that question instead of posting it, we wouldn’t have this come up almost every week…oh, and my laptop screen would be cleaner, but I digress. We wouldn’t have these perpetual ‘forgive me if this has been posted before but…”; its like watching the movie ‘Groundhog Day’.
Hold onto that thought…
Look, there is no right or wrong answer or best or worst RV out there. Its all a matter of perception and opinion. Everyone’s journey and dream is different. There is no ‘one size fits all’. Our perspective and experience will be different from others. We each find what fits our situation, family size, interests, toys, cost, floorplans, etc. So when someone posts that unnerving comment, “well, motorhomes are better easier…” or “5th wheels are so much better because…” or the bold faced question in the previous paragraph, you can begin to understand why it is such a controversial subject. So to help with that, we’ve compiled lists that may help answer those unnerving questions or comments.
- Easier to set up/take down (this is hugely debatable)
- Huge windshield for awesome viewing and photography
- Comfy passenger seat with platform area for laptop computer working in transit
- Passenger(s) can watch tv/movies while in transit
- Passenger(s) can make sammiches or go pee while in transit
- Generator enabled at the push of a button from inside
- Driver/Passenger(s) don’t have to leave the inside of the coach
- Large propane tank which results in less visits for refill
- More comfortable ride in transit
- Price tag; much more expensive unless you hit the lottery or heir to the queen
- Engine and Maintenance Costs are significantly higher
- Two vehicles to finance; Motorhome and Toad (transportation vehicle)
- Insurance Cost is higher; don’t forget to add in the Toad
- If your engine breaks down, could cost $$ for lodging while motorhome gets serviced
- Built in generator malfunction requires garage service
- Bigger Propane and Fuel tanks scream OUCH at the pump
- While in transit, driver and passenger(s) hears every shake, rattle and roll of everything inside
- must use high clearance/truck stop type fuel stations because of height
- Affordability (new and pre-owned)
- Maintenance is much simpler and less costly
- Space inside RV is not taken up by engine, transmission or cockpit
- Don’t lose RV home to a garage if mechanics needs to go for service
- More floor plan options and roomier
- More homey feel; residential recliners, fireplace, large entertainment centers
- Larger kitchen/galley with island
- Storage is inside the RV (cabinetry) and not underneath
- Extra storage space in truck bed away from hitch (if needed)
- Insurance is substantially less
- Easier to resell
- Can fuel truck at any fueling station without tow
- No making sammiches or potty breaks while in transit; need rest stops
- Setup/Take Down requires precise hitching/unhitching & leveling
- Smaller windshield and cockpit
- Must be proficient in large vehicle towing and backing up
- Most states disallow passengers to ride in the trailer in transit
- Lighter in weight means less stability during transit
- Riding all day in a pickup truck can be uncomfortable
Both still have to hook up or unhook utilities outside (ie. electric, water & sewage) taking the same amount of time. The only difference we’ve observed is that Class A owners can auto-level from ‘inside’ whereas 5th Wheel owners must level or auto-level from an ‘outside’ cargo compartment, however, that said, if both measured on a stop watch, the task length pretty much equals.
Class A owners claim that 5th Wheel Owners must take extra time to hitch and unhitch however, if Class A owners are towing a toad, they still have to take that same time to hitch or unhitch their toad, sometimes taking longer. As well, Class A owners claim in foul weather, they can pull into a campsite or park, lower their jacks and be done with it while its assumed that those towing a 5th wheel or travel trailer must get out to unhitch to do the same. Not true. If its nasty weather, as 5th wheel owners, we can stay hitched, level the front jacks quickly to take the weight off of the hitch and go inside to put the slides out. We can properly unhitch and fully level in the morning or when the weather breaks.
Just keep “living YOUR dream”!
Dust mites, mildew and mold can breed very easily, leaving your RV motorhome, fifth wheel, travel trailer and even van with an unpleasant musty odor. But with the help of a dehumidifier, it will quickly reduce and maintain a healthy level of humidity in the air creating a healthy environment for your family.
Spit polish shoes….CHECK!
Army Ball Tickets….CHECK!
Just because we live full-time in an RV doesn’t devoid us from partaking or attending formal events. In early 2015, Dan bought himself a set of tails and myself, a ball gown…or two…or three…for a Mardi Gras Ball we attended with our wonderful friends in Mobile, Alabama. This year, we dug them out of our tiny closet and took them to the cleaners, did a quick spit polish on Dan’s shoes, bought me some new jewelry and donned our formals again for the Medical Command Army Ball.
We were guests of our dear friends, Leon and Barb, who are stationed in San Antonio at Fort Sam Houston. We were stationed with them back in Kentucky years ago at Fort Knox.
We were in good company of some great Medics and Officers! Great group picture…even if it IS a proof! LOL
We felt like fish out of the water as Dan was the only Coastie in attendance; as well though, he was in his tails and not his Coast Guard uniform. But dang, we looked sharp! It was a great evening of pomp and circumstance, honor and several happy hours!
So, until next time, the ball gown and tails goes back in the garment bag and gets put back under the bed. Even RVers get to go to the ball!