15 Reasons to love the RV Lifestyle!

If I had a nickel for everyone who’s questioned my sanity when I tell them I bought an RV, I’d have a lot of nickels. People who’ve never camped or enjoyed the RV life can’t understand why some people love it. One friend said, “You can stay in a lot of Hampton Inns for what you’d pay for an RV.” While that is true, to an avid RV enthusiast, we see someone staying in a Hampton Inn and think, “Man, for the money they spent on that trip, they could have bought an RV!”

Since many who camp hear this comment frequently, I decided to poll a group of RV enthusiast and ask them why they prefer the RV lifestyle. If you’ve ever wondered why people like to RV, here are their answers:

  1. Cleanliness “I know who slept in my bed the night before. And who drooled on the pillows!”Probably the most stated reason involved cleanliness and in particular, bed bugs! It’s odd how people won’t buy a used mattress that was previously owned by one person, yet they’ll sleep on a mattress in a hotel room that’s had hundreds if not thousands of strangers rolling around on it for years. In recent years, the stories of bedbugs being found in even the nicest of hotels has many people opting to bring their bed with them when they travel.
  2. Furbabies “My pets feel at home.” Being able to travel with pets came in at a close second for the reasons several chose the RV lifestyle. While many hotels allow pets now, most charge extra for the service and the rooms often aren’t as clean as the pet-free rooms.
  3. Food Preparation “With the RV, I have my entire lifestyle with me” Many people have dietary issues which vary from a desire for clean eating to medical restrictions. Finding restaurants that serve healthy foods is difficult and often very expensive. Traveling with your own kitchen allows you the option of preparing your food the way you like or need it. If you’re lucky enough to find farmer’s markets on the way, you can enjoy fresh produce prepared in a way that suits your needs.
  4. No suitcases! Or risk of leaving something behind in the room. Several respondents mentioned how much they hated toting suitcases in and out of hotels and the increased risk of leaving things behind. I lost a pair of diamond studs in a hotel in Ohio once. Strangely enough, when I called to inquire, no one had seen them. Imagine that.
  5. Hobbies! Taking an RV allows you the storage space to pack along supplies for hobbies and outdoor activities. Guitars, surf boards, camera equipment, telescopes…the list goes on and on. Try to get all that in your suitcase!
  6. Convenience– Have you ever been on a trip and had to travel many miles in an attempt to find a place to eat? With an RV, all you need is a wide spot by the road. One of my favorite things to do while traveling across country is to pull into a rest area for lunch. Many of them have beautiful views overlooking mountains and rivers. I can fix a sandwich, use my restroom, and even take a nap if I choose before hitting the road again.
  7. Camper comradery“I’ve never met people in an elevator who invited me over to their campfire for a glass of wine…” On one of my first solo trips, I checked into a site where the water wasn’t working. I stretched a hose to the site beside mine, but before I’d even gotten it attached, an older gentleman came over to ask me if I was having a problem. In a matter of moments, he was on his golf cart heading to the camp host to report my issue. Within 20 minutes, a worker at the campground came to my site and turned on my water (It was still shut off for the winter.) That sort of thing happens frequently in campgrounds. Most campers are friendly, family oriented, and basically good people.
  8. My bed! This is a big one for me. I have sciatic nerve issues and hotel beds are never soft enough. Traveling with my own bed allows me the option of adding enough padding to my RV bed to survive a direct hit from an asteroid. It’s pretty awesome.
  9. Porta potty because sometimes as we get older, we need a bathroom close by…like really close by.
  10. Being in nature “I love the night sounds and the fresh air, the stars…” If you don’t like nature, don’t go camping, however if you do like the great outdoors, there’s no better way to experience it. Most campers prefer “Walking on paths, not hallways.”
  11. You’re always home. Every night, you sleep in your own bed. You might be thousands of miles away, in a place you’ve never seen before, but you’re still in your bed with your sheets when it’s time to settle in for the night. You can spend your days exploring new places, but when you get back, your toothbrush is in your bathroom, and your toaster is under the kitchen sink. You have your favorite coffee, your own hair dryer, and the quilt grandma made you when you were a kid. Wherever you are, you’re still home.
  12. Comfort– I don’t know about you, but I can’t get comfortable in a hotel room. If I’m in for the evening, the only place I can prop up my feet is in the bed, which means I’m climbing in hours before it’s actually time to go to sleep. I’d much rather sit in my zero gravity chair by the campfire and watch the sunset.
  13. Cheaper“There is no way I could afford to travel as I have if I stayed in hotels versus buying/maintaining my RV.” When staying in a hotel, you have to eat out 3 meals a day (unless you have a unit with a kitchenette). That adds up quickly! I enjoy eating out when on vacation, but I can fix breakfast and lunch in the RV and only eat out once a day which saves a lot of money. There’s also the issue of hotel costs vs campground costs. Most campgrounds are $35-$50 per night (some are more, but some are less). What kind of hotel room can you get for that? (See # 1)
  14. Freedom! “They don’t have hotels where I want to go!” Many of the most beautiful places in the United States are in the national park system. While some of them have lodges ($$) the most breathtaking scenery is typically deeper in the wilderness. I you want to hike, fish, or enjoy nature, you’re going to have a tough time doing that from a hotel room without getting in your car and driving somewhere else.
  15. Campfires You can’t go camping without a campfire. Well, you could, but then you wouldn’t have s’mores, star gazing, ghost stories, and people singing an off key version of Kum by ya. There’s something really special about the smell of wood smoke and the crackle of the flames, filling the night air. It’s full of childhood memories and promises of adventure. One of the respondents said simply, “Can’t have a campfire in a hotel room.” At least not without the management getting really ticked…don’t judge.

 

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14 Things I learned on my first solo trip

I’ve been RVing since I was 7 years old. My parents were teachers and we traveled all over the country during our summer vacations. When I married my husband, we continued the tradition for almost 4 decades. I’ve traveled in everything from pop-up campers, to travel trailers, to fifth wheel campers, and motor homes. I’ve done the RV life for almost 50 years. BUT, I never did the driving or setting up. When I was a child, my father did those things and after I was married, my husband took care of those chores while I took care of everything else. I made the reservations, did the navigating, packed everything, prepared all the meals, took care of everything inside…come to think of it, I got the short end of the stick. Nonetheless, while I knew what had to be done to set up, I never actually did it myself. I also had traveled across the country more than once, but I’d never taken the wheel.

I was kind of like that person who thought they could swim because they saw someone do it once.

So when my husband died in November of 2016 and I decided to start RVing again, I was very confident in my abilities and experiences as far as RV life was concerned. After all, I had thousands of miles and hundreds of campgrounds under my belt. How hard could it be?

I bought a 24 foot, class C motor home, spent weeks purchasing what I needed to stock up and then headed out on my first trip.

 

I was a little nervous, but determined to tame the beast, to master the challenge…I was woman, hear me roar!

Okay, you probably get the picture.

I climbed into my RV with my 83 year-old mother and started our 300 mile journey to visit my niece and her family in South Carolina. (I still consider this a solo trip as my mother was unable to help with anything and actually added some additional caregiving duties) Things went smoothly until the rain hit—I’m talking a hillbilly hurricane—and all the people in West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina decided to drive on route 77 at the same time.

That’s when things got a little twitchy. Continue reading

How to make a Joy List

Everyone has probably heard of a “Bucket List,” the phrase used to describe a list of things a person hopes to do before they die. While the concept of listing out things I’d like to do is appealing, the entire “before I die” part always depressed me. In the back of my mind was the thought that the moment I completed the list my life was over-or at least all the fun stuff was.  For me, the idea of a Bucket List was both static and definitive so when I found myself alone after the death of my husband, I decided to make a Joy List instead.

“How is that different?” you ask. Probably the best way to differentiate between the two is by using examples: I enjoy reading, but I wouldn’t put on a Bucket List “Read a book” because it’s not something I’d only do once. Another example might involve flowers. Flowers bring me joy, but I wouldn’t list “Put in a flower garden” on a Bucket List because that implies planting some posies then checking that off the list. A Bucket List contains things you want to do before you die. A Joy List contains things that bring joy to your life now and it can be continually updated as you journey through life. See the difference?

How to build a Joy List Continue reading

Granny’s a Groupie!

good-grief

In the few months since my husband passed away, I discovered something about myself: It’s not that I spend too much time on Facebook (I already knew that), and it wasn’t that there’s nothing I like to watch on TV (which might be the reason I spend too much time on Facebook.)

NOPE!

What I discovered was that I love belonging to groups with other like-minded individuals.

I should have realized this years ago when I joined a writer’s group with other historical authors. Those ladies became some of my closest friends long before my husband became ill. And then there was the caregivers group for those whose loved ones had Lewy Body Dementia. I never would have made it without that group of warriors.

Now, I’m in a new phase of life and I’ve stumbled upon another fantastic support system for women who like to travel and camp.

YIPEE! A plethora of travel groups just for women!
Continue reading

A Widdle Bit Gary

a-widdle-bit-gary1

I have a three year-old granddaughter who is a walking circus. While all of my grandchildren are beautiful, brilliant, and darned near perfect, the Brookie Monster (as she’s lovingly known) is just crazy enough to stand out from the crowd. She lives her life in a state of fearless abandon—a state that never fails to entertain those who watch her, while terrifying her parents who are constantly wondering what she’ll get into next.

However brave she is, there are occasional situations that cause even the Brookie Monster to pause. One such occurrence was on Halloween when she saw an autumn tree I had decorated for my husband’s room in assisted care. There was a small skeleton on the tree, its bony arms reaching out as though to grab a passerby in a spooky embrace, and when her mother asked if she’d like to hug it, Brookie nodded enthusiastically and reached for the ghoul with her typical bravado. But after a very brief hug, she slowly shoved the skeleton back to her mother and said, “That was a widdle bit gary.” (Translation: “a little bit scary,” for those of you who don’t speak Brookease.)

That phrase has now become a standard for many in our family whenever we discuss anything that frightens us a tad and it describes the feelings I had when I decided to buy a camper. Continue reading

Granny is on the loose

my-camper

Welcome to Granny On The Loose, a site dedicated to the thousands of women (and men) who have found themselves alone at a time in their lives when living alone was the last place they’d expected to be.

I am one of those women. At the age of 56, my husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Two years later, that diagnosis was changed to include Lewy Body Dementia, the second most common form of dementia, just behind Alzheimer’s. It effects millions including not only the sufferers, but the families faced with providing care for their loved ones.

After six very difficult years, my husband passed away. He was only 63. I had married him at the tender age of 20 and we’d spent almost four decades together before the disease stole him. While I knew Lewy Body would shorten his life considerably (average life expectancy is 5-7 years after diagnosis), his passing and my subsequent widowhood was still a shock. I was about 5 years younger than him and I never thought I’d be alone at the age of 59.

Now what? Continue reading