I know you’re thinking, “I thought this was a travel blog?” Don’t worry, it definitely is and this is not a post about a financial investment. Yes, it involves spending some money, but the returns received from the initial investment are worth so much more than money. Have I sparked your curiosity? Please read on…
As you’ve heard in previous posts, we love to camp. We’ve been tent campers since childhood but in the spring of 2014, my husband got interested in RVs. We have some co-workers who have fifth wheels and after visiting with them during a NASCAR race in Darlington, SC, my hubby started researching them online.
Now I have a confession to make, we’re all friends here right? I wasn’t crazy about the idea at first. Even the lower end of campers are pretty pricey and the hubs tends to have champagne tastes. I had fun looking online but it was more just window shopping and dreaming for me. My husband however, had other ideas.
I get the call one Saturday at work to meet Tom Camping World to look at an RV. He shows me a gorgeous Forest River Georgetown. It’s 34’, gas powered Ford V10 engine, with three slides, and sleeps six (supposedly, more on that later). The thing I loved the best was it has a full size residential fridge in it. Y’all, it has a nicer fridge in it than I have in my house. This is important because we love to cook…ok, ok and eat, haha! Limiting our eating out is also one of the reasons we can travel as much as we do. Tom asked me if I liked it and I told him I did.
Apparently when Tom asked if I liked it and I said yes, he took that to mean “buy it” because the following Monday we were the proud new owners of “Lucille” a Class A, Forest River Georgetown. (For all the movie buffs out there, any guesses where the inspiration for the name comes from? Leave us a comment with your answers!) I was a little nervous about taking on a $500 a month payment, but was slightly consoled that it was an additional tax deduction.
Little did I know, we would gain much more than financial rewards. We promised ourselves we would not be like others we know and use our RV only once a year. We agreed we would take it out at least every 6-8 weeks to make it worth the purchase. Two years later we have been true to our word. We use it every chance we get, although we do still get out tents out and camp the old fashioned way every now and then. (Check out our epic 2016 Pacific Northwest Vacation)
The benefits we received from all these camping trips were surprising and priceless. Probably half of the campgrounds we stay in do not have cable or wifi, so it allows us to be completely unplugged for the weekend. Even when we stay where they are available, we rarely use them. This has brought us even closer together as a family. During nice weather we sit outside and talk or listen to the radio. We cook just like at home and eat meals together at the dining table inside or the picnic table outside. We play board games, which is both fun for sunny and rainy days. This is definitely back to basics family time, which is missing in today’s fast paced world.
We get lots physical benefits as well. We all love to take our bikes out and ride around the campgrounds and surrounding areas. We have found most of them usually have nature trails for riding and walking and some are even located in state and national parks. We swim when the weather is warm, and there are usually lots of year round outdoor activities like horseshoes, shuffleboard, and mini golf. We also can’t forget sitting around the campfire with nice craft beer and some s’mores! If we told Rhiannon that we were selling the house to move into the RV full time, she would be perfectly ok with that. So would Scout and MIA.
Scout, our dog loves his long walks and visits to the dog parks. He is equally happy being tied up by the camper to people watch (He’s so nosey). Even MIA, our cat, loves to go camping. She sits in the doorway or lays on the back of the couch and looks out the window. Both of our pets literally pout for a day or two after we get back from camping, and we actually have to drag MIA out of a hiding spot to get her out of the RV. People are sometimes surprised that we take our animals, but they are our family and love camping as much as we do.
Another thing I always loved about camping is getting to be with like-minded adventurers. We have met some really great people on our travels and trips, some we stay in touch with and get together for other trips. It’s so much fun to caravan to the campground and set up together. I really love it during football season, especially when you have rival teams camping together.
“Lucille” is also in our retirement plans. The plan is to RV full time and to see what we haven’t already seen of the Awesome US of A.
It can be less expensive than getting a hotel room if you shop around because it allows you to prepare meals at your “home on wheels” as opposed to eating out every meal when traveling. You also get to sleep in your own bed! This is really a bonus for semi- germaphobes like myself.
I say all the time that our RV is the best purchase we have ever made. You can’t put a value on quality time with your family and the benefits to your emotional and physical well-being. If everyone bought a camper, or even a tent and went camping, there would probably no longer be a need for therapy.