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A City Girl’s 1st RV Experience

By Cindy Boatman August 23, 2022 Travel

Some folks in the small community where I reside have referred to me as a “city girl” though I’m not from a large hometown. I confess to enjoying shopping, eating out, movies, nice hotels and other conveniences. I also love the country, hiking, waterfalls, stunning views, and nature in general.

No doubt I was intrigued when my significant other (“SO”) told me about his dream to purchase a recreational vehicle (“RV”) and spend time traveling across the USA during retirement. The prospect of visiting national parks, state parks and other natural areas of interest appealed to me.

I Envisioned Us Exploring the Landscapes Photographed by Ansel Adams

Then came anxious thoughts of dramatic scenarios, like experiencing brake failure and becoming airborne after failure to navigate a curve while descending from a steep mountain pass. I also felt anxiety around SO’s distracted driving habits (like taking his eyes off the road to view points of interest) since he would be behind the wheel of a long, large RV with a tow vehicle (known as a “toad”) attached.

Then there were practical matters such as the purchase price and other costs attributable to owning, operating, and maintaining an RV. Not to mention the current trend in high fuel prices, all of which contribute to a total price tag that could otherwise fund many years of nice vacations, both foreign and domestic. Still, none of it fazed SO in pursing the RV Dream.

Fast Forward to July of 2022

We are cruising down U.S. Route 87 about to cross the border from Texas into New Mexico. Our destination is Creede, Colorado, where good friends await our arrival. We are towing a Ford F250 pick-up truck behind a 45-foot-long 2000-model Prevost Liberty coach with a mid-century inspired interior update.  

My legs are propped on the leg rest of the fancy new reclining passenger seat installed as part of the interior refresh. The seat is equipped with multiple bells and whistles including several massage modes. I find myself enjoying the view from the big windshield and panoramic windows that grace each side of the bus. I’m also able to move about the coach, grab a snack, and use the restroom whenever I like. Sweet.

After Two Days on The Road, We Arrive at Our Destination

We pull into a beautiful RV park located next to the Rio Grande River in a valley surrounded by beautiful mountains. We share a wonderful week with friends, off-roading and exploring the area. Our digs contain all the comforts of home, including two TVs and an internet hotspot that allows us to stay as connected as we choose to. It also allows us to binge-watch Netflix when we retire for the evening.

Overall, this “City Girl” found the RV lifestyle enjoyable. I was also thrilled with the flexibility in packing options since I could take whatever I wanted. No size limits on cosmetic products and no tough decisions on which shoes, jackets or other clothing to bring along. The only drawback is unloading everything when you get home!

It Wasn’t All Sunshine and Roses

There were some unnerving moments like navigating narrow lanes around 635 North in Dallas, Texas. Also, making turns on main streets of small towns with cars parked along both sides of the road proved challenging. SO’s driving had to be precise without the option to back-up the RV with a vehicle in tow.

While en route, we had to locate large parking lots or other convenient open spaces to park the bus when stopping for meals or other reasons. Reserving a space ahead of time was also necessary since most RV parks quickly book the limited pull-through spots available to accommodate a long rig like ours.

Being an older motorcoach, there were a few operational issues despite pre-trip checks. Luckily, SO is good at troubleshooting, and we found some great online forums with helpful advice.

One Final Comment Regarding Space

“Slides” serve to extend and widen key areas of an RV when stationary; areas like the kitchen, living room and bedroom. Our bus doesn’t have any slides, and with the exception of our bathroom area, the walkways are narrow, especially around the bed. Our Border Colley, Max, quickly learned to disappear under the kitchen table to avoid getting stepped on or yelled at when we were afoot in the coach.

Is the RV Lifestyle for You?

The RV lifestyle has a lot to offer, especially for retirees or semi-retirees that like to travel and have plenty of time to spend on the road. Be sure to research the matter thoroughly and choose the size, style and price range of RVs that suit you best. Thinking About Buying an RV When You Retire is a good article to get you started. Also, consider renting before you buy.

The following list contains a few considerations that may be helpful in the decision-making process:

Pros:

  • It’s a convenient, relaxed and comfortable way to travel and lodge.
  • Ease in packing decisions. Take whatever you like to the extent it fits.
  • No standing in long security lines, dealing with cancelled flights or lost luggage.
  • The RV community is generally friendly and sociable, thus promoting happiness and longevity.
  • You get to see the stuff in-between home and your destinations.
  • When not in use, you may be able to host renters, Airbnb style, to help offset your RV and travel costs.

Cons:

  • Purchase price and maintenance costs.
  • Asset depreciates rapidly.
  • Trailer cost, if trailer is needed for tow or other (off-road) vehicles.
  • Off-site storage, if needed.
  • Although not as expensive as hotels, you still pay to stay (mostly).
  • A lot of “together time” if you are traveling with a partner. It can be challenging at times, but still doable for those introverts out there.

Regardless of the mode of transportation you choose, travel is such a worthwhile and enriching experience. This so-called “city girl” looks forward to many years of enjoyable travel adventures, including her next RV experience!

Please join in the conversation. What are some things you love about the RV lifestyle? What insight can you provide to those considering the purchase of an RV? Please share your RV hacks and tips for those of us new to the lifestyle!

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The Author

Cindy Boatman is passionate about personal development and maintaining quality of life in the aging process. She loves sharing her research and insights with others. Cindy has successfully completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training certification program, and loves nature, hiking, traveling and spending time with family and friends. Writing is her creative outlet.

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