The other day I received an email from somebody who was telling me that they were totally unprepared for how much work is involved in the RV lifestyle. They weren’t talking about workamping or making a living on the road. Their revelation was about how much goes into traveling in an RV; packing the rig for travel and unpacking it when you get arrive at your destination, backing into campsites, hooking and unhooking from campground utilities, connecting a tow vehicle to the back of the motorhome, and things like that. Not to mention the effort it takes to maintain any kind of RV.
The lady writing me said she did not want to sound like a prima donna, and that she was certainly capable of doing what needed to be done, either helping her husband or by herself if necessary, but she said she never realized how much is involved in all of that, and how much time it takes. “To be honest, Nick,” she wrote, “I guess we went into this with rose-colored glasses and never realized that there’s more to it than sitting around a campfire toasting marshmallows and making s’mores. We find ourselves staying longer and longer at campgrounds because we don’t want the hassle of moving.”
She is right. While RVing is a wonderful lifestyle, whether you do it as a fulltimer, a snowbird, or a weekend warrior, there is work involved. And some of it can be a grind at times.
I’ve always disagreed with the theory of blue jobs that the men take care of outside of the RV and pink jobs that the women do inside. Traditionally, it seems like I see more men driving or towing RVs while the wives are passengers when underway. This is not to say that I don’t know a lot of women who are quite capable of, and do, drive their RVs. It just seems that, overall, if it’s a couple it’s usually the man behind the wheel. The man is also usually the one that hooks up to the campground utilities and connects everything for towing. Meanwhile, the wife is inside stowing things away so they don’t move while in transit, and she’s in charge of cooking and cleaning and things like that. This is a mistake for both men and women. Both of you should know how to do every job that’s necessary around the RV. It doesn’t mean you have to do it all the time, but there’s nothing wrong with sharing the workload inside and out.
Eventually you get into a routine when you are getting ready to leave a campground that makes things easier. But that doesn’t mean there is no work involved. It’s amazing how stiff and hard to handle a 50 amp power cord can be, especially on a chilly morning. Hooking up a tow bar can be a hassle, too, at times.
Since I’ve never had a fifth wheel, I don’t know what all is involved in connecting to the truck, but I know it doesn’t do it by itself automatically. And the older we get, as our backs and joints stiffen and our eyesight diminishes a bit, it gets even more difficult. Inside the rig, things have to be stored so they don’t fall and break while traveling, or don’t become deadly missiles in the event of an accident.
Once you get on the road it’s not just about holding the steering wheel and pointing the rig in the direction you want to go. Rough roads, construction zones, and other drivers all have to be dealt with. We’ve been on a few roads where it took as much as we could do just to maneuver through the potholes and frost heaves. And traveling on a windy day can wear you out in a hurry!
The driver isn’t the only one doing all of the work. The copilot should be on the alert to warn of merging traffic, hazards ahead and to the side, and be watching out for directional signs because we all know you can’t trust a GPS 100% of the time. The copilot also needs to help navigate into and out of fuel stops. I can’t tell you how many times somebody has driven across right in front of us in a truck stop parking lot like we weren’t even there!
And once you arrive at your campground, you don’t get to just shut off the key and say “Honey, we’re home.” Now you get to do it all in reverse. Backing into a site can be a real challenge for some people, and again, having a copilot outside guiding you in can make it a lot easier. Then you get to do everything all over again, dragging the power cord out and connecting it, hooking up to water and sewer, aiming a TV dish if you don’t have an automatic one, and getting everything squared away inside. Then you have to get the awnings out, drag the lawn chairs out of a storage bay if you want to use them, walk the dog if it needs it, and oh, by the way, what are we going to do about dinner?
No, it’s not all fun and games. There’s some real work involved now and then. But the rewards when you are parked in a nice campground listening to the birds chirping and the wind rustling through the trees can make it all worthwhile. That is, if you can ignore the noise made by the screaming kids running through your site, the barking dogs, and hey, is that a railroad track right next door?
This is not to say that the RV lifestyle isn’t wonderful, because it can be. No matter what you do in life there are always good days and bad days. In RVing, the good days usually outnumber the bad days by a wide margin.
Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an audiobook of Big Lake Burning, the sixth book in my Big Lake Mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening.
Thought For The Day – Sometimes my life feels like a test I didn’t study for.