RV Traveler Shares Tips for the Road

RV travelers are an enigma to me, and today I’m exploring their world. It seems to me that a life of adventure, with your home in tow, would be so carefree and exciting, especially while seeing all that America has to offer!
Have you ever thought of hitting the road in an RV, and taking an extended road trip for, well, for as long as possible?
The number of Americans owning an RV is at a record high. More than nine million American households own an RV at this time, which is the highest ever recorded, according to the Web.
Did you know that gas prices would have to double over current levels to make RVing more expensive for a family of four than other forms of travel?
I recently contacted a friend from my high school days who is an RV travel enthusiast. Kathy Alexander and her husband Bill traveled throughout the U.S. in their RV for about six years, and even worked at some of the RV parks along the way. They loved their journeys, and I consider Kathy to be an expert on this topic.
Kathy and Bill retired in 2006 and 2001, respectively, and had talked about traveling for a while, according to Kathy. So in 2005, they sold their home as they knew it.
“We had camped in RV’s before, and we had a 5th Wheel at one time and a pull-behind,” she said. “We knew if we were going to be spending a lot of time on the road we needed something larger. We also decided that in order to be able to spend several months in one spot that we would be workampers. We would work 15-20 hours each per week, and that paid for our site, laundry, and propane. This made it more affordable, and it was easy work.”
They broke into RVing on their first trip by spending a year with family in Salt Springs, Florida, as their retirement vacation.
Later, they learned the hard way that you do not want to camp and work at an RV park in Lake Panasoffekee, FL, in the summer if you can help it.
“Big mistake! You do not work in Florida in the summer. Then we went to a KOA Campground in Trenton, Georgia,” Kathy continued.
“We were there almost seven months. The people who owned it did not want us to leave, but we had our sights set on the west. We went to Victor, Idaho next – a little town of 840, but 25 miles from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in the Grand Teton Mountains.”
During their stay they visited many wonderful places and beautiful sights. They made a return trip the next year and stayed for another summer and saw many more sights, including the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Teton National Park, Craters of The Moon, and many more places.
“It was a long trip out and back, but so very unbelievably enjoyable,” she said.
The Alexanders have also camped in Michigan, New Mexico, Texas, Wyoming, Tennessee, Arizona, and North Carolina. The farthest they traveled from home was Needles, California.
Kathy suggests staying close to the interstate highways when traveling across the country. She said she refers to the many books she bought with references to RV Parks, and makes reservations in advance, just like for hotels. Also, she said that Wal-Mart usually lets RVs use their parking lot overnight, which saves money, if your holding tank is full of water.
Her advice to novice RV travelers is to always have duct tape on hand, and that roadside assistance service is a must for RV motorists. Another problem can arise at gas stations, so look for books that list all the RV accessible service stations, plus more information.
Storage of RVs takes a bit of preparation when not in use, so Kathy suggests to always drain all the tanks and keep some vents open for air, especially in hot weather.
“We knew someone who had a window blow out from the heat,” said Kathy.
She went on to say that in the winter you need to winterize the water lines to keep them from freezing and bursting.
“Mice will get in your RV while it is in storage,” she said. “I always put glue boards out just in case, and you can put bounce regular scent dryer sheets in your storage bays. For some reason mice do not like these.”
Speaking of mice, after communicating with a representative from earthkind, I received more earth-friendly information and a few more suggestions for all the RV fans.
With approximately 35 million RV enthusiasts in the U.S., in most parts of the country, campers and RVs are not used year around. Earthkind has compiled a list of ways to keep your camper and/or RV rodent free:
• Tidy Up. Having trash or clutter around provides food sources, nesting materials, and hiding places for rodents.
• Keep any non-perishable items in air-tight containers so that rodents cannot access them.
• Repair holes and cracks. Make sure to check outside, inside, over and under your camper for any holes or cracks that mice may be able to fit through; ¼ inch is all that they need to get in.
• Windows should be looked over for any gaps along the edges. Windows with holes or cracks should be replaced.
• Last, but not least, campers might want to be protected with All-Natural Fresh Cab Rodent Repellent. One pouch per 8 square feet will prevent rodents from entering your camper and ensure that your wires, interior, and sanity stay intact. http://www.earth-kind.com/products/repellent/
So armed with all this first-hand information, I feel more competent that I, too, could become an RV enthusiast. I asked Kathy how life is now that she and Bill have retired from their days on the open road.
“I never thought that I would really like the traveling as much as I did, but it is so amazing the number of wonderful people from all over the country that we met when we were on the road,” Kathy mused. “We are still very good friends with a lot of these people and get together with them from time to time. We have an awesome country, the good ole USA, and we only saw a tiny part of what there is to see, but I would recommend it if you have the desire to do it. We have traveled thru every weather there is – snow, rain , hail, sleet, fog so thick you could not see a foot in front of you, and came very close to a tornado one time! I would not trade the experience for anything in the world.”
“We now have our motor home parked permanently on the lake in Alabama, and we still live in it fulltime. As long as we are able we will continue to live in it and enjoy the life we have grown accustomed to – meeting new people everyday.”
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Bill and Kathy Alexander at an RV Resort in Talladega, AL, a beautiful place on the lake.

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