RV life. It isn’t something I ever expected to experience, at least not before retirement. Yet, we own an RV.
I have a love/hate relationship with RV travel. There’s something about taking your four children, enough clothing for everyone, filling the small cabinets with easy breakfast, lunch, and snack items, and stocking the tiny mini refrigerator with beverages. You pack jackets in case it gets cold and boots in case it’s muddy. You pack board games, books, and electronic devices for each child PLUS chargers. You pack toiletries, a basic first aid kit, sunblock, swimsuits, and towels.
Have you been in an RV? Storage space is minimal. There’s plenty of storage underneath, but that gets filled with balls, bike helmets, and tables and chairs to set up outside. So when a family of six brings everything they may possibly need for a long road trip, you experience a phenomenon known as RV clutter.
And then, there’s the shower. The shower stall is small, the water pressure comes out in a light drizzle, and the hot water tank only holds so much water, so for six people to shower, we’re talking record speed cleansing. When you are using the shower, you have to pray that one of your children who heard you say six times that you were going to shower doesn’t randomly open the door because RV doors don’t have locks. The alternative is showering at the RV park, which my husband prefers everyone do, but I was never into sports, and I don’t find joy in community showers.
Beyond that, there is the whole idea that when you take a trip, you want to get away. Not just geographically, but you want to get away from the daily grind. With an RV, the daily grind comes along with you. You’re still cooking and cleaning up after everyone.
Admittedly, I did say my complicated relationship with our RV was a love/hate one, so it’s only fair to share the love. Thanks to the RV, we’ve taken trips we never would have considered before. One such trip involved the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Mt. Rushmore. Who would do all three of those in one trip with six people in a minivan? Not us. Another was a trip where we looped Lake Superior. Truly a one of a kind vacation.
And during a pandemic, when you haven’t gone out and done anything in almost a year? The love intensifies, and that RV transforms into a gleaming chariot of possibilities. Never had it looked so appealing as it did over winter break when on a whim, my husband broke out the map (Google Maps … we are civilized after all) and picked a random place to visit. The only criteria was that it would be warm enough for us to explore outdoors, allowing us to see another part of the country and still maintain social distancing to keep safe. We left one kid at home (there is no winter break for high school sports) but added two cousins to the trip just so we didn’t get spoiled by having less people and clutter on a long trip.
Our first stop was Palo Duro Canyon in Texas, the second-largest canyon in the United States. Palo Duro was ripe with hiking trails, and the desert scenery was gorgeous. From there, we drove way down to the border of Texas and Mexico to Big Bend National Park. This park is vast, has trails galore, and gifts you a variety of landscapes. We hiked an area in the park where the mountains, desert, and river converged on one trail. We were able to toss stones across the narrow Rio Grande into Mexico and bought Mexican souvenirs that a family swam across to sell on the river bank.
This was my favorite stop of the trip because each hike varied in terrain. I also got a kick out of my second grader pointing out plateaus, canyons, and other landforms, which I saw him learn in real-time when he was virtual learning at the beginning of the school year.
We wrapped up our trip by stopping at Dinosaur Valley State Park, where we walked in the tracks of the dinosaur’s fossilized footprints, a definite highlight for my 8-year-old, but even my tween and teens found it fascinating.
During a full week and a half of travel, we were able to socially distance the entire time from everyone around us. We brought masks anytime we were outside of the RV. We had a phenomenal adventure in the middle of a pandemic without sacrificing our safety or comfort. For that reason alone,
I 💖 RV’s!