Wednesday, June 8, 2011

RV...or not to RV?

To RV or not to RV? That is the question Kevin and I posed for this summer. Is it: "To sleep perchance to dream" or: "To grunt and sweat under a weary life." On one hand -  how perfect to be riding in your home and go whither the thither the road takes you. On the other hand -  piping poop and steering a super-sized bus for hours on end...

The Danish Prince was out of commission so I asked two friends to give us the low-down.

Chris, originally from Kansas, and his Danish wife Charlotte live with their three children ages 14 to 19 in Richmond, Surrey, England. They've done two trips across America - though Maine and to the Grand Canyon - and are planning to travel West Virginia to South Carolina this summer.

Chris and kids, Grand Canyon
Chris' take:
  1. Opportunity to spend focused quality time with family- no iPhones ringing constantly or something else that needs to be done.
  2. Great way to really see the part of the country you are touring - can stop anywhere along the way and get to see off main drag sites.
  3. Nights around the campfire--s'mores and burgers!!!
  4. A cold beer is only ever 15 feet away!!!
Chris and family kayaking in Cape Cod

Kate lives with her husband John and their three children in the East Bay, California.  As do friends, Melinda and Layton, and their four children, ages seven to 13. The two families took a trip last summer from Zion to the Grand Canyon.

John, Kate and Melinda (green top), Layton (right) and kids
Kate's take:
  1. Traveling by RV - never again.  Clean-up and meal prep was relentless, even going out as much as we could.  Dust gets overwhelming, it's everywhere.  Sleeping is brutal - one is either too hot (sleeping without AC) or noisy (sleeping with AC).
  2. Huge menace to the environment.  RV's take too much, way too much, gas, and are eyesores on the road.  Unless you are the driver or front-seat passenger, you can't see anything anyway.
  3. Others kept saying "a home-run with the kids".  I think our kids did NOT have the time of their lives, and would have had just as much fun in a hotel.
  4. The opportunity to travel with another family that we know and love was great.  We shared many laughs and frustrations; the memories are priceless.  Sounds cliche, I know.
Kate adds: "We really enjoy our National Parks.  Next time, we're going by car and staying in a hotel.  Doesn't have to be anything fancy, just somewhere with no dust and some escape from regular chores for me.  Note the one photo with Melinda and my husband John hooking up the sewer line.  If a picture says a thousand words, then that is it - Layton and I are nowhere in sight!"

John and Melinda doing the honours...
Let's give the last word to Hamlet:
"With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bare?"

Who knows what that means but...would you RV?


  1. Yes...we would. It is on our list of things to try at least once. Although I wish we had done it when the kids were it will be just me and the mister...OAP's in training on tour! I imagine that the benefits would far outweigh the possible downsides...although maybe we have tried it we might think differently...but you have to make your own mind up don't you think?

  2. I adore this post! Thanks for sharing. I would totally RV!
    Happy day, friend!

  3. I think after reading the pros and cons I would have to say NO, I won't be doing the RV thing.

  4. That's a big question... I'll try to simplify (and should actually write a post about it).

    We camp often, and have ever since Jacob was a baby. When Hailey was born, we decided to purchase an RV, since tent camping wouldn't be easy with a little one. Also, my cousin and her husband had recently purchased one and when we camped (in a tent) with them, we noticed the little luxuries that they had (a sink, bathroom!!, etc.)- that we never had with a tent. Although- believe me- we'd camped long enough to build up quite the 'supply' collection to make our experience as "luxurious" as you could get (key essential- a necessary air mattress).

    So, we bought a very large RV. We used it a few times. The last time we use it, we got into a huge accident, and it was totaled... smashed to pieces on the side of the road. After Ryan recovered (he was hospitalized for almost a week), we both agreed on 2 things- to take a break from camping for a while (switch to hotels), and to not purchase another RV.

    With Jacob in boy scouts- a couple of years later- we started having to attend family camping trips, so we slowly re-purchased our supplies (many were lost in the accident), and slowly go back into camping (tent camping). Although it is dirty, it does require work (setting up, meal prep, cooking, cleaning), it is totally worth it to us. We go to Sonoma every summer, and love it so much that we camp for about a week and a 1/2 (as long as we stay near a bathroom and have good shower options- I'm okay). We both agreed (after-the-fact) that the RV was way too much work... more disadvantages than advantages (plus, expensive to store). If we were to camp in an RV again, we'd drive to our destination, and then rent one in the nearby town.

    Here's a link to our Sonoma vacation! ... (and this is sort of 'part 2' to the first post!)

  5. i think i might... we did a road trip with a lot of camping recently and when it was raining or cold i would look longingly at those RVs.

    also, shout out to Chris - I'm a Kansas girl!

  6. I think I'd be a 'No', mainly because on vacation my husband and I have more domestics when we are driving so I suspect the arguments would increase exponentially in an RV. We drove round Iceland and Eastern Canada in a car and it was great (minus the arguments) because we had hotels at each destination.
    We had contemplated a Western Canada fly-drive and what's putting us off travelling there in the school holidays is the fact that I believe the main tourist routes are choc-a-bloc with RVs? Not sure if that's right but it puts me off so may do it out of season instead.

  7. Absolutely yes!
    I went on an RV trip when I was about 11.
    It's super fun. Just being able to lounge around while driving will be great for the kids in itself.
    And if you're not a camping type, it's the best of both worlds. Go for it. And then blog all about it!

  8. we are planning to rent a campervan in the south island and drive back up to home this summer. I can't wait. The twins will be 3 and my son will be 5 so think it'll be great fun. Love your pist, great discussion topic

  9. I think it would be a wonderful chance for our family to finally all be at one place and just enjoy being together, but I think the kids would get bored and annoy their parents too quickly!

    Happy Weekend!

    Where are you thinking of traveling if you did RV?

  10. Don't travel much any more.

    Have camped in tents and trailers. Good experiences. Never tried an RV; I think it might be a bit claustrophobic.

  11. well, it's far too long a story for a blog comment, but suffice it to say that my sister and her husband "Nick the Greek", and their 5 kids, flew from Boston where they live, to Dallas, to pick up the sweet RV that dad purchased on EBay a few weeks prior, for probably $60k. no lie. My sister mailed their "gear" that they'd need for the big trip around the western US. Besides the national parks and all, they hit must-see family hot spots such as LA, Vegas, and our very own Montclair. Yup, parked RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE for 3 days! No Walmart free parking for them. much to the dismay/horror of my husband & neighbors.
    the rest is too painful to tell you without a glass of wine b/w us. Seriously, though, it was a SWEET machine, they drove that thing all over the country over the next year, upgraded to one with a "bus front" for the next couple of years, with a master bedroom, huge TV's, shower, more closet space than my current home, etc. No roughing it for them!
    And watching my little sister manuever that thing - she and i and 8 kids between us, no men - and doing that "sewage dump" thang...very impressive! in the off-season, their young kids just played house in the thing, in their long driveway. They just sold it. i wanted to borrow it. dang. (my comments are too long.)

  12. i dont think i have been on a road trip before
    maybe i should try it :)

  13. I think it depends on each individual family to determine if it would be a good idea to RV or not. I think I rather take a trip to Disney World or something, but that's just me. I think RVing would be great though if a family was into national parks or camping.

  14. It sounds like a great idea but I think the reality is somewhat different. Here in France they cost a fortune to rent so, for my money, I'd rather stay in a hotel and not be lumbered with cooking and cleaning all the time.

    I know the boys would love to ride in one, but my eldest wants to be around ados his own age so he can hang out and go partying. Moving around the whole time would be a drag. He prefers the week in the same campsite, staying in a chalet or mobile home.

  15. I defo would...keep hinting at my husband that it would be a great holiday for the Vinodogs :)

  16. You are brave! Don't know if I could do this...but will look forward to seeing what happens if and when you do!

    Just wanted to pop by and thank you so much for being the featured guest today at Eye on Style! Your outfit is so adorable!

    xo Mary Jo

  17. This was really useful for me! We've talked about doing something like this in the States with kids... but maybe just the two of us in retirement.

  18. My big hankering at the mo is for a camper van (bringing it down to English level - big RVs round here would be a major no-no). But driving an hour down to the coast in England for a couple of days in a camper to cuddle up inside and watch the rain pelt down outside on everyone else's tents is a pleasure I'm sure most people in California wouldn't appreciate! I think hours and hours of driving across the US with no break from your own kin at the end of each stint might be a make or break kind of situation! Still - I'd be up for it! Anything for a laugh!

  19. I confess I was curious about how Gabe's baby picture would be featured in the blog. I find your writing delightful. I was heartened to read that Harley and Gabe share an insouciant outlook on life.

    Donna A


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