Tuesday, February 5, 2013

2/2 Living in a Motorhome & Campgrounds

It has occurred to me that there is a big difference between living in a motorhome and camping in one.  Camping assumes something done outside of your home, usually on vacation, and for a finite period of time.  Living is something you do full-time and with a different attitude. 

One of the things I have had to learn to do is to slow down and live in my motorHOME.  In other words, I have lots of time and can therefore take more time to do things.  I don't feel the need to go out and sightsee every day, for example.  Some days I just enjoy reading or watching TV or catching up on my part-time work.  I don't feel pressured to feel as if I have to use my travel time well and see everything in the time allowed. As a sign I once saw on an RV said, "No where to go and all day to get there." 

If I were living in my old condo and mostly retired, I would not feel as if I had to go out every day and do something.  So, living in this home, I often just enjoy my personal time without feeling guilty about always doing something useful. I worked two jobs for a lot of years for this privilege of not having to do something all the time.

Which brings me to campgrounds.  People have a lot of different styles in what they prefer in a campground.  I know several people who prefer woodsy natural areas and tent camping, but that is not for me.  I also know people who like to find a resort-type park with lots of senior activities and a pool and who stay for several months in one place.  That also is not for me.

I like to stay maybe a week in one place, for example, and then move onto someplace else.  While I am living in a motorhome, I am still at heart a traveler, so I like to keep moving to see new places.  Here are some of my preferences for campgrounds:
  • Scenery – I really like places with a view and wildlife. Some of my favorite parks have had views of lakes or mountains or valleys. If I have nice things to look at all day, it is a lot less boring. It is nice also to have nearby hiking trails and places to ride my bike.  I love being able to open my bedroom window at night and hear owls hooting and coyotes howling! 
  • Electric – In most places, I need electricity for air conditioning because I do not handle heat well.  I also like a power hookup for my microwave and TV.  Everything else can run on battery.  In a pinch, however, when the weather is cool and the location superb, I can be happy without electricity.
  • Large spaces with some privacy – For this reason, I generally choose state or national parks.  These usually have much bigger spaces than commercial campgrounds and usually have some shrubbery or trees in between sites. Too close to your neighbor means you breathe their campfire smoke and listen to their conversations and music. 
  • Open – I want some shrubbery between units for privacy, but I would prefer not too many trees so I can get a satellite signal.  I have AC so I really am not too concerned with shade, although in the desert Southwest, excess heat without shade can make it hard for the refrigerator to operate.
  • Water – I would like somewhere I can hookup to water or fill my tanks comfortably.  For some reason, the manufacturer of my rig put the water tank fill-up outlet on the wrong side, so sometimes I have to drive through the station backwards. If I know ahead of time that I cannot get water, however, I can fill my tanks at one park before I go to another.  A full tank will last me 5-6 days if I am careful.

In a campsite, I want the following:
  • Easy to get into – This means not too many trees or rocks in the middle of a site.  I take my rig out often to drive to sights or town, so I need to be able to get in and out without someone helping me.
  • Long and level – I want to be able to back away from the road in front and I want a site which is relatively level.  I can drive on blocks to make it more level, but that is a lot of work.  I also need enough space so that I can open slides on both sides and still walk around my rig.
  • Clean – I really like asphalt or newer gravel pads so that I can walk around and not track dirt into my rig.  Mud and loose dirt is not good because this is my home, and I like to keep it clean. It is a lot easier to sit outside or access your "basement" storage if there is clean gravel or asphalt, also. 
  • Private – I want to be away from the trash, the rest rooms, and everyone else, if possible.  If there is a museum, visitor center, or shuttle transportation, I do want a site as close as possible, however, so I can get there easily and quickly without too much hiking.
  • Friendly – I'd like friendly neighbors without a lot of kids, and who do not party late at night or have huge bonfires that produce a lot of smoke.  Frankly, I like being around old folks like myself! 
So far in the 7+ months I have been doing this, I have been in some wonderful places I plan to visit again.  Other places I will not miss visiting.  One of the nicest things has been the fellow travelers I have met who have given me such good information on places to stay. 

In any case, part of being on an adventure is not knowing what you are going to get until you get there, so the unknown does not bother me at all. 


  1. Great post. Especially good for those who have not been on the road or RVd before. Things they need to think about.

  2. Good post Judy. Sounds like what I would want...when my
    time comes...thanks
    donna (aka grammynmaggie)