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The last of the U.S. National Park’s fee-free dates for 2015 is almost here! On November 11, 2016 entrance fees to the parks will be waived. So grab a picnic basket, field guide, some hiking poles and head to your nearest national park this Veterans Day.

It was a beautiful summer day to take a drive along the Gulf of Mexico!

It was a beautiful day at the Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival (Foley, AL). 

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

After ten years of Full-Time RVing, we have encountered our share of bad parks. Every unpleasant experience puts a giant X on their park listing in our campground directory and earns the offending park an unfavorable online review.

Sometimes the problem is simply the park’s location. Like the one in Texas that bragged on being the place to get plenty of rest, only it didn’t indicate in the ad that you had to sleep during the day because the campground was located beside railroad tracks that were active at night. We were also lured in to one park in Mississippi that promised Southern charm, only the appeal wore off as soon as we realized we were at the end of an airport runway. Although one of the worst locations we’ve stumbled upon was in Florida. A small, seemingly quiet park appeared to be a good place for a few nights’ rest. The first night was so peaceful we actually considered extending our stay a few more days. Luckily we didn’t because that evening we were awakened to some bone-shaking music until the wee hours of the morning. We were unaware that the backside of the park bordered a nightclub that had been closed the previous evening!

Even if the location is ideal, sometimes it is the condition of the park that affects your stay. Usually the offender is meager Wi-Fi or poor cable TV. We’ve certainly had our share of that and while it is no problem for a night or two, issues with this during an extended stay reflect poorly in our online reviews. These are generally simple fixes and if nothing is done to correct the problem it indicates poor management. A few years ago we overnighted at a park in Florida that offered a Wi-Fi “hotspot”. When asked at check-in, we were told that it was under a tree in the middle of the RV park! Another problem we occasionally encounter is water pressure, albeit that it is normally too high. Imagine our surprise when we stayed at a park in Pennsylvania that had the water pressure at twenty. However, the management insisted that such a low number was safe!

Though sometimes it is the staff members who make you feel unwelcomed. Like the time we pulled into a park in Maryland and found the office closed and no after-hours check-in board. As we started to leave a staff member appeared on a golf-cart and started screaming at us that we were going to jackknife as we swung the rig around to exit. She literally kept screaming “jackknife” over and over. In reflection, I wish I would have taken a video of the maniac screaming at us – that would have gone viral! And the time we stopped at a campground in Virginia and politely asked the clerk for a Big Rig pull-thru for the night. She said people like us needed to “just go to a truck stop” – so we did! And lest we forget the park we overnighted at in Arkansas. The cable TV didn’t work and we immediately reported it to the office since we were being charged additional for it. A work-camper came over to our site, never even looked at the frayed cable at the pedestal. He just said, “I don’t think you need it tonight” and left!

Occasionally it is the park guests who bring about an unfavorable stay. Clearly it is hard to be quiet when your slides are on-top of each other in some of the older parks. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to be a good neighbor. Like the time we were staying in Washington and the woman camped beside us wanted to know what antenna TV channels we got. Instead of coming over to our site and knocking on our door, she opened her slide-window, took a cane and pounded on our door. Imagine our surprise when we answered the door to see a cane poking out a window at us! Or the folks in Virginia who parked their golf cart under our master bedroom slide because they were, well, frankly, morons. And don’t get me started on the park in Texas where the neighbors built a Tiki bar on their site. By the third day the “bar” included a large flat screen TV, karaoke machine and additional seating. They expanded beyond their tow vehicle space and then started parking on our campsite. It was senseless to complain as we saw the park manager had become a patron of the bar! We found another park for the remainder of our stay in the area.

From dry camps to high-end RV resorts – we certainly have had some memorable reviews! After all these years, we have learned to take the bad with the good. Thankfully with so many online review sites, we have a way of warning other travelers. So don’t be shy about taking recourse by writing reviews. And, remember, if you visit a RV park in Maryland and a maniac starts screaming at you – get it on video!

It was a lovely day to get in the Chevy and find some new roads…

The first of several fee-free days scheduled for 2016 is just around the corner. So consider visiting your local U.S. National Park on Monday, January 18th. Entrance fees to the parks will be waived that day. In addition, some other special offers may apply.

For more information and trip planning links, visit the National Park Service’s website.

A foggy Friday morning commute on the highway.

A New Year reminder to change your smoke detector batteries and test your carbon monoxide detectors in the RV! And if you are a Full-Timer, don’t forgot to schedule those yearly rig check-ups that usually get overlooked while you are on-the-road.

 Hope 2016 brings you safe travels! 🙂

Looks like Santa will be saving on fuel this Christmas! 😉

The last of the U.S. National Park’s fee-free dates for 2015 is almost here! On November 11, 2015 entrance fees to the parks will be waived. So grab a picnic basket, field guide, some hiking poles and head to your nearest national park this Veterans Day.

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper © Warning in LA

A few days ago, while driving along the back-roads of Louisiana we came across several of these “Warning: Speed Trap Area” signs. Not sure if someone just wanted to slow down traffic for a few miles or if they were warning drivers of a potential speed trap. Whatever the case, it certainly kept traffic under the speed limit!

It also reminded us of the signs we saw while traveling through Pennsylvania a few years ago. They warned that you were traveling through an “Aggressive Driver High Crash Area”. In addition to the warning signs, some areas had dots painted on the road so that drivers would stay the proper distance from other vehicles.

Regardless of where you’re traveling, remember to slow down – you never know what you’re going to miss driving in the fast lane!

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper © Aggressive Driver signs in PA

 Took a break to enjoy the amazing view as the sun rises over the Gulf of Mexico ~ Mustang Island (TX).

Fulton Mansion State Historical Site is located in Rockport (Texas). At the time of our visit the mansion was closed for renovation, but we enjoyed a walk through the gardens and around the grounds. The visitor center located behind the mansion consists of a small museum, gift shop and film area regarding the history of the mansion. During the renovation, admission to the site is free. Parking is limited so only take a tow vehicle.

If you find yourself traveling I-10 near the Louisiana/Texas State Line, make sure to stop at the Texas Travel Information Center in Orange (TX) to see Blue Elbow Swamp. The Center has a boardwalk that extends into Blue Elbow Swamp and you can view a variety of plants, trees and wildlife.

Blue Elbow Swamp is part of Tony Housman State Park and Wildlife Management Area. The area has a fascinating history that even includes cannibals. Yep! So take some time to forget about highway traffic and take a relaxing walk in the swamp. 😉

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Well, the Big Bear has found its way to that bumpty-bump-da-bump highway again (otherwise known as I-10 westbound). I think it’s time for the Chevy Silverado to find us some new roads! 😉

A friendly reminder to change your smoke detector batteries and test your carbon monoxide detectors in the RV at the first of the New Year! And if you are a Full-Timer, don’t forgot to schedule those yearly rig check-ups that usually get overlooked while you are on-the-road.

 Hope 2015 brings you safe travels! 🙂

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Santa even visits Leprechauns! 😉

Merry Christmas and Safe Travels from the Three Modern Nomads

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

 

If you find yourself in Pensacola during the holidays, you have to stop by the Pensacola Lighthouse located on the Naval Air Station and right across from the Naval Aviation Museum. The lighthouse and buildings are decorated for Christmas. Just about every room has a decorated tree!

The admission fee ($6 for adults, $4 for seniors) includes the lighthouse and museum exhibits. And, did I mention the lighthouse is haunted?  😉

For more information, visit their website or see more at TMN.

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

 Having traveled the country coast-to-coast several times in a recreational vehicle, there are some things I have learned that are important to remember. The first is to remember which truck stops offer the best pizza. This is extremely important to know, especially when you are traveling down some rough roads and need an excuse to pull-off for an hour or so.

The second most important thing would be which campgrounds to avoid – period. Of course, there are several reasons to remember these especially if they are located beside active railways, at the end of airport runways, in flood zones or are just plain horrible. And, believe me, there are some pretty horrible campgrounds out there!

The third thing to remember is how much you have paid for fuel. Now this may not be a concern for most, but when you are a Full-Time RVer and you pull-up to a pump to see over $5 a gallon for diesel and you are towing a forty-foot fifth-wheel with a one-ton dually, well, you have a tendency to clutch your heart before handing over the entire contents of your wallet to the station attendant.

Thankfully fuel prices have been dropping and that makes us Happy Travelers! 🙂

The last of the U.S. National Park’s fee-free dates for 2014 is here! During these times, entrance fees to the parks will be waived. So grab a picnic basket, field guide, some hiking poles and head to your nearest national park this Veterans Day.

November 11, 2014
(Veterans Day)

For more information and trip planning links, visit the National Park Service’s website.

Just a quick reminder to change your smoke detector batteries and test your carbon monoxide detectors in the RV!

And if you are a Full-Time RVer, don’t forgot those yearly check-ups that usually get overlooked like cleaning propane regulators and draining the hot water tank.

Hope 2014 brings you Safe Travels! 🙂

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper © Leaving the RV resort

I took this photo as we were leaving the RV resort this morning. Hmm… that was a whole state ago!  Not sure where we are? I’ll try to keep the TRAVEL section updated in the weeks ahead. 🙂

Last of the 2013 fee-free days is quickly approaching. So if you haven’t had a chance to visit your local U.S. National Park, mark your calendar for Veterans Day Weekend. From November 9 -11 entrance fees to the parks will be waived. In addition, some other special offers may apply.

November 9-11, 2013
(Veterans Day weekend)

For more information, visit the National Park Service’s website: http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper © Giant Fiddle (MO)

If you’ve ever been on a road trip, you’ve probably seen over-sized statues, a themed or odd-shaped building, bizarre monuments or just plain wacky stuff! These roadside attractions are a great way to add to your trip and travel memories. So next time you see something, slow down, turn around and take a look. You never know what roadside wonder you may discover.

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper © King Kong (VA)

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper © S.S. Ripley (FL)

 

NOTE: A site worth visiting for roadside attractions: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper © Rose O’Neill home and statue

So you planned to take that dream trip across the country to a national park or visit that must-see museum only to find out it’s closed… What’s a family to do about vacation plans now?

There are many wonderful hidden treasures across the USA and if you take a closer look, a few are probably right in your own backyard!

The first thing to do is visit an area’s local tourist or visitor center website. Often they will list attractions, recreation and events and have links to other websites that contain more details. Don’t forget to look for small museums, historical sites and botanical gardens! And there are still places that offer free admission, but appreciate donations. Your support of these smaller attractions and non-profit organizations helps keep them open. You may find yourself enjoying the less popular attractions as they are not as crowded and their volunteers are eager to share information about the site with visitors.

So before you begin to panic about your upcoming travel plans, browse the web! Like TV shows? Find out about your favorite and visit places from the show, like the Walton’s Mountain Museum (Shuyler, VA). Enjoy history and art? Check out Rose O’Neill’s home “Bonniebrook” (Walnut Shade, MO). Love sci-fi? Drop by the International UFO Museum & Research Center (Roswell, NM). The possibilities are endless!

If you had planned to stay in a park lodge or campground, don’t fret! Most private campgrounds offer cabins with basic bunks and beds to deluxe cabins completely furnished.  Ask if they have discounts, as most campgrounds will offer a free night if you stay longer than a week. Although private campgrounds are a bit higher priced than national and state parks, consider ones with additional amenities like playground, scheduled activities/events, ice cream socials, free breakfast, Cable TV and WiFi to get the most for your money.

This is a beautiful country and there are plenty of ways to experience and explore the USA outside of it’s national parks and museums.

Photo by H.S. Cooper © Walton's Mountain Museum

Photo by H.S. Cooper © Walton’s Mountain Museum

  

Photo taken by H.S. Cooper ©Gulf Islands National Seashore (FL)

Photo taken by H.S. Cooper © Gulf Islands National Seashore (FL)

If you haven’t visited your local U.S. National Park recently, don’t forget that September 28, 2013 is a fee-free day. In celebration of National Public Lands Day, most parks will be free. To find a park near you visit: http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm and click on “Find a Park” in the top left corner.

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper © Scarecrow at the National Harvest Festival SDC

It is so hard to believe that we are already in the middle of September! This year certainly has went by quickly. In fact, if it wasn’t for a kindly reminder from WordPress, I would have forgotten that today is the anniversary of Three Modern Nomads. It was on this day in 2008 that I finally found the time to sit down and start blogging about our travels. We were in Gold Country (CA) and the WiFi was limited, but I managed to stay connected long enough to get TMN started that day.

We have certainly put on a lot of miles (and tires) since then, but it has been well worth it. America is such a beautiful country and we are very fortunate to have the opportunity to see it this way. Many folks still think we are crazy to live year-round in a recreational vehicle and occasionally I think we are too. Yet I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Looking ahead, I welcome Fall. It means the wheels will start moving a different direction… and a new adventure awaits… 🙂

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper © Gulf Islands National Seashore

Only a few more days remain for 2013… so don’t delay another trip to your local U.S. National Park. Mark your calendar for at least one of these dates and GO! During these times, entrance fees to the parks will be waived. In addition, some other special offers may apply.

August 25, 2013
(National Park Service Birthday)

September 28, 2013
(Public Lands Day)

November 9-11, 2013
(Veterans Day weekend)

For more information and trip planning links, visit the National Park Service’s website: http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper © Rose O’Neill home

If you aren’t familiar with Rose O’Neill, then you probably haven’t seen a Kewpie doll. This talented woman created the Kewpie dolls (as well as other characters) and was a well-known writer and artist between the early to mid-1900s.

Her family home, which she called Bonniebrook, is located off Hwy. 65 (mile marker 20.2) in Walnut Shade (MO). The original home burned down after her death in the 1940s, but years later dedicated volunteers rebuilt the 14-room mansion. Today the home appears as it did during O’Neill’s time.

Admission is $8 for adults and includes a guided tour of the home (3 stories), entrance into the gallery and museum. There is a walkway around the grounds and a couple of her large sculptures are on display. A short walk along the creek leads to the family cemetery. Flowers adorn Rose’s grave.

More information on O’Neill and Bonniebrook can be found at: http://roseoneill.org/mainpage.html#/

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper © Footbridge at Bonniebrook

Photo by H.S. Cooper © SOPWITH

Photo by H.S. Cooper © SOPWITH

If you find yourself near Ozark, Alabama, you might want to visit the U.S. Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker. It is located off Highways 84 and 231.

The museum has a number of aircraft on display, in addition to some interesting exhibits like a piece of red cloth from the Red Baron’s plane, a section of the Berlin Wall and a solo cycle.

Admission is free and the museum is open every day (except Sunday and major holidays). The only requirement is that anyone over 16 years of age must show photo I.D. at the gate and the vehicle owner’s may be asked to show proof of vehicle registration and insurance. There is adequate parking for your tow (no RVs) unless there is an event underway, then you may find yourself parking in the grass.

For more information, visit their website at: http://www.armyavnmuseum.org/

Photo by H.S. Cooper © ARMY AVIATION MUSEUM

Photo by H.S. Cooper © ARMY AVIATION MUSEUM

 

Although it’s hard to escape flu-season, there are some things you can do to protect your family from disease while you are on the road…

Have hand sanitizer in your vehicle. Make sure you have a small bottle for each person (put it in each person’s door or the center council and mark their name on it). Each time a person gets into the vehicle, they should clean their hands. If the person handled other public items prior to getting in (such as touching a door or shopping cart), make sure he or she wipes off their door handle, door lock or window area (anywhere that is touched) with a handy-wipe. Also make sure to have a liter bag in your vehicle to dispose of dirty handy-wipes and facial tissue. We dispose of our liter bag every stop.

Have individual handy-wipes in your purse, pocket or backpack and use them! Do not rely on public restrooms to have filled soap containers or even hot water. I am surprised when I do come across a fully-stocked public restroom. If you are an RVer currently on the road, it’s best that you don’t rely on public restrooms. Use your own RV if you can get access to the bathroom with the slides in. Some RVers don’t like using their own bathroom during transit because they don’t like carrying extra water or don’t want to have anything in their holding tanks. You don’t have to have your water tank filled to use your toilet. You can use purchase hand sanitizer that requires no water to wash your hands and place a gallon (or two) jug of water in your bathroom sink to use to flush.

Another thing to avoid is eating out while you are on the road. We’re RVers – we’re self-contained! We shouldn’t rely on McDs or Flying J to feed us every hundred miles. Make some sandwiches or an easy-fix meal before you leave. Pull over at a rest area or find a parking spot wherever you fuel up and grab a bite.

One thing that bothers us is the lack of sanitation in restaurants. Ever have a sickly cashier walk over to get your fries? Ever see the cook come out of the restroom wearing his or her apron? And people licking their fingers and picking up utensils at buffets… Ekk! Keep your eyes posted for potential problems. And if you can, call them out on it. Let the manager know what you saw so they can take action – it could save someone’s life!

Most RVers do have their own cell phones and computers; however, if you don’t and have to rely on a pay phone or visit a local library to log-on, remember to use handy-wipes over the phone and number pad and the computer keyboard and mouse.

These are just a few ways to protect your family while travelling. With the spread of disease and a major flu epidemic today, this is a concern you shouldn’t take lightly.

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper © CHROME CHICKEN

If you find yourself along Highway 231 in Alabama, south of the town of Brundidge, keep an eye out for a giant chicken. This art work (in front of Art Wurks) is made of chrome car bumpers. No worries about it crossing the road… well, unless a Bumper-to-Bumper store opens up across the way! 😉

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Okay, okay… maybe not on your “Bucket List”, but if you find yourself near Enterprise (AL) you may want to see the Boll Weevil Monument. This tiny pest received a statue because its destruction of the cotton crop turned farmers to other crops and caused an agricultural “rebirth” in the South. The monument is located right in the middle of Main Street!

NOTE:  This attraction is located in an older area of town and the route is not recommended for big rigs, so take the tow.

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Some of the best places we have discovered have been a result of our “Get Lost” days. A Get Lost day, is where we just do that! We grab the road map (you know, those paper things they had before GPS… well, we still have those!), pack a lunch and take off in one direction and see where we end up!

One such trip was heading through the mountains in California to Downieville and the Sierra Buttes. Although I will point out that if you are heading into the unknown, make sure your fuel tank is full! 😉 Downieville is a quaint little town and it is a very scenic drive. A few smaller towns along the route are rather interesting… one of which I regret not getting a photo of the “Dogs Playing in Street” sign!

Our Get Lost days have turned into some incredible site-seeing trips. So next time you have some free time, plan to Get Lost! 😉

 

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

My absolute favorite stop in California is Bodie State Historical Park – it is a modern-day ghost town that has been left exactly the way it was. When the California State Park system took over Bodie, it left all the buildings as they stood.

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Hwy 395 goes along the east-side of the Sierras. This route is definitely one of the most scenic drives you can experience in the mountains.  The drive to Bodie SHP is a rather long 18 miles off of the main road. There are warnings against taking recreational vehicles as there are limited parking spots and the road is very rough. The last three miles of the road is nothing but dirt and stone. This section of road is extremely rough. In fact, the heavy-duty toolbox in the bed of our pickup truck (which traveled tens of thousands of miles unfastened) moved from its spot almost 6 inches. So if you are traveling in a RV, you should park it at a local campground and make the trip in your tow vehicle.

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

The above photo is actually one of my favorites. I was looking in the school house and the reflection from the window revealed the beautiful scenery behind me and offered a view from the school’s other window to see buildings on the other side of the street. It was one of those past, present, future moments for me. 😉

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

This is one of the most unforgettable places I have ever been. There is so much history there, it consumes you. You can almost feel towns folk walking along the streets right beside you. It is a must-see for anyone visiting that region of California.

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

This place is absolutely amazing and the history of “the bad men from Bodie” is fascinating. If you find yourself headed to the east-side of Yosemite National Park, take the hour drive northward to Bodie SHP. You won’t be disappointed!

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

More photos can be seen at: https://hscooper.wordpress.com/photos/california/bodie-state-historical-park/

Photo by H.S. Cooper

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©
Our first winter on-the-road!

This September marks four years of THREE MODERN NOMADS. I started it when friends and folks we encountered along the way suggested the idea… and here it is four years later!

I have recently made some changes to TMN. The major one is redesigning the TRAVEL page. Before each year-season had its own page and it was rather difficult to read. Now there is only one travel link and when you click on it, you can read our travel “diary”. The diary was written in start-and-stop fashion, so you will noticed at times I stop and then continue on days or perhaps weeks later. Photos that were posted in that section are being moved to the appropriate state. And State pages are being updated… another work-in-progress!

Another change to TMN is that the posts (article) pages have been removed. For older posts, you can type in a keyword or topic in the SEARCH box located on the left side of the HOME page. Relevant archived posts will appear and you can scroll through finding the one you are looking for. New and popular posts will remain as “stickies” to the HOME page. If you subscribe via email, any new posts will be emailed to you. However, new photo pages will not – so be sure to stop and visit the site occasionally if you are a subscriber.

I am also moving and uploading new photos to their own pages under the appropriate state. Links can be found on the left side of the HOME page under PHOTOS (and then State). Updating links and adding more images and slideshows is still a work-in-progress, but without the hassles of constantly updating the REVIEWS page, I have more time to focus on photos. You may have noticed the campground review pages no longer exists! Updating campground and RV resort reviews was a never-ending project for me. I have a few ideas of how to do that without making it such a “chore”, so that section may return in the near future.

The FAQ (Frequent Asked Questions) page has been updated with common questions I often receive via email. I will add more general questions to this page in the near future. And the QUOTE page is a more readable now and I’ve added some new photos.

And what’s a celebration without a few surprises? You’ll just have to wait and see what September brings… 😉

I want to thank all of you who have liked, shared, commented and emailed over the years. It’s been great to hear about your travels as well!

Safe Travels!

— H.S.

Photo taken by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo taken by H.S. Cooper ©RV AND TRUCKS
Hmm… now where did we park it?

We saw a handful of accidents this week – more than we usually do on our travels. If you are planning to travel this Memorial Day Weekend, please drive safely!

This is an actual road sign on southbound U.S. Route 11 in Central PA.

Why did the Armadillo cross the road? To go to the flea market, of course!

If you’ve ever been on a road trip, you’ve probably seen over-sized statues, a themed or odd-shaped building, bizarre monuments or just plain wacky stuff!

These roadside attractions are a great way to add to your trip and travel memories. So next time you see something, slow down, turn around and take a look. You never know what roadside wonder you may discover. 🙂

No, not Stonehenge - it's FoamHenge!

"Thou shall not pass", unless you buy gifts here! 😉

NOTE: A site worth visiting for roadside attractions: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/

No, not snow - it's white sand!

It was very windy today and I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the sand… it looked like drifting snow! 🙂

When our fellow Campers learn we are Full-Timers, we usually get questioned about the lifestyle. Many have experience camping and towing a RV, but they don’t realize there is more to it than throwing a few things in the rig and heading down the road.

Your current RV may not be ideal for you if you decide to go full-time. One of the first things to consider is driving your rig. Are you okay with driving and towing long-distances? Can you back up? Not all campgrounds have pull-thrus and if you rely on GPS, you may find yourself backing down a road during your trip. (Yes, that story may make a top posting one day! 😉 ) If you decide on a fifth-wheel or travel trailer then you will need a pickup truck that can tow your RV. Keep in mind the towing weights when considering a truck/RV.

If you decide on a motor home or diesel pusher then you may require a vehicle to tow behind. And consider very carefully if you choose not to have a tow vehicle – especially if you decide on a larger one. Every time you require groceries or supplies, you’d have to pack up everything and drive your home into town. Unless you have other options – motorcycle, bicycle, hiking – to get to a nearby town, you should consider having a tow vehicle.

Another driving factor to consider is that your family can drive it. If something happens to you, could your spouse or travel companions drive it? Too many times have we seen a spouse need someone assist with transporting their rig when the other was ill or hospitalized.

Is your RV the size you need to be a Full-Timer? If you are going to go full-time, then everything you own will be inside. That means you need storage space, as well as enough room to function. We have a two-bedroom fifth-wheel. Everyone has their own space – no crowding, no struggling to store things. Smaller rigs may seem too small for you, but don’t forget, the more slides you have, the larger the rig becomes. And driving-wise, how big of rig can you handle? Quite honestly, some roadways are just not made for larger RVs. I think we have been along most of them! 😉 So keep in mind that although bigger is roomier, it is a lot more to handle on the road and even inside smaller campgrounds.

Another thing to keep in mind is that everything you own is in the RV and you will need storage. And I don’t mean sticking your frying pans in an outside compartment. I mean real, functional storage space. We have seen folks crawl up their roof to the add-on storage tote and pull-out extra rolls of toilet tissue… we know folks who have to store their clothes in an outside compartment… This is just not practical.

There are extra things that will eat your storage space, such as a washer and dryer. Keep in mind that the majority of campgrounds have laundries so don’t feel pressured to get a washer and dryer in your rig. A dinette booth versus a table is another space saver. Sure, dinette tables look nice in RVs, yet booths allow under-seat storage. So be aware of your needs and available storage areas.

Slides help make your RV a “home” and the more you have, the more room adds to your rig. Yet they have major downfalls. Number one is that most campgrounds (even those that advertise Big Rig Friendly) aren’t always slide-friendly. You may find that your slide(s) can’t go out because of trees, utility posts, cement barriers and other campground obstacles. This can be quite frustrating, especially if you have wide and/or large slides like we do. We were in Arizona in the middle of desert and a campground we stopped at put us on a site with the only visible tree within a mile radius, which, of course, blocked a slide! 😉

Another thing to consider with slides is that they aren’t as heavily insulated as the rest of your camper. So if you are going to a colder region, you need to keep in mind that you may need to leave your slides in to stay warm. Slides have limited electrical outlets (if any) or no furnace/air-condition ducts. Keep this in mind if you are in a hot-cold region. Slides can also be a pain if you can’t put them out. If you are traveling down the road and need to use the bathroom, can you even get to your bathroom? Some slides block off areas of your rig and you can’t use them. So keep in mind what your rig would look like with the slides in – could you get to your bathroom? Bedroom? Stove? Refrigerator? If you were blacktop boondocking a few days with the slides in, could you still live in your camper? These are things to keep in mind when planning on going full-time.

How far are you going in your rig? Are you going to be on-the-road Full-Timers or are you going to find 2-3 places to set-up camp a year? Will you drive it across the country or will you just drive it a few states away? Make sure you can handle it and that your routes (like mountains) are something your rig can handle. We’ve driven down roads that have brought our curtains down. I remember we made a sharp turn on a clover-leaf exit and the refrigerator snapped open. Imagine our surprise at the rest area when we entered and found groceries on the floor… not to mention a broken jar of dill pickles.

If you travel to a colder region (or even if it gets colder in a warmer region) that your rig is well-insulated and that you have the means or the means to protect your pipes/hoses from freezing. Many RVs have polar package that you can upgrade and get tank heaters, etc… It is definitely something to keep in mind if you decide to go full-time.

That’s some of the things you should consider before leaping into Full-Timing with your current RV. The best thing you can do is think about what you need to suit your family and make a check-list. Your “weekend” RV may not be practical for the life of a Full-Timer. So keep some of these things in mind before you consider Full-Timing in it.

IN MY SITES: A Campground Mystery (Book #4)

In My Sites
In My Sites
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By HS Cooper
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DYING TO WORK CAMP (Book #3)

Dying to Work Camp
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THE PROPANE GAME (Book #2)

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A ‘CLASS A’ STASH (Book #1)

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