Why I chose to buy an RV other than the All-American dream and desire to travel.
Ever since I was a young child I wanted a motorhome when I was older (back then I thought I’d be in my 40’s before I’d get one so that my children were grown), something I could make my own, something to shelter me and transport me to save money and sight-see with a possible partner. As a young adult I realized that I could make that dream a reality more sooner than 40 and that it would be even more adventurous to travel as a family. I’m 26 years old and my husband is nearly 39 and we bought our very first RV this week so that we can take extended family trips with comfort and connection!
I love being and feeling connected as a family. The kids, my husband and I all have a strong family connection and we work well within our family dynamic. Our first big family trip where we took ALL the children surprisingly went well and that was a much more primitive experience and in a confined space as our van for nearly 4 hours with no fighting! It was great. However, sleeping on the ground did not appeal to my husband. We decided to add a more leisurely option to our camping, while still having a camping experience. We’re still keeping our tent and mattresses, because our kids are ever growing-up and they may choose to have their own space plus they like tent camping.
We don’t really know anything about RV’s let alone have either of us ever drove one. The largest thing I’ve ever driven was a 24′ moving truck. I read the owner’s manual cover to cover. I’ve learned it in text but in actuality it will be a learning progress. We’re taking a close trip to NC to Falls Lake State Recreation Area the last weekend of July. We’ve never been and it will be fun while we visit family. It will also be our trial run before a further trip to Hungry Mother State Park in VA in the next few months.
We purchased a 1994 35′ Coachmen Santara, and for a 22 year old recreational vehicle, it is in superb shape. With low miles on engine, everything in working order, new tires and many great features. It has a washer/dryer combo, 3 burner stove, convection oven, microwave, fridge, queen bed, full size shower, 10 places with seatbelts in the back which was a great selling point for us since we have 6 kids plus those areas double as sleeping space, it has updated speaker system wired for a television (though this will still be limited as majority of our family time is spent screen-free) and new flooring throughout. It was an opportunity we just couldn’t pass up. We’ll probably add all our own little touches here and there to make it our own which will be fun.
Here’s some things off the top of my head that we’re going to have to learn and a list of 10 total Pros & Cons.
Things we’re going to learn.
- Strategic ways to maneuver such a large vehicle
- How to run and operate all the features inside the vehicle
- How much it will cost to fill a 50 gallon tank at our current gas rate (estimate $100)
- Exactly what our MPG will be during travel (estimate 8-10 mpg)
- What it’s going to be like traveling in a mobile home-like vehicle.
- How it’s going to be living in a tiny space for a period of time. (my husband and I always dreamed of going tiny when we retire, so who knows, this might sway our decision or confirm it)
- Setting up the RV on a site for the first time.
- Tips and Tricks of the trade.
- Cutting our stopping times considerably since we have a mobile toilet for the children and us to use.
- Having a shelter sturdier and more resistant than a tent in the event of heavy rain or a storm.
- Not having to “set-up” camp or a tent in the dark if we got to a site after dark.
- Having everything we need locked and secured inside against animal and people theft.
- Enjoying the luxury of having a home on wheels for vacation.
- We have to park it at a family member’s property because we don’t have parking space at our home.
- It’s a rather large bulky vehicle, but I think it’s fun.
- It gets less mpg than our actual vehicle. (which on hwy was 18mpg)
- It needs a fresh exterior paint job, also possibly fun once it gets done.
- It will potentially be more stationary than not once we camp because of it’s size in consideration to getting around our vacation spot. So…
Eventually we’re going to want to drive away from our site if we go places where the campsite is not close proximity to sight-seeing or places of interest. We’re going to invest in a tow dolly to bring our van along. I found one online for $825 with $259 shipping at The USA Trailer Store – Tow Dolly
I’m going to let this post go for now, but I’m sure I’ll be blogging more about our RV adventures and findings as new RV owners in the future. Thanks for reading, OH and if you have any tips for us, advise or hacks are welcomed.