M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Friday, June 11, 2010  

RV Ready? Yes VR!

Believe it or not, we have another trip planned for this summer, and it's going to be unlike anything we've ever done before. We'll be hitting some Southern states we've never been to, but where we're going isn't as much of a departure as how we're going.

We're renting an RV.

Ever since we first started going on road trips in the early years of our marriage, we have talked about buying a giant RV for our retirement, like the ones my aunt and uncle in Kansas are always buying and upgrading (the last one I saw was nicer than our house). Unlike them, however, we would pay for our motor home with the money we'd save driving all around the country, mooching off the far-flung network of friends, acquaintances, and blackmail victims we've been cultivating for decades. In fact, if you're reading this, we'll probably be parked in front of your home someday.

I've even practiced by driving the giant coach bus in Grand Theft Auto 3 whenever possible. I discovered an unexpected advantage to this vehicle: while it may be easy for the cops to catch it, it's almost impossible for them to stop it. Yes, I often end up dunking it in the harbor, but there's better signage in the real world. Plus we'll do most of our driving in the Midwest.

But that was before I learned about the Hubbert Peak and the attendant likelihood that by the time we reach retirement age, people will be doing most of their cross-country traveling on the backs of horses and bicycles, so we figured we'd better not wait.

For this upcoming trip, we're starting relatively small. We're renting, for one thing. We did consider buying a used one for a few grand, but we don't have any place to park it (and as of now, neither do any of the neighbors who owe us favors).

The other thing is that we're not popping our RV cherry with a behemoth that could have been Elton John's tour bus, but with a relatively modest 24-footer. I've never driven anything bigger than a 15-passenger van, so this seemed like a good first step. Besides, M. Edium has insisted on being able to sleep above the driver's seat, and most of your bigger Class A models don't have the overhead bunk. Unless you hang a sleeping loft above the driver's seat like the cockpit is a college dorm room, but we won't have the time for that (even if we do have the space).

We're looking forward to this grand experiment. After we divide our giant stacks of camping gear into stuff we won't need when we have an RV (the tent) and stuff we will (uh…shit, everything else, I guess), this whole experience is going to be rich with novelty. Sure, I won't be able to dart through freeway traffic like I can in the Saturns, but I'm hoping we can make up for that by virtue of the fact that on hard-driving days we'll only stop when I have to pee, and I plan to totally dehydrate myself in advance. And there's a lot we're going to have to figure out on the fly, from how to cook meals in a space the size of a catbox to the meaning of this ominous phrase I keep running across in the course of my research, that phrase being "sewer hookup."

We're open to any tips you might have, except one: don't ask us to rent the Robin Williams "comedy" RV for research, because it's not going to happen.

posted by M. Giant 7:20 PM 4 comments


You should probably watch RV because according to my parents (full timers) there is a scene about what happens if you don't follow the sewer hook up directions. They've seen it in action and it ain't pretty. Leah

By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 11, 2010 at 8:41 PM  

We took an RV vacation when i was about 7 or 8, and it was seriously the best thing ever. Hanging out in the bunk above the driver's seat while the RV is driving? Is awesome. It'll knock M. Edium's socks off, and being able to walk around, pee, and eat without stopping definitely helps the "are we there yet?" issues.

By Blogger Dawnie, at June 12, 2010 at 7:12 AM  

We had a VW camper van pretty much my whole childhood and it was awesome for traveling. The back seat folds down to a two-person bed, and there was a cot that stretched out from the four support pillars over the driver's and shotgun seats. It stretches really tight, not like a hammock, which is a pain to set up but fine to sleep in. (That was usually my berth until we got a pop-up camper van which was EVEN BETTER). A little sink, an insulated icebox cooler, curtains for privacy, and lots of ingenious storage, plus it drives more like a biggish normal car than an RV. And you can park it in normal places without inducing the neighborhood's wrath. On the downside, you are really close to everyone all the time, and there are no built-in bathroom facilities.

So... good luck and be safe on your trip; I gotta go figure out how to rent a VW and take myself camping.

By Anonymous Laura K, at June 12, 2010 at 8:34 AM  

I have always harbored a dream of renting an RV and driving across the country one summer for an extended vacation. I first told my beloved husband about this dream back when he was just "boyfriend" and not "husband" yet and he looked at me like I was *insane* for thinking such a thing could be fun. Turns our he was traumatized by a few childhood vacations in which his family rented an RV and drove around the eastern seaboard, specifically to stop at places pertaining to the Civil War (his father being something of a war history buff). I guess spending hours cooped up with your younger siblings in a low-end RV followed by being bored out of your gourd by your father explaining in great detail the military maneuvering of the North and the South while you were standing in the middle of a field somewhere wasn't Hubby's idea of an acceptable alternative to something like Cedar Point or Disney World.

Anyhow, thanks to his bad memories of such trips, we've now spent the better part of the last two decades periodically having the same discussion, in which I tentatively raise the topic with whatever "wouldn't this be fun" spin I can put on it at the time, and him glowering and muttering under his breath before swearing such an event would happen only over his dead, cold etc body. I think I might be wearing him down..... perhaps by the time we're retired, I'll have him convinced.

At any rate, our rather long driveway is yours whenever you choose to park your RV in western NY. We have no sewer hookup, but we do have indoor plumbing...

In the meantime, I can't wait to read all about your adventures, so I can at least vicariously go RVing via your blog.

By Blogger Heather, at June 12, 2010 at 1:35 PM  

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