Now, with many of us trying to figure out safe ways to vacation and explore, there has been a strong surge in interest in RV travel. Just try to rent one, or even buy a moderately priced unit without a lot of leg work, and you will agree. Any type of recreational vehicle is a sought after item.
This article was first published over seven years ago, I know there are mostly new readers since then. RV travel and our trips always generated lots of interest, so it seemed logical to post this one more time. I have left it unchanged, so just remember there are a lot of miles under our tires since 2013 (Betty looks the same, but Bailey and I are older!)
Betty and I are spoiled. Living in Scottsdale has lots of advantages. OK, there are a few not so good parts like high costs and searing summer heat. But, one thing we take for granted is warm, sunny weather in April. We rarely have windy conditions any worse than a gust high enough to make me crank down the backyard umbrella.
So, the last 14 days on our RV trip have been eye-opening. The winds have blown pretty much without ceasing since we drove through Southern Arizona, traveled across southern New Mexico, and have spent the last 11 days in Texas. In Fredericksburg, there were two days when the wind was under 20 miles per hour most of the time. We celebrated the relative calm. At home, those days would have been considered a gale!
Driving a 12,000 pound RV through wind gusts of 35 or 40 miles per hour and steady breezes of 15-30 mph has tested my driving skills and patience. But, after getting used to how RT reacts in the wind, we have simply accepted this as usual. Santa Rosa, New Mexico, has had afternoon winds over 40 miles per hour as I write this.
It has been cold, too. In fact, the area around Amarillo had two nights of a hard freeze, with overnight lows in the '20s. Looking ahead to the next several stops, Santa Fe and Flagstaff have had lows in the teens! If things don't warm up, we may decide on a different route home. An RV is poorly insulated, to begin with, but in temperatures below freezing, there are concerns of frozen or burst water pipes and plumbing. The propane furnace does a decent job of keeping the living space comfortable, but not being able to go outside much does make the small space close in a bit.
I have learned that April in Scottsdale does not represent April in many other parts of the country. Future trips will involve a bit more research into weather and wind averages!
Since we left Fredericksburg, we have spent nights in Big Spring and Amarillo, Texas, and are now in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. At the end of the trip, I'll post a list of all the parks where we have spent time, along with some feedback, just in case you ever find yourself passing through in your RV or tent.
I have already shared the dodgy nature of Wifi availability. I will add that the pictures of an RV park on their web sites and in directories usually involves a few liberties with reality. They are never quite as lovely as described or photographed. So far, we have not stayed at any place that made us uncomfortable. But, as a general rule, bathrooms, and showers are usually in need of some repairs and upgrades, swimming pools don't really belong in RV parks, and those who live in these parks for months at a time aren't really focused on keeping their site neat.
Even with these glitches, the trip remains a real joy. Bailey, our cocker, is becoming less nervous with the travel and different accommodations most nights. The number of meals Betty prepared and froze ahead of time will run out the night before we get home...right on schedule. How did she do that? I give her full credit for such excellent planning.
We are actually under budget, even with $125 gas bills every time I pull into a service station. We are eating most of our meals from our supplies. A dinner out once every 5 or 6 days and a lunch from a fast food place (usually Subway) every 4th or 5th day gives us enough of a break to not get tired of what is in the refrigerator or pantry. The RV parks have averaged $35 a night, after an RV travel club 10% discount. There may be enough left over at the end of the trip to allow us to buy two urban bikes and hitch for the next trip.
A few nights ago, after dinner, we were playing a board game, and I asked if Betty felt the trip was too long, too short, or just about right. Like me, she thinks this three-week adventure has been the right length and sees us tackling longer trips in the future with no problem.
Betty will not leave the RV without her camera. I have lost track, but I think she is already close to 2,000 pictures with 6 days still to go. Here is a tiny sample of more photos from the trip so far.
|LBJ and Lady Bird Johnson|
|Holding onto the door to keep from being blown away in Amarillo|
Oh, by the way, we have discovered that every town in Texas with a population larger than 1,800 has a DQ restaurant. Betty likes their dipped cones, so she is pretty much in dessert heaven! Who knew?