As Bracken and I discussed what we should do with the week, the idea of renting an RV came up. I had always wanted to take a trip in one and never had. Bracken's family had taken several trips in them when he was growing up and he had a lot of fond memories. Plus, our children had been longingly gazing at "house-cars" and telling us how fun they looked. And so, we reserved an RV for our vacation! I was just so excited, but didn't say a word to the kids. Kid super excitement+ 3 weeks= cranky mom. Plus, it was pretty awesome to pull up to the house after our second Easter egg hunt and have the motorhome parked out front. Oh, they were thrilled.
That excitement continued throughout the whole trip. It really was fantastic. It was honestly one of the best vacations we've ever had. I will detail all the days and locations soon, but this post is about all the ins and outs of the RV for all you who want this skinny on our trip or may be considering it for yourselves.
|Hitting the road.|
|Watching a movie in the top bunk.|
But simple is still very accommodating. We had a fridge, microwave/convection oven, 3 burner stove, toilet, shower and two sinks.
|Maggie, actually in her seat, and not in the bathroom (the door on the left. The fridge is right behind her.)|
Having an actual fridge was amazing, too. I wasn't sure how it was all going to work. I didn't know if it ran off the engine, and if we needed to be plugged in when we were stopped in order for it to work, or if I would have to use the generator (which carries with it a $3.50 per hour fee). It turns out that when you are not plugged in, the fridge runs off propane, then switches to electric when you do plug in. I was confused reading how the fridge works--it says it doesn't get as cold as a home fridge--but all our food got icy in the back of the fridge. Thankfully, the kids still liked eating cucumber-sicles. It was also a good size--it comfortably held more than enough food for a week for our family of 6. And it had a good size freezer.
It turns out you really only need the generator to run the electrical and air conditioning if you're not plugged in, so we never used it at all. The weather was nice enough on our trip (it ended up being so much better than originally forecasted) that we only used the heater one morning, and never used the air at all. We refilled the propane tank at the end of our trip and in an entire week, we only used about a gallon and a half. Not bad.
|Art time! It was nice to have a table.|
One of my favorite parts of vacationing the RV was that we always had all of our stuff with us. We went to the beach in San Clemente, parked it on the street (we only took up 2 spaces) and headed out. Rosie was napping so Bracken hung out there with her for a bit, then came down and we all played. When it was lunch time, I walked back up, got our chilled food out the fridge and walked back down. That night when we were socializing, we needed to change the kids into pjs so I just walked outside, got their pajamas out, and walked back in. No packing and unpacking, or wondering where things have ended up.
It did get dirty in a hurry, though. Every morning, after a nice, warm breakfast we didn't have to go anywhere for, we had to clean everything. Man, that floor was filthy every morning. But, on the other hand, it was such a small space that it didn't take much time to put everything back where it went, make the beds, and make sure everything was secured before we hit the road.
|The bed in the back.|
With that intro, here are some other negatives of the motorhome
- It was super loud. At freeway speeds, the windows rattled, the wind howled and you could barely hear anyone when they talked. I think the noise got to Rosie most of all. She struggled a bit when we drove. And when the kids tried to watch movies on our portable DVD players, they really couldn't hear them. And lets not even discuss my plans to read to the kids as we drove.
- The seatbelts were kind of a joke. They were only lap belts, so with the exception of Rosie's carseat, no one had to bring a booster, which was nice. However, it was next to impossible to keep the kids' belts actually tightened to a level where they actually kept them safe. Most the time the kids loosened them as far as they would go and I would find them doing acrobatics behind me.
Maggie, testing the seatbelts and my patience.
- I love to sleep in cars and was really looking forward to taking a nap on an actual bed in a moving vehicle. However, the one day I tried to slip into the back and try it, I was sadly disappointed. That bed in the back is a rough ride! The smallest bump would send me flying in the air, completely clearing the mattress. Maybe next time I will have to try the bed over the cab.
- Gas. Oh my gosh, gas. We spent more on gas than we did on the RV, including the mileage (you pay a fee to rent the RV, plus a per mile fee). And filling up could be rather frustrating. We didn't have a problem finding gas stations that would accommodate us, but most of them had caps on how much you could spend at a time per card, between $75-$100. And guess what? $100 will not fill the RV tank.
- It needs more cupholders! I have often joked about the excess of cupholders in my Sienna, but the RV could have used several more. There was nothing in the table/benches area, and the kids were constantly losing stuff. Cups, toys, colored pencils and books went flying off the super smooth table at every turn. I'm surprised our DVD player survived. There was really no way to secure or stabilize it, and the girls would forget to hold onto it, and it fell a lot. Other belongings were not so lucky. Surely there must be some way to make it work better.
- Campsite fees add up. Most are around $30 that we used, but in San Clemente they were $60 a night. Plus the rental and mileage and gas, this was not a cheap travel option.
- It was big to navigate around town. While it was a plus to have all of our stuff with us, it also would have been nice to have something smaller to drive sometimes.
- I'm kind of spoiled for tent camping now. I don't know if I will be able to tent camp ever again!
|And Rosie would be happy to drive you!|