A week ago, my husband, my three boys, and I loaded all of our earthly belongings (well, it felt like it) into a rental RV and headed out for a 9-day cross-country road trip to see national parks and monuments.
We stopped for a swim in the Great Salt Lake, posed under an arch of antlers in Jackson, Wyoming, hiked a three-mile loop around a lake in the Grand Tetons, watched a Buffalo strut down the wrong side of the road in Yellowstone, stared in awe at men rappelling down Devil's Tower, imagined the Battle Of Little Big Horn while overlooking an empty Montana field, and shushed our kids while watching the hour-long lighting ceremony at Mt Rushmore. "I thought there would be fireworks, Mom?!" "Shhhh!"
Almost every night we camped in a new spot, and every day we went sight-seeing. On the eighth and ninth days we drove home. As fast as we could.
While we were gone, I took a few notes about RV living. Here is a list of things to consider before taking your summer trip:
1. Keep the toilet covered, or your toothbrush may land in it.
2. Even if you have always camped in tents, now that you are in an RV you will feel sorry for those sad tent campers. "Sleeping on the ground? No electricity? They look SO uncomfortable! How do they do it?"
3. You will find yourself saying, "WHY doesn't this road have guard rails?! Many people have died here. I know it. Ack!"
4. Gas will cost MORE than an arm and a leg.
5. Unlike your optimistic hopes and the RV promotional videos, kids will fight just as much in an RV as they do in a car. Maybe more. "He's putting his dirty shoes where I have to put my face!"
6. If you have boys, you will be yelling, "Sit down while you pee! Sit down while you pee!" over and over again.
7. If one person gets sick, everyone will get sick. Cough, cough, ACHOO!
8. If you wake up suddenly -- perhaps due to the loud whistle of the nearby train station, or the freeway that goes through your RV park -- you will whack your head, or your arm, or your leg on something.
9. If you use the toilet when someone is attaching the clean out tube, you may NEVER be forgiven.
10. You will spend a lot of time announcing how many bars of cell service you have. "Oh good, I have three bars! Oops. No, two. Nope. One. Nope. Can't help you. I don't know how far to the nearest gas station."
11. Because the kids will be fighting, and because there is limited space, one of them will end up in your bed. And kick you. ALL. NIGHT. LONG. Because there is a kid in your bed kicking you all night long, you will eventually get up and wander to his deserted table/bed, and "sleep" with your feet and legs hanging off the end.
12. Eventually, you will forget to bring your towel to the KOA shower, and end up drying your hair with your flannel pajama bottoms.
13. You will make lots of memories, drive many miles, argue many arguments, and you WILL recover... eventually.