As I research for writing ideas, I have found that advice for RVers is largely negative so as to help others avoid the pitfalls of campgrounds, space limits, storage, and things of that nature. But I’m going to share with you the things that I want you to remember to DO depending on where you may find yourself. Even if you find yourself in a parking lot style resort with lots of other campers.
What To do at an RV Resort
This is how we began our adventure. We had begun living in our RV but hadn’t yet left our city. Luckily, we come from a beach community so the first stop was a resort-style park. Not quite a parking lot, but pretty close to being one. It has lots of amenities: water, electricity, sewer, pool, recreation room, general store, laundry room. Sewer becomes a luxury after you’ve been out for an extended period of time. This is how you get rid of the dirty, used water. Without it, you have to monitor your gray and black tanks so you know when they’re full. Shorter showers and no laundry make it a bit more challenging at first. But we learned to modify our routines based on this amenity.
And a few perks like a free ride into nearby downtown in a cool jeep-like vehicle, trains rides around the park for the kids, and a local bike shop that comes on the weekends and decks out your bike with spoke lights. There is lots of room to ride your bike, walk your cats… or dogs if you have those.
While we were there, we celebrated Thanksgiving. So my first discovery was how to have fun cooking apples pies in my new home. Keep in mind, I really don’t enjoy cooking. I would much rather be reading a book… or scrubbin my toilet. Seriously, I just don’t find it enjoyable… usually. But I was so jazzed about our new, simple life, that I quickly got into the holiday mood, put on some Christmas tunes, and away I baked!
Dont’ forget to walk your cats. Yes, we trained our old Boyz how to walk on a leash! This attracted lots of attention so we also met lots of people.
Sit outside and read a book, have a beverage of your choice, watch the sunset. I read a lot about being present, not listening to my mind and feeling what is happening in my physical body. It turns out THAT is where the magic really is. I also decided in the spirit of being present, to pay attention to every animal, plant, mineral and landmark. I would make notes of the things I saw and then research them on the internet later. I wanted to experience the magic of how Spirit speaks to us in the physical world: everything has a message and decoding that would give us the story of how we got there, why we were where we were at any given time and what may be in store for us in the future. It made the whole trip much more fun and affected us in ways we never thought possible.
Do your laundry in the laundry room. At the time, we didn’t yet have our washer/dryer so I had to walk to the laundry facilities. But I would probably use it at a resort for a couple of reasons: 1) to get it all done quicker, 2) to have an excuse to get out of the small space for awhile and bring a book, ahhh! I love my reading.
What to do at the BEACH.
Parking just above the beach on the West Coast were some of the best places we stayed! It was winter and we witnessed some of the most volatile storms that area has seen in years, and we had some of the best seats from which to see it. I’ll admit that I was pretty scared one particular evening because the rain and wind just wouldn’t stop and the surf was pretty high. For a couple of days, it rained like crazy and it was sooo cold. Then one morning we woke up to sun and it was warm enough to walk on the beach and collect shells, take photos, meditate a little on gratitude.
We spent quite a bit of time watching the surfers because the surf was pretty fierce due to the storms and no many were willing to risk the danger. And of course the sunsets, with wine, were tear worthy. I haven’t seen the beaches in nearly a year and of everything, I miss that the most here on the Eastern part of the country.
We also parked in areas where we had to boondock, dry camp. That means we had no external water or power. The first night, we had no generator so we powered on the flameless candles and cooked on our propane stove through yet another winter storm on the beach. It was a little scary but I loved it. The Boyz, not so much. They hid under the bed.
Right before we left the West Coast, we had one more storm hit while at the beach. In spite of the fact that we were parked many feet above the beach, the surf rose high enough that it covered the sand and splashed on our doors and windows all morning.
Most of the time we were at the beach, I just sat and stared out at the ocean and the nearby islands, amazed at how lucky I was to be there and feel such wonder and peace.
In February, we made our way toward the Nevada border stopping at Calico Ghost Town. I had always wanted to see it and we had previously discovered they had an RV Campground so we made it a stop for a couple of nights. First of all, I would like to say that the Ghost Town itself isn’t as rich in history as I hoped it would be. It feels more like an amusement park and there just happened to be hundreds of kids there that day on a field trip. It was interesting to know that people lived and raised families there. Not a hospitable environment. To our surprise, there is a cemetery there outside the town that is still in use to this day. It was beautiful in its own way but just dirt and rocks and headstones that were 100 years old as well as some recent ones. We walked over there after dark to see if it might be haunted but they have security and won’t let you near it at night. They recently had someone ride a dirtbike in there and desecrate the graves.
Disappointed but determined to find something to do out there on a cold, clear night, we took our our zero gravity chairs and laid outside gazing at the stars. With no street lights way out there, we could see everything so clearly.
When we made it to New Mexico and Colorado, we were in time for a few significant snow storms! Being from Southern California, this was pretty exciting as we don’t really have any seasons, except for Fire Season (I don’t miss those at all.) Even rain was a treat cuz SC doesn’t have much of that either.
I recommend lots of photos. Especially early in the morning just as the sun is rising. The blue hue is magical and seeing everything covered in undisturbed white powder is breathtaking.
I also highly suggest taking as many walks as you can: alone, with your other half, with your cats (or dogs, of course). I did all three. Alone, you can just gaze at your surroundings. It’s so beautiful, that’s really all I could manage. I could hear the wind in the trees, the snow falling from them as it melted, the birds that dared to break the silence with their sweet solos. With The Boyz, it was entertaining to watch them navigate each cat step in the cold snow and watching it fall from the sky. They really didn’t know what to make of it, but they enjoyed being outside as often as we could manage. Cats on a leash are much different than dogs and it takes patience. Dogs will go where you go, but cats? Not so much. They couldn’t care less where we wanted to go or at what pace.
Erik and I took walks together and when we felt like talking, it was about how we couldn’t believe how lucky we were to be experiencing all of it. And it was just really cool to be doing it together.
The lake is where we spent the most time. Sometimes just above it with a breathtaking view and often right on the bank. For this location as well, photos were a priority. Often it was cold and raining so there weren’t many opportunities to be outside in the water, but we walked as much as we could. But even from inside, I recommend a warm beverage or a cocktail or wine while looking out the windows and consider how luck you are to have this as your view from home while others are either in an office at work or just not as fortunate to be doing what you’re doing. In summary, Gratitude. As Spring approached and the weather warmed up, we would often just sit for hours in our zero gravity chairs with a book or a Kindle and do all the reading we never seemed to find time for before this.
Now get out there and appreciate!
I hope you enjoyed this short article. There are many other things that are a part of full time RV living and many other articles to help you navigate the specifics and logistics of it. I’m sure we will cover some of them in the future.
Overall, my advice is this: Always express gratitude and awe in your surroundings, no matter where you happen to be. Being present is the most important thing in life and in nature, it’s even more powerful… and healing. Documenting is second priority to the experience. Nothing is permanent and as much as you want to remember the experience, obsessing about documentation and taking selfies, detracts from actually being there which photos will NEVER be able to replace. As Ferris Bueller so wisely stated, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”