Saturday, May 14, 2016

I'm an RV Watcher

When Donna and I go to the mall -- which isn't often -- Donna will go into a store and often I'll just sit outside on a bench and watch people. I've always enjoyed watching people. I know many of you may be the same way. Well, I'm also an RV watcher.

Donna and I both enjoy watching rigs pull into the park where we happen to be staying and then watch them set up. Everyone has their own way of setting up. With some couples, the husband will set up everything on the outside while the wife gets the inside ready. That is how Donna and I do things. Sometimes the wife will help the husband outside. I've seen instances also where the wife takes the lead outside. Some folks set up quickly, while we've seen some RVers take 2 hours. I'm always interested in learning from other folks. I like to see what gear they have and how they do things. Perhaps I can improve our process.

But what I really enjoy is looking at different rigs people have. Rigs often reflect how people live and what they do. Now, it's always dangerous categorizing people because there are always exceptions, but here are some general lifestyle trends I've seen over the years.

People in larger rigs, both class A motor homes and large 5th wheels, tend to enjoy their comforts more. First of all, these rigs have more comforts to begin with. Some motor homes, for example, practically set themselves up. Simply push a button and the rig will level itself. Many of these folks have their satellite for their TV. Larger rigs have more storage, which means more goodies can be stored aboard. Many larger rigs also have washers and dryers. Yeah, life aboard these rigs can be very comfortable. Now here comes the generalization, and keep in mind this certainly does not apply to everyone, but I think it is often true. From my observations, many of the folks in these larger rigs tend to live a lifestyle very similar to someone living in a traditional stationery home. During the day, they may go out and visit a museum, take in a movie, or do something else, but usually at night they are home in their rig watching TV and enjoying a good home-cooked meal. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. These folks are living comfortably while they travel about the country visiting places on their bucket list.

The folks I really admire, those, are the ones that show up in the smaller, more efficient rigs, such as pickup campers, Casita trailers, or Trail Manor trailers. These rigs are much more fuel efficient, and I admire that. I probably average about 10 mpg pulling my trailer, and I envy those rigs who get considerably more. I've always admired efficiency. But you give up some comforts and storage space with these outfits. In many smaller rigs, you have wet baths (shower and toilet in same space) that are very tight. As a result, I see many of these folks using public facilities, even when full hookups are available. Many of these rigs also take more work. The awning on a Casita, for example, requires manual setup, and a Trail Manor requires quite a bit of "unfolding" to set up. Setting up a Trail Manor in the rain is not fun.

But the folks I see in these rigs are pretty rugged folks. They don't mind using the public facilities, and I often see kayaks and canoes lashed to their rigs, as well as bicycles. They hop out of their rigs early in the morning, backpack in hand, and disappear into the wilderness to return at night. Many of these folks live outside, not inside. The camper they occupy is simply a shelter for the night and a place to carry limited gear and clothing; it serves as a sort of base of operations. And some of these folks do this full time.

Donna and I are somewhere in the middle. We don't have a large rig with all the luxuries, but we do have enough storage to carry a sufficient amount of clothing and gear, and we do have enough space to be comfortable without using public facilities. We enjoy our television, stereo, A/C and furnace, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom, but we still try to spend a good amount of our time outside. And it doesn't take us long to set up, usually 30 to 45 minutes.

And I guess that is the good thing about the RV lifestyle; however you want to live, you can do so.

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