Cheery Cherry ready to go


When Cherry Lewis was growing up in St. Shores, Michigan a neighbor had a big tent they set up in the backyard. The neighbor kids took turns camping in it. Boys only one night and all girls the next. It felt adventurous and the girls sat up at night with their flashlights telling ghost stories and giggling the night away.


One night, Cherry recalled, one of the neighbor boys decided to play a trick on the girls. He waited until dark and quietly crept up to the tent and slid his arm under the tent floor and grabbed the leg of one of the girls. Screaming and mayhem ensued. When the boys told the girls the next day that a prisoner had escaped from a local jail, the girls were done. The boys may have managed to secure the tent for themselves for the rest of the summer, but they did not manage to rid Cherry of her love of camping. She recalls this trip as her first “girl camping” outing.

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Have it all. The American Dream. The American Way. Not enough hours in the week.  Keeping up with the Joneses, Work Hard/Play Hard. All these colloquialisms defined our life as typical self-employed New Englanders. We had a crazy dream- work remotely for a few months so as to travel cross country. Another typical bucket list adventure / goal that we wanted to add to our ballooning list of accomplishments and acquisitions. What we never expected, was our four-month trip across the U.S. and back would change our outlook on everything we’ve been working 90 hrs. a week to maintain, and essentially reset our path in life.

When we hit the road it was naïvely just an opportunity to pour a little more life into our mundane daily routine. Our supporters said it was going to be the most envious journey they could dream of. The nay-sayers said it was selfish of us, and we would likely come back split up over the stress of living in 450 sq. ft. Essentially everyone was wrong, including ourselves.

The nay-sayers couldn’t have been more wrong. Within about 2 weeks of living fulltime in 450 sq. ft., we realized that life was so much more relaxing without the extra 2000 sq. ft. to manage. We connected with each other, we talked, we played and we laughed.

Massive weights were lifted from our shoulders knowing we didn’t need to fill our home with decorations, latest electronics, newest home trends, DIY improvement projects, maintenance, etc. All that “desire to acquire” was immediately gone. The withdrawal symptoms of being unable to Amazon Prime our every whim were challenging at times, but awareness of our “desire to acquire addiction” took center stage. We realized the rat race we were trapped in back home, had completely clouded our lives. Without the distractions of typical American life, the desire to explore, learn, communicate, and bond as a family completely fed our souls.

We never looked at our 450 sq. ft. as anything more than an allergy safe food preparation location and nightly resting place, (and office space). The entire country became our “back yard.”

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Your RV is a major investment like your house or automobile. To help protect your investment and get many years of reliable service and use from your RV, there are preventive maintenance steps you can take. One is maintaining the exterior of your RV.


Maintaining the exterior contributes to extending the life of the RV and protecting your investment. If you let your RV go, without cleaning it for periods of time, it can be very difficult to get that new look back again.


Here are 5 easy steps to keep your RV looking new:

1) To extend the life of the exterior, wash the RV frequently. If you let bugs, dirt, and black streaks stay on the exterior surface too long it can be difficult to clean and remove. Try to wash your RV after returning from each trip. Use a mild soap that is compatible with the surface of the RV. Use a long handled brush with soft bristles to reach the high areas and a wash glove or mitt for the easy to reach areas. Rinse the area you plan to wash first and always wash from the top down. When you rinse soap from the surface, avoid spraying water in any of the appliance vents.


Tip: There are marine cleaning products that work well on fiberglass surfaces. When cleaning the roof keep the sides of the RV rinsed off to avoid soap residue, streaking and any damage to decals, graphics or the paint finish. Never use cleaners containing petroleum solvents, harsh abrasives, or citric-based acids on rubber or vinyl roofs. 


2) Metal sidewall finishes require more routine maintenance to keep black streaks cleaned from the surface. If black streaks remain on metal sidewall finishes for prolonged periods of time it can be extremely difficult to clean or remove the streaks. When you use commercial cleaners, like black streak removers, always read and follow the instructions for the best cleaning results and to protect the RV’s paint and graphics from possible damage.  Watch a video on cleaning RV black streaks.


3) Removing dead bugs and road debris from the front of your RV can be a real job. The best advice I can offer is to remove the bugs as soon as possible and use lots of water. The water helps hydrate the dead bugs, making them easier to remove. I have had good luck using bug and tar remover products to clean difficult stains and road debris, but nothing replaces good old elbow grease.


4) Waxing or polishing the exterior is a time consuming chore, but it will help extend the life of your RV. Wax or polish the exterior using a quality product formulated for the type of exterior surface your RV has. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Exercise caution when applying wax or polish around graphics on the RV. It’s a good idea to wax the RV when water no longer beads on the surface.


5) As time passes the roof and exterior of your RV begins to show signs of wear, caused by constant exposure to the elements. Ozone in the air and UV rays from the sun start to take a toll on the RV’s exterior. Paint starts to fade and products made of rubber and vinyl start to dry out, crack, and deteriorate. UV rays from the sun make this aging process happen quicker. If your RV is stored outside the only way to protect it from these damaging affects is to keep it covered. Make sure the cover is designed for use on RVs.


These simple cleaning tips are designed to help keep the exterior of your RV looking new, but keep in mind there are other important preventive maintenance steps required to maintain the RV’s exterior. You need to inspect all the seams and sealants on the RV periodically and reseal any areas where the sealant is cracked or separating. If you do-it-yourself make sure you use sealants compatible with the surface you are sealing, or you can take the RV to your local dealer to have it inspected.


Tip: Review your RV owner’s manual for routine and scheduled maintenance and intervals the manufacturer recommends the owner should perform. 


Well there you have it, a nice clean RV until you head out on another exciting RV adventure.


Happy Camping,

Mark Polk

RV Education 101


Image via Flickr/Bureau of Land Management


Arizona has more natural wonders than you can shake a stick at (think Grand Canyon), but here’s one more to add to your bucket list. Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is a stunning and vibrant vista that you can enjoy from the RV or by foot.


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Hi, we’re Esther & Jacob. We are travel bloggers at and recently spent three months living in an Airstream. Before then, we had no idea what to expect. We had no experience in an RV and everything we knew was based on what we saw on TV or in movies. Needless to say, we were a bit intimidated! Although we had days that were bumpy, we’re happy to say that we really loved the overall experience. If you’re thinking about RVing or are just embarking on your journey, here are a few tips for you.



Be Thorough

When it’s time to move, you’ll have to pack up your trailer and make sure everything is road ready. Give yourself plenty of time to make sure you’ve put everything away and secured it all. A lot of new RVers will put together a checklist until it becomes habit. The first couple of weeks took a lot longer to pack up, but as we did it more, it became second nature. We definitely forgot to close a drawer or secure a latch here and there, and we learned the hard way why you should always be thorough.


Take Your Time


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