A girl walks in to a bar…and comes out with a path to turning her dream into a reality. When Adele Amos met Michelle Tang to network using their mutual connections in the production end of television commercials, she never thought she would find a route to fulfilling a dream of hers. As the two strangers chatted, Adele mentioned the idea of dodging the high cost of renting in the Los Angeles area by purchasing an Airstream trailer and parking it wherever she happened to be working. Michelle, a hair and makeup artist, surprised her by saying she had a 1976 Argosy in the Catskills of New York that she had used for just that purpose and would sell it for just $1500.00. Even though the trailer was 2500 miles away, Adele said yes to the purchase on the spot. She knew she wanted it and would just need to find someone to take 4 weeks off work and go get it with her.



Enter Cindy Gaines, Adele’s childhood friend and neighbor. Cindy and Adele have what could be described as a “sump pump” friendship; it’s there even though you might not acknowledge it every day and it kicks in when needed. The two grew up in the same neighborhood in Portland, Oregon and went all through school together circling each other’s social spheres. They were friends but not best friends, although Adele often visited Cindy’s family’s lake house in southwest Washington. After college when Adele was visiting home, they reconnected and got to know each other better. They formed the kind of friendship that picks up where it left off each time they see each other. Cindy, as an only child, had been given the gift of travel by her professor parents. They used their discretionary income on experiences. They took their daughter all over the world and when she was in 4th grade they took her out of school for five months and traveled all through the US and Mexico in a motorhome. Cindy had been infused with wanderlust and she and Adele, who also traveled stateside and internationally with her parents and three siblings, shared a mutual love for adventure. When Adele realized that she wanted a friend to travel with her to pick up the trailer, Cindy was the first person she called.

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Much like buying a car, most people who buy an RV must first obtain financing. Many RVs are a major life purchase, and financing makes RVing afforadable, similar to how a person affords a home by getting a mortgage.


With that being said, you do want to be smart with how you handle your finances. Unlike houses, RVs depreciate the moment you drive them off the lot. By being careful when financing your RV, you are more likely to be happy with your purchase, plus you’ll be able to save the most money.


Monument Valley


Here are my tips for financing an RV:


Improve your credit score.

Before you set out to buy an RV with a loan, you should make sure your credit score is as high as you can get it.


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In this day and age, it’s really easy to hand an electronic device to your kid and tell him to have fun, you’ll be there in eight hours. But if you’re one of those parents who thinks a family trip should not include individual headsets (Hi mom!), then here are some suggestions for games to get the whole family involved.


1. The License Plate Game


Image Courtesy of Eli Christman


I know, I know, this is an obvious one! But this tired old game can become new again if you include prizes! The person who spots the greatest number of out-of-state plates gets to choose music. The person who spots the license plate from the furthest away gets to choose where you stop for lunch. A license plate with two Zs? That’s worth 30 minutes in the front seat! Feel free to pack tangible prizes for your kids as well. There’s nothing like a little competition to bring the kids together, as long you keep it light!


2. Name That Tune


This is a game lots of radio stations like to play during the morning commuting hours. It’s even easier to play if you have an iPod at your disposal, but a mixed CD works too. The person in charge (preferably not the driver; just concentrate on the road!) will choose a song and let it play for about 10 seconds. The first person to accurately name both the artist and the title wins! This is a great game for inspiring a little family karaoke as well.

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Nothing gets the kids more excited than a trip to the amusement park, and America’s got some great ones. But that kind of vacation can get very expensive, really fast. The good news is that an easy way to save money is to skip the hotels and restaurants and stay in your RV instead. Even more good news is that many theme parks actually have their own campgrounds, or are at least located near one. This is a list of some of our greatest campground-friendly amusement parks.


Wisconsin Dells Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park & Noah’s Ark


Image Credit here


Wisconsin Dells isn’t the name of a park; it’s a city. And it’s on this list because it has the highest concentration of water parks anywhere on the planet, making it the self-entitled “Waterpark Capital of the World.” There are seven water parks in the city, both indoor and outdoor, which makes this a viable option for any time of year. And in case you get tired of playing in the water, there’s adventure parks, mega-arcade centers, lots of outdoor attractions and a vibrant downtown. There are plenty of campgrounds in the area, including many RV parks. We love Bonanza Campground, with its secluded forest campsites and awesome deals on passes to parks with 2-night stays, and Holiday Shores, which is almost a waterpark in and of itself, with its lake complete with jet skis and a floating playground.




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There are many RV membership clubs out there, like Escapees, Thousand Trails or FMCA. I had a chance to attend a rally of one such membership club you probably have never heard about, NAARVA.

NAARVA stands for National African American RV Association. It was founded in 1993 and boasts a membership of more than 1,400 members. African-American RVers face many challenges and NAARVA aims to be a resource to solve some of those issues. I had looked into NAARVA a few years ago when we first started RVing and at that time I didn’t see any young families as members. So I moved on. However, this time I had a chance to find out if we were missing something special.



From the moment I pulled into Gulf Shores State Park, I knew things were different. Typically when we travel as a family in our RV, we are extremely lucky if we aren’t the only African-Americans in the entire campground. As we pulled up, two NAARVA volunteers greeted us. They quickly checked us in and showed us to our site. Throughout the drive to our site we were greeted with smiles and waves from all the other NAARVA campers. Talk about feeling welcome! I had to rub my eyes; it seemed at every site there was another African-American RVer. With over 240 RVs attending this event, NAARVA’s presence was certainly evident.


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