CAMPFIRE SURF AND SURF

Adventure is my middle name…

Getting out into nature and enjoying cooking in the great outdoors is how I want to live. One of the best ways to do that is by RVing! I am so excited to announce that I am teaming up with Go RVing to show how easy it is to cook delicious meals around a campfire while you are exploring nature. Whether you are in a different state or at a nearby campground, RVing doesn’t have to limit the flavor of the food that you eat. Everything I will cook will be simple, easy and delicious. So to kick it all off, I have decided to cook some Campfire Surf & Surf.

The old Surf & Turf is a classic grilling recipe. But for all you seafood lovers out there, why not substitute the heartiness of the steak with a thick piece of salmon? Top that off with some skewered shrimp and veggies. Now you are talkin’ my language!

In my Campfire Surf & Surf recipe, you will first grill up a massive chunk of wild caught salmon over the fire. Seasoned with parsley, garlic, cayenne powder and more to make sure you have a savory and tangy fish. The same seasoning will go on the shrimp as well! This will balance the flavor of the food with the same seasoning on two very different seafoods. The tenderness of the salmon really complements the robust flavor of the shrimp to make sure you get that variety that you are looking for in a combo dish like this. Lastly, you will add some charred veggies cooked on a skillet/plancha over the fire. These veggies round out the whole meal with their salty and charred flavor.

My favorite part about this dish is how easy it is to cook. All the ingredients you can find on the road at any local grocery store! Plus, they do not take up a lot of space in your RV while still giving you delicious food. Stay tuned for more recipes to come while I cook over fire in an RV!

Recipe:

COOKING DETAILS

Yields: 2-4 Servings

Cook: 30 minutes

Prep: 15 minutes

Equipment Needed: Fire pit, wooden skewers, cast iron skillet/plancha, tongs, wood, and fire starters.

CAMPFIRE SURF & SURF

  • 1 whole salmon (un-filleted)
  • 1 lb. of shrimp (no shell & de-veined)
  • 2 zucchini (diced)
  • 2 yellow squash (diced)
  • 1/2 white onion (cut into halfmoons)
  • 1 tbsp of dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp of minced garlic
  • 2 tsp of cayenne powder
  • Sea salt & black pepper (to taste)
  • Olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Using a fire starter, build your fire and let burn until it coals (about 15-20 minutes).
  • While the fire is burning, skewer the shrimp & lather both the shrimp and salmon with olive oil on all sides. Season both shrimp & salmon with dried parsley, minced garlic, cayenne powder, sea salt & black pepper.

  • Once fire is hot, season skillet/plancha with olive oil and start cooking zucchini, yellow squash and onions. Let cook until nicely charred & soft (about 10 minutes).

  • While veggies are cooking, place salmon on grill skin side down. Let cook for 8 minutes per side. Cook until internal temp reads 145F. PS: You can also smoke the salmon if you prefer!

  • Lastly, place skewered shrimp on grill and let cook.

THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE BUYING A VINTAGE TRAILER

Our 1984 triple axle Avion 34V

 

From a folding camping trailer to large fifth wheels, Brent and I have owned our share of RVs. After four years of full-time RVing, our family finally settled down and decided we needed a smaller RV for weekend camping and summer road trips. We looked at all sorts of RVs, visiting RV shows and dealerships, but finally settled on a vintage Avion, Airstream’s second cousin. We spent the summer exploring Route 66 and couldn’t have felt cooler. Literally, because the air conditioner wouldn’t stop dripping on me while I slept. Ha! Regardless, of the quirks we loved that trailer. A year later, we came across a great deal on a rare front kitchen Airstream. We had dreamed of owning an Airstream for years, so we sold the Avion and finally became part of the Airstream club. Having owned new, used (newer used RVs), and now a vintage trailer we’ve learned a few things. Many of the same things that apply to buying a late model trailer, like towing capacity of your tow vehicle, also apply to buying a vintage trailer with a few more things to consider.

 

1998 Airstream Excella 34’ FK

 

Things to Consider Before Buying a Vintage Trailer

 

Usage – How do you plan to use the vintage trailer? Weekend trips? Full-time RVing? Airbnb or guest house? Winter RVing? Most vintage RVs (Not all, our Avion was great in cold weather.) aren’t going to be suited for winter camping without significantly upgrading the insulation, a BIG job! If having more space is a priority, as it often is when full-time RVing or camping with large families, you won’t find many, if any, vintage trailers with slide outs.

 

The Princess is a fully renovated 1969 Streamline Princess Photo courtesy of Marmalade Vintage Trailers

 

 

Handyman Skills – Are you handy and do you enjoy learning that sort of work? Vintage trailers will often need more work than their newer counterparts. It really helps if you have some handyman skills or else maintenance and repair expenses can add up very quickly. Just as

important as having the skills is actually enjoying the work. Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you want to! I’ve found most vintage trailer owners, including myself and my husband Brent, really enjoy the process of renovating. Of course, it’s always possible to buy a fully renovated vintage trailer.

 

Photo courtesy of Marmalade Vintage Trailers

 

Campgrounds – It might come as a surprise, but not all campgrounds are vintage RV friendly. There are campgrounds that place age restrictions on the type of RV they will allow. Others place restrictions on length limits and many vintage trailers are on the shorter side. We once stayed at a campground and our friends came to camp with us in their adorable little vintage trailer. Unbeknownst to us, the campground had a length rule and our friends weren’t allowed to camp there! (It worked out because we were camping in a huge fifth wheel at the time, so they just stayed with us. It was cozy but great fun!) If you visit specific campgrounds regularly, you will want to make sure they don’t have any of these types of restrictions in place before purchasing a vintage trailer.

 

Before and After of a 1963 Shasta Compact Photo Courtesy of Guy Bratton

 

Scope of Work – It’s really important to carefully and fully consider the scope of the work before buying a vintage trailer. Vintage trailer renovations run the gamut from shell off renovations

(where the camper is stripped of everything and the shell, the walls and roof, is lifted to work on the chassis) to simpler repairs like replacing worn awnings. You’ll want to take a full inventory of what might need work. Some things to consider are: leaks, water damage, electrical system, water lines, water pumps, heaters, toilets, showers, sinks, air conditioners, axles, floors and subfloors, tires, body condition, the frame, tires, windows (vintage windows can be hard to find), appliances, propane line, awnings, and a clear title. We called about many vintage trailers that were inexpensive and looked good in pictures only to find out the title was salvaged or it didn’t have a title at all!

 

Be Prepared to Walk Away – It’s really easy to get emotionally attached to the idea of a vintage trailer (Trust me, I know!) without full consideration of the amount of work involved. Take an inspection checklist and take your time going over the trailer from top to bottom and front to back. Be sure to ask the owner lots of questions and if the answers don’t add up then be prepared to walk away.

 

1957 Airstream Bubble Photo courtesy of Guy Bratton

 

Be Patient – Along the lines of being prepared to walk away, it’s important to be patient. Finding a vintage trailer is more difficult and time consuming than going to your nearest RV dealer. It will take searching at multiple sources like RV Trader, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, etc. You may have to look at many trailers before you find the right one. Personally, we prefer to buy vintage trailers that have had fewer owners. We bought our Airstream from the original owners who had retired and were no longer RVing. They took the time to explain all the quirks of the

trailer and pointed out all the things that they knew needed repairs. This is an ideal situation but not always possible. Don’t give up! If something doesn’t feel right, don’t worry there will always be another one!

 

Be Prepared for Surprises – So you’ve found your perfect trailer, inspected it thoroughly, and you pulled it home to start working on it. Don’t be surprised if you pull up the carpet only to find a section of soft or rotting subfloor or you realize you forget to check the stove and it doesn’t work. It happens. There is a good chance you will miss something when checking the trailer out. It’s okay, almost everything is repairable. Just prepare yourself for surprise repairs ahead of time and you can roll with it.

 

Photo courtesy of Guy Bratton

 

Budget – Once you find a prospective vintage trailer make a list of all the things that are important to you in order of importance. Start with the non-negotiable components like axels and wheels and work your way to down to the cosmetics like curtains. It’s likely you won’t need to do everything on the list but it’s a good starting point to have. Visit sites like Ebay and Vintage Trailer Supply to get an idea what these renovations or repairs will cost and make a budget.

 

Photo courtesy of Guy Bratton

 

Community – One of the best parts of owning a vintage RV, other than enjoying the charm and history, is the instant community. There are many clubs, meet ups, and rallies for vintage trailer owners. There are even dedicated groups and clubs for specific makes of vintage trailers. These groups tend to be really welcoming and enthusiastic. It’s definitely a perk to owning a vintage trailer. (Note: There are meet-ups and clubs for nearly all major brands of late model RVs as well!)

 

Photo courtesy of Riverside RV

  

After some contemplation, you may have decided a true vintage trailer and the potential work that comes with it is not for you. Perhaps you really just want the peace of mind that comes with a warranty? If it’s the vintage charm you are after and not the possible surprises then you might want consider one of the new trailers that look vintage like the Retro from Riverside RV. It’s got charm and modern convenience.

 

What about you! Have you ever bought or considered buying a vintage trailer? Any advice to share?

10 TIPS FOR FINDING THE RV MODEL AND FLOOR PLAN

10 Tips for Finding the Perfect RV Model and Floorplan

If you are a first time RV shopper, you might be surprised–and a little overwhelmed–at how many options there are out there! Once you have settled on the type of RV you are looking for (travel trailer, fifth wheel, motorhome), you’ll still have to decide the size and floorplan that will suit you best.

There’s definitely something for everyone out there, and we want you to find your perfect match. So here are our top 10 tips for finding your perfect RV model.

 

  1. Know Your Numbers.

 

Research your tow capacity and payload capacity if you are purchasing a towable. Don’t take guesses or rely on social media for this information. Use your VIN to get the specs directly from your vehicle manufacturer. If you are buying a motorhome, double and triple check the weight of any vehicle you are planning to tow behind the RV. These are the first specs you should look at when shopping. Believe us, picking out an RV that doesn’t work with your current vehicle situation can be expensive and unsafe.

  1. Count the number of dedicated beds you’ll need.

 

We highly recommend looking for RV floorplans that will provide a dedicated bed for anyone who will be sleeping in the rig most of the time. When shopping for their first RV, some folks think it’s no big deal to make up the dinette or pull out the sleeper sofa every night. We know from experience that this can be a frustration in the long run.

Solo campers or couples who need just one bed will find tons of great options across every RV type. Families with one or two children will be happy to find bunk models in travel trailers and motorhomes. If you are traveling with more than two children, travel trailer and fifth wheels offer many bunkhouse floorplans with 3-4 beds in a separate sleeping area.

If you are looking for a small towable that still offers dedicated beds for everyone in the family, check out the Murphy bed floorplan options. This latest trend has grown pretty popular over the past couple of years, so there are quite a few of these models out there!

 

  1. Decide on a wet bath, dry bath, or no bath.

 

Some shoppers love the idea of having a large, private bathroom no matter where they travel. Other folks are just fine with the idea of using campground comfort stations. This is a pretty important part of the RV experience, so make sure you get what you want in this department.

Many smaller RV options like Class Bs, Small Travel Trailers, and Truck Campers only offer wet baths, bathrooms where there isn’t a separate stall for the shower. Think hard about whether this will be a deal breaker for you.

 

  1. Decide if you’ll want to boondock or camp all four seasons.

 

Another trend in the RV industry is more models that offer four season features like insulated walls and underbellies. If you want to camp year-round, or at least in the cooler shoulder seasons, look for RVs that include these options.

And if you are looking to boondock (dispersed camping in places without hookups), make sure to search for RVs with larger fresh water, gray water, and black tanks. Other attractive features for folks looking to get off the grid are on-board generators and solar prep.

  1. Think about how much time you plan on spending inside the RV.

 

There’s no right way to camp. Some people are shopping for an RV with a clean bathroom and comfortable beds that will keep them warm and cozy at night. Other campers are seeking a smaller version of their sticks and bricks house, with all the creature comforts of home. Will everyone be able to eat a meal, play a board game, or watch a movie? Think about how you want to live in the RV, and make sure the floorplan will support that dream.

  1. How much cooking do you plan on doing in (and out) of the RV?

 

Once again, there is no right answer to the question of cooking in the RV. Some people use their RV kitchens all the time like us, and some people have never even turned on the oven. If the RV kitchen is a major draw for you, look closely at storage, counter space, and refrigerator size. If you love to cook in the open air, check out all the amazing outdoor kitchen options. However, if you don’t cook a lot while RVing, skip the outdoor kitchen to get more interior space and storage.

  1. Will you need to work in the RV?

 

The ability to work remotely leads a lot of people to check out the RV lifestyle. If you have to punch the clock, you might as well do it in a beautiful location, right? So, if you’re planning to work on the road, make sure you choose a floorplan with a spot for you to comfortably set up shop. Many people are using the flexible space in toy haulers to set up mobile offices. Another popular option right now are fifth wheel models with office space in the middle.

  1. Visualize where all the stuff will go!

 

Storage varies drastically in different models and floorplans, so think specifically about the things you want to pack. From the big stuff like bikes, kayaks, and golf carts, to the little stuff like clothes, linens and towels, food, and kitchen supplies…actually imagine where all your stuff might go.

  1. Can you access all the important features in “Travel Mode”?

 

One of the greatest benefits of RV travel for our family is being able to use the bathroom and have a healthy lunch in our RV kitchen while at rest stops. If this is also important to you, make sure you can access everything you will need even with the slides in. Can you access the bathroom, open the refrigerator, and get into the bedroom? Don’t be embarrassed to ask the salesperson to bring in the slides for you to double check!

  1. What extra features are important to you? Every RV is a bit different than the next, and some options will be more important to you than others. That’s why it’s important to have a list of “must haves” vs. “nice to haves” before you even start looking. Here are a few features that may or may not be on your list depending on your RV lifestyle:

 

  1. Large awning
  2. Exterior bathroom entrance
  3. Outdoor shower
  4. Power and automated systems for stability jacks, tongue jack, and levelers
  5. Smart technology and outdoor entertainment

Take your time and have fun with this part of the RV shopping experience. There are so many great RVs out there right now, so make sure to find the perfect one for you.

 

We’ll see you at the campground,

Stephanie + Jeremy

 

FIVE MAIN LESSONS FROM FULL-TIME RVING

As our 2-year nomadversary approaches, we have been thinking about all of the lessons we have learned during our time full-time RV living; and boy have we learned some lessons!!!  If you have also transitioned from a sticks and bricks home to living in an RV full-time, I am sure you will relate…

We have been very vulnerable in sharing our lives with our tiny humans in a tiny space in hopes of inspiring you to collect more experiences during your time here on Earth, so here we are again being a total open book with our top lessons learned from full-time RV living!

 

Lesson # 1: It’s Still Life

Just like living in a brick and sticks home, things will happen. We have learned how to just smile and laugh when unexpected things occur.  When we took our RV out for a test run a few weeks before hitting the road full-time, our neighbor (who was also full-timing) told us, “Things will happen, learn how to just go with it!” This was his biggest tip to us. I swear the universe wanted to prep us early because that weekend before going back to our sticks and bricks, one of our landing legs did not want to go up!  

We have learned that kids leave faucets running, rainstorms cause chaos, and sometimes things just stop working, After every “terrible” unannounced situation life has thrown at us, we have been able to laugh about it and learn a lesson from it as well.

Lesson # 2: Slow Down

We learned this very quickly after crossing the country from Florida to California in less than a week (just writing that makes me exhausted) after only being on the road for 2 months!

After talking to many RVers, they have also learned this lesson the hard way because they have experienced getting burned out.  I understand that it is so exciting at first that it’s easy to try to do it all, but trust us, (we learned the hard way) not only is it exhausting, but you do not get to enjoy yourself as much.  

When we learned the art of slowing down, we began to remember our experiences more clearly vs feeling like we had run a marathon and every memory was starting to mesh together. It also allowed us to really explore the area we were visiting including the non-tourist attractions.  

We also learned the art of not driving 10+ hours in a day, the maximum we ever do now is 4 hours and the least we have done has been 25 minutes.  Growing up in NYC, I didn’t realize how much I had been programmed to live my life in a hurry for absolutely no reason and I almost feel guilty that I had kind of rubbed off on my better half without either of us realizing it.  So, I am very grateful for learning this lesson thanks to this lifestyle because our kids are learning the art of slowing down as well (#priceless).

Lesson #3: Collect Experiences 

Coming from an 1,800+ sq. ft sticks and bricks home where I had been conditioned to fill every nook and cranny just because I had the room I quickly realized this was not possible in our lovely house on wheels.  Not only is there not a ton of space, but there are also weight limits in the RV I had to keep in mind.  

We have been determined to make every day memorable vs filling ourselves up with junk we truly don’t need.  Our slogan “Collect Experiences, Not Junk” came to me on a random night as I looked through our recent adventures at the time and realized how joyous my heart was just from thinking back on all of these experiences.  

If it had not been for this lifestyle, I am not sure we would have seen and done as much as we have.  It is one thing seeing videos and reading about it and it’s a whole other story living the experience yourself.  We have definitely collected more experiences in the last 23 months than most people do in 10 years thanks to RVing.  

You can imagine what it’s like to go kayaking in uncharted waters, fish across the country, climb up a 1,300 foot mountain in the rugged Upper Peninsula of Michigan, sit in an actual NASA room, walk through a cave that used to be a copper mine, hike through the Poconos to find a huge hidden waterfall that can only be seen by climbing up the mountain, go swimming in a spring fed pool in the middle of the Rocky Mountains…. but your imagination is nothing like collecting that experience.  Doing this with our children beside us has been life changing because we know in our hearts we are helping them realize the power of collecting experiences simply through living. 

 

Lesson # 4: Research RVs

This lesson right here could have saved us a bit of a headache in the beginning.  We were one of those couples that dove in head first with zero knowledge about RVs!  We ended up picking a fifth wheel (we didn’t even know what that meant) and learned very quickly that the weight was a little too much for our truck at the time.  We had already made the purchase, so we ended up having to purchase a truck that handled the weight and that also fit all of us because our truck at the time was only a 3-seater.  

I even recommend renting the type of RV you are looking for on a site like Outdoorsy because then you can really get a feel for the type of layout and you will meet the owners of the RV and get to ask them questions too!  Quite frankly, if someone had told me this when we first looked at RVs, I would have totally done it! Learn from us: do more research on type, length weight, diesel or gas, etc.

Lesson # 5: Meet Others on the Same Path

In the beginning, it was a pretty lonely journey.  Our friends and family did not really get our lifestyle and they did not understand the landing legs, sewer fun times and all the “funny” lessons we were learning.  We began to connect with more fellow RVers online (thank you Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter) and we quickly found so many “crazy” folks like us! 

We have slowly began meeting each other in real life and collecting experiences with these folks too! It has made the journey that much more memorable to know that there are folks just like us out there escaping the chains of what we were told our entire lives was “normal.”  We love our friends and family, and of course, keep them up to date, but until you live in an RV full-time, you won’t truly understand all the lessons this lifestyle throws at you.  

Thank you so much for reading about our lessons learned!  We are on a mission to inspire you through our actions to collect experiences of your own instead of junk while living a more intentional life.  We would love to hear your thoughts below and any lessons you have learned from living in an RV full-time.

 

RVFTA’S GUIDE TO BUYING A NEW RV

Narrowing Down Your RV Type: 5 Questions That Will Help You Find the Perfect RV

 

If you are in the market for a new RV, we’ve got some pretty great news for you: there are more options out there than ever before. From lightweight travel trailers to motorized RVs with powerful diesel engines, there is something for every shopping budget.

There’s also something for every camping style. If you want to hold on to the rugged outdoors experience, there are RVs specifically designed for off grid adventures. More interested in feeling like your RV is a luxury vacation home? No problem! Plenty of new RVs come with stainless steel appliances, reclining living room furnishings and residential design features.

But here’s the bad news: you probably have to pick just one RV to buy, and that can be pretty overwhelming.

 

We are here to help you through the process. Over the course of years of podcasting, blogging, and presenting at RV events, we have talked with thousands of RV shoppers. We’ve listened to the lessons that they have learned, and learned a few of our own along the way as well.

 

Want to find that perfect RV? Well, the first thing you have to do is narrow down the RV type (or class) that will work best for your needs. Here are five questions you should ask that will help you decide which RV type should be on your short list.

 

Note: If you’re still trying to learn what all the different RV types are, check out Go RVing Compare RVs tab. You can also check out our post, Which RV is Right For Me?

 

  1. What’s your price range?

 

Okay, in a perfect world there would be no budgets, right? Unfortunately, money matters and we all have a general idea of how much we can afford to spend on an RV purchase.

There is something out there at every single price point, from $7,000 folding camping trailers to $30,000 travel trailers to $200,000 motorhomes. Once you have settled on a comfortable shopping budget, it will be much easier to narrow down your options and focus on the rigs that are in the running for your first purchase.

  1. What is your current tow vehicle situation?

 

Now, this is important! If you currently have a truck or SUV that can tow an RV, you are in good shape to buy a folding camping trailer, travel trailer, or fifth wheel. Make sure you check what your vehicle can tow before buying the RV though. Don’t take someone’s word for it—use the VIN number to get an accurate number. There can be a wide variety of towing capacities for the same automobile model because of optional packages.

However, if you don’t already have a tow vehicle, carefully consider a motorized RV purchase. The price of a tow vehicle plus towable RV can easily be equal to a Class C price. There’s no reason to give up that great commuter car if you don’t really want to!

  1. Who will be traveling in the RV?

 

We’ve seen something common at dealerships and RV shows. Some folks shop thinking about anyone and everyone who may at some point join them on their travels. It’s a good idea to focus on shopping for the people (and pets) that will be in the RV mostof the time. If you’re thinking about towable RVs, would everyone in the family have a comfortable seat in the tow vehicle? If looking at motorized RVs, make sure there are seatbelts for all travelers and think about where you would place necessary car seats.

  1. Are you a road tripper, destination traveler, or seasonal camper?

 

We tend to be road trippers, heading out for weeks at a time and visiting lots of different locations. This means we like an RV that is pretty easy to hitch and unhitch. We also don’t want to worry too much about height restrictions when traveling around our native northeast region.

 

Some folks, however, love to take their RVs to just one amazing spot and set up camp for a week long vacation. For them, a spacious fifth wheel might fit the bill. Traveling in more urban places? Check out Class Bs. Want to cover a lot of distance in comfort and style? Class Cs or As are often perfect cross country options.

  1. Do you prefer private or public campgrounds?

 

If you are new to RVing, this may be a tricky question to answer, but here is a quick tutorial. In general, public campgrounds tend to be more rustic and natural. But they also tend to be older and less modernized. So if you know you want to stay in state and national parks, make sure you don’t purchase an RV that is too big for the majority of the campsites. The rule of thumb is to stay under 30 feet if you want to camp mostly in public campgrounds.

On the other hand, private campgrounds often offer pull thru campsites that can accommodate rigs up to 40 feet long. So if you know you prefer modern amenities and full hook ups, go ahead and get that larger fifth wheel or Class A.

When you imagine that RV dream, what does it look like? Are you escaping from the city and heading for off the grid adventures? Maybe you’re driving all over this beautiful country, exploring urban destinations and national parks. No matter what your RV dream is, there’s a rig that will be perfect for it.

So go start shopping, and then we’ll see you at the campground!

 

Stephanie + Jeremy