GATHER UP YOUR LOVED ONES AND GO RVING

RVing has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My very first RV memory is sleeping on the convertible dinette bed in a borrowed truck camper. When I was in middle school, my parents bought a 1970s Starcraft travel trailer that my dad towed with a gold 1969 Buick station wagon. I’d take along a friend on family camping trips and we would cram ourselves into the tiny bathroom spraying Aqua Net onto our teased bangs. Clearly, I knew how to “glamp” even before “#glamping” was a thing.

 

By the time I was in high school, my parents had changed RVs again and I had changed my hairstyle. (Thank goodness, four-inch tall bird nest shaped bangs aren’t flattering on anyone.) This RV was a Type C. It was our first motorized RV and I can remember hanging out with my siblings or reading in the back bedroom while we traveled to our destination. Cool beans!

 

Once my parents even let me drive it while they took a nap in the back (before seat belt laws required all passengers to be buckled in). That was back in the day when kids could stay out wandering the neighborhoods alone until dark. My brother sat shotgun and we chatted away until my dad woke up from the rough ride and decided I wasn’t ready to be driving the RV after all. More than 20 years later, we still laugh about it. Today I wouldn’t even dream of letting Thing 1 drive while we even relaxed in the back, let alone sleep, but that was a different, more innocent time…

 

The RV I supposedly drove “100 MPH” when I was a teenager. Right!!!

 

The cousins and my sister (I was way cooler in middle school ;-)) camping with Papaw.

 

My parents were not and still are not the only ones in our family with an RV. For as long as I can remember, my mom’s parents, Junebug and Papaw, had an RV. If a weekend at grandma’s house was fun, a weekend in grandma’s RV was even better.

 

One summer vacation, we headed south with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins to Dale Hallow Reservoir located on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee. We spent our days boating, fishing, playing in the campground, and exploring. There were campfires in the evenings and shared meals and laughter, and much mischief among the cousins. Each night the kids took turns spending the night in Junebug and Papaw’s RV.

 

Dale Hollow wasn’t the only time we got to stay in Junebug and Papaw’s RV. Sometimes we’d find our away a few steps away from the house when, just for fun, we’d spend the night in the RV parked in the driveway. Junebug and I would stay up late in the RV and play Crazy Eights or Sorry.

 

My cousin and Papaw on one of our camping trips.

 

When I was a teenager, Junebug and Papaw, took a few of my cousins and me to McCormick’s Creek State Park. (Bless them!) I was going through my own “teenage stuff” so they must have instinctively known a weekend away in an RV was a way to connect and bridge our generational gap and give me a break from my teen angst.

 

A younger Brent and me in front of one of Junebug and Papaw’s RVs.

 

For college, I moved from Indiana to California. A few years later my husband, Brent and I met. For a while, RVing seemed like it might be a thing of the past, but one day Junebug and Papaw let me know they were coming to California in their RV. Our older boys, toddlers at the time, got to spend their first night in an RV with their great grandparents. This was first of many, many nights they would spend in an RV.

 

Camping in our “pop-up” trailer at Refugio State Park in California.

 

We wanted to begin having our own RV adventures with our family. We wanted to spend quality time with our kids in some of nature’s most beautiful spots and fill their lives with memories made around the campfire with the people we love, so we bought a folding camping trailer.

 

Visiting Great Noni in California.

 

Like my parents, we later decided to change it up and bought a fifth wheel. That fifth wheel took us to 48 states over the course of two years of full time RVing. Whenever possible we met up with family to make new memories and have new experiences.

 

A new baby and a new RV!

 

Having dinner in the shadow of Devil’s Tower in Wyoming.

 

Then our family grew and we bought a bigger RV to continue our full time adventure. In that RV, we drove from Key West to Alaska, reconnected with friends and family on the California Coast, and revisited some of our favorite places like the Great Lakes.

 

Finally, with our hearts full of gratitude after four amazing years on the road, it was time to end our full time RVing chapter so our boys could experience being “normal” teenagers. Now we look forward to every break and summer when we can pack up the RV, reconnect, enjoy nature, have adventure, and find our away.

 

A new generation of cousins playing together at the campground.

 

 RVing with family in Door County, Wisconsin.

 

Over my three decades of RVing, I’ve gone through many life stages from playing in the dirt outside of my parent’s borrowed cabover truck camper to traveling the country in an RV with my own newborns, toddlers and teens. I’ve RVed with family of all ages and stages and each time I’ve left the campground with a heart full of new memories.

 

Celebrating Thing 3’s birthday with family in Indiana.

 

There are very few recreational activities that family members from multiple generations can all enjoy and even fewer that will make the sort of memories that will still be talked about around the campfire decades later. So, gather up your loved ones and Go RVing!

 

When did you start RVing? What is one of your favorite memories? Have you RVed with extended family?