It’s that time of year: in every chirping bird, in every snowy hillock revealing itself after a heavy melt, in every precious minute of extra sunlight, I’m beginning to see the glimmer of hope that is a burgeoning spring. As an outdoorsy type, spring is my favorite season; as the days get warmer and longer, I know that I’ll have that many more hours to spend exploring and enjoying nature. Two years ago, I invested in an RV, so that my partner and I could spend more weekends traveling to any number of the fantastic state and national parks closest to us. When time is of the essence, knowing that we can lunge into our RV at the beginning of a weekend to hightail it out of the city works wonders for my psyche in two ways: first, it offers me the peace of mind that we’ll be able to leave at a moment’s notice, which relieves my stress throughout the week, reducing my anxiety and allowing me to be more productive; and second, the accessibility of the RV allows for changes in circumstances—like a truncated timeframe for escape—without completely derailing our travel plans.
My “Home Away From Home” Has a Home
As I promptly learned after the first year of RV ownership, winterizing my RV meant so much more than just putting some antifreeze in the water system. In my first year of RV ownership, I attempted to store my rolling “home away from home” in my driveway. Since it was just a class B vehicle anyway and not too much larger than a van, I figured that keeping my new pride and joy on my own property would assuage any fears I’d had about my vehicle’s security over the off-season and that it’d be an easy way to save money. I also thought that—since I’d be able to look at my “baby” from outside my bedroom window every day—that somehow my proximity to her would keep her safe from any attempted burglaries, vandalisms, or vermin break-ins. Unfortunately, I didn’t take some other issues into account when I decided to keep my RV at home and experienced the consequences.
- First off, there was the unintended consequence of my spouse’s annoyance: with the RV typically blocking my husband from getting into the garage via our especially narrow driveway, we’d either have to park on the street (and deal with snow removal the next day, or repeated exposure to the elements), or perform the “RV and Car Waltz in E minor” and move everything around every time he left for work, the gym, or to run an errand and then perform it again upon his arrival. Of course, I’d have to do the same. Eventually, we both grew tired of the routine, and we’d find ourselves parking on the street much more often than we would have liked. There’s no telling what a problem this would have been if I’d opted for a pop-up camper or a travel trailer instead, which would have meant hitching it up every time I’d needed to move it.
- I learned the hard way that covering your RV—even after you’ve sprayed that cover with some repellent—will not prevent certain pests from scurrying into your RV from whatever unsealed nook and cranny they find, no matter how well you tried to seal up and keep them out. Although I had done my best to properly seal out any potential pests, I live in a fairly wooded area, and some pesky critters must have been ultra determined.
- Lastly, keeping your RV in your driveway is not actually that much of a deterrent to potential burglaries. Though it never came to having to fend off any potential threats, on more than a few occasions, I noticed some “surveillance” being performed on my property more than I ever had before I’d parked my RV there. An RV is a big investment, and they’re a target for opportunists, as well as basically being a big sign shouting, “expensive camping equipment found here” to any potential burglars.
Although I did save on some moderate fees that I would have otherwise spent if I’d rented a covered spot at a storage facility, I paid big time when it came around to prepping my RV that next spring. This year, after I’d winterized my RV, I rented a covered spot at a storage facility to maintain its condition. The facility is constantly monitored and offers excellent pest control. I’m of course going to make sure I get my baby a tune-up, since maintenance on an RV can greatly extend its engine’s life and increase its horsepower, but at least I know I won’t be opening her up and discovering the horrors of a former rodent colony.
For me and my spouse, purchasing an RV was not about checking off some “box” in the successful family checklist—it was about freedom, and allowing prioritizing our ability to commune with nature and the open road. This spring, we plan to override winter’s stagnation by logging in as many miles as we can. Within just a few hours, we can drive to Zion National Park, to enjoy the majesty of breathtaking sandstone walls and rock formations. In a few hours more, we can head out all the way to the Grand Canyon, and commune with a wonder of the natural world. Wherever we go, I know that investing in a vehicle that expedites and enhances our travels was the right choice for me, and investing in a little extra to keep her happy over the winter is worth it—after all, in return, she’s offering us the world.