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Enhancing your RV Getaway!  

                       How to find what to see when you reach an unfamiliar place.                                                         

  

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    RV Living in the 21st Century 

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Life in the RV Lane can be a real whirlwind where you run from here to there or it can be as laid back as you want it to be.  However finding a place to visit when you arrive in an unfamiliar area can become a real challenge trying to discover what’s ‘happening’. During a recent winter stay near ‘Mickey Mouse Land’ in Disneyland in Orlando, Florida we had to look real hard to find fun things to do other than the expensive attractions and theme parks. Surprisingly there was lots to see. When you’re only in an area for a few days your search can becomes even more trying.  

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Tips to gain maximum enjoyment from each stopover.

We ask the park office for an on-site activity listing and what can they recommend we should see in the area.

Next we talk to our neighbours.  Sometimes the seasonal RVers are a preferred source of info especially if we are looking for less expensive local enticements. 

RVers on the move may have recently stopped at a nearby attraction or two en route. Don’t hesitate to ask them for their favourite stops, RVers love to share info.

We find the most accurate information comes from Tourist Bureaus and Chamber of Commerce Centres - (provincial and state phone numbers plus webpages are listed on the RV WebLink page of www.rvliving.net). RVers who plan to spend time in a particular province or state should order the Travel Guides for that area before beginning an adventure. These guides can also be picked up at Welcome Centers situated at each border. 

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The benefits of these guides are numerous. For example - when our 12-year old niece Kayla travelled from British Columbia to Ontario with us in 2002 we asked her to find places to visit along the way.  Kayla and her mom searched the travel guides and found some neat stops. Between the two of them they planned many out of the ordinary things to see. 

 

John and I had never seen such as a covered wagon ride through a Manitoba desert near Brandon. Our swim in the hot spa waters at Revelstoke, BC was a first. They also discovered a ghost town between Calgary and Edmonton en route to the fantastic West Edmonton Mall.  Some of these places were more memorable than others but they each added one more dimension to our adventure. 

John and I included a few more of our choice destinations along the way based on our previous trip experience.  At several places we added rewarding unforeseen circumstances to our initial plans. For instance in Winnipeg my girlfriend Fern, from my military basic training days, was a foster mother to a 12 year old and her younger sister.  Kayla and Theresa (the 12 year old) had an absolute ball; Kayla really appreciated having someone her own age to socialize with. Our ‘girl’s day out’ at a museum and then the afternoon at Chucky Cheeses was most enjoyable. Seeing the obvious delight the girls were having was rewarding plus it gave Fern and I a perfect opportunity to catch up on what has happened over the past year.  John stayed behind to catch up on some routine maintenance.

 This trip proved that RV Travels are enhanced if you include visits with family/friends along the way. Just south of Calgary we combined a laneway camping stop with a very creative good friend for our Mexican days - Marcy and her family.  This was a wonderful opportunity to teach Kayla how to create crafty gifts for her family and friends back home - a much-needed diversion from all the adults at the house.

With pre-planning it may be possible to coincide a getaway with local festivals or flea markets and/or attractions in a specific area.

Those who stop at large campgrounds that feature weekly hayrides, nature walks, bingos or craft days, horseshoe or shuffleboard tournaments, periodic dances or evening entertainment can add yet one more dimension to their travels. Many of these activities are low-cost or no-cost for campers. Some parks routinely offer a craft sharing session where everyone brings their favourite project to teach others; it may also include learning a new craft for a small fee designed for kids of all ages.

Both male and female RVers participate in knitting, crocheting, quilting, and woodcarving projects.  They are interesting hobbies that fill some quiet hours. They are great diversions for inside or outside of the unit.  Of course relaxing in a campsite provides a perfect opportunity to catch up on overdue reading.

Working at a project on the picnic table is a super way to meet other RVers.  Those strolling the park will frequently stop to say Hi or simply to see what you are doing.  When a male RVer wants to meet his neighbours all he has to do is to open the hood of the tow vehicle or the motorhome and within minutes several male neighbours will be over see if they can help - sorry guys but it’s just a ‘man’ thing.  Polishing your unit works the same way.  When women are travelling alone, raising the hood is even more of a magnet to get to meet your neighbours.

Lawn games such as ring toss or board games like monopoly or puzzles (complete with an edged board that can travel on the bed) are lightweight and don’t take up much storage space. Playing games or cards under the awning or socializing around the bonfire adds a finale to the adventure. 

At larger resort style parks, on-site amenities may include a video game room for the kids and billiard table(s) or dart board(s) for the adult children. A heated swimming pool/hot tub, tennis courts, shuffleboard courts, mini golf etc. only add to the fun.

Electronic toys like game boys, DVD players and similar amusements help to break up a long drive for kids of all ages. Self designed diversions such as spotting the most ‘visiting license plates en route’ or a game of ‘I spy’ or even a ‘sing-a-long’ add an appreciated dimension to the trip as well. 

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Other extras that can enhance a trip 

 Having a small vehicle available for touring definitely helps. If your RV is a towable you already have a getaway vehicle but if your unit is a motorhome having access to a tow car promotes an extra plus.  John and I did not tow a vehicle for the first eight months of our travels.  We had set aside a substantial rental car/towing budget and didn’t feel we needed a car - in reality we were actually afraid to tow.  Not until we arrived at a beautiful state park in Oregon where the closest store was simply too many miles away to bike did we realize what we were missing by not having a car in tow.

We had just assembled a new add-a-room attached to our motorhome awning so before we could become mobile it meant a lot of packing up. However when our ‘newest best friend’ neighbours offered to take us spelunking (cave exploring) in the Oregon Mountains we jumped at the chance.  That was 18 years ago and it is still one of our most memorable side trips we’ve ever experienced.  Even if our motorhome had been moveable it never would have traversed the hilly road to these fantastic caverns.  This incident was the determining situation that made us realize we NEEDED a tow vehicle.  We also discovered it was no big deal to tow.

  Our car is now our perfect getaway machine - when we stop, we simply unhook and explore the surrounding area with ease.  The number of neat events we accidentally discovered over the years while exploring in our ‘toed’ (tow car) is overwhelming.  Having touring wheels other than your unit definitely adds to an RV getaway.

 The final way to enhance an RV adventure is for each of you to claim your own space within the RV, no matter how small or large your unit is.  In our first RV I used the living room foldaway table (we had no dinette) and in follow-up RV’s we modified the dining table to become my computer/work station.  John claimed the bedroom as his Rec room in our Kruisin’ Kastle #1 and in our Kastle #2 and #3 it was his turn to use the foldaway tables in the living room and/or the bedroom. Following the modifications we made this spring he now has his own workstation and a special place to watch TV in the living room.  On this unit our bedroom TV is only used early in the morning or late at night.  Your individual space may be as small as the folding-table and a separate storage area or it could be the upper bunk in a small unit or a desk/table set within the slide in the bedroom of a fifth wheel or, or, or.  It doesn’t matter where it is so long as you have a spot to call your own - with a place to work at your leisure and to keep your stuff in a separate area.

   Have fun and enjoy your journey.

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