A virtual cooking class on wheels, the RV Cooking Show takes viewers on adventures to some of the most sought-after or interesting but little known RV locales then creates a healthy, easy destination-related RV recipe in host Evanne Schmarder's RV kitchen. Tune in to our RV TV...it's always delicious!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

9 Years as a Full-Time RV er - Early RVing Lessons

I can remember my last day at my corporate office like it was yesterday. What a feeling, we we’re going to be full-time RV ers and the adventure was beginning. It took us two months of planning, yard sales, tying up loose ends, etc. but the day finally arrived. We picked up our first RV – a “pre-owned” Trailmanor 3326 – in Surprise, AZ and headed up the road. My husband drove and never having been RV ers the towing sensation was, let's just say odd. We found our park in Cottonwood, somehow got parked, leveled, set up then went out to dinner. Many new and valuable lessons were to follow in the first month (and on and on) and I’m tickled to share some of the first of them with you:

* Even though it was May, it was HOT in Arizona. We turned on the fridge the evening we arrived and the next day we headed to the store for our first batch of groceries. Turns out the electric hookups at the park were not adequate for the hot weather RV load and, as can be expected, an overload tripped our row’s breaker. We got home with plenty to feast upon – even ice cream! – to a warm fridge. Had to eat all of the ice cream right then and there and renamed the town “Hottenwood” as we packed up to leave.

* We had the wherewithal to head to cooler climes – Flagstaff – and a beautiful shaded site. It was there that we learned two absolute RV life lessons. At the end of my rope, unable to get my manual lighting water heater to light, the park manager pulled up in his golf cart and gently helped me understand that I was attempting to light the wrong spot. He gave me a quick Water Heater 101 and I’ve never forgotten him or his lovely park – Greer’s Pine Shadows.

* It was also there that we realized what special, friendly, and unique people RV er’s are. Enter our neighbor Lucy. She had recently retired and had always dreamed of learning to tap dance. She now had the time to follow this dream and she was pretty good. How do I know? She kept a large piece of plywood under her camper and would pull it out, strap on her tap shoes, and give the neighbors a performance upon request.

* And then there’s this…our dream was (and still is) to follow the sun and travel only warm and sunny locales. That’s why we gave away all – yep, go figure, all – of our warm clothes including our sweatshirts and pants. In theory, it’s a great plan. In reality, thank goodness Walmart still had a selection of sweats.

* We found our way to Arizona’s Canyon de Chelly (pronounced Chay) National Monument and parked in the last site available – a bright and sunny (read: hot as the dickens) site, I might add. The next morning, excited to be on this adventure, we prepared the RV for a day away. This included making sure the windows were closed and the awning was open. White House Ruins were spectacular as promised. In the campground, as we approached our new RV, we oohed and ahhed at the thing of beauty. But a second, closer look showed something not quite right. Not right indeed – a strong wind wrapped the awning atop our camper – popping one arm right off the RV and bending the other backwards to help the blasted thing achieve “pretzel” status. We bent it back and made it usable again but, geez!!

* About two weeks into the life we couldn’t shake the feeling that it was nearly time to get back “home” and “back to work”. You know what I mean? The two week vacation time was nearly up but alas, we were home and there was no job or place to go back to...we'd really done it!

And as it does, life zoomed by and poof, nine years have passed. We’ve been a zillion places (but there are a zillion more to visit), made many great friends along the way – some younger than us – most older – all amazing, pursued our passions, are thrilled and delighted to still be living and loving this life, and are honored that you’ve allowed us – in the form of this blog and the RV Cooking Show – to be part of your RVing life. Thank you.

Some RV lessons learned, plenty more ahead, I’m sure; we’ll continue our life in the box on wheels and look for you out on the RV road!

Feel free to share your RV lessons learned around this virtual campfire - comment below.

Happy camping,


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PS - Read my missive from 8 years as a full-time RV er

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