I’ve been bitten by the RV bug. Did it happen to you once too?

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By Keith Ward
I’ve been bitten by the RV bug. And, like so many of you, it happened for one reason:

I’m starting to lose my mind.

It happens as we age. When I became eligible for the “Senior Discount” at iHop on my last birthday, I realized that I could only continue to refer to myself as “middle-aged” if I was going to live to be 110.

And as our synapses dry up and our neurons stop firing — or whatever synapses and neurons used to do that they don’t do nearly as much anymore — strange thoughts start to occur to us. Thoughts like:

  • What do I need retirement savings for? Instead, I’ll buy a moving house!
  • Age is only a number; you know, like 277,000, which is the number of dollars I’m about to fork over for that Class A diesel pusher.
  • The kids are all grown and living on their own now, so I won’t feel as guilty about packing up and leaving for three months.
  • I need the adventure of the great outdoors! Which is why I’m buying an RV with a full bath, granite countertops, two air conditioners, and 184 electrical and USB outlets.

Once these ideas begin infecting your brain, they’re as hard to shut off as the black water hose the first time you dump your tank. And many of those ideas have about the same value as what you’re dumping.

Doesn’t matter, though: Once you’ve got the fever, the only prescription is not More Cowbell! but More Tow Vehicle! I swear to you that eight weeks ago, I couldn’t have told you the difference between half-ton, three-quarter ton, and one-ton pickup trucks if you’d paid me $20 million for the correct answer.

I’m no psychiatrist, but I have a pretty decent working definition of the word “obsession,” because it’s what’s happened to me this year. I’ve spent an uncountable number of hours on RV forums, watching YouTube videos, and scouring places like Facebook in my quest to learn more about this strange world. It’s a world in which people use phrases like “shore power” and “30-amp pedestal,” and an untraceable leak is akin to Armageddon. Where refrigerators can be powered three different ways and backing into a campsite with a fifth wheel is an art form.

And following all this education, what I’ve learned is that I’m still a baby when it comes to knowing about this lifestyle. The more I know, the more I realize I’m Sergeant Schultz: I know nothing! I’m almost afraid, for instance, to dive more fully into RV electricity — I’m the guy, after all, who once unthinkingly plugged a pair of tweezers into an extension cord. Imagine me trying to troubleshoot a tripped circuit breaker. The mind reels.

But discovery is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Learning things you didn’t know before is great fun, and none of us knows even a fraction of what’s out there. Getting in an RV and driving is like the last installation of “Calvin and Hobbes,” the greatest comic strip of all time. It has snowed the night before, and Calvin takes his sled to the top of a hill.

They’re excited by the possibilities ahead. “It’s a magical world, Hobbes, ol’ buddy,” Calvin says. “Let’s go exploring!”

Here’s to the obsessed, slightly screwy 6-year-old in all of us that wants to hurtle down the hill. We only use a different form of transportation.

Keith is a journalist with more than 30 years of writing and editing experience. He was bitten by the RV bug in 2020, and takes delivery of his very own rig in May 2021. In addition to non-fiction, he also writes fiction, including fantasy, thriller, and drama. Find his books here.

##RVT965

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Paul S Goldberg
1 month ago

In 1976 we rented a friends “huge” motorcoach (28′ 10,000 gvwr, no slides) for a family trip that went around the Great Lakes. The bug bit hard, but lay dormant until 1999 when we rented a C in Vancouver for a week. By day 2 we had a list of likes and dislikes on the dash. We spent the next year deciding 5th wheel v Cl A. At some point we saw a local RV show advertised and went to “look” We came away with a bread box on wheels no levelers, no slides, but a great WorkHorse chassis. After 2 years we went shopping for “something better” and got our 2004 Southwind which took us over 100,000 miles and 8 years, including Alaska and all of the other continental states. We had tent camped as so many have before we bought our first motorhome. When we bought our DP in 2012 we declared ourselves to be full time and sold the house. We still do not have a house and call the coach, a 36′ Phaeton, home.

livingboondockingmexico
1 month ago

When I learned about boondocking, I was bitten. That was in 1997 when I rented a Rialta for a week in California staying in the mountains and at the beach. Two years later we had our first rv, a 2000 Trailmanor. We’ve been everywhere and love being out in the open. I could live full time easily.

Deborah Mason
1 month ago

I was bitten at 21 when my dad bought a 19 foot Open Road. We used it a lot that spring & summer, then a bit less, but still used it until he sold it when he moved to his semi retirement home. My brother, youngest of the 3 of us, slept in the convertible cupboard over dinette (it folded out, had a ladder). My sister & I shared the dinette bed (and teased my poor brother through the cupboard doors) and my dad had the gaucho in the back to himself. We learned the hard way that the water tank held more than the holding tank (only one, all-purpose). Great times. It wasn’t until I was in my 30s my husband & I got a truck camper from his sister. Lost the big emergency exit vent lid over the bed on the first day. Found one in tiny town in Oregon that same afternoon!. Since then we’ve had a tent trailer, a “learner” Class A (what wasn’t wrong with this one?) a better used one and now our first ever bought-new 2011 Coachmen Mirada. Give up RVing? I don’t think so.

Drew
1 month ago

Getting an rv was my wife’s idea. Initially I wanted nothing to do with driving a decorated bread truck around. My opinion changed quickly after I discovered what was inside. It was a quick process finding the exact one. We took our first trip to Lake Havasu within about 2 months…with our boat behind us. The bug bit me quickly.

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
1 month ago
Reply to  Drew

“Decorated bread truck.” 😆 —Diane at RVtravel.com

Ray Zimmermann
1 month ago

Great article. Hope to see more from you in RVTravel.

Glenn
1 month ago

Brought a tear to my eye, that last Calvin and Hobbes. Sure do miss them! Good luck in your adventures.

Diane Mc
1 month ago
Reply to  Glenn

A Calvin & Hobbes cartoon is posted every day on Twitter. The handle is @Calvinn_Hobbes. Yes, Twitter can be a cesspool, but you only have to follow what you want to follow.

Bob
1 month ago

I never, ever thought I would own an RV. I worked too much and it didn’t make sense to buy an RV and only use it two or three weeks per year. That is until I changed jobs and my new employer asked if I thought I could work from home. It still didn’t occur to me that I could travel and work. But that first summer my daughter took a summer job in Yellowstone, and I said I wish I could go with you. Then the light went on! Soon after that we bought a motorhome and have never looked back.