Sunday, October 2, 2022


Scary! Our first step into an RV as newbies

By Barry Zander
Another day driving home in Southern California traffic. In a Prius. In the carpool lane. In the heat. Ready to take a nap on the sofa. Just another … but wait, that’s not how the day ended.

I dragged myself into our suburban home, where I was greeted by my wife, Monique. “Sit down. We have to talk,” she said. The message was clear. She wanted to sell our comfortable home a mile from the Pacific Ocean, along the fairway of a golf course, where we were often dodging little white balls at 160 mph. She asked: “What do you think about selling the house, buying an RV and traveling full-time?”

My questioning response was, “Can we afford to do that?”

It was a big risk, but we were willing. Eight months to get the house ready to sell and settle our obligations – like work, family and community affairs. We spent countless hours researching types of RVs, trucks, places to park and organizations that could help us learn.

When a sales agreement was reached with buyers, we got serious about dispersing everything that wouldn’t fit in our new, wheeled home. We were at a disadvantage because we had never been in an RV. We had been tent-campers all our lives, so we at least knew the value of living small.

Our research led us to buy a cute little travel trailer (which we replaced a year later) and a powerful GMC truck, but only after paring down the list of choices from about 100 alternatives. We parked that frail little trailer on a slant in front of the house. I climbed in with the same dread that I suspect a bungee jumper feels when he or she is about to cast himself/herself off an 800-foot-high bridge.

I’LL SAVE DETAILS for a future episode of how I managed to scrap the bumper of a new Dodge Ram that first day, an early lesson in RV basics … I’m sure many of you will recognize some of the stressful experiences we have to share.

Monique and I have matured quite a bit since those early days in 2006. We’ve traveled to 49 states, 7 Canadian provinces and Mexico, where we have enjoyed experiences and endured adventures … tales that you’ll hear a lot about in upcoming postings, along with lessons we’ve learned. And we’ve been to 51 of the 61 U.S. National Parks, plus some in Canada, never regretting having left the routine of suburban life.

We’ve written RV magazines and websites, and given presentations at rallies and shows, where we’ve answered almost every question from experience, because WE’VE BEEN THERE. I am the writer; Monique is the cruel editor, who has been known to drop perfectly good articles in the trashcan.

We are proud to contribute to With its depth, the loyalty of readers, and reputation for wanting to aid RVers rather than to market products and services, it’s a perfect fit for us. We hope as you read our articles you won’t ever be bored either. We can’t wait to hear your responses and to answer your questions or to pass them along to other readers, who HAVE BEEN THERE.

We look forward to many happy days ahead joining you on blacktops or on virtual trips.



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2 years ago

Wow, what fantastic adventures you two must have had. I for one can’t wait to hear more from you guys. (Dude, please don’t take this wrong but Monique is a beauty!)

2 years ago

Your story is just like ours. I came home from work one day in 2005 & asked my wife if she would like to retire a little early & travel fulltime the rest of our lives. Her answer was a big smile on her face. We spent the next 5 years researching & planning our finances, spending a year finding the right rv, & selling everything we owned that wasn’t going with us. We’ve been on the road for over 10 years & can’t imagine any other life style now. Been to every state at least once, Alaska twice, &, like you, many of the National Parks. I don’t want to sound selfish, but I hope the rest of America doesn’t find this secret to a happy life, because if they do, there won’t be any camping spots left.

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