RVing the USA

RV Lifestyle

My first RV was a 29′ Class C. Not wanting the expense involved with parking at different campsites overnight as I traveled with my family, we parked in Flying J or Walmart parking lots. Driving was easy enough, but it was just so darn hard to park.

Then I discovered how convenient it was to own a 19′ van style Class B, Roadtrek RV. I loved it. Such freedom. I could park it in any regular car parking space.

Buying older RVs, I was always afraid of the engine failing on me. So I sold them after a couple of years. Then I’d get the itch again and have to find a way to earn enough money to buy another RV.

I was always pretty good at starting up a business at the drop of a hat. So this time, I ran an ad in GroupOn and started teaching piano lessons. The money I earned from teaching piano, along with saving my social security checks added up. Within a year, I had accumulated enough money to start looking at some newer RVs that were for sale.

When my kids found out what I was up to though, they convinced me to get out there and try my hand at traveling the world. And so I did. However, I wanted to do it in such a way as to not deplete all the money I had saved for an RV when I returned. And I found a way.  I spent four very strategic months enjoying traveling to eight different countries by staying with host families.  

Upon my return in October of 2018, I spend that winter saving my social security checks once again to recoup the money I had spent overseas. By March of 2019 I had enough to purchase a beautiful 22 foot 2004 R-Vision Travel Lite 235s RV.

I considered purchasing another Class B van style RV or converting a van I could live in while on the road, but at the time I felt I wanted something a little bigger that could accommodate me taking family and friends along with me on some short vacations.

The accommodations for most of the overseas traveling I did was provided for me through the work exchange communities I belonged to.  How could something like that work for me now while traveling in an RV since I didn’t need to stay in someone else’s home?  

Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

Low and behold I came across a membership site called HarvestHosts.com and another one called boondockerswelcome.com. Through these community websites I found listings of property owners who had enough room to accommodate RV travelers. I was able to park my RV usually for a night or two with people willing to share their driveway, farmland, winery parking lots and even at golf courses. 

Aside from these great membership resources, I discovered websites and apps such as freecamping.net, OvernightRVparking, RV Parky, Campendium, FreeRoam.  

Travel Centers, such as Flying J, Pilot and Loves can always be found along most interstate highways. But not many Walmarts allow overnight parking anymore.  I think it has more to do with city ordinances than store policy. Stores like Cabela’s still usually allow overnight RV parking, some Lowe’s, Home Depot’s, Cracker Barrel and Costco’s too, but it’s always best to go in and ask their manager first as some city ordinances will not allow overnight parking.  

Most recently I have discovered FREE BLM land (Bureau of Land Management) where you can set up camp for up to 14 days at a time. There is also LTVA (Long Term Visitor Area) for a very nominal fee.  For me, unless there are other RVers nearby, I wouldn’t feel comfortable or safe boondocking on a piece of land in the wilderness by myself.  I’d rather stay at a first come, first serve campground in a National or State forest that offers free dry camping campsites surrounded by other campers. Joining traveling caravans are becoming a great option for me too. 

Being a senior, I purchased a National parks lifetime pass where I receive free park entry plus half off of camping fees at all National parks campgrounds, which are reasonable to begin with.  I haven’t yet done so but I believe the Passport America membership card gives you half off many RV parks.

I’m not opposed to staying at a campground. I just can’t do so every night because even $10 or $20 a night all adds up. Speaking of campgrounds, the option of becoming a camp host is appealing. Sometimes I think it would be nice to settle down for more than one or two nights in one location. It would certainly help stretch the amount of money I pay for fuel.