Clicky

Maintaining a Small RV for Retirement Travel

New Reader? Get free regular updates from Can I Retire Yet? on saving, investing, retiring, and retirement income. New articles weekly. Join more than 18,000 subscribers. Unsubscribe at any time:

Ten years and almost 90,000 miles. It’s been a decade now since we bought our trusty Pleasure-Way Excel TS Class B RV. Though the original purchase was a leap of faith, it’s turned out to be one of the best we ever made.

Pleasure-Way Onion ValleyOur “van,” as we call it, has transitioned with us from our empty nest phase of downsizing into our early 60’s. On dozens of great trips and literally hundreds of nights, it has proven a versatile and trustworthy home. We’ve done adventures near and far, short and long, including every activity imaginable from visiting family and friends to sightseeing to beach lounging to mountain camping and everything in between.

The posts I’ve written here about small RVs have been some of the most popular on the site. I’ve covered how to choose a small RV, how to live efficiently in one, and how to travel in one.

A while back a reader requested more information on how to maintain this significant investment. (New Class B RVs now generally cost over six digits, though we got ours used for about half that during the Great Recession.) In this post, I’ll share everything I know on that topic, and finish with some numbers for how much our van has cost us over the years….

One of the joys of owning an RV is that it is truly a second home, on wheels. You can drive it anywhere and have all the basic necessities of a modern house. On the other hand, it also has a home’s plumbing, electrical, heating, and cooling systems. It has an exterior subject to the elements, and an interior subject to wear and tear. So if you want to keep your RV fully operational and comfortable, you’ll need to invest some time in maintaining it. 

Engine/Chassis

Our made-in-Canada 2006 Pleasure-Way is built on a Ford E-350 chassis. The Ford E-350 and E-450 were the dominant platforms for small RVs in the 2000’s. Nowadays they’re being overtaken by the more modern and fuel efficient Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. Though aging now, other than gas mileage (around 13 miles/gallon), our rig has been a pleasure to own. The E-350 is adequately powered (I’ve climbed many a steep grade at full speed) and with over 100,000 miles on it now, has been almost entirely trouble free.

The one exception was on a spring day a year or two after buying our van. I turned the ignition and got no reaction. The starter had died. Fortunately I was in a safe parking lot with no pressing appointments. The tow truck driver arrived within half an hour. He offered me a reasonably-priced repair at his own shop. So about $500 and two days later I was back on the road.

I follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule religiously. But it mostly consists of regular oil changes, which I generally have done with synthetic oil at Jiffy Lube. I’ve been through a couple of brake jobs, and one set of new ball joints, but that’s to be expected with such a heavy vehicle. A huge advantage of a small RV like ours is that it can be serviced in the same facility as cars and light trucks — you don’t need to visit a special big rig mechanic.

Oddly, the only significant scheduled service I can recall was replacing the spark plugs. For whatever reason, these are hard to get to in the E-350 configuration. The folks at Quick Lane, who had proved trustworthy for other repairs, required about $500 and half a day to get it done. But the engine has purred ever since.

Tires

Tires are absolutely critical on any heavy vehicle, even more so on our single-axle Pleasure-Way. A tire failure could be catastrophic, so I keep a close eye on condition and inflation. The placard calls for 80 psi in our rear tires, a relatively high pressure. Some home inflation equipment and even the occasional gas station compressor are unable to reach that pressure, so I occasionally have to hunt around.

The original off-brand tires on our used vehicle didn’t last more than a season or two before one began to delaminate and vibrate. I replaced them all around with top-of-the-line load rated Michelins. Brace yourself for a tire replacement like this. You’re talking over $1K when all is done. That second set of tires lasted us several years into our relocation in the southwest, but eventually the sidewalls began to crack in the New Mexico sun, long before there was significant tread wear.

After footing my second $1K bill for an identical set of tires, I also bought a cheap set of vinyl tire covers. I now take 10 minutes to put these on whenever the rig will be stored for more than a few weeks. The longevity improvement is striking: The sidewalls continue to look almost new after five seasons.

I keep the original off-brand spare well inflated in its spot behind the rear axle. And I pray I never have to use it. Honestly, I doubt I’d be up to the task of replacing a spare in the field myself (removing 8 massive lug bolts and safely jacking our 5-ton rig beside the road). Which is one reason, I pay an extra $34 each year for Progressive’s Roadside Assistance feature.

Exterior

If you like your vehicles show-ready, you’d have to invest quite a bit of elbow grease to keep a 13-year old RV looking sleek and shiny.

Ours has taken a few hits during its life on the road: the decals are starting to fray, the fiberglass has dulled, and I recently had to touch up a spot of rust.

I’ve also had to refresh some spots of caulk around vents and brackets to maintain waterproofness, but there have been no major leaks.

I try to wash and wax annually, though even that commitment has slipped in recent years. Honestly, I don’t mind driving a rig that doesn’t turn eyes as the latest and greatest model. I figure we’re less of a target that way.

The exterior still looks decent from a moderate distance, and is structurally sound.

Interior

For the most part, the interior of our rig has remained remarkably pristine. Though, we tend be low impact on our living spaces. We recently had to replace the throw rug on our central floor, but otherwise we’re still on the original furnishings.

We usually vacuum and/or wipe down most of the interior surfaces a few times during the camping season. I have yet to shampoo the rugs or upholstery, though that time may be coming.

The interior has required some spot repairs in recent years.

First, there was a crack in the ABS bathroom floor, a potentially serious problem, given that the floor doubles as the shower pan and must hold water. I carefully drilled small holes at both ends of the crack to relieve tension and prevent it from spreading. Then I applied liquid plastic from a repair kit I purchased online. This required using a respirator and was a multi-day effort, laying down a half-dozen coats to generate strength to support body weight. But the process was simple enough, and the result has blended in and proven durable over several years now.

We’ve also had some minor issues with the interior fabric deteriorating around a couple of door areas where the hot desert sun streams in for months at a time and isn’t blocked by the curtains. In one instance I cut and screwed in place a heavy vinyl patch material over the crumbling fabric, for a color-coordinated repair that looks almost factory done.

In another area, much trickier because of the small sections and varied angles covered by the now-decaying fabric, I used a different technique. I bought a tube of 100% silicone caulk in almond color. I then thinned it with mineral spirits and painted it over the fabric with a brush. The result, after several coats, is a sort of rubberized finish, that creates a tough, wearproof surface that blends almost perfectly. Hopefully it will give us a few more years of wear, or longer.

RV Systems

Like a stationary home, an RV has a full suite of systems for providing power, heating/cooling, and water. And, as in a home, each of these systems requires maintenance from time to time.

The foundation of electrical power in an RV is a “house” battery (or batteries), separate from the engine starter battery. House batteries should be “deep cycle” or marine type batteries, designed for long periods of discharging. Even given that design, it’s not uncommon for house batteries to wear out. I’ve been through a half-dozen in our RV’ing years. One of the best things you can do to avoid damaging a house battery is simply to disconnect it when not in use so that low-level “phantom charges” from all your other electrical components don’t fully drain it. Most RVs, including ours, have a disconnect switch or key to make this easy.

Another important component of an RV’s electrical system is the generator, which produces power for recharging the house battery or running high-wattage appliances when you’re off the grid. The most significant required maintenance for a generator is an oil change, which I do only every few years, since we use our generator lightly. (Yes, it would probably be good to do this more often, but I don’t, and our generator continues to run well.)

The important propane appliances in an RV are typically the stove, furnace, refrigerator, and hot water heater. Other than a fridge igniter going bad at one point, these appliances have been trouble-free for us. Propane gas is potentially dangerous, and I have little experience working with such systems. So, every few years, I take our rig to Camping World to have those appliances checked and the burners cleaned, and to leak-check the entire propane system.

In theory, depending on your climate, an RV’s air conditioner is a hard-working component that could require regular maintenance. In practice, we optimize our RV travels to stay out of hot climates in the summer season, so we almost never turn on the air conditioner. Other than checking for obvious dirt or debris on the exterior inlets and interior filters, we perform no regular maintenance.

The most important aspect of maintaining an RV’s water system is winterizing, which I’ll cover separately below. If you drink directly from your water system, it’s probably a good idea to sanitize it with a bleach solution annually. In our case, we’ve evolved a system where we carry filtered water in 1 gallon jugs for drinking, and only use our RV water for cleaning and flushing. This extends our range, reduces our maintenance tasks, and ensures we’re always drinking high quality water.

Some RV owners are zealous about flushing the interior of their black water tank with fresh water every time they dump. This can reduce issues with odors and blockages, but is messy and time consuming. Our small system doesn’t seem prone to such problems, so I perform that task only rarely, when there is an issue.

Checklists

Next I’ll offer some of my most important checklists for operating an RV. I’ve generalized these and weeded out personal details specific to our van. So they should give you a good starting point. But you’ll need to flesh out the details for your own lifestyle and rig.

Pre-Trip Checklist

  • inspect underbody
  • fill water tank/potable water jugs
  • plug in fridge to pre-cool/add ice if necessary
  • test CO, LP, smoke detectors
  • check engine fluid levels
  • tires/spare: inspect, check pressure
  • check air spring pressure [if inflatable suspension]
  • check hitch
  • check brake lights
  • stock pantry/fridge

Winterizing/Long-term Storage Checklist

Winterizing your rig, if you store it in an environment with extended freezing temperatures, is one of the most important maintenance tasks. That’s because if your water system freezes, you could be looking at ruptured tubing, pipes, and pumps, and extremely expensive repairs.

A common discussion on RV forums is “How cold does it have to get before you need to winterize?” In my experience with our rig, nights in the 20’s, as long as daytime temperatures rise well above freezing, are not a problem. However, we did have a pump freeze once when the outside temperature dipped into the teens. I always try to winterize before the nights get that low, or there is extended winter weather with daytime temperatures that don’t get out of the 30’s.

There are different philosophies for properly mothballing an engine. Some people run in a fuel stabilizer, disconnect the battery, and let it sit. Because I like knowing that our RV is always at the ready for a quick trip or emergency, my philosophy is to run the engine and generator for about 20 minutes at regular intervals throughout the off season. I’ve found that every 3 weeks seems to be a good interval for me and the E-350. I’ve been following that drill for many years, and it has kept our rig healthy and ready to roll, year round.

Here is my winter checklist:

  • dump black/gray holding tanks
  • fill gasoline [prevents condensation]
  • fully charge house battery
  • drain fresh water tank
  • water heater
    • set valves to bypass [see instructions for your rig]
    • remove and inspect anode
    • flush tank [use tank rinser with drinking water hose]
    • replace anode using fresh Teflon tape
  • antifreeze
    • disconnect water pump inlet, connect siphon, insert in RV antifreeze jug
    • turn on pump
    • run antifreeze into all faucets (hot+cold), drains, toilet, shower wands, and p-traps
  • AC: clean around exterior, check/clean filters
  • wash/wax
  • cover [optional: breathable material not poly tarp is best)
  • pull battery kill switch
  • wash all linens

Note: your RV is still usable with a winterized plumbing system. You won’t have running water, so cooking and cleaning will need to be simplified. But you can flush the toilet manually by pouring in antifreeze. I’ve taken several short winter trips in this mode, and it’s workable.

Spring/De-winterizing Checklist

  • remove cover if any
  • replace wiper blades
  • inspect underbody
  • check generator oil level
  • inspect exterior/roof
  • inspect engine compartment
  • check all fluid levels
  • restore battery kill switch
  • test CO, LP, smoke detectors
  • inspect fire extinguisher
  • test DC appliances
  • water system
    • check/clean water pump strainer
    • connect external water source to city water inlet
    • flush antifreeze out of all lines
    • return water heater by-pass valves to normal position
    • refill hot water lines/water heater tank [by running hot water tap]
    • fill fresh water tank [sanitize fresh water system if plan to drink]
    • test water pump, check for leaks
  • LP system
    • turn on main valve [slowly to avoid hammer]
    • check LP level
    • leak check exposed parts [valve/pressure regulator] with soap solution
    • test LP appliances
  • AC system
    • plug in shore power
    • test AC appliances
  • Also do the Pre-Trip Checklist above…

Costs and Final Thoughts

According to Quicken, we’ve spent about $17K on the chassis and RV portions of our rig since we bought it a little over 10 years ago. Some of those expenses were for “improvements,” so let’s call it about $15K for routine maintenance, or about $1,500/year. That sounds about right for keeping a fully-equipped RV running and on the road in good condition.

According to NADA Guides, our 2006 Pleasure-Way is still worth about two-thirds of the $48K we paid for it more than 10 years and almost 90,000 miles ago. (Small RVs are increasingly popular, and tend to hold their value well.) Doing a simple, straight-line depreciation without any other factors, that’s about another $1,500 annually.

So, bottom line, our RV has cost us maybe $3K annually to own and keep running. (Not considering any fancy opportunity cost calculation.) That’s perhaps the cost of a single week of fly-and-rent vacation for an average couple. But, most years, we take several vacations in our RV. And many have been the years when I’ve spent a month or two in our rig.

Viewed like this, the maintenance effort and costs for a small RV are not trivial. It’s good to understand that an RV is a fully functional home with all the assorted systems and potential headaches.

I’m no fan of typical home maintenance chores, which is one major reason that we rent instead of own. But I’ve found our RV to be well worth it.

Maintaining an RV is a considerably smaller undertaking than caring for the average home. And RVs are mobile. Over more than a decade that we’ve owned ours, I’ve found the maintenance trade-off well worth the benefits of RV travel — the dozens of trips and hundreds of days we’ve spent freely exploring all corners of the continent.

* * *

[The founder of CanIRetireYet.com, Darrow Kirkpatrick relied on a modest lifestyle, high savings rate, and simple passive index investing to retire at age 50 from a career as a civil and software engineer. He has been quoted or published in The Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch, Kiplinger, The Huffington Post, Consumer Reports, and Money Magazine among others. His books include Retiring Sooner: How to Accelerate Your Financial Independence and Can I Retire Yet? How to Make the Biggest Financial Decision of the Rest of Your Life.]

* * *

Disclosure: Some links on this site, like the Amazon links, may be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. If you click on one of these links and buy from the affiliated company, then we receive some small compensation. The modest income helps to keep this blog going. Affiliate links do not increase your cost, and we only use them for products or services that we're familiar with and that we feel may deliver value to you. By contrast, we have limited control over most of the display ads on this site. Though we do attempt to block objectionable content. Buyer beware.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the info and assessment. You stated you are now in your 60’s. Considering that, would you purchase another when the time comes and you need to replace it?

  2. Joe Anthony says

    I’d replace the original off brand spare. I had a 10 year old spare that had never been used, and when I put it on my car after a flat, the tire tread just broke off within 5 miles. Most tire manufacturers don’t recommend keeping tires more than 6-10 years (depending on the manufacturer) even if there is plenty of tread left.

    • Good tip, thanks Joe!

      • I’m glad Joe pointed this out. I was an RVer for about 16 years (full-timer for around 7). Along the way I took a couple tire-safety seminars. One thing the experts always mentioned was how tires deteriorate on the inside long before they look bad on the outside. I made it a point to change mine every 5 years, no matter how great they looked. Oh, and don’t re-use the valve stems, either. They can fail and cause a flat, too.

    • Jon Jackson says

      Please let me ditto this as well. At 10 years old that spare tire needs to be replaced, no matter how “new” it may look. Especially true on a heavy vehicle such as this.

  3. Darrow,
    You have a knack with your writing to summarize the core points of a topic very well. Thanks for the information.

    Any idea what it would cost annually to store a rig of your size for those of us with HOA parking restrictions for RVs, etc?.
    Sorry if I missed that information in the text.

    The best RV related advice I am aware of is for anyone considering the lifestyle to rent a rig first to test the waters. There are reasons that there are so many used RVs for sale.

    • Thanks Bill. In fact we have to keep ours at a storage facility for exactly that reason. It started out a little under $100 monthly and is now a little over. We could save quite a bit of that, likely, by storing it farther out of town if we wanted. Agree on renting, and buying used — to take advantage of that situation!

  4. Raymond Murray says

    Great article on a great RV. We own a 2006 PW Excel TS and we converted it to a TD with twin reclining beds. The sofa was very uncomfortable. It was like sleeping on a park bench with a wide gap down the middle of the bed. We made a center drawer console in between the beds. We made four-inch foam cushions for the beds. We removed the TV antenna and opted for the flat window panel antenna. Upgraded the entertainment cabinet added a backup camera and a rearview camera. Like you, our rig has performed very well. One major caveat: when stopping for the night, with headlights still on, there is no warning since no one has exited the vehicle to sound the headlight warning alarm, resulting in a completely dead battery.

  5. Michael Swillo says

    I enjoy your articles and used them when researching a small RV purchase two years ago. I do a detailed break even analysis each year (the wife laughs at it) and we have found for us it’s wonderful. We bought a new RV after trying to find a used One, but at the time there were none on the market. We looked at Pleasure Way, Leisure Travel Van, Winnebago amount others. We settled on a Leisure Travel Van, that has worked fantastically for our needs these past two years (147 nights and 20,000 miles so far) and have found you get what you pay for when it comes to RV’s. Maintenance is key and I’m not very handy, but there is lots of help available on the internet that has allowed me to keep costs down by doing it myself. I have to thank you since your articles peeked our interest, we did our research, and we are pleased with our decision. Thanks

  6. Brad David says

    Darrow,
    First let me say that I do really enjoy your articles and appreciate your insights on the lifestyle choices you have made. More power to you and your wife, as I am sure she is a big part of the process.
    However, I think it is a bit disingenuous to say that you have only spent about $17,000 on this choice over the last 10 years and then compare that to an alternative vacationing method. Maybe you are qualifying this indirectly by saying the $17,000 is for “the chassis and RV portion of our rig”. Does that mean you are not including those costs from the steering wheel forward? To make the kind of comparison you are making, I think you must include all the costs associated with your choice.
    You must include gas, which probably alone ran you about $14,000 over 10 years. And propane? Is your $100 per month storage costs in your total? And what about fees paid for campground sites, and hook ups, if you use those. I think to be fair you DO have to look at a simple calculation of lost opportunity costs on $48,000, which if you could have invested and returned just 6% would have gained you about $30,000 pre-tax; no small amount. For $48,000, my wife and I could spend 240 nights in $200 a night hotel rooms on the road. That’s 34 one-week vacation trips, or 3-4 vacations per year over your 10-year examination period.
    Certainly, your choice, but a more comprehensive detailed analysis of the costs would be appreciated. The numbers I push around in examining this question do not argue for a van, even though it sounds like an attractive way to vacation in retirement.

    • Thanks Brad. Critique accepted. I did write an article for MONEY years ago that tried to compare actual vacation costs for flying, driving, and RVing. As I recall, there weren’t huge differences. But then I realized later that there were holes even in that (much more extensive) analysis. Maybe I shouldn’t have put any numbers in this article, since it wasn’t primarily about costs. But those were the numbers I could easily collect, and I thought they might be interesting. (BTW those were total costs, including all engine maintenance.) A lot depends on the type of trips you take: how much driving over how many nights. And you really need to compare everything including meal costs, relative gas mileage, salvage costs, car rental, airfare, etc, etc. I think I need to let the topic rest. Bottom line, there isn’t a strong argument that small RVs are necessarily any cheaper. It’s a lifestyle thing.

  7. Darrow, it’s been several years since I’ve visited your website and am glad to see that you’re still hard at it, excellent and informative writing.

    In early 2017 I looked at RVs as a way for me to leave California and determine a new place to relocate. I seriously considered one like yours but since I felt that it might be my residence for a year or two I opted for a smaller Class C, a slightly used Winnebago Minnie Winnie. Lots more storage and amenities.

    I drove north eventually up the AlCan to Alaska which was quite an experience. But I also experienced the enormous hassle of trying to get service. Early in my trip my oven stopped working and I never got it repaired until I was finally preparing to sell it. I’m a relatively experienced and self-contained person, and couldn’t figure it out. I also found one repair shop who, after my begging, looked at it and couldn’t find the problem. It turned out to be a stripped temperature knob on the front panel. $5, I think, for the repair.

    I also found how hard it is to use such a vehicle to explore towns and cities. I well recall trying to drive around Seattle, up and down hills, in the midst of their downtown traffic. Lots of horns and no places to park.

    Last, although I bought it used with 20K miles on it — so, nicely discounted — the value dropped a lot with only another 15K miles on it. Even in pristine condition I lost about 25%. I must admit that I sold it through a dealer and, in the summer of 2017, I was afraid that the economy was headed south and then such vehicles would be very hard to sell.

    Anyway, the thought of a class B is interesting. I think it’s terrific that you and your wife are enjoying it so much. I’ve recently been thinking about buying a pop-up trailer/tent that I could just tow around behind my hybrid Rav4. More like car-camping but also then I only have to own one motor vehicle!

    • Hi Emma, thanks for the interesting notes. I agree that RV-specific repairs can be a challenge to get done economically. I had to pay a few hundred $ at one point to get a hard-to-access water hose replaced. (Left that out of my article because it was an outlier.)

      Also, I can vouch for the ease of driving a Class B. It’s just a large van. I’ve been through many large cities with it. You can park it in many (not all) conventional parking spaces. Not as easy as a car, but workable.

      The little trailers are great too for the scenario where you already own a good tow vehicle and want to drop the trailer at campgrounds and explore surrounding areas for some days.

  8. Nice post with good info especially since it’s proven by personal experience. Yes, the RV will open much variety for retirees. It’s not for everyone, surprisingly since the U.S. is uniquely so endowed to support the activity. Our friends were really excited on the camping idea, but before spending big money on class C they rented one for long weekend. We took our travel trailer and joined them as they wanted an experienced camper to learn from. They rethought the idea based on poor gas mileage, cost, and work required. They will take the winter off and tour the SW staying in hotels, with friends, and family. They are the type that think the best time would be at casino with entertainment and excitement. Sitting at campfire, cleaning, cooking, maintenance, and hiking not their cup of tea.

    Both of us love to camp, so it was an easy choice. Before kids we bought a tent camper as I was working in Virginia for a year stint. We left every weekend to camp. With kids we still loved the camper as big improvement over tent camping given the trailer was packed and ready to go. Just 3-4x per year but very enjoyable. We did take a long vacation in Colorado and northern Wisconsin. We enjoyed that Coleman camper for 30 years. Had a great bed to sleep in to. We only cooked and ate outside as do tent campers. Only went in good weather and cool conditions. Currently, we moved up to 25″ TT that meets our needs. More comfort and easier to stay longer. We travel typically 250 miles when towing. Nice to disconnect and utilize truck for errands, gas up, touring. The truck is quite and comfortable with basically a storage shed in the truck bed. The Ford 2.6L F150 runs 11-12 mpg when towing and 24 mpg otherwise. We do carry a inflatable boat and troll motor for fishing and two electric bikes. Works for us. We put more miles on without towing. Also, the 25ft class of trailers I’ve been told is the most versatile given campsite selection.

  9. Darrow, I truly appreciate the way you tackle a topic. The digging that you do and the details you provide paint a very clear picture of whatever you’ve chosen to highlight for your readers. This post, and the comments it engendered, brought a variety of random thoughts to mind. You had to know that I wouldn’t be able to resist throwing my two cents in. My apologies for the lengthy comment that follows.

    Camping is definitely a lifestyle choice. It can be done very inexpensively – or not. And the reasons people camp are as varied as the types of tents and recreational vehicles they employ in their adventures. A traditional cost-benefit analysis will never work when applied to camping. While the expenses, maintenance and occasional difficulties are real, the benefits are most often intangible and non-financial. Our first travel trailer cost $14,000 and then, of course, there was the cost of gas as we traveled over 40,000 miles around the country with it. Kayaking on Long Pond in Acadia National Park, looking down over the city of St. Louis from the top of the Gateway Arch, waking up within a stone’s throw of the Grand Canyon and introducing our kids to the magic of our country’s magnificent public lands – we simply can’t put a price tag on those experiences.

    I just ran some numbers for two of our trips. (1) An 8 day road trip by car in 2019 from our home in the northeast to Virginia Beach for Alan and I to celebrate our anniversary: Total cost (gas, hotel, groceries for the kitchenette, entertainment, restaurants): $1,833.00. That’s $229.00 per day for 2 people or about $115.00 per day per person. (2) A 40 day cross country camping trip in 2017 from our home in the northeast to the National Parks along the west coast with one of our two adult children. Total cost (gas, camping fees, groceries, entertainment, restaurants and one night in a hotel in Las Vegas): $7,480.00. That’s $187.00 per day for 3 people or about $62.00 per day per person. The RV trip was half the price. Of course, that doesn’t take into account the cost of the RV or any of the maintenance and insurance costs. It also doesn’t take into account the photo of our daughter at Tunnel View in Yosemite National Park, the look on her face when we were horseback riding on the beach at the Oregon coast or the fact that, at age 20, she is already an enthusiastic steward of our public lands. I wouldn’t trade any of these for the interest we might have earned on the $14,000 we spent for that first travel trailer.

    Alan and I are on our second travel trailer now. This one cost about 2.5 times the first one, but where else can you find a retirement home for less than $40,000 on which you pay no school or property taxes. One that allows you to enjoy your morning coffee in your recliner while watching barges travel the Illinois River, roll out of bed and into your kayak to see the sun rising over a lake and its surrounding mountains, wake amid colorful red rock formations in the southwest AND follow the brilliant fall foliage peaking for weeks as you travel from state to state to state without having to unpack a single suitcase? A lifestyle choice, indeed.

    • Thanks for the heartfelt reply Mary, and the numbers, and the images. You really nailed it here. I’ve taken so many fly/rent a car/stay in hotel trips that were just blah. Lots of money flowing out, staying in other people’s beds, living on other people’s schedules. There is something magical about RV camping and travel done right. The benefits, as you say, are often intangible: Total freedom, an integrated experience in your own home on the road, living closer to nature. Like you, we’ve had countless great trips and so many priceless memories.

Speak Your Mind

*