Back to civilization – lessons learned from our first RV trip

That’s a wrap for Family Camp 2017! We’re finally back to civilization (including cell service and wifi, which we’ve lacked the past several days – is that really a bad thing???).

For the first time ever we actually took our crew “camping” and hit the road in a rented RV.

It was pretty obvious we aren’t the “serious camper” type of people.

Y’all.

RV campers are SERIOUS people. These campsites and setups amazed me!!!!

I should have taken photos, but we were mostly disconnected from technology and I loved it. Oh well, use your imagination.

They had as much outside their RVs and campers as they did inside. Lights, flat screen TVs, play areas for their pets, chairs, tables, tents, coolers, golf carts, bikes, scooters, floats, plus anything else you can think of.

We had…well, a picnic table (because it came with the campsite) and the chairs and pretty Christmas lights to hang outside that came with our rented RV.

HA!

I call it the “simple life.”

I did manage to cook dinner TWICE over the campfire. Miracles do happen.

The first night we had bacon and cheese sandwiches on hamburger buns. This is because we planned to eat at the KOA campground grill and they closed early because of power problems. That left us with whatever I could find at the camp store. We actually loved it!!

We loved it so much that we decided to forego the restaurant on night 2 and try a campfire dinner again. This time elbow macaroni noodles and pasta sauce.

By the way, I could never get that pot of water to boil for the noodles, so I just let them sit in the hot water til they got soft. It worked.

Also I have no idea if we were supposed to use those pots over a campfire, but they came with the RV and we thought, “why not??”

Every time someone walked by I just wondered if they were making fun of me and my campfire dinner. I fully expected to get non solicited advice, but they just kept walking. Thank goodness.

We stayed at Palmetto Cove in upstate SC for our first night. The cost for a full hookup is only $25 and I’d highly recommend this campground if you’re looking for something natural and quiet.

There is no pool, the dining hall doesn’t have actual food for sale, but they do have a river coming through the property with a “beach area”.

We actually would have stayed at this campground longer if they had offered food for purchase – even a camp store or the like. But, they didn’t and we weren’t prepared to cook full meals with what we brought so we decided to pack up and move on to the NC mountains.

We ended up at Cherokee KOA.

With over 400 campsites, this place was PACKED. They advertise wifi, but don’t let that fool you. You’ll hardly have cell service, much less wifi.

Honestly, I thought they would offer lots of activities and programs for kids on the 4th of July and that is one of the main reasons I picked this campground for the rest of our stay.

The only things on the calendar all day were four square and a craft.

So, we found the river and played.

Welllll, we did jump out REALLY QUICKLY after Brian spotted a snake swimming along with us in the creek. Nice. Nice. Nice.

I promise she had fun, hahah! And that was before the snake. She actually said she loves snakes.

We brought our own Cracker Barrel checkers game and our RV had one too, so Brock had his own to destroy while the girls played their game.

At this point I’m wondering if I should tell you we only gave our kids 1 bath over the past 3 days.

Pretend you didn’t hear that if you’re offended.

At one point I told them to go all the way under in the mountain creek to their shoulders so they wouldn’t stink. True story.

We ended up having a great experience and by the 3rd day I finally felt like we knew what we were doing and adjusting to RV camping life.

I’ll leave you with these recommendations if you decide to try out camping RV style for yourself.

#1 – FOOD

Pack all of your food and take with you – meals included. Do not bank on having a restaurant or camp store available. We ended up LOVING cooking over a campfire. We will do more of this in the future – even at home for fun.

#2 – WATCH OUT FOR GPS if you’re driving a big RV for the first time

Our GPS constantly wanted to take us down these crazy mountain roads instead of the main interstates. They should invent an RV setting on Google maps! I realized this is 100% TRUE –

Watch out for RVs, y’all! People would pull out in front of us and do crazy things and that was the scariest part because you can’t just slam on brakes in these things!! We looked for big parking lots anytime we stopped and I constantly helped Brian by getting out and spotting him in tight spots.

We had to look for alternate routes and make sure we took the biggest roads and highways, they were much easier to drive.

#3 – Don’t automatically think your kids will travel better inside an RV

One of the reasons I looked for a drive-able motorhome instead of a pull behind trailer was because I thought our kids would magically be PERFECT children riding in an RV.

No.

Just no.

Kayla and Kylie argued just as much sitting at that little table as they do in our car. And Brock throws toys and food further inside the RV. The seatbelt laws still apply and so everyone had to stay buckled while we were driving. This was hard. If we had to do it again, I’d rent a pull behind trailer instead of a motorhome. We also would have liked the ability to disconnect our car and leave the campgrounds. Having the motorhome, we could not leave without packing everything up, securing it inside the RV and disconnecting all the hookups. This is a LOT OF WORK if you’re not use to traveling in an RV. Believe me, this was my number one recommendation – go pull behind trailer if you have a choice.

#4 – camping is not cheap

I could have gotten hotel deals much cheaper than this family RV vacation. By the time you add an RV rental (we actually got a GREAT deal on a Class A motorhome for $195 per night in peak season), then the insurance coverage, the gas (it was $100 for our 4 day trip), and the campground fees (cheapest is about $25 and some go over $100 per night) – it all seriously adds up. You can save money by doing a pull behind travel trailer and finding cheaper campgrounds like Palmetto Cove. Plan ahead and you’ll save money. Also, pack all your own food to save money as well.

#5 – disconnect from technology

We rented an older RV that had older technology. The television had a feature that wouldn’t allow it to work while the RV was moving. That meant our kids couldn’t watch movies going down the road. Oh well! Welcome to my childhood!!!

I didn’t pack their tablets or mp3 players and we didn’t have our phones – remember, no service? The only thing we did was watch The Polar Express and Cars on our RV television each night before bed.

Take it from me – don’t plan to get any work accomplished, shut down the laptop and enjoy your family. We sure did.

We made s’mores over the campfire. We floated on mountain creeks in tubes. We cooked food over a real fire. We enjoyed doing a new family adventure. We didn’t miss technology ONE BIT!

We’ll always remember Family Camp 2017 and all the memories we made. Here’s to spending time adventuring together – give it a try!

 

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6 comments

  1. My husband and I have always talked about traveling with our kids in an RV. You have great tips and I’ll seriously consider a camper instead!!

    You should try omelettes in a bag on your next trip. Add eggs to a freezer zip top bag (must be freezer so it won’t melt). Add in cheese, ham, peppers, etc. Seal the bag and mash it up. Drop it in boiling water until cooked.

    Also, you can take refrigerated crescent rolls and roll them individually in cinnamon/sugar mix. Wrap them around a tree branch that’s been cleaned and toast them over the fire. They get perfectly puffy and yummy! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • These food sound so yummy! We may try these in our backyard soon! Thank you – and yes – try it out and definitely think about a pull behind camper!!!

      Like

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