Tales From a Camping Quitter

It was just a regular Wednesday night, and there we were eating dinner when my husband looks up and says, “Let’s take the kids and go on an RV this summer.” Naturally, my first reaction is to burst out laughing.  I mean you have to understand my husband is in no way Davy Crockett.   I love this man deeply, but he is a tech guy who has a deep affection for his laptop and internet. He has never been camping a day in his life, we don’t own a BBQ nor does he have or know how to use any pertinent camping equipment.  

As for me, I am a bonafide city girl.  I understand the appeal of roughing it… for other people. However I could have told you before this trip with absolute certainty that I am not one of those people.  Perhaps it is my affinity for central air conditioning, non-communal hot showers, working WIFI, television, and of course a closing a door.  Call me crazy, I like a little luxury on my vacation.

Then, there are our children, Blake, 4, Dylan, 3, and Tristan 1 ½ . Only one is fully potty trained. I do more laundry in a week than a professional wash and fold does in a month.

Anyway to put the entire conversation in a nutshell, on June 27 my husband pulled up to our building in a 30 ft RV, and the trip began.  

 

Here are 9 things I learned about myself, our family and ‘Merica on our trip

  1. Cruise America: when rookie or non-professional people want to rent an RV and cruise around America, this is where they go. The most common question we get is, where did you get the RV? Well we picked up our RV, Bertha, as I so affectionately named her, at Miami’s finest Cruise America pick up point and we were off!
  2. There is such thing as RV envy.  I mean our RV was nice, Big Ups to Cruise America! But after having been now to more camping grounds than I thought I would ever see, I can tell you people have AMAZING RVs. These bad boys had rooms and beds for everyone, flat screen TVs, and all state of the art. I found myself looking at these RVs longingly (what was wrong with me).
  3. The elusive water heater. The first day we learned the hard way that once you hook into the “shore line” you should just turn your water heater on (if you plan to shower). My husband took the kids to the pool while I was preparing dinner. He came back and we were getting ready to bathe them (which is almost always like an episode of WWE) and we find the water is freezing. So to avoid this:

Make sure you turn that heater on. It takes about an hour to get going.

  1. The internet is not found everywhere. There may be the appearance of internet everywhere, however it’s like a dangling carrot when you are sitting on an RV in the middle of a campground. We burned through more than 10 gigs of data aboard Bertha. I got enough WIFI on one night to watch Netflix. Anyone who knows me, knows that getting through two weeks without any TV would be nearly impossible. Hi, my name is Cristina, and I’m a TV-aholic.
  2. I hate potty training. Potty training is only that much harder on a moving vehicle, and actually brings you to your knees begging your toddler for mercy. We had to make a pit stop for some groceries, particulary we had to find a coffee maker, coffee, and of course food. We stopped at a Winn Dixie, and my husband and I got all the essentials. At checkout, my semi-potty trained 3 year old looks at me in a panic and shouts “POO POO”, as she clenches her adorably plump butt. It’s one of those parenting moments where you don’t even have time to worry about the embarrassment, you just go into action. I put her over my shoulder and sprinted to the back of the Winn Dixie with a 3 year old chanting poo poo. We made it. As I strutted through the store, singing “poo poo in the potty” in my mind, I realized we still had ten more days before we returned to a reliable toilet.
  1. You can argue about poop. There is nothing fun about connecting a sewer pipe that transports the entire family’s “poo” and even less fun draining and disconnecting it. My husband tried to put a ban on pooping on the RV. This lasted an entire day. Again, call me crazy but I like a little privacy when I go. Our fight had us saying things like “you need to go poop in the community bathroom”, “No babe, please I need to have a little privacy when I go.” Married 7 years and proud to say that before this trip we never really discussed this. For those wondering, he stuck to his rule and never once dropped a deuce on Bertha.                                
  2. Camping is a way of life. We met quite a few great people on our journey, and through each conversation or simply just observing them it was clear this wasn’t their first rodeo.  One man even semi-mocked us by saying “Oh that’s your rental over there.” Yup sure is! We were shamed for having a rental! We walked with our heads held a little lower that day.
  3. I love my family.  Not that I didn’t know this before the trip.  However spending 24 hours a day with these 4 other people in a tiny 150 sq ft RV could drive anyone crazy.  Somehow we are closer than ever.  Were there times where we wanted to jump out of the RV while it was moving, yes.  We spent so much time in all these different places, together.  Definitely makes it one of the best trips of my entire life.
  4. I also really love hotels. 10 days in and life on Bertha was grinding on us. It was a very rainy day, the campground was covered in mud, and laundry was piling up. It was this glorious day that my husband looked at me and said “do you want to skip our next 2 campgrounds and go to a hotel tomorrow?” In that moment, I remembered why I loved him so deeply.  For he was not a camper either! The next day I used every ounce of data I could find to find a hotel.  We were no longer going to Berman, GA to stay in a campground we were going to Atlanta to stay at a hotel in. I have never been so happy to see a hotel in my entire life.  We opened the door to our room, and it hit me I was not the only one happy about being in a hotel:

 

 

My husband brought up Starbucks (naturally) and we went to dinner.  That night we relished in being camping quitters.

After all the “poo” I talked, I would do it again. Maybe not next summer… While camping is not my favorite thing in the world (had I mentioned that yet?) in a couple of years when the kids are a little bigger, I think an RV trip could definitely be our thing. However there’s no way it’s going longer than 6 days, got that husband? We all get a little uncomfortable go see amazing new places and just be together. Not bad. Actually sounds pretty dreamy. Until we meet again, Bertha.

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July 24, 2015 by Cristina Bustamante
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