Wednesday, July 16, 2014

2014 Family Fun Trip Part 1 - Livin' La RVida Loca

Traveling is one of my favorite things to do. If you’ve known me for more than ten minutes, then that’s probably already apparent. I don't tend to stay in one place too long.

I’ve been blessed to travel all over the world: Australia, Bahamas, Canada, China, Curacao, England, France, Germany Israel, Jamaica, Mexico, and Scotland.  And I’ve been to roughly two-thirds of our great fifty states, including Alaska, Hawaii and all of the West Coast (it’s that blasted Northeast that’s killing my percentages).

About a month ago, since we were already had plans for the six of us (Captain Awesome, Me and Tax Breaks 1-4) to attend a family/friend reunion of sorts in New Mexico, we decided to make a two week family adventure out of it. My parents joined us for some of the merriment. We went to a total of six states.

And part of that time would be in an RV.

Before we go any further, you should probably know that this is kind of what my entire family had in our minds when we were thinking RV. The movie RV with Robin Williams:

Yeah, some of that wasn't  too far off.

I got a SUPER deal by watching this site daily (like, stalking it, really):  We were able to get a one-way RV that was coming out of Phoenix and returning to Las Vegas seven days later for $15 a night, plus gas. That was an INCREDIBLE deal. It fit almost perfectly into our itinerary.  Here's what the RV looked like from the online brochure:
So nice and cozy...
But this was more the reality of it:

(I had the camera out just in case this turned into an RV-movie moment)

The RV ended up being everyone's favorite part of the trip. We were all on top of each other, yeah, but it was an ADVENTURE. And since we traveled nearly 1800 miles in seven days, I'm glad we had it. (My 14-yo Tax Break has commented multiple times since we've been home that she "misses the RV". Does my heart good).

We didn't try to cook any dinners in our RV, but we did use it for breakfast and lunch. And snacks. With four kids, you have a lot of snacks. But $50 at Walmart bought much more than stopping at gas stations.

Things we did right with the RV:
  • Did a mega trip to Walmart the day we got the RV. Stocked it with breakfast and lunch stuff,  fruits and veggies, and sodas & snacks. Also bought a small pot (for boiling water for coffee and soup). 
  • Used almost all paper products so we wouldn't have dishes to wash
  • Figured out you can take a piece of duct tape (that my 10 year old had brought for some reason) and put it on the bottom of a plastic cup. Instant cup holder. Which you need, because everything slides around everywhere.
  • Used individual blankets and sheets that could then be folded up and put out of the way during the day (no need to worry about dirty feet climbing all over sleeping spaces during the long days)
  • Brought a power strip. There were an excessive amount of things needing to be charged.
  • Didn't use the shower in the RV. The RV parks we stayed at had bigger showers, so we just made that a rule. Plus my parents stayed in a hotel room, so Tax Break #1 was able to shower there every night, reducing trauma

Things I wish I knew:
  • There is no need to buy paper products as if it's the end of the world. Your family of six is not going to go through 200 plates and four rolls of toilet paper in one week. 
  • But your family will, in fact, go through one pack of double-stuffed Oreos A DAY. Plan accordingly.
  • Everything will fall out of the refrigerator every time you open it. Don't yell at the kids when that happens because IT WILL happen to you the very next time.
  • Bring a (or two if you have them) car adapter that gives you an actual plug. We had a car adapter that would allow to charge our phones, but nothing that would allow the kids to plug in their portable DVD player. That meant we had to run the generator (which cost $3/hour) if we wanted to use the regular plugs while driving.
But overall, we had very few complaints. It was a trip of a lifetime and we loved it. The RV was a big part of that.

Next time: Family Fun Trip Part 2 - The Itinerary Nazi

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