Where has the time gone? Is it Groundhog’s Day already? This past Christmas (2014), I took my family on an RV trip for the first time ever. Despite having four boys and a fairly outdoors-oriented husband, we are not much of a camping family. And let’s face it, staying in an RV is just camping on wheels. I used to actually like camping and worked really hard to convince the hub to go along with it. He called it “pretending to be homeless” and saw zero appeal. Somewhere in our 19 years of marriage, he came around (sort of), just as I was giving it up. Being perpetually sleep deprived is not conducive to sleeping on a hard ground. In a tent. With a toddler (or two) and a snoring man. But, I am cheap. (I mean, frugal.)
When I was thinking about what to give my boys for Christmas, knowing they really don’t need anything and we are limited on space, I immediately thought of a trip. The prospect of travel is always appealing to me, but paying for six plane tickets is not. So, after some research, I decided it was high time we tried out an RV.
It turned out to be not so bad. In fact, the traveling part was quite nice! We were able to pop popcorn in the microwave, get cold drinks out of the refrigerator, take naps, and use the toilet…all without stopping. It got to smell a little bit funky, but there was a TV with satellite channels, a card table, a bigger table for games of Scrabble, and plenty of space to stretch out and read. Lots of distractions! Of course, my intention was to split the driving as equally as possible, but I somehow managed to scrape a shrub, get stuck in a parking lot, nearly side swipe a guard rail, and generally make my husband nervous every time I drove. So instead, I did a lot of reading and game playing with the boys.
We made our way from Maryland to Florida within a two-day time frame. Santa delivered tickets to Universal Studios, where we spent two and a half days exploring Harry Potter’s world, riding roller coasters, and eating crappy, expensive food. It was wonderful! Then we went to Gatorland (the best, weirdest amusement/animal park EVER), and into St. Augustine. During this time, we spent the nights in our rented RV at a few different RV parks. I had looked into KOAs ahead of time and reserved spaces at a couple in Florida. They were all clean–impressively so–and family friendly. We found some great nearby restaurants, which saved me from having to buy groceries and cook on the RV stove (my Christmas gift).
As far as camping goes, this was definitely the way to do it. We’ve stayed in tents, camping cabins, and deluxe cabins. But for the distance we traveled, camping in the RV was a fun and fairly stress-free experience. Can you really ever call family vacations stress-free? I think we did okay. It felt really good to come home and take a private shower, get some time away from the constant spell casting, courtesy of Olivander’s wands, and to sleep in my own bed. But, we made some really good memories for a bunch of die-hard Harry Potter fans, and satisfied my itch to go RVing. Being in 75 degree weather didn’t hurt, either.