By Greg Illes
A friend of mine has a luxurious 38-foot class A motorhome, and it sits, parked, at the back of his property. When I asked him why he had fallen out of the RV life, he responded, “Well, ya’ know. One campground looks pretty much like any other.”
Although I tend to agree with him about the sameness of RV park campgrounds, I believe he lost track of the essence of RVing — the campground is just a place to stay while you experience the area. The area might offer lots of geology, wildlife, special events or features, or a combination. To wander from place to place and see only the parking spot that you occupy is a shame, but it’s fixable.
Try offbeat campsites
You don’t always have to stay at a full-hookup RV park. Even the most lowly economy coach can last a day or two on its battery charge. Try a “walk on the wild side” and camp in the forest, the desert — somewhere that you aren’t surrounded by other RVs. It might seem lonely or even scary at first, but it’s pretty safe and can be very rewarding.
Use ground transportation
There’s no dotted line around your campsite saying “Stay!” But — RVs aren’t very nimble, and once parked, most folks don’t want to use them to wander around and explore. Because of this, many people opt for towed vehicles (the “toad”) — but if you choose not to tow, you can still deploy a piggyback motorcycle or even a pair of bicycles to extend your roaming range beyond mere shoe leather. You’ll be amazed at how much there is to do or see within a few miles of your camp (well within range of even a casual cyclist).
Make where you are special
Everywhere we go, my wife and I have a regular ritual to “walk the camp.” This happens pretty regularly, morning and evening, whether we are alone in the desert or stacked side-to-side with 100 other RVs. We roam along, checking out wildlife, flora, or RV rigs and equipment, as the case may be. Striking up a conversation along the way is part of the adventure and the fun.
Research, research, research
There is little excuse for getting back home and discovering what you missed at such-and-such place. Use the Internet before you go, and make a “hit list.” Talk to locals when you shop or get gas, and talk to people at places you do visit — you’ll be surprised to find out about other places you didn’t know about.