For most of us, RVing is recreation. Yes, there are over a million full-timers that call their RV home, but for the majority of owners RVing is a hobby. Most recreational vehicle enthusiasts start their vacation and trip planning in late winter and start executing those plans in early spring. They enjoy their RV through the temperate months and shut it down for the winter.
While most news pundits were arguing daily about Election 2020, Pandemic 2020 snuck up on us all. Suddenly, RVing was simply not important…until it was. After weeks of quarantining, social distancing, and working from home we found ourselves with mixed emotions.
On one hand, we felt grave concern for those affected by COVID-19. On the other, we longed to scratch that itch of being on the open road in our RVs, planning campfires and anticipating the rush of seeing epic national monuments and parks. In the midst of it all, we found a lot of time for reflection.
A good friend often said, “You always make time for what matters.” Initially, we all did that. We gathered the family together and hunkered down. We prayed for those that weren’t with us, and for those on the medical front lines. We stocked up what we could, and conserved the rest. The first few days for many of us were a surreal vacation, not really expecting it to last and enjoying the break at home.
As days slipped into weeks and the gravity of the situation took hold, we realized that we should try and keep our minds and bodies as busy as possible to ward off both weight gain and worry. Many RVers turned to RV maintenance and renovation. Some of us turned to writing and reflection. During these times I thought a lot about RVing and what it really means to me.
1. Having an RV is a luxury
One of the criteria I had before purchasing an RV was that we must keep it at home. We had a 60-foot concrete slab poured and a 50-amp service put in to hold our big diesel pusher. Seeing it every day in my driveway not being used was a reminder that having this motorhome is really a luxury. We didn’t need this RV, we wanted it. We could have rented more frequently, or chose an alternate style of vacationing, but we simply wanted to do things this way, with an RV.
Surprisingly, getting rid of this luxury during difficult times was only a brief thought. Rather, the benefits of having a self-contained bug-out vehicle just in case things went really sideways was appealing. We’ve kept the fuel tank full, kept it insured, and had everything ready to go shortly after the beginning of this coronavirus crisis.
2. It’s more than just a hobby for many
During the COVID-19 crisis, RVers across the U.S. and Canada were monitoring vital websites like Campground Reviews, Recreation.gov, and their own state park sites to learn the status of campground closures. Why? Why get so worked up about finding a place to “vacation” during these difficult times? Because RVing is more than just a hobby for many. It’s a lifestyle, an escape, a way of life.
What could make more sense than getting away in a self-contained quarantine station on wheels to a more remote location? Self-isolating is exactly what many RVers do, and long to do every year. RVing Facebook groups were awash with comments from thousands of RVers biding their time and scheming to make that next RV trip as soon as possible.
3. RVing is freedom
There is a certain freedom, a release from the norm, that RVing provides. For me it’s hitting the road in our big rig, sitting eye-level with 18-wheelers and enjoying the open road. For others, it’s that relaxing time in the evening in front of the fire pit outside or the fireplace inside, momentarily away from the cares of this world.
RV freedom is waking up and stumbling outside to stoke a breakfast fire or take the dog for a walk without the slightest concern about what you are wearing or what you look like. It’s a feeling of brotherhood, whether you are towing a pop-up camper or driving a Prevost. RVers all seek the same thing, freedom.
4. RVing defines America
Though popular all around the world, usually called caravaning elsewhere, RVing is inherently American. RVing embodies that age-old American spirit to explore, often in a westerly direction. We expect the freedoms we enjoy at home to go with us as we hit the road and choose where, when, and how we wish to go. We relish the choice, our choice, to camp in the woods, on the beach, or in a $100 per night luxury RV resort.
As Americans, we bond with strangers as we share our national treasures. Standing next to others on the rim of the Grand Canyon, we beam proudly as visitors from around the world stand in awe of our great natural resources. We stare up at the faces on Mount Rushmore and look at our past presidents.
5. RVing is the future of vacationing
As has been pointed out frequently lately, the future of the American vacation, at least for a while, will be RVing. As cruise lines continue to struggle and other countries mind their borders carefully, sheer good sense will dictate that perhaps the safest way to vacation for the time being will be to buy or rent an RV and see what this country has to offer.
Hotels, cruise ships, and airports will not be the best place to congregate initially. As restrictions start to loosen, state and national parks will open back up. Private campgrounds that have closed due to COVID-19 will open back up as well. RVing was strong before the coronavirus pandemic, it has the potential to really boom after it.
A glimmer of hope
As a return to normalcy begins to emerge, RVers are checking tire pressures and de-winterizing in hopes that summer and fall will soothe the RVing itch that has gone unscratched thus far.