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Armchair Travel: Tiptoeing into the RV world

Tent camping? No thanks. No apologies.

Camping was never my thing. The campers of old with canvas siding that would drip rain when a sibling poked it were what I grew up with. And what can I say, tenting never appealed to me. I like to be comfortable when I sleep. I worry about being food for wild animals.  A person who prefers cabins or hotels. Call me what you will, my skin is thick at my age.

But then Covid came along and changed the world’s vacation plans. Safety concerns and social distancing made RV’s more appealing. That, coupled with our new baby, a Golden Retriever named Betty White, made us decide to try it out. Call it holidaying to make the dog happy. Walks, swims, and campfires. What more could a dog want? Besides, according to the Canadian Recreational Vehicle Association website, RV sales climbed steadily during Covid. If RVing wasn’t for us, we could resell it.

My husband Larry searched Kijjii, and found a used RV in excellent condition. But now we had to figure out how to use this ‘new to us’ RV. And when I say we, I mean my husband. Am I really that wife that will let the man, the manly man, do all that work? Well. Yes, I am. I’ve seen the women who are right in there hooking things up and turning things on. I silently salute them, but I am not them. Don’t worry, I have other positive traits that make up for this. Besides, an RV gave my husband an excellent excuse to trade in his car for a great big truck. Everyone wins.

Fortunately, Larry is extremely competent with vehicles of all kinds, and when he wants to learn something, he goes straight to YouTube channels and educates himself. Check out great videos for RV Newbies, all free to browse.

Our first RV camping experience would be at a local campground, close to stores in case we needed things we didn’t know we needed. Like the adaptor for different amp powers a nice campground manager told us to get. And an airtight seal for grey and black sewer lines. Important, along with lots of disposable gloves.

We parked out trailer at the Okotoks Lion’s Campground for a full week. This was in June; in the middle of this summer's heatwave. Remember the 38-degree temperatures that lingered for days? We were in our RV. With air conditioning. Winning.

The campground was well equipped with electrical hookups, water and sewer at each campsite. We also had use of the Sheep River along with walking paths for Betty. Every night we enjoyed campfires and slept well in our comfortable RV Queen sized bed. Not so bad, this glamping.

Our next trip took us to beautiful white beaches near Winnipeg to visit family. Seriously, have you ever been to Grand Beach or any of the other white sand beaches in that area? It’s like being in Hawaii. Only it’s Canada. If you don’t have an RV, rent a cabin. Manitoba is an incredible place to be in the summer, and the mosquitoes are not as bad as people tell you.

Something we discovered on this long trip to Winnipeg was how much gas money RV owners will spend. We filled up five times one way, from Calgary to Winnipeg.

Other things we needed were black and grey water hoses, and a food safe hose for drinking water. We needed wheel chalks and leveling blocks, wrenches, screwdrivers, a tire pressure gauge, surge protectors and locks. We also got a hitch equalizer that evenly distributes weight so the truck and trailer aren’t swerving all the road.

We spent our first season with our RV learning how it works, and how much work it is. Loading, unloading, storing, hitching. Larry is exhausted. And of course, now he gets to winterize it. That’s a whole other article so I’ll be in the house writing, but just know I will offer Larry my moral support.