On New Year’s Day, we took our behemoth on its first camping adventure: three nights at the coast. It had been pipe-freezing cold in Eugene for days, and we drove past spectacular frozen falls in the mountains on the way over, but the coast was a welcome 10+ degrees warmer than inland areas.
We stayed at Honeyman State Park, a large bustling place in the summer, next to dunes and a small lake, with a short drive to the beach. At the end loop, next to the dunes, there was a small city of ATV’ers in closely parked RVs that dwarfed our little Sunstar. But the rest of the park was all ours, and we were able to back into a large private spot with little trouble.
A close friend and her large dog joined us, putting our coach (and friendship) to the test. But with all three slides out, the inside was quite comfortable, even with the five of us, and we all learned new foxtrot maneuvers around resting dog bodies.
It is really quite an amazing experience, being in a luxurious new RV in a campground forest. This is not camping. I don’t even know if it counts as “glamping” (glamor camping). It’s like being in a house transported. We had full hookups, so all the electricity and water we could use, sewer, hot water, central heat, microwave.
The first two nights, it was so cold, we only went outside to let the dogs out. Instead we reveled at this new RV life. We cranked up the furnace to 70, lounged in our bathrobes and slippers, and watched a DVD on the ridiculously large TV with surround sound. We cooked elaborate meals, and ate ice cream for dessert. All the while laughing at our fancy selves.
During the days, we piled into our friend’s Prius to go whale watching (no luck) and let the dogs romp on the beach. By the last day, it had warmed to the upper 50s, and Saturday night, we built a campfire, made s’mores, and watched the full moon climb through the trees. And, because it was there and there were no other campers around, we just had to try out our outdoor TV: a feature I had scoffed at in the showroom. But I have to say, it was kind of wild fun, sitting there under the full moon, gazing over the campfire and watching beautiful “Planet Earth” cinematography. Even if I kept burning my marshmallows.
For so many years, I looked down on people like me. I scowled at RVs that drove by our campsite, willing them to take their monster wheels to another loop. I loudly complained about the sound and air pollution created by generators. I shook my head at people who would come to a campground, then watch tv. What is the point of that? Why don’t they just stay home?
I’ve been an avid camper all my adult life. Kate and I took the kids on backpacking adventures from the time they could carry a pack. Moving from a tent to a teardrop was a leap for us (for which our backs were very grateful). So I’m really having to shift my self perception as I move into the role of an RV owner. There’s no subtlety to this rig. No way to dodge the fact that we are now members of the Big Ass RV Club.
It’s an adjustment I’ll make readily, though. Because as much as I’ll miss swinging open the teardrop door and breathing in the view from bed, I will not miss stumbling outside in the middle of the night to squat under the stars. The luxury of our very own bathroom is worth a little crow pie. And all the amenities of our RV will make living on the road for a whole year (without getting a divorce) attainable.
So bring on the ice cream. Heat me up a neck warmer in the microwave. Run me a hot shower. And set the table for two. Big Ass and proud, this is the life for me.