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Memories of RV Travel

It's Not for Every Married Couple!

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Photo: Sean Gallup / Getty Images

RV camping in Berlin, Germany in 2006.

Photo: Sean Gallup / Getty Images
**Disclaimer: These are Sheri's memories. Bob's are more positive because he has blocked all the bad stuff from his mind.

We have a 22-foot recreational vehicle sitting in our back yard. We've covered it with a huge blue tarp and have not even opened the door to the monster for several years. Actually, the only reason we drove it the last time was to move it to our new home. I wanted to abandon it, but Bob insisted on keeping the beast. It didn't move from our former back yard for five years. This dream of inexpensive, family friendly, relaxing vacations has turned into an expensive storage shed.

Why don't we use it? The answer is simple. It was a total pain to deal with and not healthy for our marriage.

Fun, Then Disaster

We had fun in the beginning. I was able to go shopping for the new dishes, pots, pans, utensils, towels, washcloths, matching sheets and blankets. I even found the perfect bud vase to set by the sink so I could have a pretty flower as we traveled down the highway. The cute little bathroom and tub were so appealing! Bob spent a lot of time looking through guidebooks and maps planning our first vacation in the RV. Life couldn't be better.

Our first trip in it was a disaster. We did learn a lot though. We found out what happens when someone forgot to lock the refrigerator while the rig was moving. I remember the horror of discovering the mess scattered on the floor. Hangers that can't fall off the closet rod are a good investment too. This is especially true when the closet door pops open and the clothes fall out on top of the food from the opened refrigerator.

Although it has been 19 years since the refrigerator episode, we still haven't agreed on who was to blame.

Haunting Memories

Memories from our trips still haunt me. There was the exciting trip through Grand Canyon with Bob suddenly pulling off the side of the road with a nervous look on his face. I learned that he had forgot to lock down the hitch on the car we were towing.

We left our mark in North Dakota at a gas station by somehow taking out a section of lights. I also remember watching Bob being dragged down a hill by our car after he unhitched it because he had forgot to set the brake. I'll never forget watching Bob at 3 am in the morning, dressed only in his boxer shorts, trying to climb into the RV through the window because I had locked the keys in the RV. It's too complicated a story to explain why he was just in his boxer shorts and we were both outside.

Challenges of RV Travel

Aren't vacations supposed to be an escape from the chores of every day life? That's not the case when you are in a RV. Although Bob grumbled a lot about it, the sheets and blankets soon gave way to sleeping bags.

I quickly replaced the color-coordinated dishes with paper plates because washing dishes brought out a very hostile side of my personality. After a few nights of trying to cook a well-balanced meal while everyone else in the family was out having fun, I decided I didn't like the kitchen at all.

There's also the issue of private space. I love Bob dearly. Just not all the time. When you are in a RV, there is no privacy. There is no place to get away from one another. Retreating to the bathroom was not a good idea. It was too cramped to even try and change clothes in and the bathtub was too small. I found myself thinking up ways to disable the RV so we could rent a hotel room for a night.

Because we didn't have enough storage space, we purchased one of those RV storage units that fit on the back or on the top. Ours was on the top. I don't think we ever opened it once we got it up there. Even my bud vase made life difficult because some of the flowers I brought in had lots of little bugs on them that made life itchy.

We did have some fun and lots of family closeness on the trips. I have fond memories of the night the frogs that the kids had secretly collected during the day escaped and decided our bed was a new lily pad. The twinkling lights from the many lightning bugs that spilled out of a box I accidentally sat on were quite pretty, too. How can I ever forget the sound of our big dog noisily licking his rear end at 2 in the morning?

Bob still insists that we can have an enjoyable time using the RV for travel. I don't think so. I prefer staying in a nice hotel with a swimming pool, hot tub, and room service. Our RV beast needs repairing before it can make another trip. It's one chore I won't remind Bob to get done.

Communication is Key

Bottom line, if you are planning a trip in a RV, work on your communication skills and don't allow yourselves to become slaves to cooking and cleaning.

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