Friday, July 20, 2012

The 4 of us for 8 days in a 20-year-old RV: My Life, In Lists

We spent 8 days traveling from nearly one tip of Florida to the other. Just the four of us. In one charming and slightly battered mobile home. Here are some of my lessons learned...

1. Going on vacation in an RV with two small children is not really a vacation at all. A vacation, in my mind, entails cocktails and reading by the pool and relaxing. This was more of an adventure. A really fun but really, really exhausting adventure.

2. Any time I open my mouth while anywhere north of the Disney World area will result in people commenting on my "accent" and asking me where I am from.

3. Revealing you are from Miami to anyone who lives north of the Disney World area in Florida will result in one of two very specific responses...either they shudder (in fear? anxiety? traffic phobias?) or they gasp in awe: "Why are you here, then?"

4. A squeaky dinette table hinge that was barely noticeable when you first purchased the used RV of your dreams will become Chinese water torture after a few hours (let alone 8 days).

5. Oil does not work on squeaky dinette table hinges.

6. Neither do paper towels or rubber tape stuffed into said hinges.

7.  When one goes swimming in South Florida, you tend to see cocktails by the pool area. In a swimming hole in the middle of nowhere, you see cans of dip.

8. A whining 3-year-old is not as annoying as a defiant 6-year-old.

9. A normal size bikini in Miami will be the smallest one on the campground beaches.

10. I am still waaaaay more afraid of lizards than of enclosed spaces: I was just fine checking out the stalagmites in the dark tight quarters of the Florida Caverns State Park (even when they mentioned bats), but the minute I heard "black salamanders that live down here" I nearly had a full-blown panic attack.

11. When traveling for more than 5 days in an RV, you  must pack a mani/pedi kit--even if you're "just camping."

12. Jack Johnson is the perfect soundtrack for a summer Florida road/camping trip.

13. Eating burgers and hot dogs around a campfire at the end of the day is awesome.

14. So is walking a mile down the beach to have shrimp and scallops at the nearest restaurant.

15. Watching your kids climb their first tree (in flip-flops, no less!) is exhilarating in the good way and the bad way.

16. I am still a little afraid of the dark, dark woods.

17. When your sweet, animal-loving 3-year-old asks to see "the dolphin with no tail" over and over again, you are willing to wake up at 2:00 a.m. to drive through the night in order to make it on time to the marine aquarium. (Thanks, Hubby.)

17. "Young" couples can only afford the banged-up mobile homes.

18. I sleep better in our RV than in a fancy hotel room.

19. Even children who love the outdoors and have been looking forward to a camping trip for months are seduced by the lure of the portable DVD player.

20. Even parents who don't really like the idea of a portable DVD player being packed for a camping trip are seduced by the lure of the possibility of "grown-up time" thanks to said DVD player.

21. Laundry is, apparently, quite exciting while on vacation.

22. Much like hotels, there are campgrounds, and then there are Campgrounds:

Adequate but small, dusty, and swarms of mosquitoes

Way bigger and only gnats, but still dusty

Just as big, no dust, no bugs and practically beachside

23. At some campgrounds, a 20-year-old RV will be the envy of all the tent campers. At some campgrounds, a 20-year-old RV will blend in just fine. At other campgrounds, you will hope that every one else is too busy watching their flat screen TVs or adjusting their satellite dishes to notice your 20-year-old RV chugging into its reserved spot.

24. Mold is not always green. Sometimes, it's white, and it can proliferate in a matter of hours given the right conditions.

25. The right conditions, apparently, exist in my RV kitchen cabinet.

26. White mold reeks.

27. I am way tougher than I thought I was, since I was the one who took care of reeking, white, proliferating mold without hesitation and with only minor (mostly) verbal complaints.

28. There is nothing like seeing your kid's dimply face light up when he catches his first wave on a boogie board.

29. My sense of adventure can override my sense of least when it comes to jumping into a 68 degree spring where I could see a foreboding-looking cave and slimy-looking grass from the diving board.
That's me and Ben holding hands...he had no issues jumping in (over and over again).

30. When you are the proud owner of a 20-year-old RV, expect things to go wrong. 
A $700-pit-stop for an ailing generator

31. I really love the outdoors.

 32. I really, really love the beach.

3 bike racers + 1 beach babe = 4 very happy people!


  1. Looks like y'all had a lot of fun!

  2. This post had me smiling from ear to ear. Your family did something the kids will never forget. Well, hopefully they won't remember the mold part, but everything else.

  3. I was wondering how it went. Angie and I FINALLY were able to rent a beach house in New Symrna (?) Beach for a whopping week with hubbies and 5 children in tow. There is nothing better than having a beer (or two) at lunch and sitting and talking while enjoying adult beverages way into the wee hours of the night. Pictures are fabulous! SO happy you had a great time!

  4. Looks like an amazing time! Your family is so beautiful :)

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  6. great pics hun! xoxo, Kat*

  7. Great post Liz - you made me smile all the way through (as always) and yes, what a great adventure too....the kind of holiday that your children will never forget. And your RV looks super-cool to me, my children would LOVE it!!

    Thank you so much for your comment on my book post....I am determined to read "Life of Pi"...finally! A good friend of mine from NYC recommended "Rules of Civility" so I ordered it and it just arrived today, I'll let you know what I think of it :)

    Take care XX

  8. It’s amazing that your RV is already 20 years old, but the exterior is still looking good. It must be well taken care of, that’s why it lasted very long. I’m pretty sure its engine still runs smoothly. Anyway, I can clearly tell in those photos that all had a great and fun 8 days of travel. The kids look very happy.


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