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In The News

RV is affordable travel mode

Category: RV
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Publish Date: Sunday, November 2, 2008
Summary: Truly, it was a pleasurable excursion to drive a "home" with all our possessions along for the trip.

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Holly Reich

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Driving an RV has been a long-time dream of mine. I must admit, however, I was scared to ever drive one, especially on the crowded East Coast. But when I got the opportunity to drive a recreational vehicle in the Canadian Rockies I said OK, and didn't look back.
I took my good friend, Adeline, along as a co-driver on a four-day round-trip Canadian journey from Calgary to Banff and Lake Louise. Our hotel was our RV and we hooked up at campgrounds along the way.

Our Class C Mini motor home was 29 feet long and a few cars wide (8.5 feet wide). It slept six with a master bedroom, sleeping loft (cab-over bunk) full-on kitchen, bathroom and dining room. For a girl living in Manhattan it was plenty big. Plus, there were tons of storage spaces and cabinets - even a couple of outside closets for our suitcases and lawn chairs.

The vehicle was very basic. No bells and whistles. It had a dial radio and no navigation system. We did have Gypsy Guide, an audio tour/satellite radio that gave us directions and history.

Naturally, fuel economy is low in an RV. We averaged about 12 to 13 miles per gallon. It cost me $220 Canadian dollars to fill it less than three-quarters. The cost of the RV rental for four days was about $850. I reasoned that this was an affordable way to experience a get-away. We could sleep, eat and travel the countryside of the Canadian Rockies in the cost-containment of the motor home.

Truly, it was a pleasurable excursion to drive a "home" with all our possessions along for the trip. Need a sweater? No problem, go get one in the closet. Want a snack? Microwave popcorn while your mate is driving. And traveling is such a breeze - no waiting lines, no schlepping suitcases, no security, no hotel check-in and no eating out if you don't want - all good. But the best part of my trip was spending time with my friend while driving through astoundingly beautiful scenery.

Driving the "rig" was actually a breeze. And we didn't get any formal directions. Our only instruction was to turn wide. Hmmm... turn wide, you say. My first experience was in the gas station. I almost knocked over a pump, got stuck on a curb and then nearly backed into Adeline. I caught on quickly though. Sure, this RV breathed hard going up hills but cruise control saved the day and pumped up the torque.

More important than driving instructions were the directions on how to hook-up the different hoses when we got to the campsite - electric, water and waste. At the end of four days, I was an RV pro at attaching hoses and flipping switches.

Driving in Canada in the off-season is mind-altering for an east coast city woman: there was very little traffic; the roads are well-maintained, wide and well-paved - all good for driving an RV. I'd do it again in a New York minute.

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