Pros and Cons of RVing

Best thing about RV life …

Without a doubt, the best thing about RV living is the ease and spontaneity of travel. We get to travel with our own bed, kitchen, and bathroom in tow. And more importantly, I get to travel with a whole closet full of clothes and shoes. No more trying to stuff all my crap belongings into one carry on bag. Yep, there’s a sense of freedom and self-sufficiency that is unique to RV travel that I absolutely love.

Phoenix Arizona Sonoran Desert

The mere thought of traveling without my RV makes me cringe, and just thinking about stepping into an airport has me breaking out in hives, and this coming from a former Flight Attendant, but that was many moons ago. Today, home is where we park it, and our front yard changes as often or as little as we want it to. We travel on our terms, which is a very liberating feeling.

Saguaro cactus loveThat desire to change the view out our front door quite often revolves around the weather. If it’s snowing, we ain’t going! Oh sure, there are times I miss my Colorado winters, especially around Christmas, but then I think about the realities of shoveling and driving in the white stuff, and it’s all I can do to keep myself from embracing the cactus near my front door here in Arizona. “Oh dear saguaro, how I love thee … ouch!”

With mild, sunny weather in mind, we enjoy spending our winters in Arizona. It’s absolutely awesome being able to travel with the weather. If snow skiing is your thing, fantastic … we know RVers who winter camp. If you’re looking for warm weather like we do, those wheels allow us to roll in search of the perfect temps for our taste.

There are times, it’s a tad bit strange watching the national weather. Last week, while dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, I was watching the evening national news. The weather reporter was bundled up in a heavy winter coat, stocking hat, gloves, and being pelted with rain and wind as he discussed impending storms. I glanced out my RV window noticing  another beautiful sunset. There was a light breeze and increasing crispness in the air as the sun dipped behind the horizon. Thinking I might need to don a sweatshirt, I was ever so grateful bundling up in winter attire was a thing of the past for me.

Arizona sunset

It took me a moment to wrap my head around the fact that it was winter and folks to the north had already been dusted with a coating of snow.

Another thing that I find a little unusual is attending a farmers’ market surrounded by holiday decorations. Somehow, a farmer’s market in December seems a little off, but this is the perfect growing time in Arizona. The excessive heat of a desert summer is gone, allowing all kinds of produce to grow throughout the winter months.

Scottsdale Farmers' Market

I really enjoy the flavors of locally grown fruits and vegetables, and lucky for me, there are a bunch of farmers’ markets found throughout the Phoenix valley during the winter months.

A couple of weeks ago, I visited the Scottsdale Old Town Farmers’ Market which is open every Saturday morning until May. Talk about a great variety of produce and other gourmet goodies.

The aromas from vendor restaurants and food trucks were quick to grab my attention. My biggest dilemma was deciding what to eat for an early lunch. I also found a bunch of vendors selling one-of-a-kind gift items such as specialty jellies, jams, sauces, local honey and gourmet chocolates… yum 😋

accordion music

Local musicians often perform at the market, and artists also display their work there.  Dogs are welcome at the Old Town Farmers’ Market, and you might even find wholesome doggy treats being sold. This Scottsdale Farmers’ Market was very impressive and easily rivals one of my favorite farmers’ market located in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Scottsdale Farmers' Market

Scottsdale Farmers' Market

I had every intention of visiting another farmers’ market yesterday, but my body wouldn’t cooperate which brings me to another subject …

Down side to RVing …

I know, what a surprise, there are actually cons to RVing. Thank goodness my traveling partner’s middle name is MacGyver. My husband, of more years than I care to count, comes in handy when things break. And break, they shall. It’s part of RVing. It’s not a matter of if things will break, but rather when, and are you prepared?

truck break down

And although we carry an assortment of spare parts and tools with us at all times, some things are beyond our expertise and professionals are needed. Breakdowns and repairs are probably my least favorite thing about RVing ….. BUT making the bed is right up there at the top of the list.

I swear, you need to be a contortionist or yogi to make the bed in most RVs. I love the smell of freshly washed sheets and there was a time I’d wash the sheets weekly, but trying to navigate the mattress’ tight corners tucked into a RV slide-out has me dreading this chore.  Hmm, is there a professional I could hire to do this? It’s like trying to do yoga in a square box requiring twisting and turning in ways that just aren’t natural.

Scottsdale Farmers MarketSo remember when I said I wanted to visit a new to me farmers’ market? Well, Friday I did laundry, including all the bedding, and by the time I was done making the bed, I knew something was wrong. I must’ve pulled something …. grrrr!

Contortionist I am not! What a surprise! Oh well, nothing a little ibuprofen, rest and an ice pack can’t fix, but it sure has gotten in the way of my fun … sigh!

In conclusion; if you’re thinking about RVing, remember it’s a fantastic way to travel and embrace new surroundings, but be prepared for breakdowns and start doing yoga NOW. You’ll thank me down the road 😆  No rainbows and unicorns this week.

Lake Havasu Arizona

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65 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of RVing

    • I left the camera on auto that day at the farmers market and snapped away. Enjoying the zoom too. Because of my back issue, I haven’t been out shooting but hope that’ll change soon. Camera does take great food photos when set on the custom setting.

  1. Haven’t looked at your blog for awhile, always enjoy it and have learned things! Sure agree with the bed making, we have similar 5th wheel and I always tell my husband that I’m going up for my morning gymnastics/yoga workout! Also grateful to have an extremely handy husband that can fix almost anything!
    Read your blog last year about Rockport, TX and talked about making that a destination one of these years and then was sad to hear how hard hit it was by Harvey:( Hopefully recovering quickly. Snowing here now on the north shore of Lake Superior in MN, we’ll head to SW in the spring. But heading to Boulder, CO in 2 weeks to meet new granddaughter that is due any day now:) But not in RV, a condo. Although, we have been camped in CO in April with snow and cold. But 60’s there this week! Still better than here!

    • Can you believe Rockport TX got snow? Crazy! We expect it in MN but not the TX Gulf Coast. I love Lake Superiors north shore, but in summer. I’m sure it’s equally pretty in winter with a coating of snow, but my thin blood wouldn’t be able to handle those temps any more.
      Enjoy your stay in Boulder … miss those Rockies and thanks for stopping by and catching up.

  2. I know all about pros and cons of RVng and yet we continue to live and enjoy this lifestyle! Thank God for all the MacGayver in our lives!
    I hope your back is easing up, at our age I do now watch when I bend or do other stuff 🙂

    • Oh yes, you two have plenty of experiences in all areas of RV living. I think you guys qualify for the title of ‘experts’. I’m not liking this getting old stuff. Just when I was getting back into hiking shape, wham-o, there goes a muscle 😪

    • I love splitting our winter time between AZ and the TX Gulf Coast. Due to hurricane Harvey, we’ll be forgoing our usual TX sojourn, but its back on the schedule for ’19. So we’ll stay in AZ all winter.
      We’ve had a cold front roll through Phoenix, and I’m feeling so chilled at 68 degrees 😄 I don’t think I could handle a Colorado winter anymore!

  3. We enjoy the freedom to just head off and go somewhere new!! We both love history so seeing historic places is awesome!! We would love to head to Az or such places for winter but unfortunately we will be in Alabama and have to brave the cold winter due to doctor appointments (that can’t be scheduled later). Lord willing in a few years that can change some!!
    Those sheets!!!!!!!! I hate changing the sheets :-(. I feel like I need physical therapy afterward!!

    • The freedom to roam is the best! A couple of years ago, we meandered around Texas and loved visiting the missions and taking in the history. AZ and NM also offer some unique and intriguing sites with some fun architecture. Hope you guys stay warm this winter and enjoy plenty of college football 😊

  4. So what happened to the truck? You know you have been rving for sometime and havenot had anything really bad go wrong? I am slowly putting my ducks in a row for next year in the fall. Did I tell you I bought a new 2017 Ford 250 gas. I did not want diesel. For a pretty good price none are very good. Got rid of my other vehicles so that is what I am driving. Since I bought grandpa’s house and have remodeled it I live 10 min from work so I am trying not to put too many miles. But I got the full warranty especially on the road for 5 years.That should give me a good amount of time to travel. Now after the first of the year I will look for the camper. I am hoping to try to get a 22-24 ft one. I donot want to get one too big. Now trying to decide whether or not to sell grandpa’s house. If I do I have to buy another house probably in florida to rent as I donot want get killed with capitol gains from his house. So I may pick up one in to Florida to rent while I am RVing. I have a really good realtor that has helped me since we lost our place in fountain and he is checking into which the best way to go. I really like grandpa’s house but its in the wrong neighborhood. It will sell good but not for me to stay there. Sounds like your really enjoying Arizona? My brother lives in Cornville. So I may be visiting you one day on my way through. Still have a ways to go but getting closer. Love seeing your blogs and watching a lot of U-Tube. Thanks Merry Sue

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    • Nice hearing from you Merry Sue. Sounds like you have a plan and I’ll probably bump into you either here in Arizona or perhaps along the Gulf Coast. We had a pack rat chew up wires on the big truck and last week we had some javelinas root around under our RV (no damage). Ah, the adventures are never ending … you’ll love it! Check with your CPA but if you’ve owned grandpa’s house and it’s been your primary home for 2 years, you may not need to pay tax on it. Feel free to PM me anytime if I can offer any recommendations. If I don’t know the answer, I can usually point you in the direction of someone who does.

  5. The pro’s definitely outweigh the cons in my book. Sorry your back is acting up, a product of our journey through life I expect! I’m really lucky, Beluga’s bed is a breeze to make and I love hanging those white sheets outside in the sun to dry. They’re flapping in the Arizona breeze as we speak!
    Have a Merry Christmas with your kidlings!

  6. Ingrid I think you have given a balanced view of the good and bad of your chosen lifestyle. I do love the idea of being able to have so much freedon and yet I would worry bout the break downs. Best wishes as you travel in 2018!

    • Thanks Sue! Yeah, I think there’s ups and downs to any travel, but I do love the RV travel the most even though there are some downsides. It’s still much better than being stuck in an airport or staying in less than anticipated kind of lodging. The sense of freedom via RV travel is addictive.

  7. Your post really hit home today. The breakdowns whether it’s the RV, the truck, or one of us is definitely the downside of this lifestyle. But, it sure does teach us to be self sufficient & ingenious. It’s funny but just yesterday while I was at the local farmers market, I too was thinking just how fortunate I was to be able to purchase fresh produce all year long. All I need do is follow the sun. As for making the bed, OMG don’t get me started! I’m pretty sure it’s the reason I tweak my back regularly. Like you said, thank goodness for ibuprofen & ice packs. Hope you’re up & at it again soon Ingrid.

    • Seems I’m not the only one who has issues with the dreaded bed making. My New Years resolution – strengthen and stretch so I don’t injure myself as easily! I was on a RV forum the other day and read through some questions. Amazing how much smarter we get the longer we live this lifestyle. The questions initially seemed silly to me and then I remembered when we were newbies asking those very same questions. And BTW – I’m doing much better, thank you!

  8. Yes, following good weather is an absolute pleasure, and like you, we like to follow the sun. Now we have a small summer house in what we think is the best summer place in Australia, and we travel to the warmer weather for the winter. It means we don’t get to do a a lot of summer exploring though as even though our house is small, it’s amazing how much time it takes up. We helped our bed making problem in the RV by putting a light weight mattress in. It’s helped a lot. Hope you’re doing ‘dog head up, dog head down’ again soon.

    • My downward dog moves are on hold at the moment, but I have been doing my stretches of happy dog, mad cat … now visualize that one 😁 We love traveling with the weather, although we don’t always get it right. Guess that just adds to the adventure!

  9. AH, the RV mattress contortions …definitely a minor downside for sure. As I write I have to admit that I too have been putting off stripping the bed.Its not actually doing the laundry that I dread as I convinced my handy husband to install a splendide washer dryer combo before we hit the road. SO GLAD!!! Best idea I ever convinced him to agree to …oh, other than lets sell everything, retire and go traveling!! OKay, here I go…into wrestle the dang sheets off the bed!

  10. Oh my lord, our friend lives in a truck camper — have you ever seen THOSE beds??? How on earth does that work? Anyway, I totally agree with you on making the bed.

    • We owned a truck camper before buying the fifth wheel, and yes making that bed was an absolute back breaking bear. At least I can kind of walk around this mattress in the fiver. It helps when I pull it out from the slide, which I didn’t do this last time out of laziness. Lesson learned 😪

  11. How did you know making the bed in our RV is my least favorite thing about RV’ing? Second least favorite thing is finding a laundromat to wash those sheets and our clothes! I do enjoy exploring farmer’s markets, roadside produce stands, and new to me grocery stores. Hope your back is better!

    • Yes, finding a decent laundromat can be a challenge and not on my favorites list either. But I do like it when doing loads of laundry takes less than 2 hours because I’ve loaded four machines ☺. Gotta look at the upside! I’m starting to feel much better – thank you for the well wishes.

  12. It seems like every lifestyle has its ups and downs. Making the bed in our sailboat for eight years was a bit easier than in our camper van, but when it comes to fixing issues (and the price and availability of spare parts), dealing with this in an RV is 100 times easier than on a boat in the middle of nowhere. 🙂

    • A couple of years ago, we traveled/RVed with a couple who previously lived on a sailboat for 7 years, and from all indications, RVing is tons easier than boating. The smaller the RV, the more difficult it is to make the bed. It was a bear in our truck camper and challenging in the 5th wheel, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

  13. I am with you 100% on the weather thing. The longer we live in the RV, the more I realize, I NEVER want to suffer through a northern winter again. Even more than the temperature though, it’s the enjoyment of looking around and seeing life. No more trees without leaves, brown dead grass, gray skies. Being where it’s warm is just so much less depressing (to me, anyway). Even with the short days, I love it.

    Sorry about your back. We have one of those memory foam mattresses, so it’s heavy, but bendier than a regular mattress. Changing the sheets is a 2 person job, but at least no one gets hurt when we do. Feel better soon!

    • The Colorado Rockies are stunning in the winter and the weather is so much easier to tolerate than the Midwest or East Coast. BUT that was then and this is now… life changes thus I’ll stick with warm weather as I admire photographs of winter in the Rockies. I love the short days. Much easier to photograph sunrises and sunsets at reasonable hours ☺
      Pulled muscle is doing much better and I should be back out hiking soon!

  14. The only con I can think about RVing is finding someone that can cut hair!!! Boy does that bother me…hehe
    I love Farmer Markets of any kind. I always seem to find something unusual. And the people are so nice.
    Hope you are feeling much better today.

    • Yes, I am definitely doing much better. Thank you. I’m so grateful I don’t have a problem in the hair department. I haven’t stepped foot in a salon in ten years. I cut my own hair or Al does it for me, and fortunately with my curly hair, one can’t tell if it’s cut straight or crooked 😆

  15. After four-and-a-half years of fulltiming, I’m not sure I can ever go back to any other way of traveling! I refer to our trailer as a giant rolling magic suitcase. All of the clothes and shoes I want, PLUS a full kitchen and bath and our kayak and bikes. :-)) So sorry to hear about your back, Ingrid…feel better soon! Your sunset photos are gorgeous.

    • Thank you Laurel. Love it – “magic suitcase” … yes indeed! I’m thinking about flying back to Illinois next summer to see my dad and the mere thought has my stomach churning 🤔 Circumstances won’t allow us to go back with the RV in 2018. Ah, decisions!

  16. Yes, to all of that. We are wheels up today and heading south. Horray!!!!!! I miss my desert, and can’t wait to get there. And the bed thing, we had to buy a new mattress, and it is slightly wider than the last one. So it’s really a job making it up. It’s for sure a two person ordeal.

    • Glad to hear you’re rolling south. I know you’ll be back in your happy place very soon and photographing those amazing desert sunsets. Yeah, I don’t think there’s an easy answer to making those RV beds. Grin and bear!

  17. For millions of year birds, whales and humans having been following the seasons by migrating from north to south and back again. But I think we (RVer’s today) have evolved into the best examples of how to efficiently and comfortably migrate from one place to another, we are very lucky to live in this day and age.
    Great post Ingrid, hope your back improves!

    • Thanks and I am definitely starting to feel better. Hoping to be back out hiking next week. I think I could learn a lesson or two from those migrating birds. Most of the birds I visit in Rockport, TX, flew inland days before hurricane Harvey hit and are now slowly returning to the coast. Fascinating observations!

  18. Yes, we can relate! We struggled with out bed in our 5th wheel. So we made sure the bed in our motorhome wouldn’t be so difficult. It’s not! But it depends on the mattresses, too. We had to finally replace ours so that took lots off research. We’ve been really pleased!
    Now about my MacGyver-he feels your pain after three days of installing new slide covers practically by himself! He did the two smaller ones by himself but needed me a little on the two big ones. Oh the aches and pains but he said it was worth saving $600 installation fee!

    • That’s a lot of money saved doing the work yourself, plus he knows it was done right. Can’t tell you how many times we’ve paid for repairs on the RV that still needed tweaking. We love our mattress. It was the first thing we replaced even though we bought our RV brand new. There’s only so much room in a 31′ RV requiring some compromises. Oh well, at least the ibuprofen is working and I’m hoping to be back out on the trails next week… fingers crossed!

      • We do miss our 5th wheel – we described it as being nimble! We’ve had to slow our travels down with our “beast” as Nina likes to call theirs. It’s a beast to move for sure! There’s trade offs to have what we want versus what we need!

  19. Wonderful blog post! Sorry to hear about your back – I totally agree about the challenges of making a bed in an RV! We’re making our way to Arizona: in Virginia now, left “Minnesnowta” in October. Looking forward to the sunshine!

    • Thank you! Love the term “Minnesnowta”. Oh, how I remember those cold Minneapolis winters with ridiculous windchill factors. Yep, time to head to the desert southwest. Thanks for stopping by and commenting ☺

  20. Oh boy… I see Yoga in your future!

    I, my friend, will be back soon but first I must deal again with leaves here at the LakeHouse. But it’s been beautiful weather! 55 degrees and the sun is shining.

    I was sick for a few weeks while out here in Pennsylvania. I believe I got it from the recent plane rides!

    Nice pictures!

    • I was thinking of you today as I changed sheets… that’s got to be a CHORE in your RV!! CAREFUL and feel better with your back… we have sunsets to watch and outside patio get togethers and escargot!

    • Glad the weather is holding out for you, but too bad you were feeling under the weather. I actually ordered that Yoga DVD at the bottom of this post. I think I’ve gotten out of shape and thus am more susceptible to pulling a muscle. Time to stretch and strengthen. Also working on the diet. No more baking for this gal, and tis the season 😭

    • No, I haven’t shared info on healthcare or domicile. Fortunately for me, I have an amazing son. With that said, check out Nina’s blog at Wheelingit.us She’s written a lot of great posts on insurance with links for other helpful info. Feel free to PM me anytime for more information.

  21. Love this post…I am sitting here reading your post and checking the weather that’s coming to Ga…yikes….we will be in the 20’s to 30’s for the next few weeks…wish we could get out there to Az!!! Sometimes even with wheels it’s not possible to head to warmer areas!!!
    I love all the farmers markets…and the variety of veggies!!! Yum!!
    Sure hope your back gets better soon…we have a sleep number in the coach and what a challenge….I keep trying to invent ways to make it easier to change sheets…the best I have come up with is to let
    My sweetie do it!!!!

    • Burrr … time to get the wheels rolling south, although I do understand circumstances don’t always make it easy to do so. Hope it warms up for you.
      Sometimes I enlist the help of hubby when it comes to making the bed, but since he’s almost twice my size, it’s twice as difficult for him to navigate the tight quarters. Not sure a bigger RV would be much easier. Oh well, such is the life of a Rver … gotta love it!

  22. Like you, our favorite part of RV’ing is being able to roll down the road and explore new things whenever the mood strikes us. Although we too enjoy the warmth of the winters in the SW, we enjoy cool crisp mornings and a little white stuff now and then. The upsides far outweigh the downsides, right now we are fighting one of those downsides….a mouse! It has been 3 days and so far it is winning….ugh!

    • Oh yes! We’ve had two. What a mess. DH finally set two “old fashioned” traps side by side with peanut butter. She loved it, btw, because she’d cleaned it off one trap two days in a row. Then hubby got wise and she had to climb over the one to get to the second one. Snap. Mice – 0; DH – 2

    • A mouse in the house? Been there done that. We’ve actually had a couple of brazen mice that we’ve made eye contact with and even watched lick the peanut butter right off the trap without triggering it 🐹
      This year, I’ve really missed photographing fall colors and I always enjoy a little snow around Christmas, but hate RVing in the cold – can never seem to feel warm in the RV.

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