Of course Pump Shock is just part of the RVing Adventure ! We get about 8-10 MPG . As much fun and as convienant as it is having your own things with you. You need to be ready for the rates found at the gas pumps.
As a parent I must have read the Dr. Seuss Book " Go Dogs Go" a million times. It is still a favorite with all of my grandkids. However it brings up an interesting thought, how will you and your dogs "Go"? We have traveled in cars, mini vans and Rvs, we have carpooled and caravaned. There are many ways to get where you want to go and do so both safely and in style. So this page offers some thoughts on how you and yours will "Go Dogs Go!"
From the start we named our RVs the "Doghouse", it was our cb handle . The Georgetown to the left is our current and hopefully Last RV!
Bob had owned a class "C" RV in a "previous lifetime" . Back when he was into dirt biking and camping at a wonderful membership resort. Time passed, lives changed and we met, our family grew and so did our hobbies and interests. In 1992, we bought our first class "C" RV . We thought it would make traveling with 3 dogs, 2 mothers-in-law ,2 young teen daughters and ourselves easier. It was a great deal more enjoyable than the two motel /hotel rooms habit, which was always hit or miss with the facilities. Travel can become very complicated when you "motel" it. Leaving the dogs in the room to go eat or attend a seminar or dinner, leaves you at the mercy of the rooms around you. Noisy neighbors can create issues causing your dogs to bark, or keeping them from settling down. Dealing with stairs, elevators and what sometimes seemed like an endless revolving door of activity often leaves everyone tired. This is not to say you can not have a great time. You can! It was simply much harder on all of us and after a year or three we decided to go our own way.
That first RV lasted 1 month, before Bob traded it in for a bigger class "C" , the first was 23 feet long and the second was 28. It is amazing how much room that extra 5 foot gave us.
After two years in the class "C" we moved into our first class "A". A 30 ft Southwind Storm. We slowly collected all of the equipment and supplies we needed to make RVing a great deal of fun. It is much like having two homes. The common things, dishes , pots etc are normally plastic or acrylic in an attempt to lesson the weight carried. Most of us pack our RVs as if leaving home forever !! It is silly but all of us seem to go through a stage where we seem to think we will be without access to stores and supplies. Eventually we learn how easy it is to pull off the road and restock on the items needed. At shows if we have not towed a car or packed bikes we can often find another exhibitor and bum a ride to the store or market.
Basement storage is essential, you store your ex pens, chairs, grills, extra propane tanks, grooming tables , ice chests ... if not careful you may carry far more than you mean to, ask my husband , he swears I challenge weight loads by bringing everything I own! In the far corner of the picture above you can see our fold down bikes, they really do fold to a teeny tiny space saving unit. Nowadays we use a bike hitch and carry our Auto Bikes. But the kid's bikes and the bike trailer are often found stored underneath!
Dogs are brilliant. When Kahlua found me loading up for a trip she made sure she and Chance would not be left behind! ( as if!!) We have seen a major rig that has converted the basement storage to AC/Heated crating units allowing them to carry a very large number of their breed. ( Border Collies) . However, our dogs ride inside with us. Why take any chances that really aren't necesary?
Below is a shot of our Seaview, it was a 35 foot , with a single slide. You can see the covered bikes on the hitch on the back.
Our latest (and hopefully last) RV is the 2008 Georgtown gas pusher. It is 40 foot long with 3 slides. Wonderful basement storage and great room inside. It averages about 8-9 mpg which is excellent for a rig of this size. We have 3 crates set up where our freestanding dining table would normally be. With the slides in there is ample room to move through the coach sitting still or as it drives down the road. The front entry prevents loss of space that a mid entry takes away. These are photos of the Dog House parked First one to the right shows slides in ready to drive followed by a photo of it parked and with the slides out. The slides really open it up to a generous living space. And with 2+ dogs and 5 grandkids that living space is a huge perk! We have traveled with the whole kennel, One cross country trip was made with 3 adults and 10 puppies!
I had Bob pull out the freestanding table and chairs and we put in 3 wire suitcase crates. The legends of Jasmine's Exploits are infamous, if we ever meet at a RV party ask and we will share them with you. They have made our friends and ourselves laugh for years. Thanks to our Princess Jasmine, we learned to appreciate the value of crates.... That girl could pitch a tantrum and a half! It makes far more sense to crate, you protect your dogs and your rig !
It makes far more sense to crate, you protect your dogs and your rig !
Good thing Bob has a degree in Electrical Engineering ! Some shows it is needed to make sure the availble power handles everyone trying to plug into the poles. Above you can see our RV with the front slide out. The new RVs are wonderful with all the perks they provide. Ours is not extreme. But it does have everything we need and then some. We enjoy the twin satelittes and flat screens , gas range, convection microwave, a large four door fridgerator/freezer with ice maker. Both AC and a Heat pump keep things comfortable and economical. All windows are dual paned with black out, day night shades. The jack system helps to level the motor home any where we may park. While it may sound over the top we have been in RVs with as many as 5 TVs, a bath tub with jacuzzi jets, two seperate dining areas, washer , dryer, dish washer, second freezer system, central vac, wine cellar, and fireplace!! And one unforgetable unit had a heated and air conditioned basement GAME room !! Set up for the family's teen grand kids who went through a trap door to crash in the custom rocking game chairs and playing x box or working on their computer systems as the family drove down the road !! That particular rig , USED was over 3/4 of a million dollars! I mean YIKES right?
There are a number of places you can use when traveling to help cut the cost of being on the road. Some Travel Plazas, like Flying J and Pilot , not only allow you to park overnight but will have large facilities making gassing your rig easier, with laundry facilities and often carrying propane or having dump stations. It is a pill to have to pay to use a dump station at an RV camp ground when you are trying to make time. They also have reasonably good restaurants , convienence stores and often gift shops.
Bob and I always have a current Wal Mart Atlas on board. They not only give the location, exit numbers, phone numbers for Wally Worlds all over the country but Wal Mart welcomes RVers to pull in and spend the night. You can not set up camp, no chairs and ex-pens out but how great is it to have a place to get off the road, taking a break with security guards in the parking lot, restaurants, laundries near by ?
Some States have rest stops that will allow you to pull in and spend several hours. It is always best to check with any security , asking them if you may stay till you are rested enough to get back on the road. It costs each state roughly $400,000.00 a year to operate rest areas. And many states are shutting down or cutting back on them. It doesn't help when dog owners wander amuck allowing dogs to mess where ever with out picking it up. I must admit It annoys me to see handlers set up and pull out ex pens and saw dust, they leave a mess for the facility to clean up. I may not be able to stop them but I make sure it is part of the information I pass along when asked about a handler ! If they are that nasty and careless in public , what kind of care is really being given to the dogs in their care?
There are some organizations that are really worthwhile for RVers to belong to. A Camping World membership is essential, the discounts are essential. Good Sams Club and FMCA ( Family Motor Coaching Association) both provide you with information, magazines, and a lobby that is helping to protect the right to RVing. They also offer a Fraternal organization that can be a real lifesaver, when people find themsleves in trouble, there are local members all over the country that will step in and offer a helping hand. From assistance if you break down, to experienced folks who will drive your rig home should your driver become incapacitated. There is also the insurance and meets all set up to help you enjoy the lifestyle and experience of being a modern day gypsy.