RV Travel During COVID-19
By Bonnie Neely
I married a man whose middle name is "go." He loves to drive and has built-in mental radar, which usually outthinks our GPS. He is fearless, and the more unfamiliar the territory, the more alluring it is to him. One afternoon he came home with a surprise.
"Come see what I got!" he said.
He had excitedly brought home a used, 17-foot RV he had purchased on the spur of the moment without consulting me.
My response was, "Guess what you are going to get? A divorce!"
I was a city girl who had never thought of camping or been inside an RV, but once our 6- and 8-year-old children had happily explored the "playhouse," I could see I was outnumbered.
We set off for Central America with two children and a 3-month-old baby whose bed took up all of the floor space. We also managed to squeeze in the absolute necessities and my brother, just out of Army basic training. For the first two days I was angry and fumed vocally all the way to the border. Then I realized that if I had to make this trip I might as well have fun.
As we rolled along for the next six weeks, we had many adventures. We were robbed twice when we were out of the RV, our baby became ill in Mexico City's altitude, we had a flat tire in the middle of nowhere and we coasted to a gas station with our gas gauge flashing "empty." We were also forced by the border patrol in El Salvador to give a ride to someone we had never before met.
But we survived it all without any life-threatening dangers and all of us loved the experience. Since then Bill and I have worn out eight new RVs, and he has driven the equivalent of the circumference of the equator more than 10 times, including 49 of the 50 U.S. states, all provinces of Canada, Mexico from north to south and east to west, and nine other countries. We have loved every minute. Our children learned so much, and so did we.
Since the pandemic began a lot of travelers have discovered the wonders and safety of RV travel. You can shelter in place by taking your own home with you. That means you can enjoy the safety of sleeping in your own bed, using your own bathroom and preparing your own meals, all while enjoying new places and the great outdoors. RV sales and rentals have sky-rocketed, and campgrounds and parks across the country are full -- all of them following strict protocols to encourage and enforce social distancing and wearing masks.