If I had to give new RVers advice on how to get the best of their traveling experience, I would tell them with two words. Slow down. Let me emphasize that. Sloooow Doooown! There’s a big country out there and no matter how soon you start RVing or how long you do it, you are never going to live long enough to see it all. So slow down, and enjoy where you are before you rush off to the next place.
Only a year or so into our fulltiming adventure we were at the Escapees RV Club‘s Rainbows End campground in Livingston, Texas and we met a couple who told us they were getting ready to hang up the keys. They said they had been on the road fulltime for a year and had seen everything there was to see, ocean to ocean and border to border.
Are you kidding me? I couldn’t see all of New Jersey in a year! In every corner of this great land of ours there is something interesting to see and do. Not just the big things like Niagara Falls, and Mount Rushmore, or the Grand Canyon, but all those little things that so many people drive right past and don’t even know exist.
The 611-foot-tall Multnomah Falls, just a half hour’s drive east of Portland, Oregon, will take your breath away.
We all know about the covered bridges of New England, but did you know that Parke County, Indiana, has more covered bridges than any other county in the world, boasting an incredible 30 of the rustic structures?
You probably know about the Amish of Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County, but there are also large Amish populations in northeastern Ohio and north-central Indiana, among other places. We have spent many, many wonderful days just driving the back roads of Amish country, admiring their tidy farms, stopping at their roadside produce stands, and shopping Amish stores for cheese, meat, and handmade quilts.
We could spend an entire summer exploring the stunningly beautiful Oregon coast. In fact, we have spent several entire summers doing exactly that!
While big cities are not our thing, we explored the museums and attractions in many of them. But we spent even more time in the small towns on the back roads of America, delighted by local history museums, quirky oddball attractions, and historical sites that never make it into the tourist brochures.
If you want to get the most out of the RVing experience, don’t just drive by places at 55 miles an hour, oohing and ahhing out the windshield. Pull over and get out and actually breathe that beautifully salty ocean air. Buy some blueberries at a farmer’s stand at the end of his driveway. Forget the chain restaurants and eat in the small town diners where the locals go, where the waitresses call you honey and pat you on the shoulder and make you feel at home.
And talk to the people you meet along the way. Many of them are fascinating, and they may see life from a perspective you never imagined. In a small general store on a back road in West Virginia we met a woman who had been born and raised and never traveled more than 10 miles away from that spot. And she couldn’t understand why we had been so many places. Everything she ever needed was right there at home.
The RV lifestyle is not about filling up a map with all the states you have traveled through as fast as you can. No, it’s about getting to know places and people. You can’t do that in a hurry. You have to slow down.
It’s Thursday, and time to kick off a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an autographed copy of John and Kathy Huggins’ So, You Want to be an RVer?: Celebrating the RV Lifestyle. This is the guide to RVing that every wannabe, newbie, and veteran RVer should have on their bookshelf. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – These days “on time” is when I get there.
You are so right about slowing down. We have been at this part time (6 to 8 months on the road) for 21 years. And there is still so much to see in the world as well as the USA. We love Nova Scotia, Acadia National Park, all the must see places but we really love the small towns and national, state & local RV parks. In fact we are in a BEAUTIFUL state park now in Illinois. Stop and smell the roses. And keep your daily travel to 200-250 miles. Stop early, enjoy the afternoon. Talk a walk. Enjoy each day !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Your comment about stooping to eat at the locals hang outs brought back a memory that happened to us. We had been driving on the back roads and came upon this small town and decided to stop for a bite to eat. When we found a table and were looking at the menu the guy at the next table asked us — Are you lost or are you visiting kin folk ?? That made our day !!!
Exactly how I feel about the North Country Trail (and other long trails). I don’t really care who’s holding or broken the Fastest Known Time record. I want to know every inch of a trail, what it’s about, why it goes where it goes, etc.
Maybe now that you have given up the MH, Miss Terry and you could provide some pointers on how to slow down with the car. We were basically snowbirds with our MH, but we would spend a week or two to make the same trip some would make in 2 days. We now have a park model and have given up the MH due to lack of use … but it is just not the same visiting out of the way spots without it. With the MH, if the park grounds was not very nice (icky bad), you were still sleeping in your own bed .. or if no restaurants, you had own kitchen.