Sharing our experience RVing across America and all that we learned from the trip. I hope you enjoy the post, our online family.
traveling across America-
We have dreamt about traveling with the family for as far back as I could remember, but things just never worked out. This year, our oldest child, Benjamin, will be turning sixteen. We decided last summer that we would go tour America if everything turned out okay. And, here we are.
We purchased a fixer-upper motorhome; it was a ton cheaper than purchasing something ready to go. Though it was an older model, we saw the potential in it. You can look at the before and after of the motorhome HERE!
Though I can’t share all the places we stopped it, you’d be way bored, we’ll share the highlights.
Enjoy our short video from the trip-
We were initially supposed to leave in early July. However, my father became ill unexpectedly and needed a quadruple bypass open-heart surgery. Praising God for his slow recovery and that the surgery went well. So, we wanted to make sure all was okay with him and left toward the end of July.
We departed from Ohio and started traveling South.
Our first day was extremely scary and a huge lesson learned (we will share this in our next post). We stayed at Camp Creek State Park and Forest. It was a great small state park and but one of our favorite. Most parks that we stayed in had full hook up for the RV but we wanted to stay by the river so we didn’t hook up and it was just beautiful. The nights were cooler so we turned off the air conditioning and you could hear the rushing of the water. It was amazing.
Next stop was Gulf Shore Beach in Alabama. It was AMAZING! We had never even heard about the beach but one of our neighbors came and visited us in the stop before that and he advised us to go down to the beach. Because we didn’t plan for the stop, we only got to stay there one day and it just wasn’t enough. The sand was so clean and white and the water beautiful, warm and so clean. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay there. We will definitely go back and stay for a longer period of time.
From Alabama we headed to Texas, we spend a day at Galveston. Honestly, nothing special and will not go back. We spend another day at Schlitterbahn, not impressed at all. We went on a Wed and it was packed. There were no ramps for strollers and so inconvenient. Save yourself the trouble, don’t go!
After Texas, we started heading to Arizona. In Arizona, we visited Sedona and the Grand Canyon. Sedona was by far my favorite stop after Yellowstone. It literally feels like you are in a totally different world there. We will definitely go back and visit Sedona again.
Grand Canyon. Yes. It was gorgeous. Don’t get me wrong, we loved it. However, I’d never go back and visit again. TIP: If traveling in an RV or with little children, enter using the North Rim. The South Rim is BUSY. Beautiful, yes, but choose the North Rim. We had absolutely no traffic, the roads were great and the view just as beautiful.
Btw, Arizona is HOT! I meant 120F hot. We are not used to this kind of heat and it felt like we would suffocate. We went swimming one day and all burnt the skin on the soles of our feet and toes. Sigghhh #momfailmoment
In Arizona, we stayed at the Pleasant Harbor RV Resort & Marina for two days and it was a wonderful experience. Would highly recommend the resort. We rented a boat one day while there and that was the kids’ favorite part of the trip after the UTV experience.
They have a shuttle that drives you down to the marina (which is golf carts) and the kids had a blast driving in those. We went fishing one evening once the weather cooled a bit.
Heading to Yellowstone from Grand Canyon, we stayed at Zion River Resort RV (not great and was too expensive, would never go back). Our older boys surprised us that day and stayed with the children while the hubby and I had a date that day. We went and enjoyed really good Mexican for lunch and then explored Zion Park together while they stayed for a few hours with the little munchkins. So sweet of them.
This was our only stop where we got out of the RV but it was worth it. It is now my new favorite hotel. Though it’s EXPENSIVE, it’s very affordable if you go during the weekday instead of the weekend. We loved it. Thanks to my friend, Natalya (blogger at Mom’s Dish), for telling me about the place.
This hotel is where we will be going away for the weekend for just my hubby and me, so beautiful.
Yellowstone National Park-
Yellowstone was the kids’ favorite park. There was so much to see. Not only were there hot springs and geysers, but the excitement of possible animals was real. We saw a bear and a cub, elk and bison. Unfortunately, it was our last stop and we needed to head home so we were only able to see the south loop of the park and to Hayden Valley where the bison hang out and they did not disappoint.
RV campsites were booked inside the park so we stayed on the West Entrance. We stayed one night at Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park and the second night was Yellowstone KOA. We LOVED the little town on the West Entrance of the park. It’s absolutely beautiful and so small. You can walk around town and go shopping, enjoy dinner and parks. Really neat little town.
Let me warn you, the East Entrance is a nightmare. For those of you that don’t like extreme roads and driving along cliffs, stay away from that entrance. I definitely gained a few gray hairs exiting that way.
We rented UTV’s for the day before heading into Yellowstone and that was the kids’ second favorite memory, after boating. If you ever decide to go, always bargain for discounts. We called around different places and all quoted different pricing. We found a place that gave us a huge discount for paying in cash. We’ll take it.
what we’ve learned about traveling in a motorhome-
- Walmart and Cracker Barrel restaurant allow you to park for free overnight. This is great if you are driving to your next destination and just need to stay the night and continue driving.
- Get a campsite membership. The ones we saw most accepted as we traveled the US were Good Sam and KOA. There are great perks with both memberships and it’s good for a whole year. It is cheapest to stay at State Parks though, and just as amazing of an experience. If you have memberships to KOA, they will allow you to dump the RV and fill water for free if you are passing through and don’t need to stay the night.
- If you’d like to stay inside the famous National Parks, you have to order months in advance. Though we had no problem finding a place to stay along the route, the bigger parks were completely booked out. We typically stayed on the outskirts of the parks and we were okay with that.
- Know your RV in an out. If anything stops working, you want to know how to troubleshoot and fix the problem. We didn’t have service most of the time and if something serious was to happen with the RV, you could get stuck for days without help.
- Plan out your meals before leaving so you know what you need to bring with you. You don’t want to bring anything you will not be using. We ate home (meaning in the RV) about 90% of the time. It was the most convenient and the least expensive route. We had THIS portable grill that we cooked just about all our meals on. We would set it up outside and grill away. It was easy to clean and use, the food also tasted wonderful on it.
- Be sure to keep everything properly stored. If you hit unexpected pumps, stuff goes FLYING (aka soup that was forgotten to be put away). We stored just about everything in these plastic bins of different sizes. The boxes keep everything in place and protected. We also put hair ties on cabinets because they sometimes would open during harsh roads and let’s just say cleaning up spills and breaks is not fun in an RV as you are traveling.
This is the first post of this trip. I’ll be sharing one more and focusing on the spiritual side of our trip. We learned A LOT! So, those of you that don’t care about that, hope you enjoyed this, the rest of you, stay tuned for part 2.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU! Have you traveled in a motorhome? How was your experience? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below.