Leisure autos will not be notably welcome at my Florida condominium advanced, however there I used to be in mid-April, eagerly ready for the Minnie Winnie to not far away into my parking zone. I had not seen my family members in lots of months, and my daughter, Harriet, and son-in-law, Adam, had simply referred to as to let me know they had been shut. With their arrival, I’d be on my manner residence.

a person sitting at a picnic table: The author eats breakfast and prepares to hit the road in an RV in June 2020.

© Harriet Lurensky Kuhn
The writer eats breakfast and prepares to hit the highway in an RV in June 2020.

I by no means anticipated to seek out myself, at age 94, wanting ahead to an RV highway journey.


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My introduction to RV journey was fairly a shock. In June 2020, once I was the one resident left on my rental ground, journey plans took on an uncommon sense of urgency. My household thought it was harmful for me and my companion to fly on an airplane due to each my age and an underlying well being situation. In order that they improvised.

On a mission dubbed “Operation Rescue Grandma,” Harriet and Adam drove to Naples, Fla., from Bethesda, Md., to gather me in a rented RV that slept seven. I had by no means been in a single and was not enthusiastic concerning the impending journey. Furthermore, I’m fiercely unbiased. If I had been a witch, I instructed my daughter, I’d have flown residence on a broomstick — on my own.

However now I’m an RV convert, an RV lady. Even at present, after having been vaccinated, I regard it as the very best mode of journey for a nonagenarian. There are such a lot of benefits: no suitcases to hold, no planes to run for, no publicity to different folks, loads of room for me and all my stuff. If I get drained, I simply shut my eyes and stretch out my legs as an alternative of being caught within the center seat on a cramped airplane. It additionally appeals to my Melancholy-era sense of frugality: A lot of the contents of my Naples fridge went straight into the RV fridge. In fact, RV journey takes time; fortunately, I’ve acquired loads of that.

[A newbie RV renter learns from her mistakes — and so can you]

Adam and Harriet paid $179 per evening for the 30-foot Class C RV from Cruise America in Manassas, Va., and drove the 1,100 miles to Naples over three days. Earlier than our journey again to Maryland, we had a household assembly to plan the menus, then made one final run to the grocery retailer. The meals had been easy and engaging, with minimal prep time, which was good, as a result of we had been hungry upon arrival at every campground. (Through the top of the pandemic, eating places had been out of the query.)

We started our journey on a Saturday morning and drove six hours the primary day to the Pecan Park RV Resort in Jacksonville, Fla. We had eaten lunch whereas driving up Interstate 95, which saved time. The one stops made had been to make use of the onboard bathroom — it appeared safer that manner — and purchase fuel. No relaxation stops had been mandatory, as a result of the RV had roomy seating, which enabled the non-drivers to stretch out, loosen up and benefit from the surroundings. Site visitors was mild, and the climate was good.

a truck is parked on the side of a road: The family had an overnight stay at PatRicks Auto and Truck Repair in Ocala, Fla., after an RV breakdown in April.

© Adam Kuhn
The household had an in a single day keep at PatRicks Auto and Truck Restore in Ocala, Fla., after an RV breakdown in April.

As soon as we stopped for the evening, we had chores to do. A “full hookup” at an RV campground consists of water, sewer and electrical energy. My son-in-law linked the water and put in a water filter so we might cook dinner dinner. After we ate, the remainder of us transformed the desk and seats into beds, which had been surprisingly snug. As soon as the electrical energy was plugged into the campsite outlet, we might run the air conditioner as wanted. Adam emptied our waste tanks, crammed the water tanks day by day and positioned tablets in the bathroom to maintain it odor-free.

My favourite a part of that first journey was our second cease at Huntington Seashore State Park in South Carolina. Our assigned spot was a inexperienced house beneath a big tree, which appeared like an oasis in contrast with the cement pad in Jacksonville. I selected to make use of the empty bathhouse to bathe, as a result of I had found the evening earlier than that our RV bathe was primarily a tiny closet. We had been even in a position to take a stroll on the seashore — solely 5 minutes away — and breathe in salt air earlier than we left the following morning.

The ultimate evening on our 2020 journey was spent on the Americamps RV Resort in Ashland, Va., positioned about an hour and a half from Cruise America in Manassas. Alongside the best way, we stopped at a Pilot fuel station that had a dump station. This allowed us to empty the sewage tanks once more and drop off the car in clear situation, avoiding a dump price. By Tuesday afternoon, I used to be residence.

I assumed that 2020 highway journey was a one-shot deal. However as the times grew shorter and the nights cooler, Florida beckoned once more. In January, my daughter and son-in-law purchased a 2002 Minnie Winnie 31C Winnebago RV, which took me again to Naples. That return journey felt virtually like a reunion with a special previous buddy. We felt like professionals.

Come April, there I used to be, ready for the RV to hold me residence once more. Sadly, that return journey was one other story. A number of hours after our departure from Naples, I heard what seemed like a passing motorbike. However it was not a Harley-Davidson; it was our motor residence. We drifted to a protected spot on the shoulder about 20 miles south of Ocala, Fla. The RV, which had been checked from prime to backside earlier than we left, determined it was not going any farther.

a group of people standing in front of a bus: From left, Adam Kuhn, Eleanor Goldman Lurensky and Harriet Lurensky Kuhn return their rental in June 2020.

© Jacob Kuhn
From left, Adam Kuhn, Eleanor Goldman Lurensky and Harriet Lurensky Kuhn return their rental in June 2020.

My son-in-law referred to as his insurance coverage firm, and we waited for assist to reach. There was really an upside to the breakdown: I had time to do my day by day workouts as we waited for the tow truck to reach from Gainesville, virtually 50 miles away. It acquired heat within the RV, so we went outdoors to sit down among the many wildflowers and grasses that grew by the aspect of the highway — a protected distance from the site visitors whizzing by at about 70 mph.

[Planning an RV trip? Download these apps before you hit the road.]

The gods will need to have been watching over us that day, as a result of the tow truck arrived inside two hours and took us to an Ocala storage that does RV work. We referred to as forward to let the employees know we had been coming, however we arrived after they’d closed. Fortuitously, we acquired the go-ahead to hook as much as the water and electrical on the surface of the storage, in order that was the place we arrange camp for the evening. Dinner was eaten within the parking zone between a college bus and one other RV. After the lengthy day and all the joy, we had been drained and went to sleep with the home windows open.

I awoke the following morning within the storage parking zone feeling a bit of like E.T. However I needed to do greater than cellphone residence; I needed to be residence. I used to be comforted by the truth that my son-in-law didn’t get ruffled. Our mechanic identified the issue instantly. A spark plug had blown out of our engine, stripping the threads. The restore package provides had been shortly obtained from the elements retailer close by, and we had been again on the highway by midday.

The Cartersville Nation Vineyard in Timmonsville, S.C., was our subsequent vacation spot. Due to the breakdown, we misplaced an evening and needed to forgo our reservation on the Pelican Roost RV Park at Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville. (My late husband, Bob, was a Navy vet.) We drove all day by way of the remainder of Florida, into Georgia, then South Carolina. I used to be enthusiastic about sleeping in a winery, which introduced again childhood reminiscences of Peabody, Mass., the place my grandmother had a number of grapevines within the yard. Again then, she made wine from the grapes left over after the neighborhood youngsters had picked them and thrown them at one another.

We had higher luck. On the vineyard, we had a full hookup for the RV on a gravel lot subsequent to the grapevines. The subsequent morning, proprietor Tom Langston and his spouse, Daybreak, gave us a non-public tasting of a number of of their wines. We purchased a mix-and-match case to take with us and had been on our manner north once more.

As we drove by way of North Carolina and Virginia, I took be aware of the pine and redbud timber, forsythia, dogwoods and wisteria that had been starting to bloom. I questioned what could be blossoming at my home.

I’ve changed into an RV Grandma, Queen of the Street. To be an aged RV traveler, all you want is a reliable driver (I used to be lucky to have relations who had been each prepared and in a position to facilitate my journeys) and the pliability to roll with any adjustments that come up on the highway. My back-and-forths between Florida and Maryland had been thrilling adventures — and had been very completely different from the one tenting journey I went on as a Woman Scout troop chief many a long time in the past. They made me really feel courageous and emboldened.

However I’ve to confess: It actually felt good to get residence.

Lurensky is a retired trainer based mostly in Bethesda, Md., and Naples, Fla.

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