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RV lifestyle

First Time RVers Enjoy Their First RV Camping Trip

Jeff Johnston: RVing is for everyone, including single parents and their families. Whether you’re a seasoned RVer or a first timer, people of all sorts can jump in and enjoy the RV experience. Regular viewers may recall Allison Hayes as our cohost for our “RV of the Year” show. She had never camped or traveled in an RV, so we thought it would be fun to set up a first timers RV road trip for Allison and her daughter Emery to see how they handled the new experience.

Jeff: We caught up with Allison and Emery at the Wakarusa, Indiana, Ford Motor Coach headquarters. Technician Steve Duvall gave them a detailed walkaround to bring them up to speed on the Gemini Coach operation and all of its mechanical systems.

Steve Duvall: Yeah, or course, it is. Allison: She’s been talking about this trip for about 6 months. So, yeah, when I told her, I’m like, “You know what? We not only have one TV, but we have two. Ah! Isn’t that cool? Allison: So, we can sit our chairs right out here and watch it. Steve: Mommy can swivel it for you. So, wherever you’re sitting–there’s a little DVD player in there, too.

Steve: Okay, storage back here. There’s a couple of pieces of wood for leveling. This is where you hook your sewer hose. I’ll walk you through this in a little bit, okay? Ah, ah, yeah. Here, if you are playing, and you get all dirty, Emery, Mommy can wash your feet right there. Allison: Oh, that’s awesome. Steve: And hot water–how about that? All right, so you won’t get crazy cold feet.  Jeff: RVs are fairly complex, and the orientation walkaround presents a variety of new technologies and details. It’s a lot for the first timer to remember. 

Jeff: Now for the open road. Next stop, the grocery store. It takes some adjustment to go from packing your home kitchen to packing an RV kitchen. The smaller refrigerator and sometimes compact storage box can be a snug fit, but they normally work fine for short-term RV use.

Allison: You have your chicken. We can use the microwave and put the chicken in there. Jeff: Allison took to driving the Ford Gemini Class B like a pro. Once you get a feel for the controls and the rig’s body size, the journey is fun and relaxing. The journey to the campground took them 6 hours north to Mackinaw City, Michigan. And other than some typically wonky directions from a cell phone GPS mapping software, it made it in one piece.

Allison: I’m gonna get this plugged in, get us some water. Jeff: Their campsite had electric but no water. So, a pause at the fresh water fill station was up next. Allison: Yeah, sounds like water’s going in there. Jeff: A smaller rig makes the backing in job a lot easier, but it still takes a couple of tries to get it right.

Jeff: Allison’s Canadian friends arrive and join her and Emery for the weekend fun.

Jeff: A near dark project included adding leveling blocks, with a little help from her friend. Allison: Yeah, just back over, and just kind of keep an eye, I guess, and yell to me if I’m on top of it. Is this gonna work? Jeff: The Sure Power cord connector often seems to give people difficulty. Allison: Got our stuff in there. We just need this black cord right now. This will be our electricity. This goes in here.

Jeff: With camp set up, there was enough time to enjoy the sunset view of the Mackinac Bridge, framed by a storm in the background. The Gemini kitchen is great, but sometimes you just need to visit the campground store for that fresh coffee hit.

Part of a campground’s value is in what you can do nearby. Allison and Emery opted for a ferry ride to Mackinac Island, a major tourist  the Straits of Mackinac. The ferry trip over included a pass beneath the Mackinac Bridge for an unusual view of this impressive structure. Mackinac Island is a beautiful and unique historic and tourist spot. There are no cars allowed on the island, so every vehicle is horse powered. It makes for some interesting scenery.

The 1887 vintage Grand Hotel looms large on the island, and it evokes images of a classic era of elegant travel and lodging. Back in the campground, there is time for a jump in the pool. All things considered, the first RV trip for Allison and Emery turned out very well. They sailed through the early learning process and had a good time with the Gemini. Adjusting to life in a smaller space was their biggest hurdle, and they cleared it with ease.

Single parents and anyone else can enjoy the RV experience. Give it a try, and you won’t be disappointed.Jeff Johnston: