Adventures on Wheels
RV camping provides healthful, personalized travel experience
Not all modes of travel are created equal. Just ask someone who’s barely tolerating a dreary guided tour or enduring an unscheduled sleepless night in a noisy airport. If you’re ready to be the master of your own ‘travel destiny,’ wave goodbye to standard forms of transportation – planes, trains and automobiles - and say hello to the new gold standard, a custom-made vacation in a recreational vehicle.
If you become an RV traveler, you’ll certainly be in good company. Consider the 2005 University of Michigan study that tallied more than eight million recreational vehicles rolling on American roadways. With such incredible numbers, it is not surprising that high-profile individuals like former Maine Governor, Angus King, Baseball Hall of Famer and ex-pitcher for the Cardinals, Bob Gibson, country music icon, Dolly Parton and actor, Paul Newman are satisfied RV owners.
Let’s talk about some of the reasons why interest in RVing grows stronger every year...
Getting Back to Nature
The appeal of the great outdoors is the essence of camping. Depending on their destinations, RV travelers are likely to have forests, beaches, mountains or meadows just a few strides from their doorsteps. And there are plenty of prospects for healthful exercise, too. Thousands of reasonably priced public and private campgrounds and RV resorts offer everything from hiking trails, fishing lakes, whitewater rafting runs and wildlife preserves to swimming pools, tennis courts and 18-hole golf courses.
Snowmobilers, surfers, hunters, mountain bikers and kayakers find their perfect lifestyle match in an RV, where they can store and haul sports gear, then retreat to the familiar comforts of a home on wheels after a day of extreme play.
Mobilizing Home Sweet Home
You’re guaranteed a readymade comfort zone when you travel with your own portable lodging. RV’s have it all – cozy bedrooms, fully-equipped kitchens(called galleys) and baths, convenient built-in storage compartments and dining/living areas (many with slide-out expandable spaces). Once you pack your clothes and supplies in an RV’s drawers and cabinets, there’s a stress-busting bonus that comes with never needing to pack or unpack a suitcase as you move to new locations on your itinerary.
As an RV traveler, personal menu choices are yours and yours alone. Patronize restaurants that look appealing or stock your galley with favorite foods. If you want to sample regional cookery, prepare recipes with fresh-picked ingredients from local farmers’ fields or specialty markets. Whichever way you approach mealtimes, prescribed dietary restrictions and individual preferences are readily accommodated in an RV.
Finding a Great Escape
Nanette Smith, a social worker and school clinic coordinator in Richmond, Virginia, treasures the camping trips she shares with her husband Lee and their children. “Olivia and Jake love to explore wooded surroundings, create new games while splashing in the water, and pretend to be in another part of the world during nightly bonfires,” says Smith. “Being outdoors puts me in a carefree, relaxed state which is such a mental benefit, especially after a hectic week. Camping draws our family closer together.”
Elizabeth Oreo, a physical therapist in private practice in Port St. Lucie, Florida, reserves one weekend each month for getaways with her husband and three daughters in a recreational vehicle she describes as “bigger and nicer than my first apartment.” Oreo plans trips with several other campers, including extended family members and friends. “The freedom that comes from having two days without any schedule is restorative to my soul. I love my career as a physical therapist, but in the end it is just a way to pay for my real life, which is with my family, and camping helps me remember that,” she says. “Most of the family health benefits fall in the relationship and mental health category, although it is certainly a physically active experience.”
There’s no doubt that RVers reap the benefits of family bonding, but for those who would like to reach out to explore surrounding areas and meet new friends, most campgrounds offer community activities such as ranger-guided boat rides, hands-on craft sessions and narrated sightseeing tours.
Ready, Set, Go!
Renting an RV is a great way to break into the world of family camping. There are two main categories of recreational vehicles – motorized and towable models, and all sizes, styles and price ranges are represented in rental fleets. So if you decide to rent before purchasing, you’ll have a chance to try out various units to see which one meets your needs.
No matter what kind of rig you choose, you can’t go wrong when you hit the road, RV-style. It’s a healthy, flexible and fulfilling pastime… simply the best way to travel.
For more information about RV camping, visit the RV Industry Association web site at rvia.org, the Go RVing site at GoRVing.com or call 1-888-Go-RVing for a complimentary “getting started” DVD or CD-ROM. If you’re interested in RV rentals, consult local yellow pages or visit the Recreational Vehicle Rental Association’s web site at rvra.org for listings of hundreds of American and Canadian RV rental companies.
“On the Move” – Add refreshing yoga to your travel itinerary
At home or on the road, routine exercise boosts energy levels, combats stress and bolsters strength and staying power. Whether you’re traveling to an oceanside resort, bustling cityscape or remote mountaintop, refresh yourself with our back-to-basics yoga poses, as demonstrated by Miranda Spencer, Certified Vinyasa Flow Yoga Instructor.
The BOUND ANGLE is a hip-opening pose that also wakes up your torso. Begin with a cleansing “deep belly breath” performed in a seated position. Inhale deeply, fully expanding abdomen, ribs and chest, and keeping shoulders, back and torso straight. Exhale slowly, bend forward and breathe normally while maintaining forward pose. Gently push knees down to maximize opening of hips. Repeat sequence five to seven times.
The COBRA is a chest-opening pose that tones the spine and enhances breathing. Without straining, arch your back according to individual ability and comfort. Pull together shoulder blades to open chest. Inhale as you lift your trunk and breathe normally while holding pose for twenty seconds.
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"Adventures on Wheels"
Paula Loehr, R.N., B.A., worked in the fields of community health and nursing education, and was a school health nurse at the elementary, secondary and collegiate levels before becoming a fulltime journalist. Her writing specialties include family tr...