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When is an RV not an RV

Highway Tales
Article Date: June, 2013


An RV is generally used as a getaway vehicle. No, I don't mean you do your Bonnie and Clyde thing and hit the road with the cash after sticking up your local bank. An RV is designed to let you get away from the daily grind of life. You can escape to a scenic remote place and just chill out around the campfire for the weekend, or longer, or it may be the chariot that takes you away on your annual vacation to that national park you've always been wanting to visit. Either way, it lets you get away and enjoy yourself.

But, RVs can have other uses as well. Sure, there are those full time RV owners who live in their RV year round. They generally find a favorite area and park the RV in a cooler climate during the heat of summer and then head south for warmer locales before winter. Snowbirds always get the best of the weather and get to choose their neighborhood. If it's not what they want it's easy enough to raise the jacks and hit the road to a better place. Many of them find work in campgrounds or work for concessioners in national parks to help supplement their income while still being able to enjoy the surroundings and see the sites on days off. In this case their RV is basically a home on wheels and many RV owners who are still tied down to a sticks and bricks home and full time job spend much of their time dreaming of and drooling over this lifestyle. People who have this symptom generally have the days to retirement marked on their calendar.

There's a ton of RVs that only get used occasionally. The demands of work and home life don't let us use it as often as we would like. But there are uses for an RV other than recreational use.

We live in a rural wooded area where the electrical power goes out every now and then. To deal with this I installed an automatic transfer switch in the house and an inlet receptacle on the pedestal in my driveway. I then made up a cord to plug into the motorhome's generator set so that the 10KW Onan generator can power the house should the utility power be taking its own vacation yet again. So now our RV performs double duty as a standby generator.

We occasionally use it as a hotel room. Our daughter's wedding happened to be on the same day that the PGA tour was in town. She came to us with tears in her eyes because everything was booked up and there wasn't a hotel room to be had anywhere. So we set the motorhome up as a honeymoon suite for them on their wedding night. We hung wedding bells from the ceiling and decorated it with heart confetti and candles. Although, we did choose battery operated candles rather than chance burning our motorhome to the ground by something with an open flame. On another occasion a group of students from a Bible college was doing a concert at our church. The church members were asked if they could come up with enough spare beds to help house them after the concert. We provided room for two young men to spend the night and gave them a quick tutorial on how to operate the plumbing and air conditioning on that hot summer night. The following day when they met up with the rest of the students they were ecstatic about their stay and related it to a five star hotel.

Sporting events can be another great use for an RV. At nearby Elkhart Lake's Road America race track you can park your motorhome up against a fence and watch the race from the comfort of your own RV. Many race tracks have infield parking for RVs and are a center of action for RV groups. Tailgate parties are always prevalent at any sporting event, particularly football. An RV will allow you to have all of your cooking gear handy and you can also watch the pre-game show on your RV's entertainment system. This is so popular that the latest trend for manufacturers is to have LCD TVs mounted in a protective enclosure on the patio side of your motorhome.

Dual Basement Freezers

Then there's the run to the store. We enjoy cooking and finding great food, but it's not always found locally. For that we need to make a food run. Our motorhome is equipped with a large residential refrigerator but we went a step farther and added a pair of basement freezers. When we travel to various areas of the country we'll load up on the local foods that we can't otherwise get locally. In many cases the purpose of our trip is just to go shopping. Having the freezers sure beats having to wrap frozen food in ice packs and thermal blankets for a two to five hour drive home.

I'm sure that there are plenty of other uses for an RV. There's more functionality to them than just being a recreational vehicle or a lifeboat.

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