An iPad with the GPS directions sits on a Class C RV's dashboard. It says, "Continue Straight - 1812 miles".

We made it home! We discovered that driving in giant chunks is definitely a better way to go… at least, it is if you have to work.

Jason drives the RV through mountainous terrain with Louie the eclectus parrot on his shoulder.
Is driving with a parrot on your shoulder the safest thing to do? No. Definitely not. Did it save the birdies’ sanity on 36 hours of straight driving? Yes!

If you don’t have to work, the 3-by-3-by-3 rule is important. Drive three hours (if you get tired out by driving) or three hundred miles or until 3 pm, whichever comes first—then stay for three days.

Some things that happened:

1. We blew a tire.

One thing that we learned the hard way is that your RV tires can look and feel totally fine on the outside, but be totally and completely shredded. Before we embarked on our 36+ hour trip home (thank you, construction traffic), Jason had the good sense to check the tire pressure on all ten of our tires.

One didn’t have a reading. xD Jason felt around to the back and discovered that while it was rolling along just fine and looked totally normal, it was… not. The entire back side of the tire was gone.

We called six different places in the middle of nowhere Tennessee, and it turns out that Discount Tire could not only match our exact tire, but also put it on for us in the same day. Save that tip for a rainy day!

A Discount Tire worker installs a tire on a Class C RV.

We are so grateful—and so lucky! The drive was much smoother once we got that sorted out.

On the plus side, I now know how to drive an RV with a blown out tire safely. So that’s cool!

2. We discovered that a home washer/dryer is a total luxury.

Slipping into our clean bedsheets at home and putting on non-laundromat clothes was an EXPERIENCE.

Goodness, the luxury of clean, silky clothing and sheets was missed—and I didn’t even know it! We did laundry weekly at various campsites, but by the end of our trip, all our clothes and our bedsheets had a fine layer of what felt like very fine sandpaper. I’m currently wearing a jumper (of which I have many in the same style/fabric in different colors) but the contrast between our home-laundered clothes and the ones we ran through campsite washers/dryers… is very different.

Jason and I both have ADHD, complete with sensory issues. I don’t think we could full-time it ever, knowing what we now know. By week four, we were constantly uncomfortable and couldn’t quite tell you why.

For those of you who have friends who visit and whom you like enough to help out, lend them your washer and dryer. In retrospect, what I wouldn’t have given for luxuriously clean and soft bedding!

3. Rain was the absolute bane of our existence. 

We expected our time in Denver to go very differently—we expected… Dry. Arid. HOT.

Instead, it poured buckets, over and over again, which turned our happy camper into a dirty mess. Even concrete pads and puppy foot wipes aren’t enough to keep the dirt from creeping into your bedsheets.

We learned some smelly lessons from the rain:

  • Your RV vents aren’t super waterproof — if you leave them open by accident during a torrential downpour, you WILL come back to a giant puddle inside your RV!
  • If you forget to re-open aforementioned air vents, and only leave the one above your bed open, it will suck air up from your black tank… at three a.m. (My nose may never recover.)
  • De-humidifers go a long way! We have a tiny one in a cabinet and it helped dry out the RV, which prevented mildew and fog on all the windows.

We also couldn’t leave the dogs for long on days when it rained non-stop.

First, they wouldn’t do their business (in the MUD and FREEZING RAIN? How very dare we?!)

Because we couldn’t walk them or take them to many a soggy dog park, we couldn’t leave them, lest we risk coming back to a shredded couch. This made socializing a challenge—all the outdoor patios we dreamed of and beautiful garden walks and glorious mountain trails were sodden messes. 

Fortunately, a great many breweries are dog-friendly on the inside. It made dining a challenge, but we drank our weight in local craft beers! 

Overall Impressions?

We had a fabulous time when the weather held. We were ready to head home probably two weeks before we were able to due to work obligations, so we’ll likely make a point to avoid needing to be somewhere… or aim to keep our trips to four weeks max.

Jason stands in a conference room, presenting to his colleagues. Louie the eclectus parrot is on his shoulder as he speaks.
Jason, hard at work during a week-long conference in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Because we both work, we’ll likely aim to leave on Fridays, drive like hell to get where we’re going, then rest Sunday-Friday. This means that we’ll likely keep our RV excursions to the East side of the country.

However, we are able to work together while sharing a small space with all our birdies and puppies. The freedom this allows is… incredible.

How do you deal with the rain on long RV trips? What do you do for keeping your laundry and sheets fresh and clean? Leave a comment with your best RV tips! 😀