The Solo RV Travel Life

Solo RV travel, as a lifestyle, is one of which I've only scratched the surface. It's exciting, challenging, freeing and full of amazing experiences and beauty. No two days are alike unless, maybe, you want them to be. And even then surprises are always a possibility!

In this peaceful BLM campground in Afton Canyon, along the mostly underground Mojave River in California, I witnessed an avalanche and two men who barely missed being hit by a train on the nearby trestle bridge.

If that isn't surprising nothing is. My heart was in my mouth both times. I was lucky to get a picture of the avalanche as it was happening!

Once, when returning from a hike, I was so caught up in watching two men run for their lives while they were on a bridge, I forgot to take pictures of their escape. I really wasn't sure they would make it. I kept thinking how crazy they were!

As soon as I knew they were safe, I composed myself and shot them after they scooted down through the railing onto the safety of the outside girder of the bridge.

I was able to meet up with them as they walked from the bridge back to their car to leave, where they laughed about the adrenalin rush they just had being better than coffee.

After giving them a tour of my rig and telling them a little about my solo travel adventure I agreed to send them the pictures I took of the train passing them as they sat and recovered.

One replied, after viewing the pictures, that he had no idea how close a call it was! And I'd missed the best shot!

But as I started to say, deciding where to go, what route to take, how long to get there and what to see along the way is solely up to you. Or is it?

Camped at Afton Canyon Campground in CACamped at Afton Canyon Campground in CA
Avalanche in Afton Canyon, CAAvalanche in Afton Canyon, CA
Lucky guys who just missed being hit by a trainLucky guys who just missed being hit by a train

This is where the adventure of solo RV travel comes in. You never know what you'll encounter or who you'll meet that may cause you to linger an hour, a day, or even a week longer or take one road and not another or even make a stop you hadn't planned. Being open to what's being given to you makes for the real stuff of life.

Enjoying the Solo RV Travel Ride

At first I found it hard, traveling solo, to slow down and not be on a schedule, especially since I had a plan to visit all of the Missions on The Camino Real in California. And visit them all I did. Given that these were mostly in urban areas the logistics of camping, and the cost in California, forced the pace a little and ushered in my first experiences with stealth camping. This was a crash course and, all in all, a wonderful experience I want more of.

As a solo RV traveler, I have to remind myself time and again that this is a lifestyle change so as not to become too single minded about the destinations I want to see. I have to coach myself to chill out, allow things to develop. I'm still learning this. Of course, you will probably have your own difficult traits to battle that prove contrary to your solo RV travel lifestyle and vagabonding ways.

And speaking of the ride . . . driving is one of my favorite things to do. It not only provides a window on a world of beauty, but for the solo RV traveler it can be a rolling concert hall, a book reading or a sanctuary of silence that refreshes the soul. How about a classroom where you can learn to speak Spanish?

Solo RV Travel: Responsibilities


Solo RV travel has another concern for me as well. As a woman traveling alone, I keep vigilant, locking my van when I'm away from it at all times. I lock it when I'm inside for the night or have all the shades down, blocking my view of the outside. Though I have never felt unsafe, it is just plain common sense to use a prevent defense. It's not paranoia to lock your doors in a highway rest area both when you are in or out of your RV; it's plain street smarts. Of course, male or female, it wouldn't hurt to have a can of pepper spray handy! I keep one by the door.

Another precaution, solo RV traveler or not, is to have a second set of keys in a high quality magnetic box planted in a secure and accessible but not obvious place on the vehicle. I learned this the hard way even after being advised to do this. Lucky for me a camp host in the Ozarks had a long wire and a son who “had not found a door he couldn't unlock yet”. I stopped at the next Walmart on Interstate 40 in Arkansas and bought an excellent magnetic box in the automotive service department.

At first sight most people assume I am with someone. I have two camp chairs set up that tend to give this impression. But really, it's because I want to be able to invite someone to sit and chat or share a cup of coffee. I've been given no reason to pretend to anyone that I'm not by myself. And, ironically, I seem to get a lot of respect for solo RVing.

RV Care and Maintenance

The solo RV traveler has vehicle care placed solely on their shoulders too. I look at it this way, a simple attentiveness and a willingness to learn goes a long way. And with all of the distractions of a hectic lifestyle left behind it's easier to stay focused, learn new tasks and develop a routine to care for an RV.

Basic to maintaining any vehicle is keeping all fluids at their proper levels. I use Jiffy Lube, a national chain, since they will top off all fluids and check tire air pressure between your last and next service. I pop the caps off on my house batteries every 6 weeks or so and keep a jug of distilled water to top them off. Pretty simple.

With a 19 ft van camper, this solo RVer keeps a handle on clean with a few simple tools. I use a small Rubbermaid hand held stiff whisk broom and dustpan for the everyday cleanups and a hand held Dirt Devil for the deep clean when I'm hooked up to electricity. I also keep lots of microfiber towels and cloths for cleaning inside and outside. Yellow for outside, blue for inside and white for my personal use. And they work great with just plain water!

I gave my van a good hand wash and hardcoat polish with Dri Wash n Guard, my folks have used for years on their RV's that has since made it easier to remove the road dirt with simple water and these towels.

Screen repair is another simple job I've tackled that only requires a small hand tool (mine came with instructions) and materials, all available at any hardware store. And it's easier than most craft projects!

The water and septic holding tanks must also be maintained. With these a little preventive maintenance goes a long way. Using the proper chemicals is a must, for you, your tanks, the septic systems involved and the environment. I highly recommend Unique Natural Products RV Digest It Holding Tank Treatment which can be found on my RV Accessories review page. I use in for both tanks!

Minimizing food, oils and hair from entering the drains and gray water tank goes a long way to eliminating backups and slow draining. Paper towels, used to clean off dishes, (better yet, use paper plates) pots and pans before washing is very cheap insurance. And you'll use less water as a result. I also have a great Pampered Chef scraper tool that gets even cooked on goop, like oatmeal, off the pan in a jiffy. Try up-cycling an old credit card by cutting a couple of different shaped curves on the opposite corners for a homemade version.

Dumping the tanks is a little more work for the RVer traveling solo. You may make more trips in and out of the rig to run the hose into the toilet to wand rinse the tank or fill the sink to do a final flush. And the first few times it will certainly feel like a comedy of errors, but remember to keep your sense of humor so it remains a comedy. It will go smoother with practice. Anyway, what's the rush!

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