Nobody is immune to life changes and stressors. Yeah, I realize that I am not telling you anything that you didn’t already know, but when you simply look through the lens of social media and its unique filters, it is easy to convince ourselves that the family in the pictures must have a great life.
I mean look at their well behaved children, that delicious made from scratch meal they just prepared, and those gorgeous family vacation pictures they just posted. We take our daily scroll through instagram, facebook, twitter and others and it appears that the people in the pictures are having the time of their lives and that they must be so lucky. Sometimes we forget that this is but one snapshot in time and that they, like you, have the ups and downs of life too.
Recently, our family had a bit of a shake up to our everyday rollercoaster of life, as we know it. I have struggled for the past two months on whether to share this on the blog. However, we have had so many people reach out to us with concern for what was happening with our family and why we have not been RVing as much lately. To everyone who has sent us messages of concern and encouragement, I want to personally say thank you! It has really meant the world to us and has kept us encouraged during this time of change.
If you have been a long time follower of our social media accounts, you will know that we love to spend our Christmas breaks in Orlando, Florida. Our gift to our family is to take a relaxing trip to Orlando and enjoy the heck out of Disney World. This has been our tradition for the past three years and counting.
Well, this year we were faced with the reality that my grandmother could no longer live on her own in New Jersey. So we cut our trip short and headed back to our sticks and bricks home in Georgia to plan for grandma’s relocation to our home.
My hubby is my rock and he proved to be that and more as we traveled to New Jersey. Now under normal circumstances we would have taken our time and over the course of a month or two prepared my 97 year old grandmother for this life changing move. However, for reasons that I will not share a slow move was no longer an option. In less than a week, we packed up her entire condo, hired a mover and brought her home with us.
Needless to say it has not been easy caring for three boys under the age of 10 yrs old and managing the needs of my grandmother. It has been over two months since she has been in Georgia and we are still trying to get our footing. One of the biggest things that we miss is our ability to pack up and hit the road. I think our boys are really the ones that are affected by all of these changes because our time is split between them and grandma.
On a positive note, this has been such a wonderful opportunity to spend valuable time with my beautiful grandmother and my boys are able to really get to know their great-grandmother. What a life lesson that my boys are learning about family and how we should always take care of and honor our elders.
This has been a rough transition because it has really put a strain on our time, however it has also made us realize how valuable our time is.
Every moment that we are able to make new memories with my grandmother is priceless. Time is fleeting, so please make the time to spend now with your loved ones.
Tia Sims of CFO of Soulful RV Family, A Wife, Mother, Daughter and Granddaughter
Hey everyone! And Happy belated New year! I’m sure your wondering where we have been and how have we been doing? There’s so much to fill you all in on. I know Tia is planning on doing an in depth blog post on what and how we have been dealing with all the things that have landed on our plates.
Simply put…. Sometimes life throws you a curveball and sometimes it throws you a bucket of balls….
We are juggling a bucket of balls and trying not to drop any…….
Let me say, for the most part our family is healthy and we are very blessed…..
All the changes have affected our RV travel and we are adjusting our plans. We promise to keep you posted.
We did get a chance to attend our favorite RV show, the 2019 Florida RV Supershow in Tampa. It once again was an amazingly fun experience.
Please check out our full Tampa RV show recap blog post we wrote for FMCA , click here to read.
As we settle into our “new normal”, we have planned some RV centered escapes …
We will be writing a full blog post on our upcoming trip to Utah for the first RVX experienced show.
We are so excited about that trip. And then, we cannot miss the 99th FMCA Convention which is practically in our backyard down in Perry, Ga. Blog post about that trip will be coming as well. Let us know if any of you will be at either event, we would love to meet our followers.
I guess that’s it for now, thanks for hanging in there with us while we have been occupied dealing with family issues.
It is crazy to us, but we have friends that still ask us why we chose to travel in our RV rather than just travel by plane. My response is still the same. There is nothing better than the feeling we get when we load the family up in the RV and hit the road for an extended road trip.
We love our travels because it gives us the opportunity to explore new places and include these rich experiences in the education of our boys. We have so much freedom during our RV travels to switch things up, that to compare it to air travel would be like comparing spinach to ice cream.
Also, because we travel so often, it is important for us to stick to our homeschool schedule as much as possible. We began using Sonlight’s core curriculum this year mainly because of homeschool fatigue that I experienced last year.
Please click this link to read my blog about my homeschool fatigue.
I turned to Sonlight’s literature based curriculum in hopes that it would take the extra burden of teacher planning off my plate so that I could enjoy this educational journey with my boys. I fell in love with Sonlight immediately. But in the back of my mind I feared that it may be difficult to travel with in an RV. The true test for our family would be if this curriculum would be as easy to use on the road as it was to utilize at home.
Our maiden voyage with Sonlight in tow would provide me with the proof that I needed; that I indeed, made a sound decision for our traveling homeschool family. As you can imagine, when we are traveling during the traditional public school year, the majority of the families that we encounter at the campgrounds are homeschoolers, as well. The means by which they educate their children are as varied as the families themselves.
Several times during our most recent trip, we were asked about how we like the Sonlight Curriculum and how feasible is it for full-timers to use. As RVers we have to be very intentional about what we bring into our tiny homes because space is at a premium.
Honestly, we are not yet full-time RVers but we do understand that adding a large box of curriculum is not feasible for many RV families. Of course, if you have only one child that you are homeschooling or if your children are close enough in age where you are able to share a curriculum, it is possible to make room for this curriculum. If you have more that one curriculum level like we do, there are options for you too.
For example we currently have three children that use Sonlight. Our two oldest kiddos are working through Core D+E, which includes roughly 40 books which they share. It sounds like a lot but the bulk of these books are small paperback readers that do not take up much space in the RV. I was able to fit them all into one overhead cabinet in the RV. If you are already homeschooling in your rig, then you already have space set aside for your homeschooling materials.
My youngest is working on the Core B, which we decided to approach in a different way. I think that this is probably the easiest way for fulltime RVers to enjoy Sonlight across grade levels. We chose to purchase only the Instructors Guides and worksheets for him. This gives us the opportunity to look for the required books at the local library, borrow ebooks online or order them through Amazon as needed. Doing things this way does require that I take the time to look through the curriculum ahead of schedule and plan my purchases or place holds through our library system. But in the end I still enjoy the curriculum while not eating up too much coveted storage space in our tiny home on wheels.
We are currently only two months into our Sonlight journey, but so far it has been smooth sailing and we couldn’t be more pleased with our decision to switch to this curriculum. Please let us know if you are using Sonlight on the road and how it is working for you. Do you have any other tips to make traveling in the Sonlight even more enjoyable? We would love to hear your ideas and feedback.
Tia Sims – Homeschooling Mom of Soulful RV Family
*Many thanks to Sonlight for sponsoring much of the material that will be used this year. If you are interested in finding out more about Sonlight and their curriculum offerings you will find a link to their website below. As we journey through this new curriculum, we will also be utilizing it to plan some destinations to incorporate learning into our road trips.
Football is truly America’s game. Whether you are a fan of high school, college or NFL. It wasn’t always my game. Growing up everyone told me I was going to be a football player. I wasn’t so sure. I love playing backyard football with my friends, but every time I thought about playing organized football, something for in my way. And the one year that everything seems to line up, my age matched my weight category, I broke my wrist skateboarding! Finally the day came when I would play my first season of football. it was My freshman year in high school. Shockingly, I actually hated playing football. So all those people were wrong. At the end of that season, I swore off football forever. But isn’t it funny how things can change quickly? My high school got a new Varsity head football coach and he noticed me working my summer job as a janitor. He bugged me all summer to come play football. In the end he made me this deal, try it for 2 weeks and if I wasn’t having fun he would leave me alone. Well, two week later I had earned the starting defensive tackle position on the Varsity football team and my love affair with game of football began.
From that point I went on to be an All-state OT/DT and earn a football scholarship to Iowa State. After starting there for four years, the HOF Coach Don Shula drafted me in the 2nd round of the NFL draft. After 11 year battling in the trenches of the NFL and earning 3 Pro Bowl berths, injuries forced me to retire from the game I love. Whether it was Saturdays before college games or Sunday mornings in the NFL, gameday was an intoxicating time. I have never experienced the same feelings that game-day delivers. I know a part of the football experience that millions will never get to experience, but I also found out that I was missing out on another part of the football experience; football tailgating.
Football tailgating is the way 99% of the football fans have been enjoying this great game. I am in that 1% that had not enjoyed the entire tailgating experience. That had to change.
High school tailgating experience…
My oldest son was a good football player on a pretty good private school team. I did my best never to miss a game. Yes, I was that nervous Dad in the stands. I watched everything he did, each play. Of course I had to arrive early, no way would I miss even a single snap. His junior season, his team made it all the way to the conference championship game. It was held at FAU football stadium.
What a great time to drive my RV into the parking lot and try some high school football tailgating! The RV was the perfect complement for the championship game. We grilled and enjoyed the pregame events for hours until kickoff. Seeing my son win the game and capture the championship was a priceless moment. I was totally hooked on football tailgating after that!
College tailgating – The Cyclone way…
Moving from high school to college football, you would expect another level in tailgating right? Well, College tailgating certainly didn’t disappointment me. I know each college has its own pre-football game rituals that makes their home games special. Let me tell you at Iowa State University, the Cyclones take pride in their tailgating.
It’s a 2-3 day event, with most of the RV’s arriving in the RV lot on Friday afternoon. When I played there our coach has us players walk through the large tailgating area before heading to the locker-room. I had no idea as a player, how much that simple tradition meant to the fans. It be that up-close and personal with the players before they take the field is pretty cool. When I tailgated in this area for the first time, I was completely blown away.
I had so much fun! The fans were so great and welcoming to me as a former player. I went from tailgate party to party getting plates of food and drinks handed to me. Talking with fans about the upcoming game and signing autographs. I even met someone whose parents had purchased my practice jersey at an action, He says he has worn that jersey to every home game since I turned pro.
When he asked me to sign it for him I was honored. Talk about an incredible humbling experience. I can’t wait to do more college tailgating.
Pro football tailgating
Going back to tailgate at my home pro football stadium in Miami may have be the most humbling experience of my life. I was blessed to have spent 8 great seasons protecting a HOF QB, Dan Marino ,and making Pro Bowls for that performance.
Miami fans just don’t not forget their great players of the past. I have been blessed to have been inducted into the Miami Dolphins Walk of Fame and to recently be voted to their 50th university Top 50 players of All-time teams.
So going back to the now named Hard Rock stadium is truly a homecoming. Miami tailgate food is on a completely new level . You will find stone crabs, steak, every type of seafood, to simple triple stuffed hamburgers. Seeing fans all decked out in teams jerseys, singing the fight song definitely gets you pumped up for kickoff. I even ran into a few that wore my Dolphins jersey.
What I have learned about football tailgating is it’s not just about the game. Football is basically the excuse to get out and party. Sharing great food and fun with old friends or new who support the same team that you do.
Even in these split allegiance parking lots where wearing the wrong jersey can get you a ton of grief, there still in a kinship. Heck, a respect for those who support their teams. I’m a big fan of RV football tailgating. Time to check he schedules and see what games I’ll be tailgating at this season.
Special thanks to Road and Home for sponsoring this post. Whether you planning a RV football tailgate or just a simple weekend getaway, check out Road and home website for all your RV basic needs. Well, I hope you enjoyed my inside look at football tailgating from a new prospective. And if you know of a great football tailgate for me to visit, please let me know in the comments.
We have been RVing for a little over five years, and in that time we’ve owned three different RVs upgrading to a newer model each time. Most RVers learn that no matter how hard they have searched for that perfect RV, after you’ve owned it for a little bit you will always find at least a few things that you would add or change. In our first two RV’s we choose to purchase a different RV rather than make significant changes ourselves. Part of the reason we chose that path was we felt we were still getting our feet wet in the RV world. I’m sure that’s the case with most of you also.
Does it seem like just when you’re getting to know every inch or sound in your RV that the camping season comes to an end? I have spoken with a few RVing friends and they express those exact frustrations. Many of you may fall in the same category as we do, while your desire is to make major changes to your RV, your skill level to do those changes is severely lacking. Now yes, there are plenty of places you could take your RV to have a professional do your remodeling, and I highly recommend those places for major remodels. What about if you want to do some light remodeling? We have enjoyed following more than a few RVers on YouTube as they go through renovations to their RVs. For us we weren’t ready to do a major renovation. We do have one big thorn in our side. Our RV has no bunks for the kids.
But the other major issue we had with the RV when we purchased it was the lack of Wi-Fi or cellular booster. Technology has changed so much in the last few years and availability of aftermarket products has greatly increased.
So instead of waiting for a service professional to do the system install, we decided to tackle it ourselves or should I say myself. Now I fancy myself as a gadget geek who is not afraid to tinker with many electronic systems and computer systems in our household. So the thought of adding a Wi-Fi router system and a cellular booster to our coach got my toes tingling.
There was one area that I was very nervous about and that was making any type of roof penetration on the RV. One of the biggest problems for RV repairs is water penetration problems. That part of the install scared me to death. I didn’t want to be the one to be solving one problem yet creating a bigger more costly problem later. So maybe you can say I cheated a little bit.
I decided to hire my dealership who does all the repairs to handle the running of the wires and roof install. That way I allowed the professionals that do this every single day to ensure that the roof penetration was done correctly and sealed correctly.
Not to mention the benefit of me not having to try to climb up on top of that roof I really don’t think RV Roofs were made for 300 pound former football players to be crawling around on top of it.
After the pros finished running the wires inside the RV, it was time for me to get to work. I had already predetermined the final location of the units.
All that was left for me to do was secure the unit to the wall, connect the antenna cable that ran up to the roof and connect power. Sounds simple right? Well now the real work begins, but this is the technical computer type work.
After getting the unit powered up, I download the updated software, set up new access codes and was ready to go.
Probably like many of you I use the app Speedtest to check my Internet speed. So I tested my current cellular speed without the use of the booster;
then I compared it to the speeds I got once I had my booster up and running. What’s the difference? I can easily say the speed boost was well worth the price of the unit.
I know some of you RVers maybe read this cynically. You may choose to RV and boondock out in the middle of nowhere to get away from technology, cell phones and Wi-Fi. And that’s awesome, that’s great, I have no issue with that but for our family since we’re on the road so much, we need access to the Internet for kids homeschool and for the work we do. Having reliable internet connections, just makes it possible for us to be away from our homebase as much as we are.
So I know we all tend to be judgemental of others and without all the information; I want to give you this little tip next time you’re at a campground and you see someone on a device. They may be freeing themselves up by working at the campground to they can do those incredibly fun experiences yet still get work done.
Now that I have conquered this upgrade, I’m ready to tackle more. So if you’re thinking about making changes to your RV, go ahead and do it even if some items are out of your comfort zone, don’t be afraid to use experts to handle aspects above your pay grade. On to my next project….
See you out at the campground
Keith and Tia Sims email@example.com
Special thanks to Road and home for sponsoring this post. Please check out their website roadandhome.com for many of your RVing needs.
We all see the incredible pictures on social media of families out enjoying the RV lifestyle. Whether they are beach camping, heading out to a national park, or simply tucked in a beautiful mountain site by a bubbling stream, all this is true and obtainable in the RV lifestyle.
But what about if something in the RV breaks? I don’t even know if I should use an If, it’s more like when. The number one reality for all RVers is things are going to break, period. It doesn’t matter if you bought brand new or rebuilt a 20-year-old rig. These RVsare moving homes rolling down this nation’s highways. Pothole after pothole, jarring loose screws, nuts and wires. So, what to do when the inevitable happens? Let me share my experience and how it changed my RVing forever.
Like most RVers, I’ve had to deal with many minor repair issues. I’ve had my sewer hose cut by a lawn mower, I’ve lost a sewer connection cap and I’ve had AC fuses blow and then blow again. None of that phased me, not that I was preparedbut those unexpected RV repairs were nothing compared to the toilet issue. Where do I start?
One Broken Toilet Changed My Mind…
Before I begin, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I’m a 6 foot 3, 280-poundformer NFL offensive lineman. I spent 11 years battling in the trenches of the NFL.
I can handle most things thrown at me. I personally can handle small repair issues around the house, but I would never claim to be a “handy”, or “fix-it” type of husband. Now when it comes to computers and electronics, I’m your guy. Car engine trouble, plumbing, etc., you need to call a professional. But knowing that RVs tend to have repair issues, I decided to try to learn more about my RV. I enrolled in a RV inspection course, not because I wanted to become an RV inspector.
But because they claimed they could teach me how to handle about 90% of the repair issues that most RVers face. So, I took the course, passed with flying colors, and learned a ton about RVs.
We have 1 1/2 baths our RV and we love the convenience of having that extra toilet. The ½ bath is useful but tucked into a rather small space. One day, my wife was doing something in the 1/2 bath and knocked one of the command hooks (don’t we RVers love our command hooks?) into the toilet. The toilet has an electric flush with a macerator. Somehow the switch was hit and all you could hear was the terrible sound of the macerator trying to chew up the metal part of the hook. By the time I got to the toilet, it was too late. I could tell that the metal of the command hook was stuck in the toilet macerator. Keep in mind; we are at a campground in the middle of the Smoky Mountains. Oh, and did I mention it was a Sunday? All I could think about was how much a mobile RV tech would charge. So, I sat outside in my favorite camping chair stewing about the pain of this upcoming bill.
Time to Step Up
Then and there I decided to take a stand. I had been through some training; I thought I could handle the issue, or at least try. I went in and assessed the situation; the toilet would have to come out if there was any chance to remove the metal hook. Now for the real question…do I have the tools to remove the toilet? Of course I didn’t, but one of the things I love the most about the RV community is its willingness to help. I checked with a few neighbors and one of them had the tools I needed. Note to self: make sure you have the right tools to handle minor issues.
Now that I had the right tools, I dove right in. I was able to loosen and remove the nuts and bolts and lift the toilet up. Keep in mind how small this space is, and you’ll understand how I felt like I was crammed into a closet as I wrestled with the toilet.
Sweating and my back aching, I was able to reach down into the macerator and remove the metal command hook.
I can’t tell you the sense of relief I felt as I set the toilet back down in its place. After tightening the last nut, I felt those nervous butterflies in my stomach.
Would the toilet still work? Had I made any mistakes? I knew I got the hook out, but was there further damage that I had not noticed? Only one way to tell – hit the flush button. So, I reached out and pushed the button…the sound of a flushing toilet was never sweeter. Success, I”t worked” had successfully fixed the problem and it hadn’t cost me $100/hour for a RV tech. You want to know the best part? My father-in-law was a handyman and could fix or do anything from electrical work to remodeling an entire kitchen; he was your man. My wife learned a ton from her father and I admit it’s always intimidated me that she knows so much about repairs. But after I fixed the toilet, she was really proud of my effort and me. That meant the world to me…and I’m now confident and ready to tackle the next issue that creeps up.
My 6 Major Lessons Learned….
The “Must – Haves”– Having some of what I call the “must have”tools on board can be a lifesaver. While there are Home Depot’s and Lowe’s all across this nation, you may be in the one location where a big hardware store is inaccessible or just simply closed.
The pre-camping season checkupI recommend a full system test for all the systems in the RV. If you don’t store your RV at your house, bring the RV home to your driveway. Do a complete test of every system – heating, cooling, propane, etc. Try to schedule this run through a few weeks prior to your 1st camping trip of the season. That will hopefully allow some time for you to schedule any needed repairs with your local dealership.
Pre-trip check-in – We use our RV much more than the typical RV owner’s 30 days per year, but I still check up on my RV prior to departing. I’ll say it again, things do break in RVs. Spending an hour or two testing each system, checking tire pressures, and checking battery water levels can save you so much hassle and stress.
Have extras– I’ve learned that all RVs are not made the same. It’s no different in many things we buy today. Keeping a few extra key items in your RV as backups can keep an unfortunate issue from ruining an entire vacation.
Tip– Check out Road & Home’s Ready for the Road Checklist and stock up on all the essential items all RVers should have on hand. Having these easy-to-replaceparts on hand could save you a trip to the store and headache down the road. And it might just make you a hero for at least that day!
If you are not that handy – or just not confident in your repair skills, take a course. There are plenty of places you can expand your knowledge of how RVs work, whether you check our seminars at FMCA rallies, use online tools, or even take the class I took, NRVIA, you won’t be sorry.
*Special thanks to Road & Home for sponsoring this post and allowing me to share my toilet repair story. You may not be able to stop a 300-poundefensive lineman in his track, but you can learn to handle many of the repairs in your RV. I hope my story inspires some of you to learn to handle more of your RV repair issues*
Our Soulful RV Family is getting ready to ring in the new school year! This year however I have decided that it is time to make a few changes. Now rest assured that we will still be hitting the road for some awesome road trips but this year our travels will be much more purposeful in our destination picks. With so many changes this mama has more than a bad case of first day jitters!
Let me explain. I have been a homeschooling/roadschooling mama for roughly the past four years now. Up until this moment my preferred style has been quite eclectic. By that I mean that I love being able to pull my resources from various websites, programs, curriculums and books. Simply put, I just like to have complete and total control over the lesson planning process. Personally, I think that I have done a pretty good job to this point.
But something unexpected happened in the middle of our school year. I came down with an awful affliction that up until that moment I had only heard of. Yes, it hit me….homeschool fatigue. My fellow homeschoolers tell me that it is common among moms that take on too much and refuse help because, well to put it in my own words….I got this!
I would spend hours feverishly scouring Pinterest pages for cool projects and ideas, then I would check a few of my favorite websites for worksheets and printouts; all the while transferring these awesome finds into my online planner that each of my students had their own login access to. Did I mention the links to cool youtube videos to bring my lessons to life? Or what about all those sleepless nights, multiple cups of coffee consumed and large bags under my eyes? Oh and what about the mornings that my precious offspring decided that they didn’t like my lesson that I spent all night printing, cutting and making that last minute run to the dollar store to prepare for them?
It became obvious that I was just doing too much. As of last school year, even my hubby who has from the beginning loved his position of Principal of our homeschool saw that I was burning the candle at both ends stepped up to the plate and took over the task of teaching Math and Science. Any normal person would have used that as breathing room to dial it back a little. Not me, I used it as my personal commitment to use that time to do more.
Needless to say by the end of our school year I was toast….burnt toast! I think I enjoyed the summer break more than my kids did.
As I sit here today I cannot believe that I put myself through that. That old cliche is so true. Hindsight is 20/20. This year I have decided to make a change in my approach. I have decided to try out an all-in-one homeschool curriculum called Sonlight. I have been really debating that since I stopped at their booth in not one but two homeschool conventions that we attended this year. I am in love with their literature rich approach to teaching history and language arts. My husband is excited to get started on their science program, which includes all of the items he needs to teach the concepts and the materials needed to do the experiments. Sonlight also uses that math curriculum that we have been wanting to try for a while.
The question at hand is still looming. Will I be able to let go of the reins that I have held tight for so long and allow Sonlight to be my guide this year? No more late nights of planning curriculum because the work is already done. The best part for me will be snuggling with my boys, reading these awesome books that promise to walk us through learning this year. I am so excited and I hope that this is an answer to my prayers.
Tia Sims – CEO of Soulful RV Family and Homeschooling Mom
*Many thanks to Sonlight for sponsoring much of the material that will be used this year. If you are interested in finding out more about Sonlight and their curriculum offerings you will find a link to their website below. As we journey through this new curriculum, we will also be utilizing it to plan some destinations to incorporate learning into our road trips.
We hope your summer travel has started, or is just about to start. We have had a busy Spring traveling not just for fun and homeschool, but now our boys have gotten into Karate tournaments. With that alone, we have taken RV trips from Ga, to NC, TN and FL. Truthfully, it was just another great reason to fire up our motor home and travel!
Aside from that, I had a chance to spend a few days checking out the 2018 FMCA Expo and Convention in Perry, GA. Since we aren’t big “rally” people, we weren’t that excited about attending. But with all the recent changes in FMCA, we decided to give it another try. So we partnered with Go RVing and Keith decided to head down and see first hand some of those changes.
FMCA’s newly named monthly magazine reflects the future of the club, while still honoring its history..
We wrote about the experience in Our latest Go RVing blog post
How many people have considered renting their RV? If you’re anything like us, one of the main reasons why you got the RV is not to share it with the general public. My Wife Tia is not a full fledge Germophobic but she’s on the 3-yard line about to score a touchdown against germ warfare. So we have shied away from any opportunity to rent a RV but recently a situation arose and we were forced to be more open-minded about the idea of renting out our RV. Well, not really our RV but my mother-in-law’s RV.
You see it’s become more and more apparent that the comfort level of my mother-in-law driving her 36 foot class a motorhome is diminishing, and to have such a nice, expensive RV sitting there and not getting much use while you’re still making those monthly payments doesn’t make a lot of sense; so I began to broach the idea with her of renting out her RV.
How About Renting Out the RV?
As you can imagine she had the same concerns and out right for years that we have about lending our RV to other people. Will they maintain it and take care of it like owner does? What if they’re not clean? What if they do damage to the RV and we have to chase him/her down and battle insurance companies to try to figure out how to get my RV repaired? Well that’s where a new opportunity has popped up and you see companies like Outdoorsy or RV Steer Pop Up to fill the void.
Yes I’m talking about peer-to-peer RV rentals. I took a look at both companies and decided to create a profile for her RV on outdoorsy. It was actually a rather simple process adding pictures and information about the RV setting up your calendar to let potential renters know when the RV was available. I sat back and waited not knowing when or how long it would take for someone to show interest in my mother-in-law‘s RV. But that wait wasn’t very long, within the first two weeks of having a profile up, we got multiple inquiries about potential rentals and that’s when the rubber hits the road. Are you really going to rent out the RV to a total stranger?
So I shifted through potential renters and one seemed like he was a pretty good fit. I sent him an invoice/proposal; we worked out the terms and set up the rental. Outdoorsy has the tools right there on the website from the rental agreement to pre and post check-in agreements. They also have a service that will verify the DL of the renter. To me that is a great service that added to my peace of mind. The deposits were collected by Outdoorsy and everything was all booked.
Getting the RV Ready for the Renter.
A few days before the rental date, I picked up the RV from storage because we wanted to make sure everything was working correctly and to clean it out. It was a strange feeling removing all the personal items for the RV.
The RV was cleaned and I made sure the sewerage tanks were dumped and washed out. I even put some drop-ins to make sure there wouldn’t be any “toilet” smell in the RV. Checking tire pressures and filling the fresh water tanks were last on my checklist. I set up the meeting location to be at our RV dealership (NIRVC), where the RV happens to be stored. I took full advantage of one of their many great services and got the RV washed. The only thing left was waiting for the renter to arrive.
The WalkThrough…and Hand-off
I’ll admit that I got a little nervous once my renter arrived. I just wanted everything to go smoothly. My renter, let’s call him Fred, was experienced driving Motorhomes in the past. I went over my checklist with him, we signed the Outdoorsy paperwork, and we did an external exam and checked for any damage. Finally, We also went over all the systems for arrival and departure of a campground. With everything covered, I exited the RV and Fred drove off. Yes, my heart sank a little watching the RV turn right at the intersection while I turned left. As I drove home, a crazy thought ran through my mind… would I ever see the RV again?
Fred turned out to be a great renter. He texted me a few pictures of the RV all set up at the fairgrounds.
He didn’t have to do that, but it certainly put my mind at ease. Then less than 24 hours before the return time I got a text I dreaded….”something was wrong with the RV”. My heart sank. Crazy thoughts began to run through my mind, with all sorts of possible problems. I immediately texted Fred, “what’s going on?” After what seemed like an eternity, he responded. There was an issue with the RV door lock not working. Thank goodness that Fred was an experienced renter and didn’t panic. Now to be truthful, I’ve had issues with that lock in the past, but didn’t want to spend the money to have it replaced at that time. It was repaired and lasted a few more months before finally giving out just when we rented the RV for the first time. Like I couldn’t see that one coming?
Return day finally came, and I arrived about 30 minutes before the scheduled drop off time. I had asked Fred to text me when he was leaving to head my way. It was a 3-hour drive back to my location. Then it happened again, I got a text saying “they had some trouble, so they were delayed about an extra hour”. Now, Fred should have known better than to send a text like that with such limited information. Of course our minds are thinking the worst. Did the door (with the broken lock) fly open while they were driving and something or someone fell out? Once again my heart was pounding while waiting for a detailed answer. Turns out this time he was having some issues with his horse trailer.
Upon his arrival, we went through the return forms and I checked for any possible damages; of which there were none. Fred was nervous about the lock, because renters are responsible for any type of damages during the rental period. I felt it best to put his mind at ease concerning the lock, and I would not charge him for that issue, as it was certainly the right thing to do. We shook hands and parted ways and he hopped in an Uber and was gone in a flash.
I admit it was pretty scary just getting comfortable with the idea of renting the RV because we all have so much tied up in our RV’s. I’m not just talking about the money invested in the RV but also all the memories we have made along the way, and we want everyone to know and feel how special our RV’s can be to our families.
Heck, it’s part of the family. Most RVer’s have special names for their rigs (ours is named Jersey Ms2).
With all that being said, let’s address the $10,000 question” – Will we rent it again?”
Yes, we will definitely rent again and use Outdoorsy. . I really like the protections and assistance provided by Outdoorsy. I’m curious about another peer-to-peer RV rental company; RVshare and will likely list the RV on that site as well.
So what do you think? Will you rent your RV? Let us know your thoughts.
See you out on the road…
Soulful RV Family
Note – Outdoorsydid not sponsor this post or our rental experience.
We are so pleased to announce that we partnered with Camping World to shoot a video showcasing our families passion for the RV lifestyle. RVing brings our family such joy and we love to share our experiences with all.
Please check out the full video by clicking the following link