Like a lot of people our travel plans have been preempted by the pandemic. In our case, we had already decided to shorten our travel adventure this year as we are serving as interim pastor at Houston’s Southwest Church of the Nazarene.
And, not that this will come as a surprise to you, summers in Texas are hot! In our case, we are near the Gulf Coast, so not only is it hot but it is humid too. Not a fun mix. Not only that, but there’s no shade.
Our motorhome has two air conditioners. The bedroom a/c does a good job of keeping things cool. The living room unit, though, struggles to keep up. We’ve made six adjustments that make a big difference.
Of course, we keep the front window curtains drawn. Not only that, but we have giant sunshades (similar to what people use in their cars) for these windows. We certainly miss the view out of our big “picture window” but this is the number one thing that keeps things comfortable in our living room.
It probably goes without saying, but I keep an eye on the air conditioner filters. Running as much as the units are, the filters need cleaning a couple of times a month.
Another big improvement is adding Reflectix to several windows. This is a heat reflecting insulation that is cut to fit. We have put this product on our west facing windows as well as on other seldom used windows.
The next thing we have done is install curtains the width of the rig behind the driver’s/passenger’s seats, creating a sort of vestibule. This keeps the cool air from the a/c concentrated in our living room and kitchen and helps trap the warm air from opening the front door in the front of the rig. There’s around a 5 degree difference between the driving area and the living room.
We are running a couple of electric fans that keep the air moving. One of the fans is an oscillating tower that makes a nice difference.
Finally, as long as the hot wind isn’t blowing too hard, in the afternoons we leave the awning extended on the curb side of the rig. This shades the west side of the motorhome and keeps the walls from heating up.
We know that the best RV summer solution is moving to a cooler spot. However, there are times when that isn’t possible and “all the above” does help us stay comfortable.
So what are your tips for weathering summer heat and humidity in a RV?
The coronavirus outbreak is a fluid situation. Today’s guidance from officials may be outdated by this evening. To some extent we are all just waiting for the next domino to fall. Fulltime RVers aren’t exempt from all the uncertainty. The other day I saw a meme on Facebook picturing a class C parked alone on a peninsula overlooking a pretty lake. The caption, meant to bring a smile, said that they were practicing social distancing. Then, in less than a day I saw a news article that New Mexico was closing its campgrounds. I couldn’t help but wonder if that RV was being evicted from that isolated spot.
I see that FMCA and Escapees have announced changes in their rally schedules. No doubt that leaves some fulltimers looking for a place to land now that they won’t be attending their rally as planned.
In our case, we’re still at our winter campground. In fact, we had already planned on a longer than usual stay while I serve as interim pastor at a local church during their pastoral search. A few days ago I mentioned to the campground management that we just might be staying into the summer – not because of the church assignment but because our summer plans might be disrupted by the pandemic.
At this point I think fulltimers might be wise to find a campground they like that will allow longer stays. Many of us are in the higher risk group and it makes sense to take advantage of our more unstructured lifestyle to land in an acceptable spot and wait for the storm to blow over. Of course, everyone has their own particular concerns: family needs, events, appointments and the like. If possible, though, I’d be looking into suitable long term parking.
And, while I’m writing, I’ll switch to my pastoral identity for a moment. From a health point of view, we’re urged to wash our hands to protect against a virus infection. From a spiritual point of view, I urge you to spend time with the Lord – maybe whispering a 20 second prayer each time you wash your hands – pray for our world and for ourselves and those we love. Ask the Lord to protect you against the infection of fear and anxiety that is sweeping across the world. Also, you might include a prayer of thanksgiving for running water and soap. Oh yeah, also pray for our President and other national leaders; maybe health care providers and medical researchers too.
Come to think of it, you might need more than 20 seconds for those prayers.
Our stay here this year has been the longest stop of our 2019 Adventure. We were ready to slow down, do a few small projects, and get ready for our slow move back to Texas. The very fact that we planned on a longer stay at Kenisee is a clue as to how much we like this campground.
This is our third stay at Kenisee Lake Thousand Trails in Jefferson, OH. Since I reviewed the campground after both previous stays so I’ll just post some new photos and pretty much let that be my review.
This stay, we have been in one of the big pull-throughs in the rear of the campground. These sites are long enough for the biggest of rigs and easy to get and and out of. We like the size of the sites, and at times we like being a bit isolated from the activity in the rest of the campground. We think it is both good and bad that these sites are quite a ways from the Activity Center, pool, and bath houses.
The last time we were at Kenisee we had lots of rain and our site sometimes felt a bit like an island surrounded by water. This stay we have had good weather most of the time. When it did rain, we noticed that the same sites we were in last time got muddy but work that has been done cleaning out drainage ditches behind them has made a difference. Overall, we have enjoyed the cool temps and sunny days.
Pine Ridge Campground is near I26, just south of Spartanburg, SC in the town of Roebuck. The route in includes a few zig zags on decent roads. The campground road itself is rather narrow and has a steeper, but very short hill. It is another of those campground entry roads that leave you hoping you don’t meet a RV coming in the opposite direction. Be careful, slow down, and look ahead to avoid a problem.
Once in, the campground is nice with pretty good spacing for a private campground. There are some nice amenities: a good fishing lake, pool, playground, communal fire pit, and a jump pad for the kids. There is also a laundry and public area with comfortable chairs at the office.
Most of the campsites have trees that provide some nice shade. I managed to bump into one and do some glass damage to the motorhome. It was driver error and not a fault to the campground. We will get the damage fixed on down the road in a week or so.
Spartanburg has most any shopping you might want – and it is only a few minutes away. I got satellite TV easily and our Verizon signal was good. The campground WiFi was okay, but it got pretty slow during the busy weekend.
Aside from the too narrow road in and the trees that reach out and grab you (!) this is a nice spot for those traveling through the Spartanburg area.
Some full time traveling RVers set out to visit all the National Parks. Others plan their journeys to see as many minor league ball parks as they can and more than a few focus on seeing the grandkids who are scattered around the country. I think, though, that we have a corner on doing animal highway sketching! At least this year, we did a pretty good drawing of a dog.
Honestly, it was only after I began planning our 2017 Adventure and I started mapping it out that I realized we were drawing a dog. Next year we’ll likely go back to drawing nondescript maps of amoebas.
We have had a nice stay at Eisenhower State Park, Denison, TX. We came to Denison so I could fill in for a pastor friend while he took Sabbatical leave. The park is located on Lake Texoma and features a large marina and multiple camping areas. However, only the Bois D’Arc Ridge loop has full hookups.
We enjoyed the beautiful wooded campground with its herd of deer and other assorted wildlife. The neighborhood roadrunners are comical birds that are especially fun to watch. The campsites in this area are all pull-throughs, with each site a small loop off the road. That means everyone’s back is to the road, creating a sense of privacy even when the campground is full.
The biggest negative is that many of the sites are rather unlevel both side to side and front to back. Some are so bad that only a small camper has any reasonable hope of getting level. Also, in addition to bringing along plenty of leveling blocks be sure to bring extra sewer hose as the connection is seldom in a spot that will let you get level and be close to the sewer connection at the same time. And, even though the lake is very close by, there are no lake views to speak of. Toward the end of our stay the trees had dropped enough leaves that the lake could be seen through the forest from a few spots but there was nothing like a real lake view from this camping loop.
I really should mention the hedge apples. Some of the sites have trees with this softball sized fruit on them. You certainly don’t want to park your RV under one of those trees in the fall!
I really don’t mean for this to be a negative sounding review. We like this park a lot. The staff is friendly and easy to work with. Unless you arrive on a busy weekend, they will let you drive around and pick a site rather than stay in the one assigned. Also, if they know you are in a bigger rig they will try to assign you one of the longer, somewhat more level spots.
The campground is just a few minutes from Denison with its restaurants, Walmart, and about any other business you might need.
Coon Creek Cove Campground is a Corps of Engineers campground located on Kaw Lake, just east of Ponca City, OK. The campground is situated on a finger of land, affording water views to nearly every campsite. Several have water access. The campground roads are paved and the sites are gravel. Each site has a covered picnic table and fire pit. They are reasonably level, mostly with shade, and 30 amp electric and water. There are no full hookup spots. We arrived on a weekend and the place was nearly full with lots of people fishing, boating, and jet skiing. Several children were playing in the water. By Sunday night most everyone had left and there were lots of prime sites available to travelers. Generally speaking, the sites looking out over the lake itself are on a bluff. Those on the cove are closer to water level. We were mildly disappointed that the weeds between us and the lake on our bluff side spot were tall enough to obstruct what would have been great lake views.
I had no problem getting satellite TV and my Verizon 4G was weak but usable.
Probably the biggest negative to this campground is getting to it. It is about 30 miles from I35 and the roads get increasingly rough, narrow, and hilly as you travel. Whether or not traveling these roads is worthwhile for you depends on how long you plan to stay and how much you enjoy a lakeside campground.
We enjoyed our 2015 Adventure very much! It took us to the northern Midwest with an emphasis on Wisconsin and Michigan and included some great stops along the way, both coming and going.
In 2015 we decided to try out volunteering at the San Jacinto Monument Texas State Historical park in the Houston, TX area. We spent the first months of the year there, helping out at both the Monument and on the Battleship Texas which is on the same property. In return for volunteering 25 hours a week we were given “free parking” there. We enjoyed the experience enough that we signed up for another stay in the new year. For us, this is a great win: it is interesting and fun, close to family and many friends, and a real money saver. We also enjoyed being part of the community of volunteers and staff. That’s not to say there are no negatives, but overall, it’s a positive experience.
As you can see we had a good 2015 Adventure and, yes, we’re already working on the 2016 Adventure. We plan to head for the Rocky Mountains – Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and then across to the Black Hills of South Dakota!
We’re in what we call “repositioning mode” – a few days in which we travel longer distances and do shorter stays to get to a different part of the country. Because of that we did a one night “shortstop” at Crows Creek Campground on Smithville Lake, just north of Kansas City, MO. Crows Creek is a big county run campground with over 400 campsites. Around half of the sites have 30 or 50 amp electric and a good number of the 30 amp sites have water hookups too. I think all but a couple of sites are back-in. There are no sites with sewer connections, but there is a large dump station near the entrance to the campground. We saw a nice playground and the grass was freshly mowed. The restrooms were clean. Many of the campsites are near the lake, although I think all the lakefront sites are electric only (no water hookups). The campground is less than 10 miles west of I35, but County Road E, which you travel the last 3 or 4 miles is rather narrow and a bit rough in spots. Our Verizon signal was a good 4G and it should be pretty easy to get a satellite signal there.