Dave & Kay Corby's Blog
Read the latest news and views from the authors who literally wrote the book on motorhome travel.
Many of the advantages of traveling about in a motorhome are clear, a few are less obvious. Today we’ll touch on one of the less obvious advantages: what we call “in camp days” . . . with all the comforts of home!
In simple terms, an in camp day means pretty much what the name implies: a day where instead of charging about looking at stuff, you allow time to enjoy being where you are. By way of example:
Not long ago we were camped at Bahia Honda State Park, located in the Florida Keys – a string of 1,700 islands and reefs which collectively form the southeast extremity of the United States.
We had a nearly perfect site – spacious, private, on the water – and we had decided to make a day of “staying home”.
We actually started with a bit of shopping the previous day – planning to take advantage of having our own refrigerator, coffee pot, stove and toaster!
Our day opened with a pot of coffee made with fresh-ground beans from a great little store in Key West: Baby’s Coffee. (A blend called “Hemingway's Hair of the Dog”.) We added a breakfast treat of Mango Bread from Cole’s Peace Artisan Bakery – served not so much toasted as warmed, topped with a generous spread of cream cheese. We know it’s hard to imagine spending two hours over coffee and bread, but we managed to do exactly that!
We next rented a sit-on-top double kayak at the concession located in the park and spent the balance of the morning exploring the beautiful waters that surround Bahia Honda. We returned to our campsite around noon, rinsed off in the shower and turned our thoughts once again to food.
For lunch we grilled Cuban Sandwiches – from The Five Brothers in Key West – on our little stove and took them, along with a couple of tall cans of iced tea, to one of the small pavilions near the park’s Calusa Beach. There we ate, relaxed and had a few laughs as we watched children playing in the sand.
From Calusa Beach, we went to Loggerhead Beach and waded out to a large, shallow sandbar. We played on the sandbar for a while before heading to our main hang-out for the afternoon, Sandspur Beach. There we spent the remainder of the day: snorkeling, lounging in the sand, reading.
After a quick rinse in the public fresh water showers, it was back to the campsite for us.
Dinner was a no-brainer: A quick pass through the microwave and voila: Conch Monterey - big tender pieces of fried conch with melted cheese and jalapenos on top! Ours had been waiting in the refrigerator – leftovers from the previous evening’s dinner at Herbie's Restaurant.
It was the sort of day where we got up in morning with absolutely nothing to do and, as we watched the sun set from our little home on wheels, we knew we’d only accomplished about half of it!
NOTE: Staying at Bahia Honda State Park requires a significant amount of planning ahead – or a bit of luck. The Florida State Parks accept reservations 11 months in advance . . . and Bahia Honda is nearly always full! Occasionally you can get a spot there because of a last minute cancellation, but it isn’t the sort of thing you can plan on.
How does the traveler on a motorhome touring holiday start with a kitchen which is both small and empty and wind up able to prepare a decent meal? What sort of stuff is needed? And where will it come from? Because our readers have differing needs and objectives, there is no single, simple answer to the “how” and “with what” of equipping rental motorhome kitchens.
We open this article with a bit of a confession: Kay and I are, by most standards, a bit over the top in our enthusiastic interest in the preparation and consumption of interesting food. Terms such as gourmet, connoisseur, bon viveur (French), gourmand, bon vivant (French), epicure, gastronome or, our personal favorite, “foodie” are all probably applicable.
For many the kitchen, or galley, is the most controversial area in a rental motorhome. Love it or hate it, use it or ignore it, the fact is a small kitchen will be traveling with you on your holiday.
Think Casual & Comfortable. When motorhoming, casual dress is the custom, the norm. Casual and comfortable. An interesting dichotomy in motorhome touring is that, more than any other travel style, you will almost always have room enough to bring excessive quantities of clothing . . . and yet there may be no style of travel in which there is less need for a diversified wardrobe.
The first step in planning your motorhome touring holiday is, perhaps obviously, that of deciding where – and when – you will be planning to go. Many of you already know the answers to the “where and when”, but here are some things to consider for those who are still trying to figure that out (and to help polish the thinking of those who already have made their decisions):
Sometimes “less is more” . . . and that is certainly true in planning the basics of your motorhome touring holiday. By giving up the freedom of waiting until the last minute to reserve your motorhome/caravan/RV you will – generally speaking – increase the geographic options available, you will have a wider variety of motorhomes to choose from, and you will expand your pricing options.
So, just how important is advance planning . . . and how far in advance should you plan? The admittedly unsatisfactory answer is “it depends”. It depends on where you are traveling and when. It depends on where you want to stay and on how specific you are about the sort of motorhome you want go touring in.
Holidays begin before they ever actually start – there is heightened anticipation and an increase in eagerness as the traveler begins the planning process. The vacation becomes more tangible as plans are fleshed out, new layers of detail penciled in. Planning is more than the developing of a scheduling roadmap for a physical journey. It is the process which builds a mental bridge between where you are now and the actual day you depart.
They seem to be everywhere; you can hardly miss seeing them – these houses on wheels. A part of you wonders about the people inside: What are they doing in there? Where are they going? Why have they chosen such a seemingly awkward means of travel?
A family vacation in the late 50’s was my introduction to RV travel. From Kansas to the Pacific Ocean and back. The Grand Canyon, Disneyland, Pismo Beach, Yosemite National Park, the Great Salt Lake, Grand Tetons and Yellowstone! Four people in a 16 foot Shasta (yellow with really cool silver wings on the back), no bathroom, sleeping arrangements a bit cramped . . . and the closest to heaven I had then ever been. Though I suppose I didn’t realize it at the time, I was hooked!