The First Two Weeks of Full-Time RV Life
We are two weeks in to the full-time RV life. Honestly, I can’t believe it’s already been two weeks. The first week felt more like vacation. We picked up our friends Kristen and Ed in Atlanta on Thursday, and they drove cross country with us. It was 34 hours of straight driving – stopping only to get gas (and peanut M&Ms) and let the dogs out. It’s all kind of a blur now.
Our first real stop was the Grand Canyon. We pulled in late Saturday night slept for a few hours, and then we got up to see the Grand Canyon. It was spectacular. Even standing on the edge, it doesn’t look real. There’s a reason it’s an American road trip staple. After spending a few hours there, we set off for Napa.
Up until this point we had basically been taking turns driving and sleeping, so it was nice to settle down for a night.
We drove halfway to Napa, pulled over on public land where you can camp for free and slept. The next morning we woke up early to drive the rest of the way. We ended up staying in an RV park in Calistoga, which is a little north of Napa. Calistoga is a great little winery town with a funky downtown.
At this point, it’s Monday. We headed to Rutherford Ranch Winery in St. Helena and had the best time! We reserved the morning wine tasting and cheese pairing and had the room to ourselves for most of the morning. The tasting room had floor to ceiling windows looking over the vineyard and the most comfortable leather couches.
It was the Monday after Mother’s Day, so they had several bottles open that were not on our tasting menu that we were able to try – thanks Brian! Our original tasting menu called for 5 wines, but we ended up sampling closer to 10 wines, including one that tasted like candied bacon.
All the wines were delicious. We learned a lot about the diverse growing conditions in Napa Valley and how they affect the wines. Rutherford Ranch Winery is worth visiting, especially after Mother’s Day.
We grabbed an Uber from Rutherford Ranch and headed back to the RV for lunch. From the RV park, we went to Summers Winery in Calistoga. Summers Winery is smaller and had a different vibe but equally as great. We relaxed on the patio beside the vineyard for the tasting, and George, the vineyard cat, paid us visit. During the tasting, we were able to take our time and walk through the vineyard. It was the perfect afternoon in Calistoga.
After the tastings, we went back down to St. Helena for an early dinner. Once we finished up dinner, we headed back towards Calistoga to watch the sunset. By the way, this is worth the drive. At the beginning of the main road in Calistoga, there’s a hill to the left. Drive up (and keep driving) until you find the sun setting over the vineyards. It’s quite beautiful.
Tuesday morning, we left Calistoga for Yosemite, and the drive seemed to take forever. We learned early on Google Maps estimated drive time isn’t accurate for our RV, since we’re normally going under the speed limit. Plus we had to make a few stops for groceries, gas and general RV supplies. Time seemed to move pretty slow.
But anyways, we made it to our campsite Tuesday night and settled into our “home” here for the next week or so. Yosemite is probably one of my favorite places – ever! If we had better reception at the campsite, I could stay here forever.
Kristen and Ed were with us until Saturday. If you thought two people and three dogs in an RV was crazy, try four people and three dogs. Space was tight, but it never felt crowded. Finding good travel friends can be a challenge, but finding good RV travel friends is definitely a challenge. But they were the perfect first “house guests.” Plus the RV feels so much bigger with just the two of us – well five of us if you include the dogs.
All four of us fit at the kitchen table for most meals, and now Luke and I each have a side to ourselves. Luke and I shared the couch at night while Kristen and Ed were with us, so moving from the king-sized bed at our house to the queen-sized bed in the RV doesn’t seem so bad. But the “extra” space also means vacation is over.
Our new normal will not look like what our normal used to look like. Full-time RV life is pretty great so far – I mean we had mimosas with dinner on Monday night. So while dedicated vacation time might be over, I can’t wait to see what everyday life on the road brings.