Hi, NavyWife -
My grandson was a high school math teacher for several years, but hated the politics that teachers must live under. So he quit and joined the Navy. He was too old to qualify to enter as an officer, so he enlisted. He's in boot camp now, and will wind up in maintenance of subs. With his career field, I hope he'll spend most of his time at sub bases in the USA, so his wife and sub-teen daughter can be nearby. But subs on patrol need mechanics too, so he may be the typical Navy member at sea while his family does without him. We'll see.
Anyway, back on topic. Welcome to the world of RVing. There are all sorts of options for enjoying an RV. When my kids were at home, we spent most of our leave time (civilians call it vacation) camped in the mountains, "boondocking" way up high where we didn't need electricity for AC. And we camped, and spent the daytime hiking and exploring and throwing rocks in the river.
With the kids grown and gone, we later attended the races at Texas Motor Speedway three weekends per year for 10 years. We were boondocking there too, but had to have AC, so we added a generator to our stuff.
After 10 years, Darling Wife tired of NASCAR so we cancelled those expensive NASCAR tickets and reserved camping spot, and we now use our small travel trailer as a motel room. Long trips of several hundred miles per day, and staying at RV parks on the way to see kids in Tennessee or Colorado, or a grandkid on the Oregon border, or friends in Canada near Detroit. That's not "camping", but it's RVing, and we love having our pottie with us on long trips. You'll probably understand when you reach senior citizenship.
One "gotcha" for newbee RVers is weight. Matching tow vehicle to RV trailer is somewhat complicated, and way too many people wind up on the road with an overweight tow vehicle. You cannot simply use the manufacturer's tow rating, which tells you only the max weight your tow vehicle can pull
, but ignores hitch weight and other weight such as family and tools and "stuff" in the tow vehicle. But the GVWR of your tow vehicle is usually your limiter. With hitch weight and the weight of family and tools and other stuff, you'll probably reach the GVWR long before you get close to the tow rating. So be aware of the weight limits of your tow vehicle, receiver hitch, weight-distributing hitch, and trailer axles. You don't want to be overloaded more than a few pounds over any of your weight limits if you can help it.
So in the middle of each trip, stop at a truckstop that has a truck scale and weigh your rig. The scale ticket will tell you the weight on your front axle, rear axle, and trailer axles. Add the weight on the front and rear axles and compare the total to the GVWR of your tow vehicle. Compare the gross weight of the rig to the GCWR of your tow vehicle. If you don't exceed the GVWR, then you probably won't get close to the GCWR.
Where to buy stuff? Well, like most Americans, I buy what I can at Wal-Mart or Sam's Club or Costco, because they usually have the best prices. But they don't have much RV-specific stuff, so I find that stuff at Camping World
) or Amazon.com. As someone else recommended, find it at Camping World and get the model number, then search for that model number on Amazon.com and you'll probably find the best price. But also double-check with a search engine such as Bing
or Google. Remember to consider sales taxes and shipping/handling charges to compare the net delivered price. More and more on-line retailers advertise great base prices, but then they make it up with ridiculous S&H charges.
Dishes? Paper plates and bowls, of course, but you'll probably also want some light-weight dishes that you have to wash and dry. We used Melamine such as (16 Piece Melamine Dinnerware Set
) for years, but now prefer Corelle Dinnerware
. It's a tiny bit heavier than the "plastic" Melamine, but not enough to make much difference in your total RV weight.