The engineers, designers and marketing folks at Winnebago have put an awful lot of time and attention into making their products (like our Travato Roxanne) a great way to travel. We call it recreational flexibility. In a Class B camper like ours, you pull up, plug in (sometimes) and you’re set. If you want to explore a nearby town, all you need is 21 feet of parking space.
But we’ve also recently learned that recreational flexibility also includes the freedom not to travel.
We were scheduled for a camping weekend with some friends at Jellystone Park in Pennsylvania, about two hours from home. But then the heavens opened and dumped a pretty amazing amount of rain on the area where we live. It just didn’t seem like fun to work a full day, then drive through hours of rush-hour traffic in darkness while it was pouring. We also didn’t want to pull up to an unfamiliar campsite during a storm, try to sleep with the rain pounding our metal roof or wonder if our house and dog were going to be okay.
So, we texted our friends, called the campground, stayed home Friday night — the house and dog were fine despite receiving nearly 11 inches of rain in a day — and headed out for the trip first thing Saturday morning.
How did having a small RV make it easier to stay home? Simple. It makes heading out for a trip almost effortless. We simply grab our cold stuff from the fridge, our snacks from the kitchen, our backpacks with our clothes, and hit the road. It used to take us hours to prepare for a camping trip when we were car camping with a tent. The mile-long packing list. The trying to jam everyone and everything into the vehicle. The hoping our cold stuff wouldn’t spoil in a cooler with ice. And the inevitably irritable late departure, followed by all the unpacking and setting up when we’d arrive.
All of that effort would hit us with the sunk cost fallacy on a short trip. We’d be tempted to tough it out on the Friday night because of all the planning and packing, and that would mean a night in the tent during a rainstorm. Or, even worse, we’d be tempted to bag the whole operation because going up and back, with all the setup and take-down, wouldn’t be worth it for a 30-hour trip.
Not so for last weekend. We woke up early with a calm dog and a dry house, hit the road and met up with our friends before lunchtime. It had apparently rained buckets in Pennsylvania too, and they had a tin roof on their cabin with some noisy neighbors. I was grateful for having had a good night’s rest. They offered to give us some time to settle in, which was nice. But after backing into our campsite, I literally had to unfold three chairs and plug in the electric before we were free to enjoy the rest of the trip. And sandwiches.
What followed was a fun weekend for the grownups and the kids, even though it was a bit shorter than we’d planned. We had mini-golf, a hay ride and even hit the water park for a couple hours on the way out.
Grateful for a private place to change clothes in the RV and our own bathroom to hang up our wet suits, we ambled back onto the country roads to head for home. Coming home in Roxanne is a treat. We just unload the dishes, the leftovers and the laundry. What’s left in the van is ready for the next adventure, whether it’s weeks or a weekend, across the country or around the corner.