Last Updated on March 9, 2023 by Jessica Lauren Vine
It was a long road home.
Confusion, anger, fear, anxiety, and depression was all whipped up into a casserole in my mind and I knew that I had to finish the dish right away – no leftovers for me.
I had returned from serving with the United States Marines of the 6th Regimental Combat Team in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Upon return to the good ‘ole USA, my life began deteriorating daily and divorce was inevitable, having spent years and years away from my family in the deserts of Iraq and mountains of Afghanistan.
I needed solace.
I was paying for two homes at the time and lived in a dangerous and crime-ridden neighborhood. So, I sold my home on Colfax Avenue in Denver, Colorado and I purchased an RV, hoping to get away from it all – to find freedom from the demons.
I had owned tent trailers before, and they were great for elk hunting trips in the San Isabelle Forest in Southern Colorado, but I wanted something that could sustain me for extended periods.
Searching Craigslist I found a 2005 Holiday Rambler, built on a Ford F-450 frame and V10 engine. It rocked. The price was good – it only had 12,000 miles and it had all the amenities. I paid the owner and drove off that day. I parked it in front of my parents’ house, but the HOA ran me off after 72 hours.
After that day, I learned the hard way a bunch about sustainable RVing. I will share it with you!
- Where & When to Go
- What to See & Do
If you're ready to hit the road and see some amazing national parks in the US and Canada, then check out this book.
- Great for planning road trips
- Less content and more pictures
Here Are Some Tips for RV Extended Stay Planning
If you plan on living long-term or permanently in your rig, on your own property—do not purchase land regulated by an HOA, or in a state that regulates how long you can keep your rig on your property.
If you truly want to live free, you may have to rough it, like the Ingalls family did in “Little House on the Prairie”.
That means drinking water from a cistern, capturing rainwater (check your local government regulations), and supplementing electrical power with solar and or wind. However, remember like Little Big Man said, “Sometimes the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine.”
Stay stocked up. Canned goods are your best bet.
Plan when buying perishables like produce, meat, and frozen goods.
Generators will fail and food will spoil.
If you hunt, learn to make a brine so you can make jerky out of your antelope, venison, and elk.
If you fish, there is nothing like smoked trout to fill your belly. Remember it’s better to smoke your fish with softwoods, like birch or aspen as opposed to pine which is full of pine tar that can leave the flesh looking and tasting a bit weird.
Lastly, consider building a sustainable greenhouse for your veggies, and beekeeping can be very rewarding, especially when you’re enjoying healthy, versatile, and tasty honey.
Get out there.
Most modern RVs are equipped with TVs, DVDs, and Satellite Broadcast Reception.
No need to sit on your butt all day and watch Netflix. You could have done that in the city. Try some of these activities instead. Once the ground warms up in the late spring, mushrooms begin poking up their heads. Learn about mushrooms. Go hunt them. Believe you me, you haven’t had a real omelet until you’ve had one with Morel mushrooms.
Learn how to fly fish – it is a true art that requires knowledge of fish, their habits, and the insects they eat. Lastly, get out there and hike. This country is beautiful. You’re not going to see it watching “Game of Thrones” all day.
RV parks have their advantages and disadvantages. I personally stay away from them. Yes, you may have access to hook-ups for water, sewer, Wi-Fi, and electricity, but in Colorado I’ve spent $40 up to $70 a night just to hear people blaring their music all night and getting drunk and cussing.
A lot of these folks are what I call “the two-timers” – Labor Day and Memorial Day. RV parks are about convenience. For the true adventurer, there are places you can travel to that offer excitement and experiences that most will never enjoy. Many of those places are right there in your backyard.
With that being said, there are some great places to drive and park your rig, and I’ll make one suggestion.
It’s called Cottonwood Lake. It’s located in Chaffe County, Colorado – 10 miles west of Buena Vista, Colorado (stop by the Eddyline Brewery for a brewski or Jan’s for a world-famous breakfast) before you head up the hill. Take W. Main Street west for about ten miles until you get to Highway 344, then turn south. Follow the road until you get to the lake (bursting with trout by the way) and keep heading up until you find a secluded slot to park your rig.
If you have the guts, you can pull your rig up to over 11,000. I did it with Crystal (I believe in naming vehicles for good luck). I was with one of my dearest friends – probably the best fly fisherman in Colorado, so we could fish for Brookies and Cutthroats in Cottonwood Creek. As we were going up the 4×4 road in a 35-foot Class C, people, riding ATVs, and Motocross bikes were struck with awe. Needless to say, we made it to the optimal fishing grounds and tore them up. Chase slayed the trout while I took notes on his expertise luring in those fish.
In conclusion, RVing is not just about showing off to other people you have disposable income. Many of these people’s rigs spend their whole life in a storage lot. RVing is a way of life for many people – a chance to roam, catch the amazing sights in this incredible country and enjoy the freedom of not being tied down to the grind that most people deal with day-to-day in these crowded cities. I’ve been down the long road looking for home, but now I think I have found it. Thanks for your time. Now get out there and LIVE!
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