What I Learned From Driving My RV to 49 States in 2014

9 Things I Learned About Life, Marriage and Sewer Hoses

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September 1, 2015

In the past year, my wife and I drove our 1994 coachmen RV to 49 out of 50 states. Being a younger RVer at 23, I had a lot to learn about full-time living in a motorhome. Most of the lessons came in the form of minor setbacks (like our rig being struck by lightning in South Dakota or breaking down in the middle of the desert in Arizona). However, I wouldn’t change our experience of driving around the country for anything.

Broken down in Williams, AZ

Broken down in Williams, AZ

Exploring Alaska

Exploring Alaska

The original plan was to begin with one year of traveling; we’ve now decided to continue living in our RV for the unforeseeable future. While I could easily compile a list of 100 lessons I learned this past year while RVing, I settled on just nine of them I wanted to share with you.

  1. RV’s aren’t just for retirees. I met tons of people on the road who were working while they traveled (even with families).
  2. Don’t park your RV on a hill—coils on the back of your propane fridge might blow up.
  3. It’s not as crazy expensive as I thought it would be. In fact, my wife and I learned how to travel full-time for less than $2k/month (here you can view a breakdown of all of our expenses).
  4. Always carry an extra sewer hose in case you accidentally break yours while dumping the tank.
  5. Never go without coffee, toilet paper or wine.
  6. Some of the best places to stop and eat are rest stops overlooking a lake, ocean or mountain.
  7. Being in a small place with my newlywed wife actually helped us grow closer together, not apart.
  8. Working from an RV is much better than working from an office (believe me, I’ve tried both). A view of the mountains is beats a view of the vending machine any day.
  9. RVing around the country should be flexible and not every route should be planned to the tee.

Like I said, I could have made this list 100 things I learned, but then it would probably have to be a book or something. If you’re reading this, I’d love to know some things you’ve learned while traveling around the country in your RV. Leave a comment below as I’d love to hear from you.

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  1. Ola Otto

    Hi, there! Loved reading your post, and hope you will share the 100 with us – go ahead and write that book or e-book! Or do a tips column – 10/week or 20/month, whatever….
    Sorry I can’t add anything learned yet, we’ll be picking up our Newmar Ventana LE 4044 in about 3 weeks! Looking forward to it! Hubby retires in January 2016…almost counting the days. Then we’ll take off full-timing.
    Hope we meet up on the road!

  2. Heath Padgett


    That is some wise advice. I’ve never used instructions or manuals as much as I have since we bought our RV. Also, Youtube has been a great helper as well :).

  3. Heath Padgett

    This sounds like a day in the life of us as well Beverly! 🙂 We are definitely early risers and prefer getting on the road sooner rather than later. Thanks for reading! 🙂

  4. Janell KAY

    Thanks for swapping ideas and stories. My husband and I were dry camping in a parking area at a Auto racing event. We got packed to go home on the last day and our awning would not retract!!! Yikes! We tried lots of things to no avail… panic was starting to set in. I said “we’ll we can’t just drive back home with a 9 ft. awning hanging out the right side of our motorhome!” Thank the Good Lord we remembered that giant bundle of information sheets and warrantee stuff that came with our used motor home. I found the brochure on troubleshooting the awning’s needs – bingo!!. Just did a little magic with a screwdriver as the instructions told us…rolled right up and off on the road again!! My lesson learned — never toss that stuff aside and never leave home without it. Happy travels!

  5. Beverly

    Love traveling in our RV! We don’t do well after too many hours on the road. I suggest start early in the day and make your destination early evening or late afternoon. We enjoy each other (and a cocktail) after about 6 or 8 hours on the road rather than 10 or 12. Walk the park, fix dinner and make our plans for the following day works so much better too!

  6. Heath Padgett

    Thanks for the wisdom Judy :). This is great. I’m currently trying to convince my awesome traveling partner (my wife) to let me get a dog for the road as well. Maybe one day soon!

  7. Judy Streich

    Must have patience, a good traveling partner (someone who doesn’t ask at the first fuel stop when are we going to be back home when you are headed 2000 miles away? REALLY!), a reliable rig and air conditioning. Everything else will fall in place. If you don’t have a good traveling partner, get a dog. (oh, heck, bring the dog anyway just to aggrivate the bad traveling companion, I do.)
    Happy for your positive experiences on the road. Have met some very nice and friendly RVers out there, made wonderful memories and traveled thousands of miles without breaking down. Taking care of your rig and proper tire inflation will insure a great time no matter where you wonder.