RV Travel & Soap During COVID-19

The rules and advice for traveling the U.S.A. in your RV this spring are about as varied as a kitchen sink. Depending on where you are or where you want to be, the rules are ever-changing and it can be complicated.

Most RVers have found a safe place to hitch up and wait it out. If you are on the road traveling from state to state, the rules of “shelter in place” change depending on the State in which you are camping; and State park campgrounds (with their washrooms, toilets, and dump stations) are closed in many States.

We are finding that most RVers are simply “staying put” and if lucky, have done so in a State that is now opening up. Here’s the list of States as of May 4, 2020.

The CDC publishes a website with the latest information about Coronavirus and Travel in the United States. Because RV travelers have to make frequent stops for food, bathrooms, or overnight campsites that we become diligent about hand washing. They advise that everyone use soap and water and wash vigorously for at least 20 minutes after being in a public place.

Alternatively,  use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. But do you know why we use soap for washing? 

Germs are microbes, and they are everywhere. In the air, soil, water and every surface, including our own body. Most of these microbes are harmless, and some are even good for us. We have microbes in our stomach and intestines, and it’s these “good” microbes that break down the food that we eat and keep us healthy.

Soap is a simple concoction of fat, water, and salt. Recorded history of soap goes back to 2800 B.C. when people used animal fats, food ash and water to wash natural wool and cotton before weaving it into cloth. We think that the early Egyptians were first to use soap for treating disease and personal washing, and the early Romans made it part of their cleaning rituals.

Soap is still soap — the ingredients are basically the same, just refined and more pure.

Soap doesn’t kill germs, it removes them. Fat and water don’t mix (as I’m sure you’ve observed in your kitchen sink). But soap binds fat and water together and when you rinse, the soap carries away the muck, paint, grease, dirt, mud, germs, and yes, the coronavirus microbe with the water. The more lather you work up, the better the soap carries stuff away. The harder you rub your hands together, the more lather you work up, and the friction it creates leaves hands clean. 

But you aren’t off the hook yet. After a good hand scrub, check your fingernails. Best to keep a fingernail cleaner near all RV sinks and use them to scrape any other dirt out from under them. Wish a wash and scrape, you can be certain you’ve had a successful cleansing.

RV Humor Just Comes with the Territory

Life in an RV Park or Campground requires a sense of humor… otherwise we’d all go mad.

In 2016, Roverpass, makers of a reservation system for RV Campgrounds, had a little fun with a “true story” contest with the RV Humor Facebook group for those who appreciate the humorous side of living in a small metal house on wheels.

We thought you’d enjoy a “reader’s digest” version from the winning entries (or read the stories here).

Kevin’s recollection of an early spring canoe trip down a river in the Ozark Mountains when someone in the boat yelled “hornets” and, in turn, Kevin jumped out of the canoe into freezing water. Did someone see a real hornet’s nest or just a clump of wet leaves in an overhang along the bank? We’ll never know.

Jim, a Navy guy stationed in Scotland in the ’70s, recalls taking a VW camper to explore the Scottish Highlands. They arrived in the dark of night and pulled into a rock quarry for the night. Next morning, doing what we all do first thing, Jim was about to step off a 100 foot cliff to water below. Good enough, but there’s more: a fish story, without fish, for a very peculiar reason!

Debbie’s hilarious story about having one of the first-ever pop-up campers of the ’60s and the endless problems and embarrassment of setting it up, to the amusement of everyone else in the park. At the end, she sells the camper at a cheap price, but doesn’t explain to buyer exactly why. 

Roverpass has a good collection of illustrated RV jokes too. Hint: Knock knock. Who’s there? RV. RV who? RV there yet? Want more?

There’s something about the RV lifestyle that calls for having a sense of humor. Do you have a funny story to share? Send it to info@floridaysrvpark.com along with your name and any relevant photos and we’ll share them with friends and fans of Floridays.

Making Thanksgiving Dinner in an RV

Even if you’re a seasoned veteran of the RV lifestyle, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to the American tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving — or some say, Turkey Day. So we’re providing the ultimate guide to how to make Thanksgiving dinner in your RV.

  1. Camping World — How to host an RV Thanksgiving when space and kitchen commodities are at a minimum
  2. KOA Blog — How to enjoy Thanksgiving in your RV
  3. Do It Yourself RV — Tips to cook Thanksgiving dinner in an RV
  4. RV Share — How to cook a turkey when you don’t have a grill available
  5. Fulltime Families — 5 ways to make Thanksgiving dinner work in an RV
  6. .
Photo courtesy of Full-time Families (it makes our mouth water)

Have a wonderful holiday, and before you begin planning how you’ll celebrate, we recommend reading an article by Melanie Kirkpatrick, author of the book Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience. It’s a good reminder of not how we celebrate, but why.

The Happy Camper

When we think of the idiom “happy camper” we can’t help but connect it with the RV lifestyle. But first, for those who are scratching their head over the word “idiom”, allow us to explain. An idiomatic expression —an idiom— is a type of informal language that has meaning for those who use it. And with repetition of the idiom over time, that meaning often changes! 

If someone told you to “hold your tongue” you would not open your mouth and wrap your fingers the best you could around it. Nope. Instead, you’d not say what you were about to say or wanted to say. We hold our tongue when we want to say something but know better.

One story about the origination of the idiom “happy camper” suggests that it started somewhere in the 1800s when kids started to go off to summer camps. Kids that were miserable and unable to separate themselves from their parents, hung on to anything stationary to prevent themselves from being dragged into the buggy for the short ride to the campsite where they would sleep under the stars and cook over an open fire. The camp counselors referred to these kids as “not a happy camper.” We couldn’t agree that kids living in the 1800s needed to get away from the TV during summer break, so we moved on to a more probable explanation.

According to another source, the phrase “happy camper” originates from the quote, “not a happy camper” used in the resort industry and National Park Service around 1986 in Yosemite National Park by employees of the Yosemite Park and Curry Company.

Dan Quayle, former Vice President of the United States is reported to have once said, “You all look like happy campers to me. Happy campers you are, happy campers you have been, and, as far as I am concerned, happy campers you will always be.”

According to the Dictionary of American Slang the phrase originated in California with movie and show business folks referring to kids hating to go to summer camp while their parents worked.

Regardless of its source, the expression today is widely used to describe a happy and contented person whether he is on a camping trip or not. We hope that all our guests at Floridays RV Park are happy campers, and we work diligently to assure that the expression “I’m a happy camper” can be heard loud and clear.

A Guide to Go RV-Green

If you are interested in helping to save the planet, or just save some money, the writers of the “Living the RV Lifestyle eBook” have come out with a new detailed and updated guide on “how to save fuel when driving an RV.

According to the authors, you start saving fuel when you choose a fuel-efficient RV in the first place. Uh, okay. Makes sense. But most of us are way past that moment even though we can surely agree that no one wants to pay for “more” fuel or encourage some big oil company to lay pipeline across pristine wilderness.

The article is not a list of cheap gas stations, but is a list of creative ideas to save on fuel. For example, stay for longer periods of time at your destination. A parked RV uses less fuel than one on the road. And if we stay a whole season, we can go-green by growing our own food.

Next, plan your route. Getting lost or taking those winding back roads burns too much fuel. However, those winding backroads could help avoid freeway stop-and-go traffic. Bottom line, if you love the spontaneity of the RV Lifestyle and the scenic route, you will not save fuel. Nor will you save fuel if you go up winding mountain roads. So come to Florida where we have that topography thing under control. No elevation except on freeway overpasses.

Don’t get lost. But if you do, have your Sat Nav handy. Getting lost wastes fuel. Whether you use a Sat Nav, a TomTom, Magellan, Google Maps, homing pigeon, or those completely impossible-to-refold AAA roadmaps, go green by not getting lost because getting found takes extra fuel. 

Don’t have breakdowns or flat tires. RVs that are in good repair burn fuel more efficiently. Tires that are properly inflated roll down the road easier using less fuel. Plus, if you do break down, the AAA rescue unit that drives to your location (and back again) uses even more gasoline!

Travel light. All that extra weight equals more fuel. We will not discuss what constitutes “extra weight”—so figure this one out for yourself. But we digress…

The next advice is to turn off heating and AC when not absolutely necessary. We’re in Florida. Turning off the AC is not an option during summer months, and tricky at best during winter months. But we get the idea.

Don’t idle excessively when you are stopped on the road or in campsites. Years ago, it took more gas to restart an engine than to idle an engine, but modern engines are less fuel-heavy on startup. Battery drain could be an issue. In a campsite, the issues go beyond green — it’s just rude to make neighbors listen to your engine noise and breath the pollution.

The last tip is to drive under 60 mph and don’t speed up or slow down too suddenly or too often. We hope our friends at Your RV Lifestyle will forgive our humor, because who doesn’t want to live a cleaner, greener, more sustainable way of life — every bit helps.

By the way, did you know we have a No-Waste store just a few miles from Floridays at 3876 SE Dixie Hwy, Stuart. JAR, the zero-waste shop, has been featured by Martha Stewart Living and takes going-green to a whole new level.