Below is a 360-degree view of one spot in the middle of the Jedediah Smith State Park near Crescent City, CA. Here we found an absolutely beautiful forest of giant redwoods. Notice that the some of the trunks are wider than the road?
Address: 33655 Geysers Rd, Cloverdale, CA 95425
Phone: (707) 894-3184
# of sites: 125
Full hookup price: From $68/night
Open: Year round
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Warnings: No sewer hookups!
In the middle of Northern California's heralded wine country, the Russian River RV Campground is snuggled 6 miles from Cloverdale off Highway 101 and 25 miles from the nearest real shopping in Healdsburg. Its namesake is nearby, though mostly a creek this time of year.
The aforementioned wine country is the biggest draw to this campground, though its relative proximity to the Pacific coastline, Monterrey, Big Sur, redwood forests and San Francisco must also be considered huge positives. We enjoyed a drive along the Pacific Coast Highway from just north of San Francisco up to Monterrey and were treated to fabulous ocean views from both sea level, where you can watch waves crashing onto jagged rocks up close, to nearly 1,000 in elevation, giving us a bird's eye view of the coastline in both directions.
The park itself has little else going for it, but it was clean, provided a shady canopy of trees and the staff was very friendly. There were nice green views from each of our windows as well. If you like walking taking your dog out, you'll get plenty of exercise, since the resort is on several levels of elevation and each camping section on a slight incline.
There was much to dislike here. The park must have been built in the 1960's when the largest trailers on the road were only 24' long. The sites are tight, with practically no room for the park-supplied picnic tables, which have to be moved even to pull in, let alone mats and lawn chairs. I had parked my truck across the front of my site, barely off the road and stretching into the site in front of and behind me. A Class A motorhome trying to straighten out in one of the few pull-through sites backed into it, and my first thought was, why are you bringing that large of an RV into this park?
The biggest pain was that there are no sewer hookups. When I called Thousand Trails to ask how we can find out in the future whether a park has sewer hookups, I was told they all do in their system. Wrong. For $25-$35 a honey wagon can be scheduled to empty your tanks on Tuesdays or Fridays.
Laundry consists of a single washer and one dryer at each of the five restroom buildings scattered around the resort. Since there were about 40 people waiting for each, getting laundry done was a game of stamina and attrition. Speaking of restrooms, the odor in each was a definite deterrent to using them, but the lack of sewer connection made it necessary. By the way, the cabins had sewer hookups, so what the heck?
Overall this park is not dog friendly. Though they do have waste bag kiosks at the restrooms and a few other locations, but there is no fenced dog run and thorns and stickers in nearly every patch of grass.
We will not be returning to Russian River RV Campground. Even with its wine country location, there are just not enough positives to overcome the downsides. If you must camp in this area, we recommend you choose another resort.
Address: 5218 Patrick Rd., Verona, NY 13478
Phone: (315) 361-7275
# of sites: 175
Full hookup price: From $50/night
Open: May 3 - Oct 15
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Turning Stone is a Las-Vegas-style hotel-casino in Upstate New York, in Verona, a small town not far from Syracuse. Our stay was in early September, well before the fall foliage, and it rained off and on during the week. This is a Good-Sam- and Escapee-affiliated resort, so make sure you request your discount.
From their website: "The RV park features nature trails, a recreational area for bocce ball, horse shoes, tennis, basketball and volleyball and separate ponds for paddle boating and fishing. A heated pool and Jacuzzi are open daily from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day weekend."
This resort is owned and operated by the casino, who provides a free shuttle to and from the property. Turning Stone is a unique casino and a step up from your usual Native American gaming venue.
This park is spacious, green and well-maintained. All of the sites have paved pads and plenty of room for laying out a "front yard." There were many larger rigs, so no concern for toy haulers or big motorhomes. The laundry room was exceptional and the staff professional.
The Turning Stone Casino is spacious and as beautiful as any in Las Vegas, with luxurious carpeting and decor. As one would expect they have the usual layout of electronic slots and manned gaming tables, and over a dozen high-end restaurants on the property.
We took advantage of Verona's proximity to the Thousand Island region of the St. Lawrence River near the northeast corner of Lake Ontario and defining the Canadian border at that location. It's quite unique and worth a day trip to peruse. Also nearby Verona are Oneida Lake, Syracuse and the eastern edge of the Finger Lakes.
It seems that this park all but closes down after Labor Day. We arrived on Labor Day and stayed the following week, so we were not able to take advantage of many of the perks that had been open the week before our stay.
Even though they have quite a number of amenities, there is no dog run or fenced play area.
Though gorgeous, Turning Stone Casino is very expensive and most restaurants were closed except for a few hours during the weekend. If they had been open we would have had to pay what appeared to be New York City prices for meals. The tables all had very high minimums and no free drinks were provided while gambling or playing the slots.
There's not much to do in the local area. The closest city is Syracuse, about 35 miles away, which is primarily a college town that doesn't really cater to an older age group.
The biggest disadvantage we found was the timing of our visit. We would recommend dates either before Labor Day or later to see some fall foliage. However, they close the park down for winter starting the middle of October, so seeing New York State's brilliant fall colors from here might be a gamble, appropriately.
Address: 78 Heath Rd, Corinth, NY 12822
Phone: (518) 654-6260
# of sites: 496
Full hookup price: From $66/night
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Warnings: This is a huge resort!
Alpine Lake RV Resort is located in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains and is near both Lake George and Saratoga Springs, so there's no shortage of things to do. The college town of Saratoga Springs is worth a visit, especially if you like night life. We had a terrific time doing karaoke and a great meal at one of the many taverns that were open to the street (Saratoga City Tavern).
This was one of the nicer parks we've stayed in. You can have a true lakeside camping site or be away from the lake in the surrounding forest, and either way, the sites are spacious. This resort is very well maintained and managed, which is a nice change compared to many campgrounds we've been in.
There are many amenities here in this very large park, including everything you would expect from a quality Thousand Trails facility, i.e. swimming pool, showers, gameroom, laundry, etc. The pavilion is huge, seating 800, so they say, and there is both a country store and restaurant on the premises, though the restaurant was closed for the off-season when we were there.
We had stayed in another park near Lake George, Warrensburg Travel Park and Riverfront Campground, but Alpine Lake is far superior. For one thing, there isn't a decades old seasonal neighborhood to camp in. That alone makes it a breath of fresh air for an East Coast Thousand Trails resort.
This is a very large resort and, as such, amenities and events can require a long walk or short drive to get to. As with a majority of huge parks we have stayed in, they are actively promoting children's events, who show up in droves. We prefer fewer or no children around us when we camp, so it was a bit loud and and crowded for our liking.
Though they don't have the usual seasonal trailer park neighborhood, there are many long-term campers and I suspect most of the lakefront sites are taken by them, since none were available to us as Thousand Trails members.
This park touts itself as "pet friendly," but they don't have any dog runs or leash-free sections for dogs to play or run in.
Overall, we really enjoyed staying in this park. It's far from perfect, thus the 4-star rating, but it is an exceptional park in many regards. We highly recommend trying this one for a week or two, whether or not you have kids.
Every once in a while I get a request to post a blog, article or infographic that is interesting enough to share. The following was provided by CAMP (Caravan and Motorhome Parts) about the history of trailers in the UK. In the UK, a trailer is called a caravan.... Enjoy!
Infographic provided by https://caravanandmotorhomeparts.com
As we approach the one-year mark of being on the road full-time, one of the unexpected difficulties that stands out is doing laundry. We try to wash our clothing, bath towels and bed linens about once per week. Our 5th wheel, being only 31’ long, did not come with or was even plumbed for a washer and dryer, so we purchased a nice little washing machine that is similar to a full-sized home washer but only washes about a half load at a time. On laundry days I take it from its storage place in our bedroom, place it in the shower and hook it up. Since we have no dryer, we depend upon clotheslines.
Has anyone noticed that the weather has not been particularly conducive to drying clothes on a line this year? When we started out, I was able to put out the awning and string a rope three or four times across, from arm to arm, and with the heat, sun and breeze, clothing dried easily. By time summer ended, we had rain, thunderstorms and cool weather all up and down the east coast, following us south to Georgia and west to Arizona and Southern California. For months now we’ve been dependent upon resort laundry rooms and public laundromats.
Most RV parks have laundry facilities, but that is not always a good option. First, many resorts spread out their washers and dryers in various buildings on their premises. This might seem a good layout, giving more people short walks to them, but when you are competing with 200 other campers for three washing machines and a couple of dryers, shrinking their numbers in each location is not ideal. Very often we have to wait, and wait, and wait some more for a few machines to become available.
Second, it appears that many resorts disregard the importance of clean, working washers and dryers, and we often have trouble finding more than a couple of operational machines in an older park. Ironically, these are often the same campgrounds that restrict the use of clotheslines at your site. The last resort we stayed in closed both of their laundry rooms indefinitely because of drainage problems.
We’ve begun to see some resorts using a high-tech laundry card, which you have to buy for $2 or $3 and then load with cash. The equipment will only take these cards, not coins, and whatever money is left on the card is stuck there until you can use it again. “No problem,” a manager told us. “Just keep the card and you won’t have to re-buy it in the next park.” Two problems surfaced with that suggestion. By the time we got to the next park, we had lost the card (and the $2.50 still on it), and the next park’s card system wasn’t compatible anyway. This seems like another way for resorts to nickel and dime their customers.
The primary reasons people use public laundromats are that they can’t afford to buy or repair laundry equipment in their house or apartment, they are homeless or they are traveling. The first two causes dictate that facilities be located in poorer sections of a city where many of their customers live, often in or near rundown neighborhoods with vagrants and gangs in the vicinity. Though we have used laundromats that were located in nicer areas and were very well maintained, these are the small minority of laundry storefronts we’ve been forced to use.
An example of this was experienced recently when the closest facility to our campground was 16 miles away in Chula Vista, CA. There are extremely modern and pleasant sections of this city and we were hoping to find a laundromat on that side of town. Instead, options were ten miles further away in a much older suburb. The parking lot of first location we tried was full, with nearly 50 cars parked in tiny spaces, so we had to move to our second choice. This had only two parked vehicles, one of which was a rusted white van blaring profanity-laced rap music. There was a reason for its lesser popularity. By the time we were finished, after sharing a broken row of seats with a transient who was passed out and wafting of hard alcohol, we wondered if our clothing was cleaner or worse off after using their equipment.
Doing laundry is a necessary evil that full-time RV’ers must endure. I envy those larger RV’s that have full washer/dryer setups. They rarely have to deal with some of these issues that can ruin your week, or worse.
Address: 136 Schroon River Road, Warrensburg, NY 12885
Phone: (518) 623-9833
# of sites: 145
Full hookup price: From $60/night ($75/night for riverfront)
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Warnings: mosquitoes, narrow aisles
Located in proximity of beautiful Lake George, an hour from Lake Champlain and just a couple of hours south of the Canadian border, Warrensburg, NY, occupies a traveler's dream spot. Though for us it was just a waypoint between Maine and Brennan Beach on Lake Ontario, we certainly could have spent a month or more here and been kept quite busy. The campground is on the Schroon River, a long and winding stream that flows from the Adirondacks to the Hudson River, also in Warrensburg.
Lake George is a tourist town, to be sure, but it stretches 32 miles to the north and is just two miles across at its widest point, and has many quaint towns and villages scattered along its winding shoreline. A drive around the lake was quite enjoyable, topped off with a Guinness in the town named for the lake itself.
Entering the RV section of Warrensburg Travel Park gives you a sense of camping in a thick forest -- lush green trees with a dense canopy overhead. There is ample space in most of the sites for rolling out the mats, chairs, awning and screens without the feeling least bit cramped. The amenities are the usual, with public Wifi, laundry, cable TV, public restrooms and showers, heated pool, pavilion and game room, mini golf and a camp store. You can also rent a variety of boats kayaks and canoes for use on the river.
Mosquitoes, lots of them. These aren't your huge Michigan variety, but what they lack in size they make up in voracity. The closest part of the Schroon River to the campground is really an arm, not the flowing river, so the water is somewhat stagnant there. I don't believe there is any mitigation happening in the area, and when the owner came around to ask about our stay, he laughed off the mosquitos complaint saying that I should expect mosquitos when I'm camping. Not necessarily.
A downside to lush green canopy would be the lack of sky for a good satellite connection. Luckily they do provide cable TV to the sites.
Like many of the resorts in the east, most of the seasonal RV's were aged, run-down and dilapidated. This can sometimes make you feel you're in an old trailer park.
Most of the park consists of dirt and pine needles and it takes very little precipitation to make the place a muddy mess. There is some gravel on the driving paths, but not enough. Speaking of driving paths, they are very narrow and the proximity of trees makes maneuvering a rig through the park extremely time-consuming.
The pool was closed while we were there, just because it was getting late in the fall, I imagine. The camp store was more decrepit than the oldest seasonal RV's and had ridiculously dated stock and junk masquerading as antiques and craft goods.
Close by the resort, there were almost no night spots or restaurants to enjoy. That's not necessarily a con, depending on your camping style.
Were it not for the abundance of tourist attractions and scenery to enjoy relatively close by, as well as the lushness of the surrounding forest, this campground might not have been rated as high as three stars. It's a shame when you can easily see high potential for a resort but management has deemed it unworthy to reach for it.
Address: 1470 Bucksport Rd, Ellsworth, ME 04605
Phone: (207) 667-7600
# of sites: 144
Full hookup price: From $258/week
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Warnings: Reserve as early as possible
We always wanted to visit Maine and Thousand Trails gave us a couple of options there. Patten Pond is a 750-acre lake with fishing and boating and one corner of the campground includes a beach and boat docks on the lake.
Smaller than some of the Thousand Trails parks we have stayed in, Patten Pond RV Campground has plenty of room to maneuver and lots of living space. There are trees shading many of the sites and beautiful views of the lake from the beach. The lake sports trout, bass and walleye and the park rents canoes, rowboats and other watercraft. Many campers were taking advantage of these services.
From their web page: "You can canoe, fish, swim, boat, or just relax and watch the loons from our peaceful and private beach."
This is a great base from which to explore the Maine coast, including Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. We took several scenic drives while staying at Patten Pond. Though Acadia is not the eastern-most point in the U.S., its elevation at Cadillac Mountain gives it the distinction of having the first rays of morning sunlight in the continental US. I happily checked the Acadia sunrise off my bucket list...
If you like lobster, you can't do better than Maine, which has an abundance of restaurants serving them large, fresh and cheap!
Though you can fish in this lake, you must travel elsewhere to get a license -- they don't sell them at the park's shop. If you plan on fishing early, you won't be renting a boat for that -- boats aren't available to rent until 9am. Speaking of fishing, this is a family-oriented park and there are always many children staying here.
Situated in the far northeast coast, weather can be extremely unpredictable. Rain, fog and sunny skies alternated throughout our stay, and at one point I didn't know if I would ever have a sun-filled day for a photo jaunt.
Acadia National Park is invariably packed at sunrise, assuming there is one. My first attempt was foiled by rain and overcast weather, as is common on the Maine coast. If weather does permit, make sure you go at least two hours early to get a parking space and primo photo spot in front of the 2,000 or other photographers that will invade the mountainside. I didn't do that and had to walk about a mile to get to the peak for photos. I almost missed sunup.
If you don't like lobster (we don't), getting good food is a challenge everywhere in the region. Meals other than lobster or crab were mediocre at best.
Overall, we really enjoyed this resort. We plan on returning and spending more time in this area. Maine can be breathtaking!
I must admit, RV manufacturers do not build their rigs for full-time use. If they did, these recreational vehicles would likely be twice as expensive. No, they build them for price. They build them to be pretty. They build them for weekends and campouts. I don’t blame them. How many people would buy RV’s at double the current prices? A business must supply a market.
We purchased our 31’ 2011 Crossroads Cruiser in 2014 knowing we would be going full-time in just three years or so. We loved the floor plan as it gave us space for a dual-office and had opposing slides for a full 16’ wide living space in the “great room.” Since then we have changed every piece of furniture and many fixtures, starting with the RV mattress, continuing with the plastic toilet and finishing up with the dinette, chairs, sofa and recliners. We have even replaced our RV stove with a toaster/air fryer oven, and in the process added more counter space.
All of that said, we have found some common themes and several differences among RV’ers living full-time in their rigs and those who just go for vacations and weekend jaunts. Here are some things to ponder...
Probably the largest concern when moving from vacationing to full-time living in an RV is storage space, or rather, the lack of it. This is primarily what we spent months thinking about before we launched our new lifestyle. No matter how much you downsize your stuff, you will have too much of it. Even after all of our planning and repurposing, we still had to chuck a lot of stuff once on the road and we realized we didn’t need or use it. You accumulate unneeded junk in a house or apartment, but it doesn’t usually matter because it’s often out-of-sight and out-of-mind. In an RV, out-of-sight belongings still affect weight and available space. In other words, they very well may be taking up space for things you’d rather be carrying but don’t have room for.
Besides pure space considerations, everything you load onto an RV adds to its towing or carrying weight, so it is a good idea to make sure your vehicle has the power and capacity you need in the long term. This might not be a big deal for someone towing five or six times per year, but the more you tow or carry, the more your truck or motorhome is affected.
We found out the hard way that manufacturing recommendations can be unrealistic. Our first truck was a Ford F250 (3/4 ton) gas model that had a tow rating of 12,000 pounds. Besides, a dealer had said we'd have "no problem" with that weight. Our loaded 5th wheel ended up only about 11,000 lbs., but the truck took a beating and after several major repairs within the first 30,000 miles, we traded it in on a 1-ton diesel. That made a world of difference.
A weekender might not use it enough to notice, but one of the first things to wear out in an RV with full-time use is the carpet. Carpeting is made and installed for light use and to soften the look of an interior, not for continual traffic. We finally removed our living room carpet when cleaning actually made it worse. We now have vinyl plank flooring throughout the kitchen and living room and plans to do the same in the bedroom and bathroom.
Décor and “Redecorating”
Décor isn’t usually a necessity for weekenders, but when your rig is your home, you may just want it to feel, well, homey. Full-timers will all join in the chorus about how little wall space they have. Framed artwork, knick-knacks, elaborate lamp shades and other sticks-and-bricks-based décor will not always fit in moving house, let alone look warm or elegant. To be fair, a weekender probably doesn’t care. They just want to go fishing or hiking, or 4-wheeling, and then go home.
My wife calls our driving time a “continuous earthquake” and travel jaunts are “redecorating days.” The constant vibration of the highways, local streets and gravel roads can cause even the hardiest décor to tumble or crumble. A full-timer with lots of décor, like us, is always faced with the dilemma of what to pack and what to leave out for travel days, with the added inclination of not wanting the nuisance of packing and unpacking on each leg of their journeys. Museum gel has been a revelation, but even that’s not foolproof. Multiple straps and wall anchors have also helped and we continue to tweak that arrangement. However, every time we stop we hold our breath when we open the door to see what the earthquake has redecorated.
Part-time camping usually means a higher clutter tolerance. A vacation or long weekend is expected to be messy, so throwing your sweater on a chair or setting dirty plates on a counter is far from a crisis. Everything can easily pile up and wait for one big cleaning session before (or after) finishing the outing. In a full-time life, there is no end in sight for which to wait.
A smaller living space magnifies clutter and it doesn’t take a neat freak to be affected by it. A simple sock on the floor, crumpled napkin on a table or dirty dish minding its own business on the kitchen counter can seem to turn a clean, comfortable room into a new episode of "Hoarders." For many, cleaning must happen continuously.
Power and Water
Of course, RV’s are made to be self-contained for a weekend, or maybe slightly longer. Full-timers stretch the limits of their tanks, and fresh water must be sustained. A long weekend may not require air conditioning, TV or electric appliances, but residing in the rig usually does.
Battery power only goes so far, and rarely will supply a microwave, toaster oven, an electric fireplace, an induction stove or big screen TV’s, all of which we have. Staying in resorts with full hookups is nice but difficult to manage from park to park over a long period of time (unless you’re a seasonal resident). We stay 1-2 weeks in a park then move on, usually boondocking (or dry camping- without hookups) for one or two nights between resorts. Occasionally we boondock longer, like the 4 days we parked in the middle of nowhere in the South Dakota Badlands, where electricity was a concern.
We use a Wen 2000i generator that will power everything in the 5th wheel except the primary A/C and bought a smaller, portable A/C unit that the generator will run. It can run continuously for hours and is relatively inexpensive, costing a third of a gallon of unleaded gasoline per hour. More importantly, it will recharge our two Lithium Ion batteries very quickly.
Recently, many nomads expecting to boondock for longer periods have been installing full solar systems that will provide electricity from a few days to almost indefinitely without hooking up to shore power. Solar is expensive to purchase and install, though costs are coming down. It requires a bit of real estate on the RV’s roof for the panels and in the basement or other storage space for the bank of batteries. In addition, solar power can be affected greatly by weather and the amount of sunlight available. We decided early on not to go solar and depend solely on our generator and batteries while dry camping, but if pricing keeps coming down, we may revisit that decision.
Parks vs. Boondocking
As I mentioned, an RV’er has the option of full-hookup camping in an RV park or dry camping, aka boondocking or dispersed camping. Weekenders will tell you that there are other options as well. State and federal parks may have power or water, but not often both. Also, most do not have sewer availability at the campsite but have dumping stations you can use in a central location in the park. This would require tearing down camp and moving your rig if you need to dump or get fresh water before you are ready to complete your stay, but at least the option is there. Again, full-timers have a much greater need for these services because otherwise their limitations will be reached at some point in time.
Another choice some full-timers (or backwoods-type weekend adventurers) decide on is a composting toilet, which uses almost no water and doesn’t require a sewer connection to empty. So far that has not been necessary in our travels.
Reservations vs. Wingin' It
We have seen two distinct types of RV’ers- those that travel without any plans and those that want everything reserved as far in advance as possible. We are the latter. In fact all next year is already planned, at least tentatively. One reason for this is that we are Thousand Trails members and need to reserve in advance to make sure we can take advantage of the free stays.
It’s fairly easy for a weekend warrior to find a place to camp, even on the fly. One might say, “Let’s go to the Snake River and get some fishing in this weekend!” Then the family loads up and goes. On more extensive outings they need only worry about reservations for that week or for those few days. Full-timers on the road, other than the most daring of nomads, must always be considering their plans and whether to make reservations. Wait too long, especially for the more popular parks, and there may not be space available for you. Try to make them too far in advance and the park may not be allowing reservations yet. It’s a continuous juggling act we just deal with and must keep on top of.
Expenses- Vacation vs. Living
Excursions of shorter lengths are "vacations," almost by definition. Home, then, is what you leave behind for a few days until you return. Vacation travel and eating expenses are figured in to be spent throughout the trip.
One of the most difficult parts of living on the road is remembering you are living a lifestyle and not on a long-term vacation, unless of course you have tons of money and don’t have any desire to cook. Successful full-timers will limit their restaurants and tourist spending to just a few venues in each location, more or less depending on their budget.
It’s interesting to think about RV’ers taking a vacation from their lifestyle, since many think their lifestyle IS a vacation.
Repair and Maintenance
If something isn’t quite right for a part-time camper, it can often wait until next trip, next month or next summer. Full-timers can attest to the fact that they should fix small problems well before they become big problems. Because of the continual nature of the lifestyle, parts or devices with small issues can take a beating.
Just think about taking your sticks-and-bricks home in for repair. Even if you could, where will you live while it’s in the shop? Definitely not a weekender’s worry. Since big problems in RV’s are expensive, sometimes VERY expensive, repair costs can immediately affect your quality of life, or even dictate whether you can continue living on the road.
The Neverending Story
I told someone that I was writing this piece and their comment was that I could spend a lifetime discussing it. In a way, she was right. However, I thought it was better to touch on the subject and begin the discussion than wait until all of the explanations are clear and all the questions are answered. Send me your thoughts and suggestions!
The advantage of purchasing a three-year-old fifth wheel was that everything worked, far beyond the initial break-in period when most mishaps occur. However, the older floor plans were not really set up for full-time living, so each room needed upgrades, modifications and updates. I've already posted about updating our master bedroom and our entryway, and this post is all about our kitchen.
I've numbered several items on the attached photos so you can see what I'm describing. Our kitchen is now 100% better than when we purchased our 5th wheel.
We were sceptical that a plastic stick-on backsplash would look good but hated the awful wallpaper border so much that we installed it anyway. Surprisingly, the results were very attractive and the backsplash has held up well.
10. Kitchen Knife Set
This unit was purchased at Walmart for our kitchen in our house and it was moved to the RV when we went full-time. The set includes a wood and plexiglass knife holder, a set of six kitchen knives and 4 hard plastic cutting boards. It was meant to sit on a counter but i decided to save that space by attaching it to the wall.
11. Dinnerware and Paper Towel Caddies
To save space in the cabinets we moved our primary dishes and silverware into a caddy that, along with the paper towel caddy, could be carried outdoors to a picnic table or other eating area.
12. Dish Strainer
To save time for travel set up and break down and to keep more counter space available after washing dishes, which you have to often when your sink is RV-sized, we found a metal fold-up rack at Ikea.
13. Counter Top Extension
We purchased a standard cutting board and applied water-proofing before installing it on fold-up hinges. This is folded down to allow the slide to come in and adds important counter space when parked.
14. Kitchen Faucet
The factory-installed kitchen faucet was plated plastic and did not have an extended head. This new Dura model was purchased at Lowes is metal and does have an extended water head for better cleaning options.
15. Sink Caddy
With movement and vibration the norm on travel days, this wire shelving helps stabilize some of the accoutrements of the sink area, allowing much more to stay out of the set up and tear down process.
This is an inexpensive battery-operated clock that has lasted for 5 years so far.
17. Pull-Down Tray
Utilizing wasted under-cabinet space, this metal tray pulls down and out and is filled with open dog-treat bags and a few rolls of doggy poop bags.
18. Ice Maker
An absolute necessity, we bought a countertop ice maker pretty early on in our RV life. This one is an RCA model and has been running great for several years now. It makes a set of round cylinder-shaped ice cubes every 12 minutes and recycles any ice not used before melting.
19. Battery LED Lights
These are from Ikea and add some needed light to the stove area.
20. Storage Basket and Tray
To utilize empty space over the tall cabinets, we could have placed decor, plants or storage trays and we chose the latter. To accommodate the taller paper towel rolls on the left cabinet, we added a tension bar.
21. Wire Utensil Bins
Like other metal or wire bins we installed, these we purchased from Hobby Lobby.
22. BBQ Grill Utensils and Hooks
BBQ utensils were too heavy for Command hooks so I attached a wooden 4-hook key holder to the side of the rolling cart and they are now out of the way and taking no drawer space.
23. Spice Racks
You would think the RV would have come with spice racks, but none were to be found.
24. Keurig Coffee Maker
I don't drink coffee but Nadyne loves it. Our Keurig 2.0 was a nice appliance but took up far too much counter space, so we went looking through the Keurig product line and found a similar model with a small footprint by comparison.
25. Wire Bread Basket
26. Wooden Counter Top
When we removed our built-in stove (see #27), an opening was left that we filled with a piece of pine taylored for the spot and stained dark to be compatible with the surrounding cabinets. This wooden counter is removable.
27. Convection/Toaster/Air Fryer Oven
The oven and stove that came with the rig had been causing continuing issues, culminating with the oven pilot not working. With Nadyne already frustrated with the stove burner limitations and the cost of a new combination oven/stove appliance in the thousands of dollars, we decided to replace the stove unit with a small convection/toaster oven that included an air fryer. We had a small eir fryer that we loved using and had been missing our toaster oven, so this really wasn't a difficult choice. I had to make sure propane line was properly stopped and stowed, and we tied the unit down with metal strips.
28. Oven Shelf and Cubby
With the size of the new oven (see #27) so much smaller than the original, we added a shelf to sit it on, leaving a nice storage space beneath.
29. Pull-out Wire Drawer
At the floor below the stove was a storage space and drop-down cabinet door that was very difficult to use. Nearly every time we needed to pull or put away something in that area, we had to almost lay down on the floor to reach in the back of the space where everything migrated to. This was resolved with a wire drawer we purchased at The Container Store. We use this spot for storing all of our dog food and meds, plus other canine odds and ends.
30. Floor AC Outlet
The one drawback with adding a portable island in the middle of the kitchen floor was the difficulty in getting power to any appliances we wanted to use on the island. This was resolved by having an RV shop install a dedicated circuit (with GFI) in the floor where the island would sit. This cost nearly $1,000 but it was done by professionals and the outlet has been used almost every outing since. Now that we're full-time, it has been essential.
31. Power Strip
Rather than having multiple cords running to our dual outlet in the floor, I installed a power strip that makes plugging in very simple.
32. Towel Rod
We lost our towel holder with the removal of the stove (see #27) in which we utilized the oven door handle, so we found an inexpensive drawer attachment that holds kitchen towels.
33. Decor and Shelving
Some of this came from our house, including the four French chefs. We have left plenty of room to add knick-knacks and souvenirs from our travels.
34. Wireless Doorbell
I may have mentioned this on the Entryway blog post, but I thought some would ask about it, since it's so prevalent in one of the photos.
Next up: Updating the Bathroom
Jack Huber is a novelist with 7 mysteries published, along with several books of poetry and photography. Now retired, he and his wife, Nadyne, are free to travel the country in their 32' 5th wheel and 1-ton Ford pickup.