So I thought others might be interested in our comparison of RV Life to Sailing Life. BUT I must first acknowledge that we are only a few weeks into this RV adventure and we are FAR from experts. I hope we will improve as time passes and our experience increases.
CROWDS: Perhaps the most glaring difference between RV Life and Sailboat Life for us is the sheer number of people “doing it.” We are amazed that there are so. many. people. on the road! And consequently in the camp sites!!
Our very first RV “Park” was a rude awakening!
RESERVATIONS/SPACE: Having lived on our sailboat for three years, we are accustomed to choosing a place to visit, checking the available anchorages on a chart and heading in that direction. Once we arrive, there may be other boats in the anchorage but we always found plenty of room to drop an anchor.
WHEN RVing ~ DO NOT ARRIVE WITHOUT A RESERVATION. Period!!!
We have learned, these last few weeks, that RV sites are in great demand and you must have a reservation or take your chances of not finding a spot to stop. So far we have not had to resort to a Walmart parking lot, but that might still happen.
We will never experience this much space when our RV is parked.
RULES: I am not certain if my travels outside the U.S. have caused me to become aware of how many rules there are in the U.S. OR if there are just a TON of rules in every RV Park.
Regardless of which is true, we are amazed at just how strict the rules are in RV campgrounds and how zealously they are enforced.
~Keep you dog on a leash at all times (Yes, even if she is well trained and lying at your feet by the picnic table.)
~Only one vehicle per campsite. (Yes, even if you are just unloading a bike that your son brought with him and will be stored on the RV.)
~Changing your reservation means a default of your downpayment. (Yes, even if you cancel weeks in advance).
Eccetera, eccetera, eccetera!!!
There were at least five more rule signs along this short driveway.
WEATHER: RVing takes less awareness of weather and conditions than sailing requires. While sailing, we were always aware of the sea state, incoming storms, what the wind and weather forecast were at our destination and along the way to our destination.
When we pack up our RV and prepare to drive, we just point and drive and allow the weather conditions to bring what they may. So far we have been very fortunate that the weather as we drive has been mostly dry with little rain. But still, we aren’t nearly as aware of upcoming weather as we were while living on a sailboat.
One of the few days we experienced rain as we drove.
CONVERSE CONCERNS: RV and Cruising have opposite concerns. For many sailors, top priority is having enough fresh water, food and energy on the sailboat and management of waste is relatively easy. While RVing we have ample access to water, electricity and food but limited ability to evacuate waste and gray water!
Food is plentiful in the US grocery stores and buying more or whatever you desire is never an issue. In our sailing travels, we could always find food, but we might not be familiar with the foods we found or how to cook the food we bought.
AUTOPILOT: The greatest convenience that we miss from our sailing life is autopilot. We loved setting the sails and course and allowing Jude (the name we gave our autopilot) to take the helm (wheel). With Jude on the helm, we could relax, walk around the boat, read, cook, etc and simply make periodic checks to insure that Jude was on course, the sails were still well set and there weren’t any ships or objects in our way.
Now that we are on land, the RV requires full time attention from one of us as we are driving from one destination to another.
We really miss autopilot!! (Maybe I will embrace driverless cars after all.)
DAILY EXPENSES: The initial cost of buying a sailboat is much greater than buying an RV, especially if you buy a new boat compared to a new RV. Of course, there is a big range of initial costs available for both a sailboat and an RV depending on size, quality, etc.
However, we have found that the daily expenses of living in the U.S. and traveling from one RV campsite to the next is much higher than we experienced while sailing. On our sailboat, we refueled perhaps once every six to eight weeks if we ran our generator often. Diesel at a boat dock is more expensive than on land, but we usually spent about $250 when we refueled s/v Let It Be.
Driving our RV, we try to make our location changes a maximum of about 300 miles and we will spend about $115 on diesel each day that we travel that distance. If we had a smaller RV and truck we could reduce this figure, but we chose this RV so we could easily carry our bikes and other toys and so our kids could comfortably visit us.
When we dropped anchor on our sailboat, we did not incur any fees. If we picked up a mooring ball, the fees varied by location with the least expensive being $0. per day and the most expensive $35. per day. Ninety percent of our time on LIB we spent at anchor and incurred no fees for our location.
RV campsites range in price as well. We prefer to have full hookups so we have fresh water and can dispose of waste and gray water. We have found campsites run anywhere from $45 to $110 per night with full hookups.
We have joined a few ‘clubs’ to reduce our RV park fees, but many sites disallow discounts during peak season, which is now. Also, we might find campsites are less expensive during the off season. Time will tell.
BTW, our RV is not equipped to survive ‘off the grid,’ so long stays without electrical support is unrealistic at this time. IF we decide to RV long term, we would consider fitting our RV with solar power and additional batteries to give us the opportunity to find unsupported campsites.
After only a few weeks on the road, these are our thoughts when we compare RV Life and Cruising on a sailboat. Frank and I enjoyed the space and flexibility we found while sailing. As we await the arrival of our next boat, we are going through an adjustment period as we learn to live with very close neighbors and arrange our locations far in advance as required in an RV.
The magnitude is amazing.
However, we have truly enjoyed having the opportunity to travel the US with our own stuff in tow and stay with friends along the way.
We have enjoyed being in our “home” country and being completely at ease with the nuances that come with being in your homeland.
Easy communication because we are native speakers is a nice change too.
Dramatic and majestic.
Finally, the beauty and breadth of the United States is truly a wonder and we are blessed and happy to have this chance to visit a small portion of our country. As we adjust our thought processes, plan our travels further forward and move into a slightly less busy RV season, I think we will enjoy RV Life more.
~ HH 55 Catamaran Update ~
The news from HH concerning the progress of our catamaran has been a little quiet lately, but I’m pretty sure that is because they are currently sea trialling HH55-04, s/v Utopia.
s/v Utopia during sea trials in China. (Photo credit HH Catamarans)
This picture of Utopia shows some of the choices her owners made that differ from our choices. Obviously, one difference is that Utopia has been painted white and our boat will be blue. Utopia has been outfitted with North Sails but we have chosen to have our sails made by Doyle Sails. Also, Utopia, has a super sleek, removable bimini over her aft helm stations. The owners wanted light weight, minimalistic biminis that they can remove if they are racing. We have chosen to have more substantial binimis and alter the helm seat itself to make it more comfortable for long passages.
Sea trials will take place over a three week period, then s/v Utopia will be hauled, packaged and shipped to the U.S.
Seeing Utopia on the water makes us very anxious to take delivery of our new catamaran!
Thank you for visiting our blog. Feel free to comment or ask questions. We love hearing your thoughts.
The main street of Deshaies.
WOW! What a fabulous day we have had here in Deshaies. This small fishing village has a strong French feel and very little English is spoken. Needless to say, our communication is poor since we don’t speak much French, but that hasn’t prevented us from having fun!
Church bells ring at the hour and half hour!
Today began with 8 am Mass. Fortunately all Catholic Masses have the same format and I had my on-line missal with todays readings and Gospel in hand. Without it we would have understood almost nothing. Once the Mass was complete, the priest and congregation immediately began an additional service of some sort. I am not sure why or what the significance was as the only thing I understood was the Litany of Saints. All told, we were in church for two hours. We enjoyed some delightful music and were able to receive Communion for the first time in weeks.
After Mass, we decided to take a walk we read about in the Chris Doyle Leeward Islands guide book. The book said “anyone ready for a cool, shady scramble should follow the Deshaies River as it winds its way into the mountains.”
Create your own path on this beautiful stream.
Well this “scramble” is actually a pretty intense hike as we had to traverse over, under and around boulders. The “path” is not marked and this hike is really an opportunity to get in touch with your inner child and explore a river without having your mom reminding you to be careful and not go too far!
After a solid two hours of rock hopping, we found the road that would allow us to walk home. However, the guide book also said the very adventurous could carry on another few minutes to reach the furthest point along the river. Have you ever known us to stop before completing a challenge? Onward!
It was a shady climb.
End of the line….
About 20 minutes past the road, we found “the end” which was a crystal clear waterfall on the backside of a cave that opened into a small circular area before cascading down through the rocky river. Also a perfect place for a very chilly swim!
Looking out from the cave.
After a total of nearly 3 hours of hiking, we started our walk back to Deshaies via a road. One of the first things we encountered was a retreat or convent of some kind called St. Michael the Archangel. It was a beautiful, peaceful area that included an outdoor Stations of the Cross and a shrine to Mary!
The photo doesn’t capture the serenity of the setting.
There are 10 “beads” between each post; a giant rosary!
After this point, the road descended pretty quickly past houses, dogs, cows and chickens. We were quite happy to reach the dock and dinghy back to LIB!
Frank and Captain took naps while I enjoyed some quiet time reading and watching the sun set.
I thought this would be the end of the day.
One more trip to grass for Captain led us to discover that June 21st is the Festival of Music in France and in Deshaies. So off we went, back to town to enjoy a walk down main street to check out the celebration.
The largest ensemble we saw.
The group with the most unique sound.
There were five tents interspersed along main street and each held a unique musical offering. We enjoyed strolling along and stopping to hear the various groups.
I have to admit, sitting on a street curb, listening to a local orchestra with a quarter moon shining in the night sky was rather enchanting.
I feel very blessed to have this opportunity to experience such a variety of places and people!