RV LIFE Podcast

Exploring RV Life with Kids: Tips, Destinations, and Community

April 17, 2024 Dan & Patti Hunt Season 3 Episode 77
Exploring RV Life with Kids: Tips, Destinations, and Community
RV LIFE Podcast
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RV LIFE Podcast
Exploring RV Life with Kids: Tips, Destinations, and Community
Apr 17, 2024 Season 3 Episode 77
Dan & Patti Hunt

This episode of the RV Life Podcast focuses on living the RV life with children, highlighting affordable and enjoyable experiences for families. The episode features discussions about the best places to explore with children, including affordable destinations and unique experiences like visiting the Manatees in Florida, engaging with local communities, and leveraging memberships like Harvest Hosts for memorable stays. Special guests, the Seline, family of five transitioning from a goat farm to full-time RV life, share their journey, challenges, and the joy of meeting new people on the road. The podcast emphasizes the importance of community, asking for help, and creating enriching experiences for children, including homeschooling benefits and building friendships while traveling. 

RV Trip Wizard Code:  RVLIFEPodcast for 25% off         

*Connect with Erin, Jon and her family at
thejoypackedjourney Facebook  and thehoypackedjourney Instagram
**Thank you for listening to this weeks podcast, we would love to hear from you, please leave us a comment or question here on the podcast or on our social media channels.
RV LIFE Podcast Instagram or RV LIFE Podcast Facebook
*We spoke about our good friends Melodie, Curt, and Marcus of
RV Plus 3 Facebook  and RV Plus 3 Instagram

Special Discounts Codes: Click Link & Use Code

RV LIFE Pro Click the link for 25% off
• Motorhome Tires: $50 discount FIND MY INSTALLER
•Thousand Trail Membership Call/Text Membership Specialist Warren & Sharon Lewis 804-366-0798
CLEAR2O
Open Road Fuel Card save on Diesel Fuel
LITO - Luxury In The Outdoors
Open Roads Innovative Tolling Solutions
Toll pass, all 48 state & customer support
Open Road Resorts Mention RV LIFE Podcast
National Vehicle great place to sell your RV
Harvest Hosts Boondockers Welcome
Code: HUNT20 for 20% off
Sponsors
National Indoor RV Centers
6 great ...

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This episode of the RV Life Podcast focuses on living the RV life with children, highlighting affordable and enjoyable experiences for families. The episode features discussions about the best places to explore with children, including affordable destinations and unique experiences like visiting the Manatees in Florida, engaging with local communities, and leveraging memberships like Harvest Hosts for memorable stays. Special guests, the Seline, family of five transitioning from a goat farm to full-time RV life, share their journey, challenges, and the joy of meeting new people on the road. The podcast emphasizes the importance of community, asking for help, and creating enriching experiences for children, including homeschooling benefits and building friendships while traveling. 

RV Trip Wizard Code:  RVLIFEPodcast for 25% off         

*Connect with Erin, Jon and her family at
thejoypackedjourney Facebook  and thehoypackedjourney Instagram
**Thank you for listening to this weeks podcast, we would love to hear from you, please leave us a comment or question here on the podcast or on our social media channels.
RV LIFE Podcast Instagram or RV LIFE Podcast Facebook
*We spoke about our good friends Melodie, Curt, and Marcus of
RV Plus 3 Facebook  and RV Plus 3 Instagram

Special Discounts Codes: Click Link & Use Code

RV LIFE Pro Click the link for 25% off
• Motorhome Tires: $50 discount FIND MY INSTALLER
•Thousand Trail Membership Call/Text Membership Specialist Warren & Sharon Lewis 804-366-0798
CLEAR2O
Open Road Fuel Card save on Diesel Fuel
LITO - Luxury In The Outdoors
Open Roads Innovative Tolling Solutions
Toll pass, all 48 state & customer support
Open Road Resorts Mention RV LIFE Podcast
National Vehicle great place to sell your RV
Harvest Hosts Boondockers Welcome
Code: HUNT20 for 20% off
Sponsors
National Indoor RV Centers
6 great ...

Speaker 1:

What are your top favorite experiences to do when you have kids while living the RV life? I'm Patty Hunt with my incredible husband, dan Hunt, and you're listening to the RV Life Podcast. Listening to the RV Life Podcast. Come along with us today as we chat with our guests about the best places to explore with kids, and don't worry, it doesn't always have to cost a lot of money. I want to thank you all for reaching out with your thoughts and prayers about Dan wanting to know about his health issues that he is having. For those of you who are new to the RV Life podcast, dan and I do this podcast together and over the last several weeks, he has been dealing with medical issues keeping him from being on the podcast. Now, last week on the RV Life podcast, I did a quick update on what is going on with him and as we move through his medical issues, we will continue. I will continue to update you, and that'll be on social media, so RV Life Podcast on Instagram or Facebook. It is the easiest way to get information out to so many people. But I do have to again say how grateful I am for all the support, the prayers, the love, people contacting me and reaching out and I truly cannot say enough how much I appreciate the people that have supported and just sent their love to us. It is greatly appreciated.

Speaker 1:

Now, those of you that are new to the RV Life podcast, just to give you some background, dan and I have traveled in our RV for three years. It's over three years. We are now in the Philadelphia area and we are getting medical things handled. We are staying in this area for a little while living this RV life. You never know what's going to come up and how things are going to play out. So this is the area that we lived in. I was born and raised in this area and Dan lived most of his life here. So we are with family and friends and that's always great when you're going through something. I am so incredibly excited about our guests today. They're a family of five living the full-time RV life and they're going to share their experiences. Okay, it is now time. Are you ready for today's fun fact? And today's fun fact is brought to you by Open Road Resorts with four great locations in Montana, idaho and Texas. Two of them are in Montana.

Speaker 1:

Today's fun fact, our friends from Today is, someday said that full-timers, full-time RVers, make up 1.5% of the RV population. I thought that was interesting. It seemed like a kind of low percentage to me. Population I thought that was interesting. It seemed like a kind of low percentage to me. Reach out on social media. Let us know your thoughts. Maybe there's other statistics out there, I don't know. Of those people that are on the road, the RVers that are on the road, 40% have kids under 18 years of age. 40% are traveling with kids. That's an interesting number as well. I look at people that travel with kids and just seems like an amazing experience for kids and we'll talk about that more as we talk to our guests.

Speaker 1:

So now it is April, the weather is getting warmer. Here in the Philadelphia area the trees are absolutely beautiful with pinks and white and yellow colors. I love, love, love this time of year If you have the opportunity to travel and get out and see the spring and how things are starting to bloom. If you do nothing else, I highly recommend it. But let's talk a little bit about some places to plan on going now that the weather is getting warmer and again, open Road Resorts has four great locations. We visited the one in Texas. It is called Dallas Northeast. It was just a beautiful, wonderful place there. But again, now that it's getting warmer, we could start going north and you could go to Red Rock RV Park, which is right outside the entrance of Yellowstone National Park. This park now has monthly. You could stay monthly and the longer you stay, the less it costs. Seems like a place that I have to be honest, I've never been there but certainly seems like a place that you want to stay for a long time. Chase Becker was on the podcast several months ago and talked about what there is to do in that area in addition to Yellowstone National Park, and just listening to him talk I was in awe and just cannot wait to visit Yellowstone National Park, to go to Red Rock RV Park and just experience all that is in and around that area. Open Road Resorts the information is in the show notes and Chase is offering our RV Life Podcast guest a discount.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so now when we are traveling, we also need and care about fresh, clean water. My friends Keith and Barb at Clear 2.0 are not only amazing people, but Keith has invented some amazing products. I have the three-stage filter system, which you go to a campground, you put your water to whatever water source they have, and you just never know what you're getting. I never wanted to drink the water coming out of those spigots. With my three-stage water filtration system, I felt confident drinking the water. It tastes good, it smells good. It's just better for you. And so, to check out Clear 2.0, you can go to clear2ocom and there's to be listening from the car at the gym Again, and there's to be listening from the car at the gym Again. All of it will be in the show notes Now, as I said, I am so excited to talk to my guests today and I just I can't say enough about these people.

Speaker 1:

But, as anybody who's listening to the podcast knows, here's where we do the edification, and today's guest is a family of five that were my angels when I was in need. They owned a seven-acre goat farm in Minnesota and sold everything in 2021. She was an ICU nurse and he was a regional sales manager. She wanted to stay home with their three children, so they thought about circumnavigating that's a mouthful the planet in a boat, and when that did work out, they decided on full-time RV life instead. And, as I said, they were my angels when Dan and I were packing up our RV to come up back up to Pennsylvania. These five angels showed up and helped us, and I don't know how I would have done everything that needed to get done without them. So I want to welcome Erin, celine and family. Welcome to the RV. Life Podcast.

Speaker 2:

Hi, patti, it's good to be here. That was so kind of you. We just were very happy to help you when you asked.

Speaker 1:

And we're going to talk a little bit about that because asking for help is one of those things, so we're going to talk about that in this episode. Now you guys have three amazing kids. Can you give us their names and their ages?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, Levi is 14, Nathan is 11, and Immaculin is 9.

Speaker 1:

And truly amazing kids. They stepped in and they helped as well. So Dan and I made the decision to sell it all and go full-time in an RV. We never had that idea about the boat, but we decided we were going to go full-time in an RV. As I said, we've been three years on the road. It was a quick decision for us. We just made the decision and four months later we were taking off. Tell our listeners your story. How did this all come about? That you decided that the whole family was going to go full-time and tell us about the boat, the whole circumnavigating the planet?

Speaker 2:

So we started. It's a long story, but my husband has always really enjoyed sailboats. His dad had a sailboat when he was a kid. They grew up on Lake Medina in Texas which we are very close to, actually, which is weird, but he always had this idea that sailing would be so wonderful. About four or five years ago we started watching YouTube channels about people who sail in their boats full time. He and his brother, my husband and his brother, their boats full time. He and his brother, my husband and his brother decided to get a sailboat off of Craigslist and it was free and needed a lot of work. But they had this dream to fix it up together and just like, bond the family together and sail on some of the bigger lakes in Minnesota and then maybe take it on the St Lawrence Seaway. They had all of these dreams and we had the property and ended up storing a bunch of boats we had, I think, 10 before we left on our goat farm. So we had goats and boats. My dad used to call it the Selena Marina and that was just so funny, anyway. So watching all of these YouTube channels, we thought, gosh, we should do this someday. There are tons of families who sail, and wouldn't that be fun.

Speaker 2:

Covid hit and we got thrown into just what that life looked like for us. Things didn't stop or slow down. I went to work in the ICU, my husband kept working in manufacturing doing sales, and we just put that on hold for a minute and then, as time went on, we had a lot of time to watch more YouTube and thought, gosh, this would be so great and maybe my husband's job could go remotely. And so he started talking with his boss and his boss gave him the thumbs up. And it was also a great time to sell our property. We bought in a recession and so the market had peaked and we thought, gosh, let's just sell. So we finished up the recession and so the market had peaked and we thought, gosh, let's just sell. So we finished up the house and in the process, somebody offered us a house in Florida and we traveled down there to look at the house. And in the same breath we also looked at a boat in Fort Lauderdale and fell in love with the boat and decided to pursue that. The house was great. Whatever, it's another house. We didn't want another house. So let's see From there.

Speaker 2:

We came back to Minnesota and finished working on our house, put the last nail in and said, great, let's go. I left my job, but we couldn't just go straight to a boat. We had to figure out a method. We didn't want to necessarily rent an apartment, we didn't want to buy another house. So what were we going to do? I reached out to a friend and she said oh, you could RV, that's no problem. We've been doing it for six years. And I thought, oh gosh, that's a whole thought. I didn't even think so. We jumped on Facebook Marketplace and secured a travel trailer. We already had a truck and, yeah, put the last nail in the house and pulled out, left the keys with my parents to hand to our realtor and said, sayonara, and the boat thing never really transpired, it just hasn't. We still have a dream to do that. But once we got a taste of the RV life, we jumped in all the way and have been on the road for almost three years.

Speaker 1:

Well, that is an incredible story. Just picking up and going, and now, how old were the kids at the time that you're doing this?

Speaker 2:

Oh, just 12, just nine, just seven.

Speaker 1:

Okay, and what did the kids think about this? I'm thinking about I had five kids together and I'm thinking about at those ages telling them we're going to go live on a boat, we're going to sell this goat farm. What were their reactions in the beginning?

Speaker 2:

When we went down to Florida the first time in the summer of 2021, we decided to take the kids with us to look at the house. We thought if this is going to be a part of their life, then they need to come with. So we took the whole family down for 48 hours and we tried to make it as fun as possible. We were on a hunt for all the gifts. We could find all the little treasures in that trip and we made it fun. We enjoyed the time. They really enjoyed looking at the boat. It was a boat where we could crawl all over it. We could poke our heads in the nooks and crannies and the kids ran through, going, ran through going.

Speaker 1:

Oh, this is my bunk. So, just for our listeners, I'm laughing because I see a little kid in the background or is that the big kid I can't tell now in the background waving. Is that the big cat again? Oh no, in the background waving at us and this is truly yep. This is family life. That's exactly it. It's real life right here. So you took them with and you decided to throw it, and then you changed to the RV.

Speaker 2:

We just took them with on everything. They hadn't watched the sailing channels with us, but there is a channel we did let them watch that has a bunch of kids, and so they got a feel for what it would look like if we did go on a boat. When we bought the RV, we parked it in our driveway and the kids said immediately that night oh, can we stay in it? And I was no, we can't stay in it, we're not prepared for that. But they asked and asked and I said, sure, okay, fine. So we moved our blankets and our bedding in and that was the night we moved out of the house. We had the RV for a month before we ever sold the house and we never went back into the house, which surprised me. I didn't really think it was going to be that way. But day one of purchasing the RV and I think we just enjoyed the adventure Life on the road with kids has its ups and downs.

Speaker 2:

We went to family Christmas that same winter and my family does a thing where they go around and talk about our happies and sads from the year, and one of my kids blurted out I'm living in an RV. It's the worst, that's the saddest thing ever, oh, my goodness, in front of all of our family and extended family who thought we were crazy for doing what we were doing. I think everything requires some time and I think we've all grown closer and we've had a lot of adventures and I think that has outweighed any of the rough transition. Right, looking for friends, they've found friends on the road. They were missing their friends back home for a while, but we also made a point to put our kids onto Facebook Kids Messenger, things like that so they could connect with their friends back home.

Speaker 1:

There's a what here yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

I know Interrupt because you know what, when I do the podcast and again for those people who are new to the podcast, this isn't scripted I didn't hand Aaron a bunch of questions and said these are the questions. Think about what you're going to say. There's a very natural back and forth, but now that you've brought this up, it just brings up for me some things that people ask a lot and I hear people talking about. I try and get in. I'm very involved in the community and try and find out what do people need? What are they looking for? Dan and I have five kids and nine grandkids. We have never traveled with kids, but you brought up a couple of things that I want to.

Speaker 1:

It's a great teachable moment here of so people are worried if they're going to live this RV life. What, how do I tell the kids? What do I do? How do I make that transition? And you've given some tips. Like, one of the big things I heard from you is keep the kids involved. So they were not babies, they were young, but keeping the kids involved in the process, which was great, right. You would suggest that to any parent looking at circumnavigating the planet or getting in an RV. You would suggest get those kids involved, let them be part of the process right?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I really believe that there were two things we did very specifically. One was getting them involved, bringing them with on all of the adventures, bringing them with on looking at things looking at an RV, looking at a boat, looking at a house. We also made sure that when we were looking for our next home, if you will, that everybody had a bed that didn't have to be taken down For us because we were going to be full-timing. No matter what it was, we felt they needed to have something that was a space of their own. There's a book I read early on in our marriage and it said that in order for everybody to feel safe in a home, they need to be able to put their thumbprint on it somehow and make it theirs, and so we wanted to make sure that the kids had a space where they could put their thumbprint on it and it didn't need to be taken down. Now, that's different for every family, but that was important for us. Some people are okay using the couch or the bed, a table or whatever.

Speaker 1:

And it works. And we certainly know that different kids are different in what their needs are. Some kids can throw their stuff on the floor and be totally fine. I have grandkids, my one grandson will lay his head anywhere and go to sleep, and when you come up with a book you'll let me know and I'll put it in the show notes for people, okay, so now and there's a lot, certainly a lot here Now you go to Christmas that first winter and one of the children blurt out they hate it, so they're missing their phone Talk through some of the things.

Speaker 1:

I know. I've heard people who, with their kids, are dealing with this. There are two of the kids that love it, one hates it, or whatever that looks like. So how give our listeners some tips on how you helped them work through that?

Speaker 2:

oh, I don't know if I had a formula or anything like that, but we just went to. After all of that was done, we went to a private space. I think my grandma has a couple of living rooms and we went to a living room and we just talked about it. What is it that you don't like? Why don't you like it? What could we do to make this easier for you? How would you feel about staying in closer communication with your friends? One of the big things that particular kid was missing is one of his cousins, and so we said how can we facilitate that? So I think at that point we set up a specific day where he could talk with his cousin and play video games together and collaborate, and I think all those things helped. Every kid is still going to go through adjustments as they go through developmental phases too, so I don't think there's really any specific formula. I think it just is being intentional and trying to help maintain open communication. I love that and that's perfect.

Speaker 1:

That's what it's about. You didn't try and say no, that's not the way it is, you didn't. You just took him aside. You talked to him and created that space for him to feel like he could get what he was missing. That's great. Okay, I want to switch gears a little bit here. Just real quick, how much of the country? From what I understand, you've covered a good part of this country now in the what's it? Almost four years, three years you've been out Three years. So how much, yeah, how much of the country have you covered?

Speaker 2:

About half. We have gone to the west or, I'm sorry, the east coast, twice and we would go a third and fourth time. There's so much on the east coast we could see the fourth time there's so much on the East Coast we could see.

Speaker 1:

Let's talk a little bit, yeah, about half of it. Like you're saying, I go to an area and then you think, okay, I want to go to we love Crystal River in Florida, the Manatees, and it's a beautiful area. It's not as well known an area but I just love it there, one of my favorite places. And then you go and you say, okay, I've been there, I've seen the manatees, I've seen the area and ocean and all this stuff. And then there's 10 other things you want to go back to. So let's give our listeners I want to give our listeners some of the top places to go with kids. So let's start. I know you made a list. Let's just start wherever you want to start. The idea is to help our listeners come up with ideas. What do I do with kids? It's a question we get asked, I hear, all the time. So you're it. You're going to help cover that. You've got two boys and a girl and various ages, so give us a couple of those places.

Speaker 2:

Okay, florida is the easiest for us, just because we've spent three winters there, so a chunk of time. The first thing that came up when I asked my kids we're going to talk with Patty what are the top things you want to tell her are the best things that you've done and the first one that came up was Clearwater Marine Aquarium and that is in Clearwater, florida, near Tampa. It is a paid experience. It's not exactly cheap, but we had been given some money from my grandmother and she said go do something fun with your family. And my kids had all been asking to go there because it is the site of the movie Dolphin Tale and the dolphin Winter who has a prosthetic tail, and they made a movie out of it and then a second movie and my kids fell in love with the movies and when they learned it was a real place, we had to go there. So we did and it's a great experience. We were able to do the whole bit where we fed the dolphins, took pictures with the dolphins, all of that. So that's on the top of their list. That was a memorable experience.

Speaker 2:

The manatees you mentioned Crystal River and you can go to Crystal River and paddle in. You can't access the manatees from shore and once you're in the water you can't go to shore. So it's an all or nothing. But we paddled in with some friends on Crystal River and then went into Three Sisters Spring and Three Sisters Spring. You get your goggles and a snorkel and you get yourself a pool noodle and you tie up your paddleboard or your kayak and you swim on it and just see if manatees are in the lagoon. And when we were there I think there was probably about 50 or 60 manatees and they were coming very close to us actually that I felt like I had to turn on my side, otherwise I was going to probably to turn on my side, otherwise I was going to probably scream if one touched me, not because they're scary, but it's just a big animal.

Speaker 1:

They're huge and we actually I'll put it in the show notes have a video of a manatee coming up to the camera, almost touching it, and they're huge. They look like the sweetest puppies. He looked like he just wanted to come up. He, she, I don't know wanted to just come up and nuzzle and say hi. But yes, they are very big and I can. I love that experience because we went out on a boat to the manatees and they are all over, like certain times of the year. It's not like you have to really wait to find them and you can see them. You could just go walk on a dock and see them and they're just amazing. But so what was the next thing the kids had on their list?

Speaker 2:

Rocket launches. Watching SpaceX to send up rockets is always a huge plus. We did end up getting tickets to the Kennedy Space Center and then when we were around the Kennedy Space Center, we would try to make sure that we went on a day that there was also a rocket launch during the day, and that was really fun. A little tip that I didn't know but just found out is that you can get a homeschool discount, and when you're on the road with kids, you're homeschooling, so it's covered.

Speaker 2:

Even if your kids are enrolled in a public school, you are homeschooling your kids, and so you can call ahead to the Kennedy Space Center and request homeschooling tickets, and they're 20 bucks a person, versus the hundred and something bucks a person they are normally.

Speaker 1:

Oh, wow, that's a huge difference. So I just want to make clear any place that somebody's going to go with their kids, they should just ask. When I was a teacher, I would go in wherever I go and I'd say, do you give a teacher discount? And it was amazing, some of the places that did so. Anywhere that somebody wants to go with your kids, ask if they give a homeschool discount. Some people will say I don't know and probably still say okay, I'll give you a discount. But places like that they have it set. But that's great yeah.

Speaker 2:

And we ended up buying the annual membership because we're like, oh, it's the same cost and we can keep coming back. So that was a bonus for us. We came back to the Kennedy Space Center several times, but if I was just going to pick a day to go, not come back all the time, if I was going to go to Florida for only a short amount of time and not plan to come back, I would definitely call ahead. You have to purchase it over the phone, but it's, yeah, 20 bucks a person, which is phenomenal. So that's our Florida top places to see, aside from that on the East coast in oh, let's see, I think it's North, nope, it's South Carolina. I get those two confused all the time.

Speaker 2:

South Carolina. The national park system has a ferry that goes out to Shackleford Banks and Shackleford Banks is one of the Outer Bank Islands and you can see the wild ponies that live on the islands, that swim in the sea, that eat seagrass. You can get very close to them. Actually, you can also go fishing on that island. You can look for full conch shells. You can do all the things and it is a trip where you need to take sunscreen and a picnic lunch and a beach chair. But it's really great. We really enjoyed that. We went with friends. What else? I'm going down my list and seeing what. If I follow a direction, I can tell you clearly where to go. We did Washington DC and there is a lot of free stuff to do in Washington DC. I didn't realize that.

Speaker 1:

The Sonians are free.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Even the boom is free. Yeah, the whole.

Speaker 2:

National Mall is really full of free stuff and that was really enjoyable. We did go to see Mount Vernon, which is George Washington's home, and that is a paid experience, but Washington DC downtown you can go see so much and we really did enjoy that. We would probably need four days to do that, but we had one.

Speaker 1:

Yes, and if you have a big RV, you don't want to drive it through Washington, you want to park on the outskirts. We've been to Washington many times and have taken the kids. The zoo is a favorite for us. We love the zoo there. But now so we're going to come back. I'm going to take a little bit of a break and when we come back, you're going to share more places. We're going to talk about full-time families. We're going to talk about friendships on the road and how that works, because so many people believe your kids aren't going to be socialized and not what I've seen or experienced, and I know it's not your experience. So let's take a little break and let me talk about all this. Travel costs money, right? Dan and I have a 40-foot diesel pusher and so diesel fuel. We save money with Open Roads Fuel Card. The card itself is free. You have an app. You can see what is in the area for gas, for diesel fuel, and pick the place that works best for you. We have saved so much money with this card that, like I said, is free.

Speaker 1:

Now, as well as traveling around the country, there is a new product that Open Roads now has, and that is the toll pass innovative toll pass that Open Roads now has and that is the toll pass innovative toll pass. It's called Innovative Tolling Solutions and that covers 48 states. I was so tired of different toll passes for different areas. I've gotten so many fines because we go through and the car and the RV. It's been a mess.

Speaker 1:

I had over $250 of fines last year because of the toll pass didn't work or it's paid by mail and by the time I get it in the mail and I get it dealt with, it's past the 25 days. Anybody who's traveled knows the pain. This toll pass costs $40, $24, I'm sorry, $24 a year and then you again have an app. It works for the RV and the car. It has been fantastic. All the information for the fuel card and the toll pass will be in the show notes Now, as promised. What is one more of those things on your list, because we have some other things I really want to dive into as well.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, okay, I'll keep it really short and this is a bit of a shameless plug, but we use Harvest Host to travel and stay every night, usually along our way. We spend most of our nights in the campground, but Harvest Host makes it really easy to bounce between places.

Speaker 1:

And I'm going to say shameless plug. But again, some of our listeners are new. Explain Harvest Host, dan, and I also love Harvest Host. It's a tongue twister. Explain that to people, because it is amazing.

Speaker 2:

Harvest Host is small local businesses that can allow you to stay on their property and you purchase their commodity, whatever it is. You do pay for a membership. I think our membership is like 80 bucks a year or something like that. And then when we go to these different places a lot of them are farms. I like farms We'll purchase eggs or honey or whatever it is. We did go to a place in Vermont where you can go to a maple syrup factory they're so hard to say and they purchased maple syrup. Or we went to in New Hampshire or Rhode Island, I can't remember which one. You go to the Cog Railway and you can purchase tickets to go up the Cog, or you can just stay there, purchase something at the gift shop. But those have given us more memories than I actually thought they would, and our kids love Harvest Host, so that's a shameless plug for them.

Speaker 1:

No, absolutely, and this is what the RV Life podcast wants to give listeners great suggestions and things to do, and I'm glad you brought it up Harvest Hosts for us. Dan and I have used Harvest Hosts. We love the farms as well. We were at a lavender and loofah farm. Loofah is like the thing you scrub your body with yeah, we've been to that one.

Speaker 1:

They grow on bushes, they grow on vines yes, it's just amazing. And the Lavender Farm, it's just an amazing place, Our favorite, and I want to talk about it. And I got to say I'm not sure if they're still a harvest host. But these are some of the experiences that again, you go and they cost. Some of them want you with a donation of $20. So what's the big deal? We went to a farm in Tennessee and they had long horn cattle, so like eight foot long horns. And then this couple that ran the farm amazing people and they said come on, let's go out. They opened the electric gate to take us into the field where the long horn cattle are. Yeah, I was a little, but you want to talk about being scared. Not only are they big, heavy animals, they've got big, pointy horns. So he walks up and he grabs the horn and he pets the cow on the head and I was like okay, and he said you want to grab the horn because they get excited, they shake their head. You don't want to get hit.

Speaker 1:

I'm like I'm standing hiding behind him. You got to be kidding me, I'm not. But so great, now it gets better. We are packing up to leave. We had stayed for the weekend, had the most amazing time. We're getting ready to leave. He comes banging on the door. He was on his four-wheeler. He comes banging on the door and said come on, you got to go, you got to go with us. I thought there was a fire or something. We go out into the field and there is a mama cow having a calf.

Speaker 1:

Wow, we sat there for two hours and watched her give birth to this calf.

Speaker 1:

Now you see it on YouTube. You can watch it on YouTube, you can see it on social media. You can see things like that. But when you are there and watching this, she came right up Dan was sitting with his big camera. She came right up to check out is this okay? And then she went and had her baby and it was. These are experiences too, I think. When we go out and we're RVing, we look at these experiences and they cost money and it's always a cost. In a family of five it really gets expensive. But to have experiences like what Harvest Hosts provide some of these free experiences are basically free experiences. Like you said are the ones your kids talk about the most. They're amazing memories. So for people who, whether you have kids or not, check out Harvest Hosts, they are amazing places and they have golf courses and they have wineries and they have breweries and, like you said, the farms. They have so many different types of places. Definitely a place to definitely want to check that out. But now let's definitely check that out.

Speaker 1:

Yes, yes, let's get into talking about friends. So how well, let me just talk about how I met you. I met a family almost two years ago Melody, kurt and their son, marcus. We met at an event and then months later met again. I don't know how many times we've met now, but we talk on the phone so much that I feel like we're always together, like it feels like we're together, that I feel like we're always together, like it feels like we're together.

Speaker 1:

Melody has now become my social media person, so she does our social media for RV Life Podcast, instagram and Facebook and I'm so grateful. She's been amazing and an amazing help. Her and her husband, marcus the three of them have just been amazing people. We go to events and they are there and work with us and help us, and so when I met Marcus, he was talking about his best friend that also lives on the road. And then when I met you guys, so Melody introduced me to you and I started talking to you and I felt like we were friends instantly, like we got on the phone to do a chat and I think we were on the phone for 45 minutes or an hour just talking, while we had known each other.

Speaker 1:

And then I met your kid and it's Levi. That's friends with Marcus. Right, levi started talking about Marcus and I put it all together. I think they consider each other best friends. So let's talk a little bit about friendships on the road you talked about. They get together on social media. Let's talk about this Facebook community. Let's go through that. Let's talk about that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So I'll just go over how we met the Claytons. But we were in Ohio and one of the things that we've learned is to look for a little sticker that says full-time families. And it's an organization that the whole purpose is to bring families living on the road together to build community, so that kids can have friends. Kids can go to sports camps together, kids can go to rallies and do cool things. Sometimes at the rallies they offer CPR classes. Kids can learn CPR classes. They offer a full-time family's prom. They offer these things that kids would get at a regular school or in a regular sticks and bricks community and it's invaluable the amount of things that they offer for kids. But it brings families together. So we've learned look for the sticker. And it's this way to see if you have shared beliefs, you've shared common goals and experiences, and so it just provides that community aspect.

Speaker 2:

We were in Ohio and we saw, oh, look, they have a little sticker on their rig. I wonder who they are. And we met through another family that I ended up talking to who knew Kurt and Melody, and we had a fire. We invited them over for a fire. I can't remember, maybe they invited us and I said oh, we have a son who I think at the time was 12, 13. Maybe I said, oh, we have a son. They said, oh, we have a son too.

Speaker 1:

What does your?

Speaker 2:

son like doing. My son likes playing video games, my son does too, and so then we got them together and the rest is history, no-transcript Coast. And so the time spent built the relationship more and more, and now Levi and Marcus talk every day. They talk on the phone, they talk over Xbox, they talk over Nintendo, they talk over, and then when we're in person together with them, they go off and build forts and they all this stuff I don't know. They do a ton of stuff, and half of it I don't even know what happens.

Speaker 1:

Again, I was a teacher for 20 years and you think about, okay, and everybody has their own thing. I'm not judging. There's nothing wrong with either side. Most people don't feel like they want to homeschool. Actually, melody and Kurt and their channel is called RV Plus Three they were on and talked about living as a family, navigating the homeschooling thing and, again, while it's not for everybody, what I've seen, looking at both sides of it as an outsider, the amazing community that's created with the kid, the things that kids do together, they do stay connected. You think about when you live in your sticks and bricks and your kid goes to school. You're lucky if they have a half an hour and they actually get time with their friends. It's a little, it's different. It's not better or worse, let's just say it is definitely different. It's a different experience. People will say to me a lot of the conversation I hear is about what about my kids? What about them socializing? What about them missing out on sports? What about and I think you answered that Again, it's not for everybody, but the possibilities of what is out there is truly amazing and I know a lot of people that are part of full-time families and again, dan and I see those stickers everywhere, full-time families. And again, dan and I see those stickers everywhere.

Speaker 1:

We were at a campground two years ago and there were, we sat at our RV and across from us it looked like 20 kids playing together. They were all different ages. There were little ones that some of the bigger ones were leading along. They were they. Whatever it was, it didn't look like your typical game going on. Whatever it was, they were together, they were having fun. I don't, I don't know that. I'm sure there's still some bullying and some negative stuff that happens, but I feel like people tend to handle those things different. Being on the road, it just I love it. And then we went over and we talked to one of the parents and she said earlier they had gone and learned about the water system I forget what it was. That was one of the things they had learned while homeschooling. And she said they sat at a table. There were six or eight of them sitting at a table together, different ages, doing their schoolwork. But then they took water spigot and built a waterway and really got hands on. And I just think that's amazing. And again, if people want to know more about the whole homeschooling thing, you could listen to the episode with Kurt Melody, and Marcus was on that episode and he talked about what his favorite part of our being was. We've covered so much. I think there's still a few more.

Speaker 1:

So let's talk a little bit about national parks. Was that a big thing for you guys? Do you hit a lot of the national? I got to admit Dan and I to this day have hit zero national parks. And that's just when we started out. Dan said we'll go see every national park in the country. I was like that sounds great, but we always found something different. We always when we find something to do or something exciting, like Tennessee, we were supposed to be there quick, overnight. We stayed for three days so we never got to. We were gonna go to Nashville and do the typical sightseeing. We never got there. We were going to go to Nashville and do the typical sightseeing. We never got there, and I was totally okay with it. So national parks we've just gotten distracted and gone someplace else. So is national parks a big thing for you guys?

Speaker 2:

I will say national parks are not as big as I thought they would be. I thought, oh, we're going to, we're going to find the national parks, we're going to do the hiking, we're gonna, and they are fun. We have hit several. We just we finished doing the Everglades this past winter. We've done Yellowstone, we've done the Grand Tetons. We've done quite a few. But I think that there's more out there to do than just the national parks and the national parks. I'm not going to knock on them at all. We have enjoyed them.

Speaker 2:

It's just they're not everywhere that we stay either. We travel where our campground memberships are for the most part, and sometimes the national parks are right around the corner and sometimes they are four hours away. When we stayed up in Maine, we wanted to go to Acadia so bad but it was four and a half hours away one way and that's just not reasonable for kids in the car and we wanted to maintain peace in the family, so we didn't try to do an eight hour road trip with them while we were up there. But I think that you can still see the nature and the beauty of each state without necessarily having to find the national parks In Maine, one of the funnest things we did was we went tide pooling.

Speaker 2:

We just went to a beach and all you could see from the road was just five butts in the air, because we were down on our hands and knees with our faces in these tide pools, looking at these tiny little creatures and interacting with this little tiny habitat. And that is one thing that you can see in the national park up there. But we got to see it closer without eight hours lived in a car.

Speaker 1:

And I love what you're saying and, again, we could go in so many directions with what you said. But the thing I want to point out is I think when we go out, for us, when we went out in the RV and for a lot of people we talked to, we had this idea of I've got to get this and this done. I've got to check these things off my list. And national parks seem to be those big things. When I say to people we've never gone, we have not hit one single one yet, they look at me in shock. I just didn't feel like I. I didn't want the pressure of I've got to check this off my list now. I was going with the flow after that first three, four, five, six months where I felt like, okay, we're in this area, I got to see everything there is to see, because I may never come back, and then I let go of that and our whole thing was enjoy the journey. It's not just about the destination.

Speaker 2:

Yes, and Patty, I think you bring up something so good right. There is that one of the things with living with kids on the road just your experience parallels so well is that this is still life. We still have to do laundry, we still have to do dishes, we still have to give the kids time to just be, and it's really easy, especially in the first year, to have to get to see everything because you don't know, you're in vacation mode, you're rushing around, but slowing down and enjoying what's around you and taking all of that in is much more of a rich experience, I think, than running around to everything. And people do the running around and some of them are fine with it. But most people that I've talked to on the road say once we slowed down, we had a lot more fun yep, yeah, absolutely, and you're right, because people on the outside of the RV world believe we're on vacation mode.

Speaker 1:

But you're right, we have to the tanks. Let's talk laundry is one of those wicky things, but dumping the tanks doing things. Sometimes I think people have this image of RV life being go and fun and joy and being in nature and campfires every night and s'mores every night. And it's not. Sometimes you just have to be, and I love what you said, because being okay with that, with just being together, snuggling and watching a movie or reading a book or whatever, it's a big part of it. That is a great piece of advice for people who feel that go neat.

Speaker 1:

I am going to take another quick break because I have to thankIRBC National Indoor RV Centers. They, brett Davis, is the owner of the company. He is amazing. I say this every week because I cannot say enough about him. What he brings not just NIRBC has six locations across the country.

Speaker 1:

They are a dealership. I should point that out. They are a dealership and they sell class A, b and C motorhomes, both new and used. They are just incredible with what they do. They inspect the RV from top to bottom, side to side, inside to outside. They thoroughly inspect an RV, they educate people. So you could go to a YouTube channel and to their YouTube channel, angie Morrell will talk about NRV every single button, every single thing on an RV, to show you. So if you're looking to buy an RV and you say, hey, I want a new Marventana she has probably done a video on it We'll show you every single part of that RV, everything you need to know. Again, these are a group of people that are amazing.

Speaker 1:

Now I do want to point out they have an event coming up in June which we are planning on being at, and that event in June is called Music City Expo. It starts June 4th and it's till the 7th. It is for anyone looking to buy A B or C motorhome. You could look at all the I'll put it in the show notes. You can look at all the details there. They will. All the manufacturers that will be there will bring all of their brand new 2025 RVs that you could drive in, check out, sit in, be with, decide which RV is right for you. All right, I am so excited about being at that event in June and, just you know, seeing Brett and Chuck and Angie and Jeff from Freightliner and all the people. It's just such a community, and even the people in the industry are really together. In their community, the industry comes together.

Speaker 1:

But now let's get to the question of the week, and it is brought to you by OpenRoads. Innovative Tolling and that was a toll pass I talked about earlier Covers all 48 states. The best part of it is, if you should get a toll violation, they have a concierge service that will work through it for you, so it doesn't get better than that. Okay, now the question that I saw that I keep hearing is is this if I am buying a used RV, do I need an inspection, and why? And I'm going to say yes, you absolutely do. Now, in a few weeks, we are going to take a deep dive into this conversation, because we are going to have my RV resource the owners from my RV resource on to talk about inspection, and they are master inspectors, so they're going to break all of that down for us and so much more. Now I'm going to put you on the spot, erin. What do you think about the idea of doing an inspection for if you're buying an RV?

Speaker 2:

Oh, it's funny you should ask. We wish we would have gotten an inspection. We may not have had the trailer we have if we had gotten an inspection, because we didn't realize that the frame of our trailer was needing to be repaired.

Speaker 1:

Oh, no, okay, so you bought, you didn't get the inspection and the frame. That's an expensive little problem.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it is. Yeah, we spent a ton of time fixing it ourselves, which is great, because my husband is master of all trades as much as he can be and he was able to fix it himself, which is great, because my husband is a master of all trades as much as he can be and he was able to fix it himself, which we are so grateful for. But it's a very expensive thing to deal with if you find yourself in that pickle with a frame, a broken frame. So that's a shameless high five. Yes, get an inspection.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. And we pull these questions again for those people new to the RV Life Podcast. We pull these questions to again help and give that information. And there you go with a story that was expensive. The biggest reason is to avoid super expensive repairs. Thank you, for I didn't know you had that experience, so that worked out perfect. Thank you for chiming in. And again, what we do in the RV Life podcast is to provide information, so we entertain, educate and try to inspire all things RV life.

Speaker 1:

I want to talk a little bit about Motorhome Tires. He was a guest on the show a couple of weeks ago. It's episode from March 13th and not just about tires, but really about what you need to do, what's important. It was a fantastic. I thought it was a fantastic episode. I'm not patting myself on the back. The owner, jeff Bound, is just a great person. So let me just say we only deal with great people, so Aaron wouldn't be on the show if she wasn't a great person with a great family. We only deal with great people, so that was a fun, awesome episode. If you need tires, he is offering 50% off the website price for a limited time, just till the end of this month. So I'm so happy when we have our sponsors and people that come through and then offer our people discounts, so that's great to have that. Now, erin, you said your goal, so you wrote your goal of our day with the kids. Can you tell our listeners what that goal is?

Speaker 2:

Our goal is to just take and spread joy as much as we can. That's really our goal is. Life is short and we want to be intentional about it. We want to experience life with our kids and we named our website the Joy-Packed Journey because we feel that you can find joy in some of the smallest pockets of life. But you have to be intentional and look for them and if we can offer joy to other people, we will. If we can find joy for ourselves, we will take it, and that's really our goal.

Speaker 2:

And doing it with our kids, I think, has proven to be so fruitful. It's been a joy for us, it's been a joy for our children, even in the ups and downs, even the struggles themselves. We have found that if the kids are in a mood or they are having meltdowns or whatever, everything gets addressed a little bit faster because we are in a mood or they are having meltdowns or whatever, everything gets addressed a little bit faster because we are in 44 feet together and you can't avoid it and there is joy that comes out of that. There really is, because the situation gets resolved so much quicker, the relationships are preserved, the friendships between the kids are preserved and we can carry on with life. It doesn't have to be drug out for I don't know four or five weeks. Someone's in a funk and they just stomped off to their room and we didn't want to deal with it at the time, so it didn't get addressed. I feel like every parent has that moment where they're like I'm not dealing with this right now, and we've had moments where our tween stomped off to their rooms. I don't want to talk to you, mom, and okay, fine, bye. But in an RV that's just not possible.

Speaker 2:

Dealing with things, dealing with real life, also brings a joy as an outcome. It's a fruit that comes from being intentional, of dealing with things quicker, and we've also just had the joy of meeting people. When you asked me to make a list of the top 10 things that we've enjoyed on the road, almost all of them involve meeting a person or a family. That makes that specific event more fun. Clearwater Marine Aquarium was really enjoyable because it was a gift from my grandma. Hiking through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park was fun because we did it with Marcus and Melody and Kurt. All of the things that we've done involve people, and people are the whole point. Building relationships, being intentional about our community. That is all of it. If I was going to sum up the RV life, I would say being intentional about your community and finding people is the best part.

Speaker 1:

That is probably the most incredible sum up of RV life that I have heard and I absolutely agree with you. And again, there's no script here. We're going down roads.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no script.

Speaker 1:

This is an important one. Yeah, this is an important one because I can say people would say to me what's your favorite thing, what's your favorite place, what's your favorite campground? I could go to the same campground two or three times and the time that I went, and I went to Hershey and we spent time with Melody and Kurt Marcus More fun than when I was there and they weren't there it is about the people that you're with and we sat in the hot tub. Hershey Thousand Trails, hershey Campground, has a great hot tub and we'd sit there till we got literally got thrown out because they were closing it. That is what it's all about. And let me just say again about community closing it, that is what it's all about. And let me just say again about community.

Speaker 1:

I, dan, was dealing with health issues and we knew we were going to come back up to Pennsylvania for at least a period of time and I was at the place where I just how am I going to get this all done? And Melody introduced me to you and we talked and without people like you, it was a difficult situation and you, your husband, your children came together and helped and supported in a way that I just so. For me, at my age, I'm now learning to ask for help and accept it, and that's something that's a tough thing to do. So now I'm in a situation where I can't help but need the help, and to have people like you and if I were you, I'd call you my angels, because you truly were and just having and you sitting there, how could I help? What do you need? Do you need to talk?

Speaker 2:

I knew I had that shoulder to cry on and I had people that were physically helping and, if nothing else, that is why I agree with you what RV life is truly all about and, on the flip side, you provided something for my children that maybe they wouldn't have had the opportunity to do either, because they got to see what it looks like to come together as a community without I know you at all. Right, I remember sitting next to Dan at a bingo game and he said you should text my wife. And I texted you, but I never met you, right. That was years ago. Wife and I texted you, but I never met you, right, that was years ago.

Speaker 2:

But for my children to see, we can step into helping someone we don't know, because it's kind, because it's the right thing to do, because we want to love and serve people, we want to bring joy to other people, they got an opportunity to see what that looks like.

Speaker 2:

They got an opportunity to learn how to hopefully just be decent humans when they're adults. You know what I mean by stepping into that place too, and I have a couple of friends actually One is a school psychologist and another one is a psychiatrist, and they both live on the road full time with their families. And they both live on the road full time with their families and they say that both of them have said this several times, that living intentionally on the road with these kinds of experiences is one of the best things you can do for your kids. I see it not easy to ask for help. I struggle with it too, and so thank you for doing that, because that provided my children an opportunity to grow, and that's really valuable as a homeschool mom. As a mom, I see that as such a valuable thing.

Speaker 1:

Oh and I'm so glad that you shared that. I could see these. I was a teacher for 20 years. You get an idea of kids and how they're raised, and they have definitely been raised well. You and your husband should be very proud of the three kids that you have. Without a doubt, you should be very proud. Yes, and let me just. I just want to take a little bit here and talk about our new feature. So I'm going to segue, because not, I think I'm going to get emotional and I try not to do that. Yeah, so our new feature is our featured campground of the week. So each week I'm going to give a campground and talk about it so that people who are on the road can look at these campgrounds and find great campgrounds. This podcast, obviously RV Life podcast. We are part of RV Life and we do not move our RV without our RV Trip Wizard and make our plans through RV Trip Wizard. Rv Life also has a campground review website, so it's called campgroundsrvlifecom and that's where you can find honest reviews on campground.

Speaker 1:

Now, our featured campground this week is Great Escapes RV Resorts. This campground is in Texas and I did get exactly where it is. Sorry about that, but you can go to campgroundsrblifecom and look it up. I picked Texas because that is where Aaron and Melody are right now, so I picked that for that reason. This campground has 113 sites. It's a back, it has back ends and pull throughs, it has full hookup sites and each site can beat your family's budget. It has fully furnished cabins for large and small families and I think the big thing, the coolest thing about this park is the amazing water park, as well as so many more amenities. Camp Crown has an 8.4 rating with 41 reviews.

Speaker 1:

Now, if you aren't a RV Life Pro member, you can go to RV Trip Wizard and use RV Life Podcast as the discount code to get 25% off. And again, you can go check this campground out at campgroundsrvlifecom. All the information will be in the show note, but I love sharing different campgrounds. This sounds like an amazing place for people to go with kids. The pictures on this site were absolutely cool and so, unfortunately, I have to say goodbye. We could probably talk and I say this often, but we could probably talk for long and I want to thank you and John Levi. I forgot the names and I'm sorry. I remember.

Speaker 1:

Levi and Magdalene so much. I want to thank you for being on the podcast. Thank you, guys, for being part of mine and Dan's life, and we will absolutely see you on the road and stay connected. See you on the road and stay connected. I want to thank you for taking the time to be on the RV Life podcast Now for those of you that want to reach out, you can reach out on RV Life podcast, instagram or Facebook. If you have a question for Erin and her family, put it in the social media and we will certainly get it to you. Any questions, comments, thoughts that come in, we'd love to hear from our listeners. So, thank you, thank you, thank you so much.

Speaker 2:

Thanks for having me, patti, I really appreciate it.

Speaker 1:

You're welcome. You're listening to the RV Life Podcast. I'm Patti Hunt with my husband, Dan Hunt, saying have a great rest of today and an even better day tomorrow.

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