In a fever dream, we got this idea that we should rent an RV and drive around in the West, sometime before the kid got too big. I’d never spent any time in Utah, or been to Yellowstone, or seen canyons – and none of us had ever been in an RV. So we rented the smallest (19’ Class-C) RV from Cruise America, and quickly dubbed it “the hut”. Occasionally, we called it “the home”, or “the vehicle”, but mostly, it was “the hut”. The hut on wheels.
The hut didn’t really like to go too fast, and the hut didn’t really respond to steering terribly well. Let’s put it this way, it’s not a sports car. And given that many of the roads we were on were twisty switchbacks one after another, it’s too bad it wasn’t a sports car. After awhile, my husband got with the program: “I’m really grooving on driving this at 45mph.” Of course, when we ended up on the Idaho highway with a speed limit of 80mph, he was wishing for that sports car.
But! It had running water and a bed over the cab and the kitchen table turned into another bed. And it had a refrigerator and a microwave and a stove, though we never used the microwave for anything but storage because we are not microwave people and it would have meant turning on the generator to run the microwave.
It was a little long in the tooth and the medicine chest in the bathroom didn’t stay shut and one drawer in the kitchen had a tendency to fly open every time we stopped short. And the people who’d rented it before us had somehow broken off the storage tube for the poop chute, and because we had limited storage we made the executive decision not to use the toilet AT ALL so that we never had to empty the black water tank. Grey water = not as disgusting. Besides, not using the toilet meant that we could just use the bathroom as a storage closet, for things like dirty laundry and camp chairs.
In 15 days (and 14 nights) on the road, we logged 2280 miles, with almost no highway driving. The hut got lousy gas mileage – 12.32mpg – but at least it didn’t need fancy high octane gas. It also didn’t shake to pieces on the several rutted gravel roads we traversed, holding up like a sturdy beast of burden.
Would I do it again? Probably not. Despite a real charm and more than adequate comfort, it’s too inconvenient. Pulling into a campsite and then having to run an errand means taking your house with you to buy firewood. Staying in a campsite for four nights and doing sightseeing on the interstitial three days means taking your house with you to get to the next geyser basin. And it’s not cheap – when you add up the rental, the per-mile charge, the many gallons of gas and the camp site fees, we could have been driving a convertible and staying in nice hotels most nights, with hot showers and working toilets. Still, it was totally worth doing once – especially because not many hotels have elk walking through the lobby in the morning..