Too Big to Drive, Too Small for Living

My Class B RV (Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood)

Last year I made some big changes. I sold most of my stuff (everything that wouldn’t fit in a 5' x 10' storage unit). I sold my house. And then I sold my car. Selling my car was by far the hardest.

I bought a 20-foot Class B motor home. To live in. With my cat.

I soon found that my little camper van / RV / motorhome / whatever you want to call it, was too big to drive and too small for living. Let me explain.

Nothing Extra, Just the Basics

My cat and me in the van on a rainy day (before our maiden voyage). (Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood)

I had my rose-colored glass firmly in hand and at first, I wore them proudly.

I dreamed of traveling from place to place. Exploring small towns and wilderness, being free to sleep where I wanted and drive away the next day in search of a new adventure.

I chose my favorite things to take with me and outfitted the RV with just the essentials. Well, the essentials and a few things that I could have done without, but it was basically a bare bones existence. Nothing much extra, just the needs, not many of the wants.

I welcomed the freedom of not being tied to “stuff.” I kept a few dishes I could use in the microwave and a few skillets and pans that were serviceable. No cookie sheets or muffin tins since my RV didn’t have an oven. No extra gadgets like my air fryer or crock pot. No where to store them. No those were relegated to the storage unit. I pared down the amount of clothes I stowed away in the overhead bins and only took toiletries I actually use.

I stocked the camper with lots of paper napkins instead of the serviceable cloth napkins I used in my house since I now would have the pleasure of using laundromats instead of my own washer and dryer. And this was soon a problem.

The Waste Was an Issue from the Get Go

The stovetop I never, ever used. (Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood)

From the start I really hated the fact that I was using more disposable stuff like paper napkins and paper plates, but on the other hand, washing things like real dishes soon became a daunting task. I originally had a romantic notion of heating water on the stove and washing dishes in a small washtub then watering the local vegetation with the water.

Yeah, right.

That idea was soon dispelled when, for whatever reason, I refused to turn on the propane needed to light the stovetop. I had used the propane for my furnace when the Arizona winters proved to be colder than usual, but the propane smelled (no, there was no leak, but I have the nose of a bloodhound and could smell it), and the furnace was so loud it woke me each time the blower came on. So, I chose to be cold instead of using the furnace.

Then I decided to not use the propane to light the stovetop and that left heating water in the microwave. I opted for disposable instead of washable 99% of the time.

Another thing I felt I wasted was gas. The RV, though small, was a V8 and weighed a ton. Literally. On a good day, I’d get 12 miles per gallon. One tankful netted just 8.5 mpg. Pitiful. I felt like a horrible person driving something that got such poor gas mileage. I mean, I literally felt sick when I filled up the tank. And that wasn’t just from the hit to the pocketbook or the fumes.

I Drove It; I Hated It

Our first day out. I parked in the middle of nowhere. No backing up required. (Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood)

I owned the RV a few weeks before my cat and I began living in it. I was frankly freaked out each time I got behind the wheel to drive the big ol’ sucker. I soon was calling the RV “The Beast.”

It was big.

I’ve always driven small cars. Toyotas. I love small cars. I’m short. I feel at home in something close to the ground. Something small.

But this monstrosity was cumbersome and awkward for me to drive down the road. And forget about backing up. I practiced backing into a parking space a few times when there was no other car in sight. But I hated it. I finally perfected a six- or seven-point turn, at a minimum, to get myself out of tight spots.

Yeah, I suck. I was nervous. I was bad at backing up The Beast.

I’d circle parking lots ten times before I’d even try to pull into a tight spot. I searched parking lots that were wide open where I could pull through so no backing up would be required when I had to leave. I parked far, far away many, many times. It’s a good thing I like to walk.

Tight Quarters

Kitty in his cage. Outside the van. Sometimes it felt good to move stuff out of the RV. Since the camper was just too small. Way too small. (Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood)

I soon learned that the only truly comfortable space in my RV was the bed. I never once swiveled the front passenger seat around to use it as a seat when I was parked. Not once. I instead used the seat for storage. I bought a large metal cage for my cat to stay in while I was driving. While we tooled down the road, the cage and my cat were on the bed, but when I parked, I let the kitty out and moved the cage to the passenger seat.

This wasn’t the only thing I moved around. The litter box stayed at the back of the RV while I drove but when parked, I moved it up front between the two seats, out of the way of my living space in the back.

I felt like nothing was settled. I was constantly moving this there, and shifting that there, and it drove me nuts. I am the type of person who rarely moves furniture around in a house so all if this rearranging nonsense got old real fast.

Time to Face Facts

Now this is more like it! (Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood)

I soon decided that I had to face the fact that I wasn’t enjoying the RV life. At all.

I didn’t like driving it.

I didn’t like living in it.

I did like the traveling part, that is, the going places, not being tied down. I just didn’t like going in the van nor living in the van. So, I sold the van for what I paid for it. And I bought an economical car, a Toyota Prius.

I went from getting less than 15 mpg to more than 40 mpg. I am tickled to fill it up with gas (it costs a whopping $20 most of the time to fill the tank). I love driving it and feel pretty darned good backing up in it. Well, better than I did in The Beast.

I’m staying with friends and family for now till I decide where to land next. It’s been a fun few months. A lot more fun than the time I owned the van.

What, me work? Yeah, okay. Writer, editor, photographer, reseller. Owned by a cute, fluffy cat.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store