RVs and the virus

Riding out a pandemic in an RV isn’t as challenging as camping on Antarctic sea ice, but it does provide a few wrinkles. Photo by Steve Martaindale.

Someone brought up the topic of facing a pandemic while living an RV life, referencing an article from last spring that made it sound somewhat horrific.

It sounded to me as though the writer was trying to milk readers for pity. The fact is we’re all affected by COVID-19 and most experiences are different.

However, there are ways the virus might have an effect on full-time RVers.

* It may curtail your travel plans. This was particularly true early as restrictions were put into place to minimize movement in hopes it would slow the spread. Sure, they affected all travelers, but people whose life is moving town-to-town in an RV felt it more acutely. RV parks now, like other businesses, have adopted procedures and techniques to make it safer for travelers.

* You cannot stock up. People in more traditional housing can squirrel away extra supplies in order to reduce the number of shopping trips to town. Those who have a large refrigerator and a full-size freezer – or multiple units – can certainly take advantage. They also are able to find space to build up a long-term supply of products like, I don’t know, maybe toilet paper?

RV refrigerators, for the most part, are small. Most are larger than the typical dorm ’frig but not nearly as roomy as the average home refrigerator.

Neither do RVs have extra storage place. If one is living in an RV, there’s usually something designated for every spot. Fifth-wheels like we have are among the best when it comes to storage and we made a little space in the basement. Using that, we tried to stay an item or two ahead of a few things we don’t want to do without.

* There’s no hiding from each other. If you have a traveling companion and one of you gets sick, the other will almost surely be exposed. Standard layout of an RV includes a kitchen-dining-living area, a bedroom with barely enough room for the bed, and a tiny rest room.

* Your neighbors. There is a different relationship with RV neighbors. Since they often change and since they’re usually more experienced with meeting new people, it’s been my observation you’re more likely to spend time visiting with them. You’re not likely to form a bond that lasts for decades, but you’ll come across a greater variety of people.

With that comes the fact you don’t really know anything about them. That might make them a greater potential threat.

* Fighting boredom. This can be a problem with anyone, but the limited size of an RV narrows your options. Living in a traditional house probably means you have a yard to play in while an RV site is lucky to have a strip of grass between you and your neighbors. However, those living in apartments might be envious of that small patch of grass. Leah and I spend time walking. We’ll do circles around the park, but we prefer heading down the small country road if it’s not too hot or raining.

* Separation. Again, this can affect anyone who is away from family when someone becomes gravely ill. Living in an RV might make it a bit more challenging.

We lost a former summer co-worker to the virus. He was the type to have many friends, many of whom were scattered around the country, unable to properly commiserate with one another. For the last time, we’re a spread-out society now and many of us are dealing with the difficulties that brings.

Y’all take care.

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