RV vacation, Narrow Gauge railroad and nature!
just what the Doctor ordered!
Our family really likes trains. All three of our boys were really into Thomas as young children. The last one was the biggest fanatic. For him everything somehow related to trains. So our first trip to see a real steam engine was to Durango, CO to ride the Silverton train. It was great fun and a little expensive but we'd saved up for it a long time and were happy to go. On that trip we stayed in a hotel, the youngest was not yet 3. The scenery was amazing- we instantly fell in love with the idea of visiting other narrow gauge train destinations and started saving for the next trip. However the cost of food and lodging for a family of 5 meant we couldn't go again the next year.
That's when we started looking into the cost of renting an RV. It wasn't going to be cheap, and the cost of gas doesn't help you relax about what you're planning, however there is comfort knowing that you have some control over your food expense and the availability of chocolate milk at 5am without having to get dressed to go get it. Not to mention the effort involved in traveling with three boys and stopping for bathroom breaks. We planned it out and determined for us that the cost of renting the RV, taking food and buying gas would just about equal the cost of driving, hotel and dining out. We'd be gaining some amenities and spend less time worrying about getting kicked out of the hotel for noise violations!
The chosen destination for us- Chama, NM it was a different and less expensive train ride. The scenery was still gorgeous, it isn't the same experience as the durango-Silverton so it's not a repeat of the same vacation. Chama was an extremely small town, so it didn't have the vast selection of dining places- having our own food in the RV was more than a money saving feature- it was almost a necessity. However there were some great mom and pop spots to get a burger or pizza-so we did get out and let someone feed us a few times.
The vacation itself was a great get away from technology and daily life. We took no computers, no wifi devices and cell phones were off most of the time. Some fishing, hiking ,train riding and stories around a campfire were just what the Dr ordered. I wouldn't call it the most restful vacation- at the end I was totally exhausted from the constant cleaning of the RV, cooking and so on. Yet it was still extremely relaxing and is more than reccommended if your family needs to get away.
I do have to admit that the next year, vacation was totally opposite- my goal was to spend the whole time in a hotel, have someone else fix every meal and make the beds and I was willing to spend my vacation standing in line with the crowds at a major theme park. It too was a great vacation and just what the dr ordered at the time. It's Apples to Oranges- I can't say one was a better vacation- both were great and both were the perfect fit for us that year.
Next year remains unplanned...budget is tight but cabin rental is looking pretty good. Maybe someplace where we can do a little canoeing, fishing, hiking but also get in a car and drive somewhere for a nice meal with someone that brings the food to the table, refils your glass and so on. No matter what we decide for this year, if you're considering an RV vacation- it's highly recommended. The one thing I would do differently is not worry so much about keeping the RV so clean, it's a vacation afterall...find a little balance. Pick the battles, keep the dishes clean but the socks on the floor can be kicked aside, tossed onto unmade bed or mixed back in with clean ones - there's too much fun to be had to worry about that!