The RV industry received more good publicity in the form of a feature article appearing in the Sunday (June 1) edition of the New York Times.
The story is about Times Senior Cultural Correspondent John Rockwell, his wife, Linda, and 13-year-old daughter, Sasha, taking a 4,200-mile trip from Queens, N.Y., to Newport Beach, Calif., last summer.
They rented a 27-foot Class C motorhome from the Cruise America location near Kennedy Airport and then drove quickly on interstates until they reached South Dakota, where they slowed down to visit scenic destinations, including the Badlands and Mount Rushmore, before moving on to Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
At the beginning, Rockwell worried that his daughter would feel traveling with her parents would be “dorky,” but he wrote, “When she got into the RV for the first time in Queens, she said, ‘I know I shouldn’t let you know this, but this is awesome.’ And so it was, a real home on wheels, with ample room for three (though the bathroom was pretty cramped).”
Rockwell continued: “We covered 4,157.5 miles in 14 days, and our RV held up admirably well in all the ways that really counted: the engine worked, the tires worked, the air-conditioning worked, the thing handled well, we could cruise up to 75 miles an hour.
“There were, however, minor annoyances, chief among them septic,” Rockwell wrote. “The self-contained septic system on one of these rigs, we were told, should have been able to handle a family of three without fuss for four or five days. Ours started leaking and smelling after half a day and we didn’t take showers much in the RV since the shower didn’t drain well. And when I would dump the black and gray water at the evening’s campsite, the hose leaked.
“We could have stopped off at a Cruise America lot and repaired or exchanged the RV, but that would have disrupted our tightly calibrated schedule.”
Concerning campgrounds, Rockwell wrote, “The best campgrounds were the ones with a reasonable amount of space between RVs, or those that weren’t full. Also, the ones with clean showers and laundry rooms, since even if your shower is draining better than ours, it’s a lot more comfortable to take a real shower in a real shower stall.
“The first campground we really loved (a Kampgrounds of America outlet; those of that chain were invariably clean and appealing) came in South Dakota, and the person who loved it most was Sasha,” Rockwell wrote.
“People were invariably friendly and sympathetic with our inexperience, starting with Darryl, who helped me figure out the mysteries of electricity and water hookups our first night in Ohio.”
The 13-year-old’s favorite campground was at Canyon de Chelly in Chinle, Ariz., which is operated by a Navajo named Howard Smith. Sasha Rockwell wrote that Smith’s campground “had no on-site electricity or water or septic dump. We had to live off the generator for electricity and the water tank for the dish- and toilet water, and the sewage was (yuck) stored in the RV. But something about that was kind of cute: we were actually camping! I was so inspired by this unique RV camp that I went out and danced in the red sand.”