With the Coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc across the globe, it is raising a lot of questions and concerns for everyone. For people who RV, it is no different.
As of this week, there are about 30+ states that have issued orders to the entire state, to “stay home”. Most businesses are closed now, with the exception of those that we need to survive, schools are closed, jobs are closed. Social distancing is now a household term – one that hopefully people are abiding by. For most people, all of this means that they literally stay home – they are able to go out to the grocery store to get provisions, or to the gas station, the Dr., places that they need to go. They can go out and go for a run or a hike or a walk, just be mindful that you are doing it solo or a 6 foot distance from whoever you go with. It does not mean to go in a group, or socially gather outside.
What happens though, when your home has nowhere to go?
This is, unfortunately, a concern for a lot of people who live in their RV, especially full-time RV-ers.
I have been thinking about this situation and how we are coping with some of the issues that are arising as we go along. While I know that everyone has a situation that is different and specific to them, there are a few things that everyone has in common. I thought I would do a short blog post on some of these issues, what we are doing about them, and offer any suggestions and links that may help someone else.
Where to stay
If you are in a state that has issued the “stay home” orders statewide, then you already know that those orders are also affecting the RV parks. National Parks and most State Parks have closed their gates. Military RV parks are being affected, private and public parks are also affected.
We are currently staying at a military RV park in Nevada. We were lucky, in that we got here when we did. Last week, they announced that future reservations were being cancelled, and that for those who were already here, their reservation could be extended as long as they wanted since no one would be coming in behind them now. This is an rv park that, at any given time, it is full. Right now, there are empty spaces everywhere. Initially, they told us that the office and bathrooms would all be closed. However, over the course of the week, we are finding that not all of that is what happened. The office had remained open for the week. Just the other day, they posted notices stating that “to limit face to face contact”, you were to call the office vs going up there. The bathrooms have all remained open, as have the laundry rooms. We have even noticed a few new RV’s in the park, here and there. I am not sure what the circumstances are that new RV’s are able to come in. There have not been many new ones, but there have been a few. I have talked with a couple of the people that have chosen to leave. For some of them, they are going home to where they have an actual house to go home to. Right now, it seems more people are choosing to stay rather than leave. For those that are choosing to leave, and take their chances at finding another park to take them in, there are still some parks that will allow them in. Some of them have restrictions. My advice, would be to call ahead, and find out the specifics for where you are headed. There are several websites out there that list park closures. I found one that lists a wide variety of parks – The National and State Parks, Military parks, as well as quite a few private and public parks. The list is updated regularly. The list not only includes closed parks, but parks with restrictions, as well as parks that have remained open thus far. Click here to access the Campendium website.
I think it is also important to note, that with the decrease in staff (and in some cases – no staff), in parks that still have guests staying there, it is very important to pick up after ourselves. Everyone needs to do their part in keeping the bathrooms, laundry rooms and the grounds clean. Just because there isn’t staff going around to monitor the buildings and grounds, is not a green light to leave a mess behind, whether it be trash or dog poop on the grounds. Be responsible and respectful – and grateful that they are allowing people to stay.
One of the biggest challenges of RV living, even during normal times, is grocery shopping. Throw in a pandemic and product shortages, and it just got a whole lot trickier!
It was like overnight when the local grocery stores just emptied out! We had been to the grocery store one day and it was completely stocked. Two days later, empty! No paper products, no meat hardly, no dairy or eggs, no bread. Everything else, was minimal…except produce.
Some RV’s have residential refrigerators, and with those, you can almost stock them as full as you can a house fridge. For the RV’s that have a regular RV fridge though, it is a lot harder to get much into it. You really have to pick and choose. Typically, we get around that issue just by going to the grocery store once every day or two, buying groceries as we use them. However, with Covid19, we have really limited our trips to the grocery store to about once a week – and then its “get in and get out”.
We have found that what is working best for us, is planning out a few meals that will actually get us through the whole week. This means minimizing the amount of certain products and/or ingredients, which in turn means, we do not need extra room to store it. Many stores are limiting the amount of packages of meat that you can purchase. We can buy our one package of chicken – usually a whole chicken – and get about three different dinners out of it.
With produce usually well stocked in the stores, we have also switched to meals that do not even require meat. Root vegetables are a great way to cook up a nice hearty meal, without the need for meat. These can also be cut up, roasted or grilled all at once, and then portioned out for use with other meals. If you choose not to cook them up all at once, they do just fine sitting on the counter and not taking up fridge space 🙂
Grains and pastas are another great source that do not require fridge space! We do lots of rice and quinoa bowls. Again, you can cook up a big batch all at once and portion it out in the fridge, or just cook it as you need it.
With just a little creativity, and the willingness to try some new things, it is actually not too difficult to plan and stock for weekly grocery trips.
As for toilet paper, paper towels and tissues…grab it when you see it! We were actually able to score a two pack of paper towels yesterday, and it was like winning the lottery! I am happy to say though, that my paper towel usage has dropped drastically! Cloth towels for hand drying (a separate one for dishes), and sponges for wiping and drying the counters, has made our one roll of paper towels last us over two weeks now! Normally, I would get a couple of days out of one roll! I am ashamed to admit that it took a pandemic to really teach me how to conserve!
Stay home and stay safe
Nevada was one of the first few states to implement the “stay home” rule. It has been a couple of weeks now since that rule first came into effect. As time goes on, and more cases and deaths are being reported, I think more people are starting to realize the seriousness of it. While there will always be the people who disregard the warnings and rules, for those who are abiding by them, staying inside – especially in an RV – can cause a pretty good case of cabin fever.
Staying home, does not mean that you cannot get outside once in awhile and get some fresh air. In fact, it is probably better if you DO get outside at least once a day.
While most parks and recreation areas are closed, there are still a lot of options out there. If you have a dog, what better excuse, than to take your best little furfriend for a nice long walk! Even if it is just around the RV park, the fresh air and exercise will do you both a world of good.
Go for a hike. Visitor centers and restrooms are closed, but hiking trails are still open (look for my upcoming posts on some hikes we are taking during stayhome4nevada ). Hiking is a great way to shake off cabin fever and any pent up energy! It is also a great way to see parts of the area you are in, that you will never see from the road!
Walking is free! If you are able to, get out and see what the area you are in has to offer! Just remember the rules! Do not go in groups (this does not pertain to people that you already live with – couples, parents and children, etc.). If you encounter others while out walking, give them a wide berth – for your protection as well as theirs.
At the end of the day, Covid19 doesn’t discriminate – it affects every one of us, whether we live in a house, an apartment, or in an RV. We all need to follow the rules and stay safe. The only difference, is that for RV-ers, staying put in the same spot may not be possible as places shut down. Try to have a plan B in the event the park you are at closes its gates. Check the websites (including the one I listed above), to see where you may be able to get in at. If you are lucky enough to be in a park that is allowing its guests to stay indefinitely, by all means, stay put!
Wherever you are, stay safe and stay healthy!