With the advent of Covid-19, people have been looking for safer ways to travel. They want to avoid packed conditions of airplanes, trains, and buses; they want to avoid larger gatherings and crowded locations. Since the CDC notes that travel in general increases the chance of catching the virus, traveling with family or a small trusted group of friends is one of the best ways and least expensive ways to travel.
Johnny Thompson, of RoadShark RV, believes he has an answer. Over three years ago, looking for a way to take his family on trip, he had rented an RV with a friend. To his amazement it was better than an ordinary car trip. Instead of crying and wanting to know when they could stop and when they would get to their destination, the kids played Nintendo and other games as well as watched TV. His wife was able to read and relax, as well. “It amazed me. You could wake up in the middle of the forest or under the St. Louis Arch.”
He called his friend Ed Figueroa, a car collector. The pair decided to buy an RV together and when they were not using it, to rent it out. It turned out they rented their RV out so often, that they ended up buying another and another – and realized there was a real need for this type of travel. By the end of the first year, they had four Specialty Class 25-foot Mercedes Winnebago’s.
Johnny and Ed decided they wanted to have a luxury RV center that was serviced 24/7. “You can’t call Cruise America at 2 am and get a live person. But with us, you can. We offer personal door to door service for our customers with all the perks included. Our campers are fully equipped with generators for dry camping (parking anywhere where water and electrical hookups are not required), dual TV, fresh linens, sleeping areas for 6 comfortably (which makes it an outstanding value if you consider hotel rooms and travel), as well as awnings and extended floor plans.” The fridge is great, and the 2-burner stove is accompanied by an outdoor grill with propane. Some parks accept this, and others do not allow charcoal or wood burning. Most of RVs are 2018 but a few are 2021 and those have all the extra bells and whistles for drivers including heated seats and safety alerts. “We don’t let you take off until you are comfortable with how everything works.” Each RV is sanitized after use and aired out to kill any germs.
“Our renters can go for a long weekend, but they can go for a few weeks and sometimes for a few months.” They’ve even rented the RVs to production companies for longer terms. “Our average contract is for nine days and runs about $2600.”
During the summer they are now fully booked with the forthcoming Coachella and other festivals, and surfers love to take the RVs and travel up the coast, but they are now taking reservations for the winter and yes, the RVs are equipped for winter. So, you can go to Mammoth, Big Bear, Vail, Aspen, State Parks, cross country, or up to Canada. And the prices for travel are cheaper in the winter.
I, myself, once had an RV and felt uncomfortable driving it – but that was back in 1990. Johnny assured me that it’s much easier than people think and while you do want to have insurance, the worse accidents they’ve experienced so far is when the driver tries to go too near a low hanging tree, or not parallel parking correctly. He suggests that you have a spotter outside when you are parking for situations like that. “Driving is a lot easier with the new diesel engine and increased visibility and most of our renters are husband/wife pairs. Most are first-time RV drivers. You just have to remember to look high and not just low.”
RV’s or recreational vehicles have been a popular way of travel for us since the time of the covered wagon when we lived in the back while traveling across country with our family and belongings. Since then there have been major changes and a variety of choices- as trailers or stand-alone- in the types of traveling vehicles, but the typical RV includes a kitchen, bathroom, basic cooking facilities, and one or more sleeping areas. Beyond that there are a variety of choices.
Is it a cheaper way to travel? Well, if you consider the rental cost start at $250/night in the winter and you don’t have to pay for the train, plane or hotel, it’s economical, you can go almost anywhere you want, and the RV can be parked almost anywhere -though in California there are places where you have to move the RV every 3 days. Walmart will allow you to park in its lot overnight.
“We don’t know if one type of travel is safer than others; however, airports, bus stations, train stations, and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces.” The CDC notes that travel in general increases the chances of catching the virus. AAA predicts that Americans will take 700 million trips by car this summer.
Road shark only has the one type of RV because they have found it to be the easiest to use. They urge customers to go online and reserve and get quotes. Besides their own website, they are also listed on outdoorsy.com and other RV sites. So, enjoy this wholesome travel, keep the kids happy, and forget about the hassle of hotels.