The RV Nest Is Getting Empty

By on Sunday, April 01, 2012

Driving across the Hood Canal Bridge
A couple of weeks ago, we packed up the family (plus one) for a weekend RV getaway to nearby Port Townsend, WA. Our daughter was home from college for spring break and our almost 16 year old son decided to join in as long as he could bring a friend. "No problem" I said. So, on Friday afternoon we all piled into the RV and drove off for the weekend.

Making Fire
We were really looking forward to this weekend, because having the entire family together in the RV had become a very rare occurrence. Ever since our kids took their first steps, we would always travel and vacation together as a family. Now, as they grow up and move out, we fear that those days are over. This weekend, however, would be just like old times. 

After a beautiful drive across the Hood Canal, we arrived at Fort Worden State Park. The boys immediately went out to build a fire. It's one of those laws of the universe: "Given the opportunity to hang out and talk or build a fire, boys will always build a fire." Having a little forethought, we pre-loaded the back of our tow vehicle with wood and a hatchet. Our daughter stayed inside in the warmth of the RV to get us caught up on the day-to-day social and academic issues facing a second year college student. Our weekend was off and running. 

From our campsite at Fort Worden (at dusk)

Who's Shoes Are These?
"Time to go to bed kids" .... "Yeah right Dad"
Later that night, it became apparent to me that this was really not like old times. Climbing out of the RV door got difficult because of all the shoes piled up in the doorway. As I looked at all of the shoes, I realized that my shoes were the smallest ones in the pile. These "boys" have huge feet. At that point I knew that we were not camping with kids anymore. Instead of two grown-ups and three kids in an RV, it was more like five adults packed into our Class-C. "I can't sleep in that spot" one would say, "it's too small." On top of that, every electrical outlet was either charging a cell phone or powering a MacBook. Well...maybe that's not new.

St Patty's Day - Ole'
Despite some crappy weather, we found something to do and had a great time. Forgetting it was St. Patty's Day the following day, we went out in search of a nice dinner. When we hit the town at 6:30PM, nothing was open except for maybe a few bars. We finally found a little Mexican restaurant down the road, got excited for Mexican food, and went in. Our meal was outstanding. If it wasn't for the Mexican bartender saying "Happy St. Patty's Day Amigo", I probably would have forgotten about our favorite Irish holiday all together. 

Back Home and Tired
On Sunday, we arrived back home and went about our normal return-from-RV-trip routine. I cleaned up and buttoned up the rig, while my wife unloaded the food and dirty clothes. After a quick wash and rinse, I put the RV cover back on. Within an hour, it started snowing. Weird. 

Start of a new Chapter
We realize that we are moving into a new chapter in our lives and that this kind of family getaway is going to be a rarity. This saddens us, but we are accepting it. Even when the kids are around, it is likely that their jobs, friends, or other activities will take priority over spending time with "the folks" in the RV. This has already started to happen. In the last six months, my wife and I have taken a few solo weekend road trips. "Not the same" we say, but we are slowly adjusting to it. 

On a lighter note, we have realized that there are benefits to traveling with fewer people: (1) we have plenty of room; (2) it takes longer for the tanks to fill up; (3) the RV stays much cleaner; (4) there are fewer dirty shoes and no piles of clothes around; (5) power cords don't hang all over the front of the coach; and (6) we can actually sit at the dinette in the morning when we get up.

Nevertheless, as we adjust to the benefits of traveling alone, the drawbacks sink in and we start to miss the company of our RV seasoned kids who we realize are kids no longer. 

When we purchased the RV, we always knew that we were in it for the long haul and that traveling with kids would be temporary. Has anyone gone through this, and did it change the frequency and type of trips you would take? How did you adapt to it? 


  1. I almost got a tear in my eye reading your story but take it from me, what is to come will be the best times of your life. And you will always have your memories of those old times with the kids. Enjoy your travels... Deuce

    1. Thanks. Looking forward to making new memories. "The past is behind, learn from it. The future is ahead, prepare for it. The present is here, live it."

  2. we had always camped with our kids(who now range in ages 20-27). all the way thru high school they made sure to come camping with us. now as adults they still come, sometimes with spouses and sometimes alone. But we are lucky to always have our youngest live and travel with us(he is special needs). now we are waiting for the next adventure of when we get grandkids and can camp with them.

  3. Our eldest (daughter) starts college in August, and we already discovered that her schedule will prevent her from joining us on our planned week-long trip later that month. That realization shouldn't have surprised us, but it did. RV'ing/camping has always included the four of us, and now it will be only 3. And our 16-year-old son doesn't have much enthusiasm for RVing anymore, either. Empty-nesting RVing is fast approaching us. I take heart in the earlier comment that RVing to come will be the best times of our lives. Must move ahead with faith in that.
    - Eric

    1. I hear ya Eric. Sounds like we're at the same stage. :)

  4. You guys look too young to be contemplating empty nesting. Love your blog!


Let me know what you're thinking. I welcome your comments. Thanks -Tito

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...