Great view for Hannah Sitzman from the RV


DAY 2 — Tom and Mary Garland had it with the fast-paced Silicon Valley life.

 “I went to work before the kids got up and came home after they were asleep,” said Tom Garland, the father of two daughters.

“I felt like a single parent during the week,” added Mary Garland.

 Their solution:  Leave all their friends and buy an RV Park in Grand Junction, Co. The Garlands now are presidents of the Colorado Camping Association (

And they couldn’t be happier.  They are seeing more younger families and to attract that audience, they installed a playground and splash pad.

Five year old Hannah Sitzman and her brother Ethan couldn’t have been happier. From where we parked our rented Winnebago ( they can play on the grass, the playground or the water. In five minutes, Hannah made a friend.

The Garlands were dedicated RVers long before they bought the park. “So much easier to travel with babies,” said Mary Garland. They still meet up at campgrounds with California friends they met when Mary was in a Mom’s group. Many of today’s campgrounds, she adds, give you the option to tent camp, bring an RV or stay in a cabin.

“Such an economical way to travel,” said Tom Garland. Even now with a daughter swimming on a team, they can drive their trailer to the swim meets and stay rather than opting for hotels and eating out.

“The kids wake up and have their cereal. You don’t have to get everyone to a restaurant,” added Mary Garland. “And they eat healthier too.”

“The 40 pounds of baby stuff you take with you load it once and then you are done,” adds Tom Garland.


Certainly it is easier than camping with young kids–no worries if it rains, if it is terribly buggy, if you run out of ice. There is always a bathroom—and running water– at the ready for those middle of the night emergencies.

For parents of teens, it can be a way to reconnect. Insist they only use their electronics when you are driving, the Garlands suggest, and you will be amazed at the conversations that will ensue from kids who won’t say two words to you at home.

“You have everything you need,” observes Mary Garland. “You just pack your clothes and your food and go.”

Certainly it is cheaper than hotels—especially for long trips. One friend, Garland said, took three weeks to show her kids the East Coast.

A few tips for first time RVers:

–Don’t go for a 40-foot behemoth the first time out (ours is 32 feet)

 –If you are renting one that requires you to make and unmake beds in the main cabin, simply bring sleeping bags so you are not folding and unfolding sheets and blankets twice a day.

–Practice backing up and turning before you hit the road. It is a lot different than a car!

–Get the kids outside on a hike. You can go places in an RV that you couldn’t otherwise.

–Check out all there is to do in the region you are visiting. You don’t have to worry about hotel reservations so you can linger longer than you planned if you are having a great time or leave earlier.

“You are still sitting around the campfire whether you have an RV behind you or a tent,” said Garland, answering camping purists who turn up their noses at RVs. “You only miss as much of the outdoors as you choose.

 I’m just glad I’m not worried all the time about running out of ice.