My sister’s family just got back from an eight-week, 9,000-mile tour of the West. Veteran campers, my sister and her husband have been leading Boy Scout groups into the wilds for years. They think nothing of packing up the van and heading out for a week of primitive camping with their kids. So an extended trek to every major national park west of the Mississippi was a much-anticipated adventure. What they discovered is that what’s fun for a week can get old pretty fast after a month.

After putting up and tearing down their tent nearly every day for 56 days, in all kinds of weather, no matter how exhausted they were, tent camping has lost its luster. As they struggled to erect their tent in gale-force winds in Kansas, my sister recalled watching in envy as the family next door pushed a button and entered their cozy “pop-up” folding trailer in minutes. As she huddled over the gas stove during a torrential downpour in Washington, she watched the family in a nearby motorhome laughing and talking over their hot dinner. And as she listened to her children squabbling in the back of the crowded van, she dreamed of cruising in a comfortable, roomy motorhome.

As soon as they returned home, my sister started searching for a used RV. His back still aching from sleeping on a leaky air mattress, her husband is all in favor of trading in their tent for a comfy RV before their next trek.

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