I have a love/hate relationship with cooking. It doesn’t come naturally or easily to me and it’s never been something that I have particularly enjoyed. That said, I did the cooking for the first few years of our marriage; Kenn took over a few years in. (I think he was tired of watching me stress out over every meal, bless his heart.) However, once I retired, it was only fair that I take over the responsibility once again. Less than a year later, the pandemic hit and eating out was no longer an option. Cooking may not be fun for me, meal planning is even less so. We had used the Hello Fresh meal kit subscription a few years ago and decided to sign up once again. Using Hello Fresh works for me on two levels: one, it gives us a chance to try things we normally wouldn’t and two, that’s two less meals I have to plan each week. Surprisingly, I’ve also discovered that I enjoy the prep work; I don’t mind getting in the kitchen and zesting, chopping, an mincing up a storm.
Now, we are planning our first long road trip with the travel trailer which means meal planning without the assistance of Hello Fresh. It also means meal planning within the limited storage of a travel trailer. We sat down and listed a few of our favorite meals and the ingredients of each. I know we’ll eat out occasionally during our trip. After all, part of the travel experience is trying new/regional foods. (My love of all things huckleberry is a direct result of our 2019 road trip. It’s too bad we don’t have huckleberries here in the South.) However, we know that we have a tendency to repeat the same handful of meals over and over. Pasta also features frequently since it’s so easy to prepare.
So, dear reader, I need your help. What are some of your favorite meals to prepare when you’re on the road? Do you have any cookbooks or online resources to recommend? (Insert puppy dog eyes here)
My husband and I come from vastly different backgrounds. One of the biggest differences was that his family traveled, mine didn’t. His parents owned an RV and would hit the road for two or three weeks every summer and my husband frequently expressed a desire to do the same. Initially, I wasn’t sold on the plan. In my mind, the cost of an RV plus the insurance, etc. would more than offset any savings achieved. But, over time, I gradually came around to his way of thinking and we began dreaming of “someday” owning a small travel trailer – the RPOD by Forest River seemed a perfect fit for our needs.
Our someday arrived much earlier than expected when we found an RPOD 177 for sale by owner in the parking lot of a local pawn shop in 2014. After much discussion (spontaneity is not a strong point for either of us) we contacted the owner and set up a meeting to tour the camper. Honestly, it was almost too good to be true – it was the travel trailer version of the little old lady who only drove it on Sundays. The owner, an elderly man, bought the camper for he and his wife to stay in on his trips to his hunting club. However, his wife developed Alzheimer’s and passed away. No longer having a need for the trailer, he decided to sell – they had never even used it. It still wrenches my heart when I think about it. We agreed to a price and the camper became ours.
The 177 was the perfect size for two people with all of the necessities and none of the frills. And, for those rare occasions in which we might have guests, the dinette converted to an extra bed. What more could we need? Its small size also meant we could tow it with our existing Toyota Highlander – a definite plus as neither of us was interested in upgrading to a larger tow vehicle.
Once the purchase was complete, the next step was to name our camper. (Yes, we name our vehicles.) We named her Hope. At that point in our lives we were overwhelmed with full-time jobs and taking care of three elderly parents. We knew we might not get to travel much for a while but we needed some hope in our lives and Hope the RPOD became the physical embodiment of that much needed trait. She was quite forgiving of our newbie mistakes as we began our forays into the camping world. (We bounced the trailer off the hitch THREE times before learning to quadruple-check to make sure the hitch was properly secured.)
We also discovered a wonderful community of other RPOD owners when we joined the R-Pod Owners Facebook group. The group members have been a tremendous source of information and encouragement. If you own an RPOD and aren’t a member of the group, I highly encourage you to join ASAP. Oh, and we also learned that naming your RPOD is a Really Big Deal not to be taken lightly.
Stay tuned for The Evolution of a Couple’s Camper – Part 2.