At home, if a stranger is walking down your street, you don’t invite them in for a home tour. But at a campground, well, things are a little different. If you hang around outside someone’s rig long enough, there’s a good chance you’ll get an invite for a tour. And you might do the same for them. It’s as good as an RV show, but without the high-pressure sales people.

At the Salt Springs Campground in the Ocala National Forest, I was immediately invited to tour a couple of RV’s.

There are a few long term snowbirds here, but no permanent fixtures like decks or sheds. The sites are decently sized with lots of green space and trees. It’s also a beautiful area; the springs are great for swimming or fishing and you might get to see a manatee. There is great restaurant across the street and good hiking in the park. Canoes and boats welcome or you can rent. Plenty of wildlife and it’s quiet. I came to Ocala last year and liked it so much I vowed to return. But back to the RV show.

I’m always amazed at how many different configurations there are for a small RV, whether it’s a class B or B+.  Slide outs, pop tops, outside rooms. Bunk beds, twins, over the cab, hammocks, cots and kings. Convection, induction, grills, gas, and hot plates. Separate showers, aisle showers, sit down, outside, and sponge bath.  Both inside and out, there is something for everyone.

For instance, my friend Barbara, with whom I go canoeing, has a small white passenger van, with no back seats, that she’s used for years like a tent. She simply put in a cot and all her camping gear, such as a Coleman stove and sleeping bag. She camps winter and summer. No bathroom, heat or A/C. It’s simple and hardly any maintenance.

David and Debbie- offering me tea from the Keurig.

David and Debbie- offering me tea from the Keurig.

Here, I met Debbie and David Broadstreet, who own a 2014 Pleasure Way. That baby is the polar opposite of Barb’s simple set up. Considered a small class C according to their insurance, but is more like a B+. It had all the bells and whistles like polished custom cabinets, one-touch central lighting controls, a huge fridge and freezer, a full bathroom with a separate shower stall. Spanish tile flooring and a huge couch area.   Their rig was absolutely spotless – you could operate in it even thought they live on the road full time. With an extra foot on either side, it’s amazing how much living space they have. Plus, they don’t carry much. Their packing motto is “Bulk to Value” – how much space does an item take versus usefulness.

Originally from Tennessee, they retired, sold their home and are noodling around the country, occasionally volunteering in parks. Not only are the Broadstreets lovely people, they get extra points because they are regular readers of Roadtreking.com.

After my tour of their pristine palace, I scrubbed the heck out of Olga, my RS Adventurous. When I packed for this trip, it was in the 20’s so I wasn’t motivated to do my spring cleaning. Olga is now spiffy on the inside as well as out. Thanks, Debbie and David, for the motivation!

A few sites down, I saw another interesting class B rig – a 2014 Dodge Promaster (same body as the new Roadtrek Zion) owned by Steve Kaufman. The RV was designed to his specifications by Robert Morehead, of Morehead Design Lab in Mills River, S.C.   He usually travels alone so he has bunk beds along one wall – the top one folds up like a Murphy bed. The bath and kitchen are compact along the other wall. There is only one big window, but plenty of storage. He installed all the electronic bells and whistles, including integrated USB ports. I really liked the outside fold down table. Steve opted out of A/C and substituted awnings on both sides of his rig. So far he’s only got 8,000 miles, but is planning an 8 month trip to Alaska next year.

fold out table

fold out table

fold up bunk

fold up bunk

It’s great to meet other RV’ers to learn how, why and where they travel. I like picking up new ideas, travel tips and friends.

But while it’s fun to check out the other rigs, I still love Miss Olga. And now that she’s clean and tidy, I can invite strangers in to my home, too!