At least half a dozen times in the past year we have invited guests into our camper for coffee and ice cream or a even a dinner. Sometimes these are friends we’ve known for years, other times complete strangers who happen to be camping nearby. We find this easy to do because our van camper has three seats in front and a dinette in the rear that will seat four comfortably. We studied RV floor plans before we settled on our requirements and checked out RV shows thoroughly. We found things to demand and things to avoid at all costs. High on our desirable list was a dinette seating four. We also wanted two separate seating areas. At the top of our AVOID list was a camper with only two front seats and only a permanently made bed in the rear.
The Roadtrek we bought was ideal from our requirements point of view. Not only can we comfortably seat four for diner in the rear, but with a small table up front we can feed three guests in front simultaneously! We haven’t done that yet. The time we served dinner for six, it was nice enough to eat outside. We have had five for dinner inside. Guests are astounded about how spacious our camper seems. The mirrors create that impression. But if we ever respond to a disaster relief, we can feed a crowd! Well, a very small crowd. Economics aside, how can we do this?
Our attitude is a welcoming one to friends and strangers alike. We love to hear about what other people find interesting, their travel highlights, and their life experiences. Inviting folks you just met at campground over for ice cream and coffee in the evening after dinner is a great way to get to know them and learn from others. It seems like most places we stay the mosquitoes are bad in the evening so retreating inside after dark is a good idea. It always seems that when there are no mosquitoes it is either cold or raining! We have designed the lighting in our camper so the illumination level can fit the desired mood. Our dinette table in the rear has a bright round light, a string of dim-able strip lights, and two reading lights. The table and seating are surrounded by three large windows, so in daytime the views can be spectacular or shut out entirely, depending on where we park. (As we write this we are overlooking the booming Atlantic surf at Florida’s Gamble Rogers State Park.)
We have encountered many Roadtrekers who have removed the third seat up front to install more storage and keep the rear king bed made up full time, with no dinette! In our opinion this reduces the utility of a versatile camper. We realize there are many RV lifestyles and we do respect individual choice. Enjoyment is an intensely personal experience. And we enjoy having guests.
One cold rainy morning, Lynn was walking the dogs while Roger was cooking breakfast. She encountered a touring bicyclist all packed up and ready to hit the road in the frigid drizzle. Would he be interested in some bacon and eggs for breakfast? His face lit up. Sure! We had a great breakfast conversation about his trip and adventures. We told him about some our our bicycle tours. It was the highlight of our day.
How can we entertain with a small kitchen? Our secret? Plan ahead for guests. If you prefer wine and cheese to ice cream and coffee, make sure you always have some available. We have a Keurig Mini coffee maker. We carry Roger’s favorite Columbian Regular cups, but we added decaf (plus creamer and sugar) for occasional guests. We try to keep the ice cream supply stocked up (learn which brands fit in your fridge – some cartons are too tall). Not many people turn down ice cream! How about Maple Walnut or Butter Pecan ice cream with some homemade maple syrup on top? Yum yum!
A full dinner may require buying ahead rib eye steaks or salmon fillets, a Caesar salad kit, microwaveable-bag veggies. (Our guest dinners menus resemble each other.) We plan those in advance. Steaks and salmon can be cooked on our Coleman grill if weather permits or on the stove.
Cut to the bottom line: To entertain in your own style, consider your RV’s floor plan and seating; then consider your own attitude toward entertaining friends and strangers.