You may think the RV life is the same from day to day: you drive somewhere, set up camp, explore the area, and move on to another location to do it again. In some ways, you’d be right. But in others, you’d be wrong. Quite often, things don’t go as planned. Or they do, but you encounter unusual experiences in the mix.
We’re not always on the lookout for those unique occurrences; they just happen. Here are our most unusual in our third year on the road.
1. Windmill Blades
You know those wind turbines that dot the landscape as you cross the country? They don’t look all that big or fast from a distance. Believe it or not, each blade actually spans more than 170 feet, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. And they can reach speeds of 100 mph or faster, Energy Follower reports.
We camped near windmills in Groom, Texas, which gave us a better feel for their size and power. But what really opened our eyes was seeing individual blades on semi-trucks while parked at a casino near Albuquerque.
Because the expansive Indian reservation included a truck stop with plenty of parking space for oversize trucks, it made for a common stop for drivers transporting these important parts. On three different occasions, we saw trios of extra-long trucks holding windmill blades maneuver their rigs for an overnight stop.
2. Long-Distance Water Fill
That same Albuquerque stop had campsites with electric but no freshwater — although it did have a dump station with potable water. When we arrived at the destination, we had only planned to stay about three nights and then move on to Arizona. After Tom and Molly met us there, we quickly changed our plans and extended our stay.
Using our water for cooking, dishes, and showers filled our gray wastewater tanks and emptied our freshwater tank. Rather than closing up the trailer, connecting it to Gulliver, and moving it to the dump station to empty the gray and black tanks, we opted to borrow Tom’s portable black tank and macerator to transport our wastewater. But we still needed to refill the fresh tank.
Tom offered to let us use his two hoses, which we connected to our 10-foot and two 25-foot hoses. It still wasn’t long enough to reach the water spigot. Another RVer offered to let us use his two hoses to complete the distance. We gladly accepted. A seven-hose connection got the job done, but it took a full two hours to fill the 75-gallon tank at that distance.
3. Regional Grocery Stores
One of our favorite things to do as we travel is to shop at local grocery stories to get a taste for the region’s cuisine. We find all kinds of unusual-to-us items this way. In Louisiana, for example, the stores sell a common Cajun staple called tasso. It’s a spicy smoked meat taken from a hog’s shoulder and used in gumbos and stews.
The most unique grocery items we encountered in our third year of RV travel were frog legs, rabbit, gator, and turtle, which we found in the refrigerated section of stores in Louisiana and Mississippi.
4. Bat Houses
When looking for unique things to do in the areas we visit, we never know what we’ll find. We may have some idea ahead of time, but not always. Nothing could have prepared us for the unusual experience we had visiting the bat houses at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Reading about the houses piqued our interest, and reviews assured us the drive to see this occurrence would be worth it. They were right. As dusk neared, we gathered in front of three houses on stilts, a smelly guano odor letting us know we were in the right place.
As the sun dipped beneath the horizon, hundreds to thousands of bats descended from the houses and flew in formation, coming toward us and then heading higher into the night sky to fetch their mosquito dinner — a truly unique experience indeed.
5. Balloon Fiesta
Our list of unusual experiences wouldn’t be complete without including the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. We’ve never been that close to so many hot air balloons that we could smell the propane used to fill them and hear the rush of the gas.
Nor have we ever experienced such a unique phenomenon as the Albuquerque Box. It refers to wind patterns that carry balloons one direction at a lower altitude and back in the opposite direction at a higher altitude.
We’re grateful we were able to participate in all of these unusual activities.
You might also like Our Most Unique RV Experiences of 2021.
This is the travel blog of full-time RVers Bob and Lana Gates and our truck, Gulliver, and fifth wheel, Tagalong.