An Exhaustive Guide To RVing Logistics In The Modern Age – Part 1

Author: Joe Garcia

I’ve always been a fan of a good adventure novel. The plucky space crew who takes off in their spaceship that barely runs or the group of kids taking off into the sunset on their bicycles was more of an aspirational goal rather than a fun story for me.

Rebekah was well prepared for this lifestyle considering the fact that while we were dating in college, I was shopping for a van to live in. Thankfully, she talked me off that ledge, but I never let go of the dream of a great American road trip.

After 6 years and many hours spent perusing Instagram and Pinterest, we finally decided to take the plunge and get into full time RVing. We had to make a few minor adjustments along the way, such as Rebekah quitting her job to work remotely as a curriculum designer, and I made sure to take a job as a software developer at a company that was fully remote.

Once the minor issue of paying the bills on the road was taken care of, then all we had to do was the simple task of putting everything we needed to live and work in a trailer and carry it across the country. As you might guess, this was not as simple as Instagram may have had me believe, but after many lessons learned on the road, we managed to get a good system down.

In this blog post, I’d like to share with you all the things we have learned on the road from this past year, and hopefully, provide some tips and tricks for any readers who are interested in getting into RVing.

Location, location, location!

This part is where years of daydreaming really paid off since we already had a number of campgrounds and locations picked out that we wanted to visit, but it is not quite as simple as picking a place on the map and going there. There are a few critical things to consider while traveling, specifically, for those who want to work on the road. 

The primary considerations are: accessibility and cell signal. 

We’ve learned the hard way on our journeys that a campground that looks great even from Google maps, may actually just be a flat spot in a mountain range. Never forget to zoom out while scoping out a campground on Google maps! This information may save the life of your truck’s transmission.  

One powerful tool that we use now to scope out potential campgrounds is a site called Campendium. It gives great ratings on accessibility, cellular connection, and has a community of RVers that leave reviews on things that are important to RVers.

Now before we pick our next spot, we’ll look up the reviews on Campendium, double check the road via FlatestRouteMapper, and for good measure, take a quick look via Google maps terrain view. With those few precautions, we’ve managed to avoid having to turn around at an RV park, and Rebekah’s only had to get out of the truck once to lighten the load so that we could get up a mountain.

To wrap up this discussion on location, I wanted to give an overview of the three most common places to stop: RV parks, state parks, and public camping areas. 

If you want to just hit the road with limited experience and equipment, RV parks are the way to go. Think of a hotel that you bring your room to, generally speaking, everything is provided. Most good RV parks will have water, electricity, sewer, wifi, laundry facilities, and sometimes even a grocery store. While RV parks can be the most expensive option in regard to daily camping rates, some offer weekly and monthly rates that become very affordable. 

The next option is state parks which often blend some amenities with a better access to nature. State parks will generally have a reason for existing such as a lake or natural feature that people want to visit. So while the creature comforts might not be as numerous, they make up for it with their scenery. Most state parks will still have water and electricity available, but access to other amenities will vary wildly. State parks generally have cheaper daily rates than RV parks. This would be another great option for someone new to RVing that still wants to squeeze a little bit of adventure and nature into their first trip. 

The final option, otherwise known as the boss level, is public camping; otherwise known as dispersed camping. Here, nature is your host, coyotes are your annoying neighbors that make too much noise, and your dogs are the security guards asleep at the front gate. Amenities are what you bring with you. If you like to shower, be prepared for a good workout since water is 8 lbs. a gallon and the easiest way to get it to the campsite is with water totes. The upside to dispersed camping is two-fold. It’s free, and it provides the closest access to some of the most beautiful areas of this country. It’s hard to put a dollar amount on sipping coffee in the morning and opening up your door to a mountain side where your nearest neighbor might be a quarter mile away. As you might guess, this is the most difficult option to get into at first. While it is free, the equipment required to be able to live and work off grid is a big upfront expense. 

Despite the effort, this is my favorite way to camp (Rebekah’s on the fence), although we do like to spoil ourselves and mix in some RV park camping. *Rebekah is a big fan of the RV parks 💁🏻‍♀️🍷

If you’re interested in taking on the challenge of dispersed camping, this next section will summarize some of the things we’ve learned on the road to be able to work and stay comfortable. 

Water is life.

I don’t think I realized how much water we go through until I started having to carry it to the RV. I’ve become a radical environmentalist as a result of my water fetching duties and believe the solution to our global water problems is one RV for every man, woman, and child in America. 

On average, two people showering, using the restroom, and washing dishes, use about 20 gallons of water per day. 

We have a 40 gallon onboard fresh water tank, but so we don’t have to move our RV after we get it setup, we picked up four 7 gallon portable water totes. These are easy to refill at water stations that can be found in grocery stores and outside of gas stations.

This section would not be complete without discussing what happens to the water after it has been used.

Our RV is only able to hold 60 gallons of wastewater; so if you’ve kept count, we’ve got to take care of that after a couple days. The easy solution would be to pull our dump valves, but that is a crime and goes against my radical environmentalist morals. Seriously, don’t do this; it gets camping areas shut down, and it’s just a really uncool thing to do.

What we do instead is carry a 32 gallon portable waste tank on the back of our tow vehicle. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it, and by someone, that’s me. It’s not all bad, many gas stations have dump stations, and we normally take care of this on the way home from the gym. 

There’s no easy way to transition from wastewater. It’s my least favorite job. If you can get past this, you’ll make it on the road. Next section.

More power baby!

Keeping the lights on has two meanings while working on the road: the literal one and the one that involves maintaining enough power for work electronics. Our current power setup includes: 400 watts of solar, a 1.5 KWh lithium power bank, and a 3500 watt silent generator.

By selecting areas with good weather, we’re generally able to run off of solar and battery for half the day and all night. For our remaining power needs, we’ll run our generator to charge up our battery and run the A/C during the hottest hours of the day.

The equipment I mentioned earlier is one of the most expensive parts of getting into RVing outside of the initial RV purchase. You can get creative and source used solar panels or dumpster dive for old laptop batteries, but otherwise plan on spending at least $1500 for an entry level lithium and solar kit if you want to camp/work off grid.

To conclude my manifesto, I leave you with one more section on miscellaneous work and comfort related questions.

The extra stuff.

Since this next section includes a lot of commonly asked questions, I felt it would be best to structure it as a Q&A.

Q: How do you access the internet for work, especially in remote areas?

A: We double check cell coverage using Campendium and use Verizon cellular hotspots, along with a directional cell signal booster that I have mounted on a 12 foot pole. 

Q: Do you guys ever get tired of being in such a small space together?

A: No, we love each other, and we specifically chose an RV that has two rooms with a door in the middle. Take that information as you will. Joking! We share space very well, but we were purposeful with the rig we chose. 

Q: How do you stay cool in the desert?

A: Lots of fans, parking in the shade, and running the AC/generator during the peak heat. 

Q: Is sleeping comfortable in the RV?

A: Yes, Rebekah bought a Tempurpedic mattress topper since the mattress that came with the RV was not super comfortable. 

Q: How do you both work in the RV?

A: Our current rig is a 33 foot toy hauler, meaning we have one room in the back, and a room up front which holds the living quarters. Since there’s a door in the middle, this has worked well for us. We are able to both take meetings and not interfere with each other’s calls. In addition to this, since the area in the back of our RV is one big room, we’re able to put a desk and computer monitor in there. 


So if you’re just looking to get out for the weekend, or if you’re ready to take the plunge by becoming one with nature on the open road, there are plenty of options for getting into RVing. My advice is to just go for it! Find some areas around you that you’ve always wanted to see and start planning that first trip. You won’t regret it; I know we haven’t!

Deep In The Heart of Texas

We traveled. We saw. We returned. After 3 months of continuous travel, we are finally back in Texas!

Before I fill you in on our plans now that we have come home to our native Lone Star state, allow me to write about our last week in Las Cruces, NM.

You may or may not be surprised to hear that our last week in New Mexico was fairly uneventful. Joe and I took it easy. What can I say? We were tired!

Though we were feeling a bit weary from weeks of travel, we had a peaceful week filled with mundane, normal tasks. Joe had work to catch up on, I had miscellaneous chores and meals to prep, and so…we worked, we ate, and carried on with our usual day-to-day activities.

As shocking as it might seem, not every day nor every week of life on the road is glamorous!

Now, that’s not to say that we didn’t have any fun during our last week in Las Cruces…after all, you’ve met us, right?

Our last night in town, Joe and I went out to eat at a nice, favorite restaurant of ours, and afterward, we walked to a 90’s themed arcade downtown. Naturally, this led to Joe and I spending at least $20 in tokens so that we could compete against each other in various arcade games.

Nothing says true love like glowing screens, chiming bings from a pinball machine, and a little competition of the toggle variety! Who does’t get competitive while jabbing at buttons?

Needless to say, dinner and the arcade was a perfect way to end our travels.

The following morning, Joe and I packed up the RV and began the 2 day journey back to Austin, TX. I will spare you the details of the drive because the trip was uneventful! Sure, West Texas was rather blustery, but other than a little wind, we had no issues on our way home.

So, now that we are back…what’s next?

Reconnecting with friends, spending time with family, a 10 year high school reunion, Texas football, bridal showers, and doctor(s) appointments!

Really, we won’t be back very long…justttt long enough to accomplish the tasks above. We will be taking off again just before Thanksgiving. So, stay tuned for more adventures!

Until next time!

The Final Stretch

Last week we made it to Las Cruces, New Mexico, where we boondocked near the base of the Organ Mountains and interacted with fellow RVers.

Naturally, this interaction and meeting leads to Garcia’s Moving Castle’s next segment of RVers in the wild.

In today’s segment, we begin with Joe. After all, he is the one who encountered the RVer in his natural habitat. The RVer, our new neighbor, approached Joe late in the evening around the local watering hole aka our collection of 7 gallon water totes. Joe was replenishing our water supply and our fellow RVer was curious if he could borrow our totes to fetch water for himself and his wife.

Joe agreed, and naturally, as all conversations do, this evolved into Joe and our fellow RVer discussing the pros and cons of a black water waste disposal system vs. a composting waste disposal system. The RVer began to passionately argue that an expensive composting system wasn’t worth it, especially because a person could buy everything they needed for a composting waste disposal system from the Family Dollar.

Color Joe both horrified and intrigued.

The RVer then proceeded to give Joe instructions on how to build his own composting system from a bowl, paper towels, and ziplocs, as well as give Joe advice on how to keep a black water system from smelling. Apparently, it’s all in the essential oils.

Don’t use water to flush! Simply spray peppermint and lavender oil after every use, and you won’t need to dispose of the black water system’s contents for 3 months.

As if this conversation wasn’t memorable enough, the RVer switched gears and began regaling Joe about government secrets. The RVer couldn’t divulge everything, but his government source had informed him that President Biden hadn’t been alive for a few months. The government was using CGI and a body double to emulate the late president.

Never a dull moment!

Stay tuned for future segments of RVers in the wild. In the meantime, allow me to fill you in on our happenings from last week.

As I mentioned earlier, Joe and I boondocked near the base of the Organ Mountains. Not only did we camp off grid near these well-known mountains, but also took some time to visit and hike around the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

The National Monument is home to an old mine shaft, sanatarium, waterfall, and way station. Joe and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing these historic sites, as well as the hike to each of them. Along the way, we came across a few tarantulas and several noteworthy plants! What can I say, Joe loves to identify local flora!

Overall, we had a great time visiting the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument; it is always one of our favorite things to see when we come to Las Cruces.

Because we are still a little weary from traveling and adventuring, we have decided to stay in Las Cruces one more week, but instead of spending it boondocking, we have moved to an RV park. Is there a story there? Yes, yes there is.

When Joe took our portable waste tank into town to dump at the local RV park, the front office staff told him it would cost $50 to use their dump station. Now normally, it costs about $10 to use a park’s dump station. So, Joe was both surprised and intrigued as to why this park was charging $50.

Apparently, in the last few months, someone had dumped their meth lab at the park’s dump station. So, to discourage others from utilizing their facilities, they implemented a $50 fee for all patrons wanting to dump, as well as installed a lockbox over the dump system’s entry valve.

After explaining the RV park owner’s rationale, the front office staff then proceeded to sell Joe one of the park’s spots for the day. For $34, Joe could use that spot’s septic and dump his tank.

At that point, it made more sense to just buy 6 days and move our RV over to the park. Joe knew I wasn’t going to complain about full hookups!

So, we are now enjoying the luxury of full hookups as we finish our time in New Mexico. Next stop Austin, TX!

Until next time!

Where Dreams Come True

“Would Rebekah like to go to an amusement park when you guys come to visit us?” – Rick Garcia (Joe’s brother)

That’s a rhetorical question, right?

For those who don’t know, I am an amusement park junkie. That’s right! I enjoy and appreciate every aspect of a good amusement park. Cheerfully maniacal rollercoasters? Check. Deliciously fried, sugary treats? Check, check. A continuous theme? Check!

So, when Rick asked Joe if I would be interested in either going to Disneyland or Universal Studios when we visited him and his family in L.A., the answer was a resounding yes, especially since Rick’s wife, Andrea, also shares my love for amusement parks. In essence, we would be able to match each other’s enthusiasm.

When it came time to decide which amusement park we would be visiting, Andrea and I carefully weighed the pros and cons of each park, and ultimately decided on Disneyland. Neither of us had ever seen the recently added Star Wars section, so going to Disney to both see it and experience it was a no brainer. Did I mention both of us are major Padawans?

After counting down the days, minutes, and seconds, until our trip to the magical land of Disney, finally, the day of our Disneyland adventure arrived. Joe and I woke up at 5:30 AM to beat the Los Angeles traffic and made our way to Rick and Andrea’s house to drop off our dogs and carpool to the park.

Having donned my Star Wars themed mouse ears, sequined Minnie Mouse themed backpack, and an excessive amount of sunscreen, I was ready for Disney!

Though we purchased park hopper tickets, we decided to begin the day at the main Disneyland Park. Moseying our way to the back of the park where the Star Wars section is located was first on the agenda, but before we made it there, we stopped to ride Splash Mountain, a thrilling log flume ride with a 5-story drop.

Have I disclosed Joe’s complete abject terror of all rollercoasters and high-thrill rides? I have included a snapshot of our time on Splash Mountain for your enjoyment – I think our faces say it all.

Needless to say, Andrea, Rick, and I laughed until we cried at Joe’s expense. He may or may not have screamed an expletive as we made the drop.

After disembarking Splash Mountain, we wrung out our t-shirts and splished and sploshed our way to Star Wars! We had a fantastic time riding the Star Wars themed rides and wandering around the outpost market. Later, we would come back for themed cocktail drinks at the Cantina!

Following our fun in the Star Wars section, we decided to jump over to the California Adventure Park for more rollercoasters and adrenaline inducing rides. Some of our favorites were the Incredicoaster and the Guardians of The Galaxy Mission Breakout tower drop! Joe “conveniently” opted out of the tower drop to run back to the house to walk our dogs, but Rick, Andrea, and I enjoyed it!

Well…mostly Andrea and I enjoyed it. Rick on the other hand had an awkward experience with the man sitting next to him. Apparently, during the ride, the man couldn’t find the hand rest, so he clutched onto the next best thing. Rick’s hand.

Despite the uncomfortable encounter, Rick still had a great time, and before we knew it, we were zipping around the park finding other rides to fulfill our thrill quota.

Overall, we had an incredible time at Disney! It was everything I hoped for and more, and after 12 hours of non-stop fun, we piled into the car and made our way back to the house. Once we returned, Joe and I scooped up our puppies and drove back to the RV where we fell asleep immediately.

The next afternoon, Joe and I drove back to Rick and Andrea’s house to spend some time together for our last full day in California. We decided to visit a local aquarium and walk along the beach to search for tide pools. Later that evening, we would go out for street tacos and churros. It was the perfect ending to our California trip.

Spending time with family is such a gift, and visiting Rick, Andrea, and Harley has been a highlight of our 3 month long adventure. We already have plans to see them again, and I know Joe is already counting down the months until we are reunited.

For now, Joe and I have started making our way back to Texas. We, and really I mean Joe, drove us from Los Angeles, California, to Las Cruces, New Mexico, in the span of 2 days! We stopped in Phoenix, Arizona, after the first day, and left as soon as possible the next morning due to the fact that Phoenix is completely uninhabitable. How anyone lives there in its hellacious, extreme heat is a mystery I have no desire to solve!

Thankfully, Las Cruces is much more temperate, and we have plans to spend at least the next week here. After all, we still have a few adventures planned!

Until next time!