Real Food On The Road: RV Trip

This post is coming to you from somewhere in California while my husband drives our family from Yosemite National Park to our next RV Trip destination (Big Sur)! A trip out west in an RV with the kids has been on our bucket list for quite some time now, and we are finally carrying out our dream (yay!). But as many times as we’ve enjoyed tent camping together as a family, we’d never even stepped foot into an RV prior to this trip, and I was honestly not exactly sure what to expect!

Real Food on the Road: #RV Trip from 100 Days of #RealFood

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What I was expecting and looking forward to was being able to hop from place to place without the pain of unpacking and repacking over and over again (that can get old pretty quickly if you want to visit more than one destination). And let me tell you what – that part is totally awesome. We decided to get an early start this morning, and from the time we all four woke up until we left the campground was 30 minutes flat – a Leake record for sure!

But what I didn’t expect that’s equally awesome is literally bringing your very own personal kitchen and bathroom wherever you go! As in, my husband took a quick shower in the Walmart parking lot earlier today while we ran in for a few things, and I made lunch in the Home Depot parking lot (using the stove) while he took his turn to grab a few items we needed. How weird (yet strangely convenient) is that?!?

Logistics and The RV Kitchen

While planning this trip we went back and forth on towing a car behind the RV or stopping to rent them along the way to use at the National Parks. But, since we went with an RV that is really no bigger than what our family needed (28-foot C-Class) we ended up deciding that driving it around to sightsee really isn’t so bad after all. And remember that means we are also driving around our own personal kitchen and bathroom, too! Which has meant I haven’t had to pack a single meal for a daily outing or really put much thought into what we’ll need to bring along (i.e. sunscreen, water, hiking boots, etc.) each time we head out. Now THAT sounds like a vacation. :)

Real Food on the Road: #RV Trip from 100 Days of #RealFood

Plus when it comes to people like us who are rather specific about the food they eat – what better way to do it than bringing along your very own portable kitchen? Albeit a tiny “1-person at a time” kitchen! But with a fridge, freezer, 3-burner stove, microwave, (small) oven, sink, drawers, cabinets, and a kitchen “kit” (that included pots, pans, plates, utensils, etc.) – what more could you need on the go? I will say though as tight as the living space is compared to what we are used to at home there is a surprising amount of storage in this thing. We brought along quite a lot of clothes and supplies (packed into 12 bags total, which doesn’t even include the 3 super handy folded up bags I got from my sponsor My Eco Bags – I can hear the light packers out there gasping for air!), and I am shocked that I still have a couple fairly empty cabinets we haven’t even used for storage.

Real Food on the Road: #RV Trip from 100 Days of #RealFood

RV Living and Our Route

So for 4 weeks our RV rental, which we rented from our sponsor El Monte RV, is going to be our home. It took us a couple days to really get settled and unpacked and also to acquire enough food and supplies (i.e. toilet paper, ziplock bags, etc.) to get this party started, BUT with all of that behind us now I must say we could get used to this!! Now that all our things are put away and somewhat organized and I have a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter just like at home (albeit resting in the sink while we’re driving), it’s a surprisingly comfy home away from home. And this probably goes without saying – the kids LOOOVE traveling and sleeping in the RV. :)

Real Food on the Road: #RV Trip from 100 Days of #RealFood

I spent months planning our route for this trip that includes both places my husband and I have been before (we drove cross country when we briefly moved to Portland, OR in ’99) and also places we’ve always wanted to visit (specifically, Yosemite and Banff). The total trip is 5 weeks long including the first week, which was just in a rental car (and hotels and apartment rentals) and included both Portland and San Francisco. So, without further ado…here is our trip map!

Real Food on the Road: #RV Trip on 100 Days of #RealFood


The Food (so far)

We lucked out by finding a shopping center with a Whole Foods (and a Target) right after we first picked up the RV – so we stocked up! I must admit though after a long day of traveling and unpacking and getting organized I was not feeling very creative and just quickly made a list that included lots of our old stand-bys. So far we’ve had eggs (cooked in bacon grease), organic bacon, fruit, nuts, cheese, bread (we purchased a good 5-ingredient 100% whole grain bread), hummus sandwiches, BLTs, kale and mushroom pasta, and grill packets. I also bought (and froze) some sausage to grill and ground pork along with a pack of whole grain corn tortillas (for tacos). For snacks we have been taking serious advantage of our sponsors Lara Bar and also Organic Valley (in the form of cheese sticks). Sooo…so far so good! I honestly can’t imagine any better way to attempt to eat real food on the road than in an RV.

Real Food on the Road: #RV Trip from 100 Days of #RealFood

The Cost

When I shared our RV picture on Facebook the other day there were so many questions about the cost – and rightfully so! Now, one might think RV living from campground to campground is the ultra “budget” way to travel, but I do believe that “you get what you pay for” – and you really are getting a lot in my opinion. Think about it – you are getting both a rental car and apartment-type accommodations (in the sense of more than one sleeping area and a kitchen) all in one. Our rate for the RV we chose from El Monte RV is $241/night + $0.27 / mile, plus you have to remember the campground fees (usually between $20 – $40/night) and GAS of course – this thing has a big tank!

Real Food on the Road: #RV Trip on 100 Days of #RealFood

So it’s definitely a trip to save up for, but I can’t tell you how many people (strangers and friends alike) have told me they went on an RV cross-country trip when they were little and it ended up being some of their best childhood memories. Please excuse me while I grab a tissue – it just warms my heart more than words can describe to be able to provide this kind of experience to my girls, and for my husband and I to be able to share it with them. So, I must say – so far this has truly been the trip of a lifetime for us! I can’t wait to experience the rest of this adventure. :)

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75 thoughts on “Real Food On The Road: RV Trip”

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  1. I would love to know where your stops were in each state. We are trying to plan a trip this summer. Do you have a list of where each stop/ point on the map is?

    1. I don’t – I am sorry! It was mostly National Parks though with a few major cities like Las Vegas, Portland, and Seattle mixed in.

  2. Thanks for all the info, very interesting article. $12k trip is my 10 year vacation budget, so I can stop dreaming about this. I had no idea it was so expensive. Maybe I could buy a used van or hitchhike. LOL

  3. We love this post! We just finished up a 10 day camper trip to Washington DC and Maryland from Chicago. Our kids had a blast. Your recipes and posts about real food have been a game changer for us. Thank you for all that you do!

  4. I don’t know if you’ll see this or not. But I think we saw you…well your motor home at least, in Banff! We were there July 3-5. Were you?? We saw lots of rented motor homes, but only one El Monte. Did you perhaps hike Johnston Canyon on the 3rd? Sounds a little stalkery–LOL. Sorry! I thought it would be so fun to run into you! We live in OH and my husband and I were on a week long vacation. We left our two kids with Grandpa and Grandma. I hope you had a fabulous time. I know we did. It was so beautiful! :) Beth

  5. Our family of 5 just got back from a 9 day trek through Colorado in a rented RV. Best vacation ever!! We took all our food and treated ourselves to one dinner out. Would highly recommend it for all families. Our girls had so much fun..said it was amazing!

  6. We love RVing. On our next trip I would like to freeze some homemade waffles and bread ahead of time to take along. Also we usually take a grill and roast veggies. We plan to take veggies from our garden. We have our own camper so we pack everything before we leave home (clothes, food, supplies, etc.) Also. we are retired and most state campgrounds will give seniors a discount. Glad you had fun on your trip.

  7. Our family is getting ready to embark on our 4th summer family road trip. I have blogged about it years 1 &2, skipped 3 but planning to return this year for year 4! Best of luck to you! Happy memory making!

  8. Lisa, you made me tear up at my desk! This is definitely a dream for me and for my husband, and to share it with you children… I am so happy for you, and hope that someday my family can experience something similar. Thanks for all the info and tips.

  9. I would love a detailed list of everywhere you went! We have been considering a trip like this for years!!

  10. My concern with RVs has always been safety for the littles while driving. Normally the only two seats in an RV directly tied into the frame (for the purposes of installing a car seat) are the front two and then you are dealing with swivel chairs (at least my in laws does) and airbags. For those reasons I refuse to let my son ride in my in laws RV. Are your girls still in boosters? I really think a pull behind would be the ideal. Car seats for safety, a run around vehicle when needed and the comfort of an RV.

  11. We bought a 24 ft RV last September, best investment we ever made. The grandkids love it, so does our 4 legged kid (an Akita named Bandit). My husband, who NEVER wanted an RV now says he could live in one:)
    Thank you for listing the cost! That is important, helpful information for anyone considering this option!

  12. Anne Marie Curtis

    Just a suggestion…I’m really not trying to sound rude…but I can’t really see any point in including the cost of your vacation in this otherwise really great post. It kind of makes you seem out of touch with a lot of your readers, especially those who are trying to figure out how you cook and feed your family the way you do on the amount of money you suggest. Makes it seem kind of unrealistic. Sorry…just some thoughts from a fan of the blog.

    1. Hi Anne Marie,
      I follow 100 days on Facebook and every time she writes about this RV trip at least 5 people ask how much it costs. It seems fair to give them the information.
      I actually really appreciate knowing, though we are unlikely to RV anytime in the next 20 years. We tent camp a lot and I find it good to know how much money we are saving by packing and unpacking every time we move. :-)

  13. We did this as a kid too. Not for as long as you are but it was definitely some great times. I think back now and wondered how my mom did it with our meals. She did all the planning, prepping, and cooking. I appreciate it now but didn’t think about it then. Have fun!

  14. What map app did you use that lets you plot out various stops? We are. Heading to
    Utah and then Colorado (in our new-to- us used trailer and would like to plot it all out.

    1. allows you to do this.. I just used it for our road trip. you just keep adding locations.

  15. We love being able to cook real food while traveling in our RV. I cook ahead and freeze things like muffins, soups and stews, grilled chicken to use as entree or for grilled chicken salads or sandwiches. We check to see where farmer’s markets are located along our routr to buy fresh produce and fruit. In season we find you pick peach and apple orchards, blueberry and strawberry farms. I’ve learned many tricks for baking in the tiny oven RVing is a great way to get back to nature, discover new places , and eat real food while on your adventure

  16. So you paid over $7,000 to rent one, why not buy one and sell it after or store it for other trips? I’ve been reading a naturalist blog, and they got a school bus for $2,000 and her family of 4 lives in it. very awesome blog.

  17. Tammy Kristoffersen

    We rented an RV too for this summer (first time ever in an RV too), but we’re going to Nova Scotia, Canada for 2 weeks!!! Great that you’re doing this ahead of us, so I can learn from your successes and missteps!