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 see you going to Seattle but not hoping the Ferry over the Olympic Peninsula. We have a ton, close to 50, small family farms with everything from fiber, to food and flowers, and hard ciders. There is wonderful arts in Port Townsend. And the United States only Temperate Rain Forest. Just saying…..

  2. We own a RV that same size, people think that camping is “cheap” Um nope not really but its very comfy and so nice to have everything you need and not be in a hotel room!

  3. That is fantastic!! Even better is the fact that we just did almost the same exact thing at the same exact time just without the RV. Also, our path was a circle inside of your circle and in the opposite direction. We started in Utah and headed north into California and then looks as if we all had the same route/parks in mind!! And my husband and I have already said that next time we will do this sort of thing with a camper!! But, we did pack stuff to be able to stay on track and just be able to picnic in the parks. Good old fashioned family road trip is absolutely a must!!! Glad y’all had fun and thanks for sharing your adventure!!

  4. You could alway buy an RV and sell it when you get back, at the cost to rent it’s honestly worth the money if you’re taking a long trip. But regardless — agreed, I went on two RV trips with my parents and I still remmeber them, and we barely have any pictures. What a great experience.

  5. We have a motorhome (RV) over here in England. We use it lots or weekends at the seaside etc. this summer we’re taking it over to Ireland for 2 weeks! We’re excited and know our two children will have a wonderful time and make lots of memories!! It’s a great way to travel and means you’re completely in control of your holiday, including food choices! We love it!!! Enjoy your trip!!

  6. This looks like a fabulous trip! I am glad you are including some of the most beautiful (IMO)parts of Canada as well :)

    When you are in the Vancouver, BC area, a very fun experience for your family would be to take the ferry ( to Vancouver Island! Yes, I live there and fully believe it is the most beautiful place in Canada! The ferry trip itself, 1.5 hours, is a very cool experience if you have not sailed on one before.

    You can travel as “walk-ons” (or take the RV on if you want to explore more of the Island), enjoy breathtaking scenery (pods of whales are common to see) as the ferry navigates around tiny islands, then take the 20 min. shuttle into the city of Victoria (capital of BC, and spend the day there. It is a very beautiful and “walkable” city – TONS to do and see there. It is also a port of call for many cruise ships.

    Vancouver Island is kind of the organic/holistic/environmentally friendly and conscious capital of Canada. Organic markets are everywhere. Where I live, we have a market that runs outdoors year round – yes, all 12 months, in Canada!

    An alternate way to visit Victoria/Vancouver Island is taking the Coho Ferry ( from Port Angeles, WA. It is a cheaper trip if taking your RV on, and you will arrive at the Inner Harbour, right downtown.

    I hope that one way or another you can work in a trip to Vancouver Island :) It is a one of a kind destination that you will not regret visiting!

  7. We just got back home after a year in a motorhome with our two children. We went coast to coast, north to south, hit 25 states and had the most amazing time. The trip of a lifetime. Enjoy every minute of your trip!

  8. So just to get it straight it’ll be about 9500$ for the rental and miles not including camp ground fees, gas, and airfare across country for this type of trip? We are planning a trip for next year and trying to get a realistic budget going.

  9. My hubby and I own a RV that we lived in for 2.5 years travelling across Canada, the US and into central Mexico. I have the best memories of my life from those years and the simplicity of our lifestyle. We still like to camp and one day will do another long trip with our boys. Enjoy your vacation and my beautiful country! Our Rocky Mountains are spectacular and you will love Banff. I do have to agree with someone else who suggested Jasper. I am more of a Jasper fan myself! I live close to it so I could be partial!

  10. The first time we ever traveled in a motorhome was for a trip to Canada from Utah with 6 children. We rented from a private party and it was half the price of renting from a business. They also charged less per mile. I love being able to have our bathroom and kitchen travel with us. Traveling in a motorhome can get a bit pricey, but with our large family we would need two rooms and eating out would cost a fortune. We finally looked around and bought into a timeshare situation with 3 other families. We took turns each year being the first to pick weeks. We paid $5 a day when we took the motorhome and .05 per mile. This money went to pay for insurance and maintenance.

    For Mother’s Day, my family made a poster with favorite memories. So many of them, their favorite were times camping. I think it is because we don’t have a TV in the motorhome and we really spend quality time together. We now have our own motorhome, a 27 foot class C. We bought it used for $15,000 which is way cheaper than renting. We use it at least 4 times a year, but usually more.

    I usually make meals ahead of time and freeze them. This helps me enjoy time with the family instead of cooking.

  11. We took a 7 week trip from Texas to Maine and back with our two kids and 80 pound Boxer through 20 states with our 39 ft 5th wheel. I had it all planned out in a 3 ring binder with top loaders and ready to go! What a wonderful bunch of memories! It is so nice to be able to see the country from the ground.. We even went to NYC! It is all about searching for the RV Resorts! Enjoy and be safe on the road making memories!

  12. Sounds like a great trip. I live in Alberta, Canada – just a few hours from Banff! A beautiful (but busy) trip! You should try Jasper (a little farther North); just as beautiful, but less crowds! Enjoy Canada and RV’ing! :)

  13. This is awesome!y husband and I are actually getting set to do a very similar trip! We bought an RV, completely renovated it and are spending the next six months on the road! We can’t wait! Can’t wait to see more of your trip!

  14. Sara Brestensky

    Way to bastardize. I can’t blame you, but many people do what you’re doing without bastardizing for profit.

    1. How is she bastardizing? Her blog is her JOB. If your blog about your lifestyle was your only job, and you worked really hard at it, wouldn’t you want to take vacations like everyone else? She is blogging about it for one, because it’s her job, and for two, her fans are curious. She has fans for a reason. And that’s because she’s awesome and works her ass off.

  15. My parents owned an RV when I was growing up as my mom hated to fly. We took all our vacations in it and by the time I was 20 I had visited 40 of the 50 contiguous United States. Coupled with being homeschooled, we had the ultimate vacation freedom. There were of course some times when there was nowhere to park the RV and we missed out on an attraction, but for the most part we were able to see far more “sights” both educational and purely fun than if we had flown somewhere. If you own an RV, the costs really drop because then you are only paying for campgrounds and gas, and the former at least are pretty cheap.

  16. As a kid, my family was lucky enought to own an RV very similar to the one you are renting… The “Minnie Winnie” (Winnebago) was awesome…. So many great family trips and memories! Traveling from coastal Texas on many different trips to Colorado, California, Missouri, Florida… Have a great time!!!!

  17. That looks amazing! We plan on Rving across Canada in 4 years when the kids are a bit older and I am sure I will be pinning a ton of your tips for future use :). The best stores for organic food here in Western Canada are Natures Fare and Planet Organic. The Real Canadian Superstore also has a pretty good selection as most locations have an organic aisle. Feel free to message me if you would like any info on Calgary or Kamloops areas! And be sure to wave if you drive by Logan Lake BC ;). We have a gorgeous campground here in town!

  18. This is so interesting because we have a travel trailer we camp each summer with and as a family have considered hitting the road full time in a drive RV. So I really enjoy reading everyone’s comments as well as how your family trip in rental is going. Thank you for sharing this experience with everyone

  19. It is the best way to travel. We bought a 40′ RV when our son was 2 and our daughter was 2 months. Now 11 years later and 2 more kids…it’s the only way we travel. Twice we’ve lived in it for a month while relocating.

    I do have to suggest using the Disney Fort Wilderness Campground in Orlando and our other favorite and the only way to be at the beach is called Camping on the Gulf, in Destin FL. You literally pull up on the beach. We go every year.

    Glad you are enjoying. Email me if you have any questions.

  20. Thanks for the ideas! Our 25 ft RV really bonds our boys. Having a fridge and a bathroom at anytime makes us take it on any trip that is 2 hours plus. It has made travel with a 1 and 3 year old fairly easy. I am glad you are taking time for family.

  21. Looks awesome!

    If your trip is taking you up into Canada, don’t forget that there are certain foods that cannot cross the borders (including when you return to the USA). Fruit and meat are often prohibited…so don’t stock up the day before you cross!

  22. AWWW Lisa, I don’t know you, but I’m so happy for you and your family! Soak up that family bonding & memory making moments! I hope you Have the time of your lives :) Thanks for the super informative post!!! I might look into this now, too!!

  23. That is amazing! Looks like so much fun!
    When you cross into Canada – be aware they won’t let you bring in any produce that can be grown there. My cousin and I learned this the hard way when we had throw out our yummy Pike Place Market cherries.

  24. We actually have our house for sale and are getting rid of almost all our belongings in order to take our family of 7 ( soon to be 8!) cross country for a year. We just bought our 36ft Travel Trailer this spring and are using it for the 1st time next week at a local campground( we have never RV camped in our lives!!). I just made my meal plan for the week and thought,”How can I make this more ‘real food-ish’ with out spending all my time cooking?” So your post came at THE prefect time! We will be cooking primarily over the fire so it presents a few more obstacles but still doable. Thanks!

  25. RV travel is the best! :-) I have a 25 ft van camper and I love it! It’s def not a cheap way of life, but, it’s so nice! I’m a teacher, so I get summers off and I take a long trip – about a month long – every summer. This year it’s the east coast! I love always having everything I own right there with me. If I find a lake, I can put on my bathing suit and go for a swim. If there’s a good bike path, take the bike off and go for a ride. If I’ve been hiking and I’m sweaty, I jump in the shower, right there in the parking lot and put on some comfy yoga pants! And of course the food thing is the best! Shopping for food just like normal makes me feel like I’m not spending much more money than normal when I’m out in the RV! I love following your trip and seeing how you all are loving the RV lifestyle! I have a blog all about my travels, I’d love for you to check it out!

  26. Heading out Saturday on an adventure in our 30 foot travel trailer. Easy way to travel. Super easy to accommodate your eating preferences. All the comforts of home and some of the nicest people are in campgrounds. I travelled this way as a child with my family and it was awesome memories. My husband and I bought our first camper when our oldest daughter was an infant. Now she is 26 so lots of memories for our girls too. In fact this next week our 23 year old daughter will be camping with us. Have fun on your trip!

  27. I’m so glad you are sharing all this! We’re headed out in about a week on a road trip with our 2 little girls in a very small RV. Our kitchen is smaller than yours (if you can imagine that!)–no freezer, tiny fridge that doesn’t always keep the right temp, two-range stove, and microwave. (Hey, it’s borrowed, so no complaint here!) We will try to do some grilling, but I’m trying to put only essentials in the little fridge (along with a few frozen water bottles). I’m working away on my meal plan & shopping list. Trying to think through veggies that are shelf stable for a few days and I remembered you posted a list like this recently. Looks like we’ll be eating a lot of avocados, tomatoes, & onions! =)

  28. If you’re going through Calgary, there are a couple of farmer’s markets on the weekend, Planet Organic, and Community Natural Foods. There’s also plenty of fresh fruits and veggies at the grocery stores. The thing about real food is that you can find it anywhere!

    Feel free to contact me if you are in Calgary and need to make some connections.

  29. You will likely find many of the foods you are looking for at Nutter’s when you come across the boarder in to Alberta. I’m pretty sure Canmore has one, just outside of Banff. The Exekiel 4:9 bread is in the freezer section and has no additives or preservatives. The original and raisin are excellent. Enjoy Canada!

  30. I’ve never done an RV trip, but my husband and I are about to do a cross country road trip in my little Civic! We will be trying to stick with real food as much as possible, though I’m prepared for it to be tricky in some of the smaller towns we’re stopping in. I’ve already stocked up on some “road food” so that we’re not tempted to waste money on the processed food at gas stations!

    1. For road trips I always pack a set of melamine dishes and flatware, stainless steel bowl and coffee mug, and a smaller cooler with ice in plastic bags. It’s nice to just be able to stop wherever I like to eat instead trying to find something that fits my diet. I just wash up in the evening in the hotel sink.

  31. Kelly in Oregon

    This is awesome! My husband and I are huge RVers – we bought our first RV 6 weeks after we got married (7 years ago). I also love the convenience of not having to pack anything other than food and clothing – it’s all right there ready to go for each trip! I’m glad you’re enjoying it and seeing how easy it is to eat real food on the road. We typically do weekend trips, but last summer we took a 5 week trip around the country, which was an amazing experience.

  32. I have a question. my home is kosher,meaning that only certain meats with certain certifications are okay. If I do the10 day pledge, should I just cut out meat.cause there is no local kosher meat I know of.

    1. If you’re just starting with the 10 day pledge, going dairy for those 10 days would probably be easiest. Finding local kosher meat is much harder than simply finding local organic or pastured meat. If the 10 days go well and you continue, maybe you’ll be able to find at least the closest kosher butcher.

  33. Welcome to the RV club! It’s a blast! We own a 31 foot class c, Jayco Greyhawk and usually tow a small four door car. My husband and I actually bought our RV in our twenties, when my oldest was a preschooler and my youngest was a baby. Hands-down the BEST way to travel the U.S.! Our favorite adventure so far has been a tour of Colorado (2012) and we’re looking forward to two weeks in Disney World this year! It’s also fantastic to escape for the weekend in your own RV. If you leave it stocked, all you need to throw in is food and clean clothes, then escape on a Friday afternoon for the weekend. We live near Chicago. You can get to some pretty fabulous places to camp in a few hours’ drive.

    Two things to keep in mind if you’re considering buying or renting one. It’s big. Really big. Especially with a tow car. My husband does a great job driving. However, it still gives me the sweats. Class C’s have a pick up truck cab. If you can drive a regular pick up truck, in theory you can manage a class c. No special license is needed. It’s crazy. Second item: it’s a house on wheels. Stuff bounces around and goes through weather extremes. It’s a matter of when, not if, something will break. Be prepared. Be resourceful. Always carry duct tape, a basic toolkit, fuses, flashlights, and a multimeter. Know where your nearest dealers are in the event of a catastrophic failure. Don’t count on having internet to look it up. Ask me how I know…

    We love RVing! The journey is just as fun as the destination! Enjoy!

  34. Wow – is that a granite counter top!? Definitely not my image of an RV! :)

    We’ve been talking about a trip to see Yellowstone, etc. – I’m going to raise this possibility with my husband and see if he’d be willing to drive one of these babies. Is it tough to drive? I’m not sure I’d be up for it …

    1. Kelly in Oregon

      Abby – if you have a chance, go to a local RV dealer or to an RV show… you might be surprised. They have basically everything you have at home, just on a smaller scale. Including Corian counters (usually not real granite for weight, but lookalikes are common) and laminate flooring. We have a travel trailer, which means we tow the RV behind us, which is a different type of driving challenge than a motorhome. But both my husband and I drive (and both of our moms do too) – so it’s doable!!! So don’t rule yourself out as a potential driver! But as mentioned above, it’s definitely a costly way to travel, when you consider the RV itself, insurance, gas, plus RV park fees. (and potentially storage and registration if you own it)

  35. My husband and I lived full time in an RV with two kids (newborn and 3 years old when we started) for 8 years and loved it! Went north in the summer and south in the winter, and spent 3 winters in Mexico. It was an old 27-foot travel trailer and a Lincoln towncar as a tow vehicle. The travel trailer was our kitchen, bathroom and bedroom and our living room was wherever we were parked. My husband was a big fisherman, so we spent most of our time where the fishing was good and ate a lot of fish. Both my kids and I have precious memories of that time – they are now grown and my husband is deceased.