Sniffin: Is RV life the true definition of ‘living free?’


It seems like a constant for most people to find themselves, while driving Wyoming’s vast network of highways, stuck behind some lumbering motorhome. While you are cussing them out, keep in mind that it just might be your old friend Bill making his way down the highway.

Some eleven years ago, our daughter Shelli convinced Nancy and me to rent a CruiseAmerica Class C motorhome for a week to join them at the Grand Canyon.

Despite all kinds of stupid problems, we had a ball and were sold on the whole RV life. Soon we bought our own 26-foot Class C motorhome. This is a model that looks like a U-Haul truck with windows. We put 10,000 miles on it in two years. Then we felt the need to upgrade. So we bought into the whole enchilada — buying a full-sized Class A motorhome in December 2010.

We were the proud new owners of a used 40-foot diesel pusher with faded paint and decals that looks like an old Greyhound Bus. It was a 2005 Alfa Gold and we were thrilled. We were also completely stumped about how all the systems worked.

To make it more complicated, we bought it in Iowa, where we were visiting relatives for Christmas. It was minus 24 wind chill. We could not get propane to pump into the coach to run the furnace. Cold? It was beyond cold. It was like driving a freezer. Did I mention that the heater in the cockpit was also on the fritz?

We put on all the clothes we could and then fired up the beast. We headed out of there and did not stop for the next 740 miles. We dashed down to Dallas to visit another daughter. We thought we could thaw out, and find out just how this new rig worked.

We aren’t the only Wyomingites with motorhome adventures. Tom and Rita Lubnau of Gillette shared the following:

“We have a motorhome and a 1993 Chevy van that Rita calls Van Helen. Rita and I and our two dogs just returned from a long weekend in Las Cruces, New Mexico, in Van Helen.   

“In October, Rita and our dog Callie, went on a 5000-mile adventure to the East Coast. While we love the motorhome, the simplicity of living in the old van is attractive, although it does look comical parked between the million-dollar Class A motorhomes in the campground.  Rita’s caption on that photo would be, ‘Which one of these is paid for?’”

Over the years, we Sniffins have spent some glorious times in our motorhome. We fondly call it “Follow My Nose.”  The coach works well as a camper but is at its best as a winter home somewhere.

One fun camping trip included meeting our daughter Shelli, her husband Jerry, and their three boys in Goblin State Park in Utah. A huge rainstorm came up and they abandoned their tent and joined us. We all enjoyed warmth and comfort inside our big coach while other families were scrambling around in the wind and rain trying to keep their tents from flying away. That was one of our finest moments!

As a winter home, it has been wonderful. We started spending a month or so in the winter north of Dallas but discovered that the Polar Express reaches all the way to Texas. We froze up two years in a row in eight degrees one time and eighteen degrees another time. So, we up and headed to Las Vegas.

Las Vegas is not as warm as Arizona, I have been told, but we love that it is just a one-day drive back to Lander. We tow a car behind the motorhome so we can come and go and leave the rig at a very nice park in Sin City.

This spring we saw our first snowstorm in Vegas. It was their first snow in 10 years. Fortunately, it was still warmer than Wyoming.

Over the past 10 years, we have put 45,000 miles on our two motorhomes and have been all over the country, from Texas to California to Washington and Wisconsin.

We also have been all over Wyoming, from Devils Tower to Cheyenne to Evanston and Jackson, and everywhere in between, including Wheatland, Buffalo, Worland, Greybull, Lovell, Newcastle, Laramie, Kemmerer and Powell.

It has been a blast. So I apologize to those folks who happen to get behind us on a two-lane road somewhere in Wyoming. It is just the Sniffins headed off on another adventure.

Check out additional columns at www.billsniffin.com. He has published six books. His coffee table book series has sold 34,000 copies. You can find them at www.wyomingwonders.com.

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