A1 Camping Or “Roughing it Smoothly”

American motor homes, known as RVs, (Recreational vehicles), are one of the best ways to enjoy your holidays, whether you are part of a growing family, or a retired couple, enjoying the freedom that not having to ‘clock on’ everyday brings. They offer the size, space and comfort that is just not available in European offerings!

RVs offer an ‘escape’ from disappointing package holidays ‘from hell’, hours spent entertaining the kids suffering airport delays, or third rate hotels and self-catering holidays. (Not to mention threats from terrorists!)

Americans, as a nation, generally work hard.

They also have less holidays and free days than the average European – so they will not accept second best for their limited free time.

This is reflected in the quality, drive-ability and comfort that goes into their campers or motor homes. Yes – not for them child size beds and shower rooms for dwarfs! – they demand and get ‘domestic size and quality’ fixtures and fittings in their RVs.

In addition – they are TOTALLY SELF-CONTAINED – with on-board: Generators, Large capacity holding tanks for Water, Waste and LPG gas, so you can….


To own your own RV is to own a beach apartment, country finca, lakeside cottage, riverside lodge and a resort apartment, – All rolled into one. Forget the 21 day advance reservation, forget the flight delays and non-refundable tickets.

Avoid disappointing and pricey lodging and meals. Sleep in your own bed, eat what you like, whenever you’re hungry.

Driving your own RV is fun, easy, and no special licence is required. No check out times, no more lugging around heavy overstuffed suitcases from hotel to hotel.

This is what travel should be and this is what travelling can be for you in the comfort and safety of your own “Apartment on wheels”.

Just jump in and and enjoy the freedom to go to where the road takes you.

We decided we would buy a motorhome once we had sold our coastal property in Spain. Mainly we wanted to see more of both Spain and Europe, and not be forced into buying ‘somewhere else’ immediately as a place to live.

In August 2004, after much discussion about replacing our aging Lunar Clubman caravan, which we had sold a few months previously, we decided to go to France and have a look at what European motorhomes or campers were available.

It soon became apparent, that though we were impressed by many European offerings, we were also disappointed by both the lack of space, and ‘design essentials’, particularly for extended periods of living ‘aboard’.

The upshot of this was to ignore perceived wisdom and consider American RV’s. Many people think they are ‘gross, ostentatious and consume most of the planet’s resources every time they are started up’. Most of which is probably true!

What is also true, is the fact that they are designed for ease and comfort, and if like us you think a night under canvas, (though it might be considered true camping), is about as enjoyable as naked hang-gliding off Dungeness in a force 9 wind in February!, then a little comfort counts for a lot.

One of the very worst aspects of camping, is the quality, (or otherwise), of camp-sites. Toilets in many European countries can vary from relatively clean “Turkish style stand up and aim” to absolutely filthy examples of the best that Edmund Crapper designed.

This coupled with cold water showers, indifferent opening times, and sometimes exorbitant prices make ‘wild-camping’ an attractive proposition. The problem with European motor homes is the inability of their designers to think BIG!.

BIG comfy chairs, BIG Fridge freezers, BIG water and waste tanks, and vital when you’re 6’2″ and 16 stone – BIG POWER SHOWERS! -(most caravan and motorhome showers are fine if you are less than 4’11”, built like a skeleton, and able to shower in two cups of water!).

Finally – unless you are a masochist who finds pleasure in either assembling a quasi-IKEA bed every night, or sleeping in a cupboard,  a BIG fixed bed is a priceless ESSENTIAL! A decent generator is also fairly vital if you plan to spend nights away from shore-power or site hook ups WILD CAMPING. The storage space of a forty foot arctic. can have several benefits. These things in part, are available in some European motorhomes, but at a cost!

Well, it’s now 2010, and we have recently sold our 4th A class RV, and are looking around for another suitable one. We do have a 5th wheel camper in California, which we use when we visit our kids and first grandchild. – (But that, along with some of our RV adventures, is another few articles)

The author and his wife decided on early retirement to Spain over eight years ago, and after many happy years on the coast, they got fed up of the ‘mad’ development and moved inland to the city of Antequera, this is pronounced anti-care-rah.

Though there has been an abundance of development in and around the town, it is nothing compared to some of the towns and cities along the Spanish Costas.

Also, much of the re-development being done in the central areas is sympathetically in tune with the original architecture. The new town hall or Ayuntemiento for example, which very tastefully achieves the blend of old and modern.

The city as well as retaining it’s historical ambience, is very go-ahead and as well as getting the high speed AVE train service, which offers MADRID in less than 2 hours, is also planning to open a new airport in 2012.