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5 Best Events to Take Your RV

04 Aug

There are certain events that must have been designed with RVers in mind. For those who are frequent attendees of RV-friendly rallies, festivals and events, you know exactly what we’re talking about: the sense of community, festivity — sometimes even debauchery — that flourishes when RVers converge is unlike any other.

For those who don’t know what we’re going on about, get ready. Below are the 5 best events in the U.S. that will forever change your relationship with your RV.

 

5. Tailgate at Auburn University

Tailgate at Auburn University

You’ve probably heard of Auburn U for any one of the following reasons: their sea-, space- and land-grant research program, their football team, their mega rivalry with University of Alabama, their football team, their history as Alabama’s oldest university, or their football team.

Like any southern school that has a deep-seeded loyalty to their football team through thick and thin and mediocre, Auburn’s tailgaters are nothing to scoff at. During the four days leading up to the Iron Bowl (Auburn v. Alabama) 1,000 RVs will line the road leading up to the Jordan-Hare stadium for nine miles. It is tailgater’s football fantasy come true.

Newcomer tips:

  • Don’t come rolling in with your RV the morning of the Big Game. If you have an RV, you need to be there at minimum a full 24 hours in advance.
  • Tailgate smokers and BBQs are a great way to cook for yourself during the week — and a good way to make some friends.
  • Have the right decorations, be it an awning, flag, wind sock or your RV dressed up as a Tiger in prideful burnt orange and navy blue.

Tailgate at Auburn University

How to fit in:

  • Drink. A lot.
  • Know the words to the fight song.
  • Don’t call the tailgate party a “tailgater,” as in “Hey, I’ll see you at the tailgater.” This is incorrect terminology and will peg you as a newbie.

What not to do:

  • Ask your RV neighbors to pipe down, it’s bedtime. They will laugh at you.
  • Pick a fight with tailgaters of the opposing team. Bad form.
  • Wear an irrelevant jersey. Nothing says “I’m an un-ironic idiot” more than wearing an Ole Miss basketball uniform to the Iron Bowl.

4. Indianapolis 500

Indianapolis 500

The Indy 500 is a 500-mile, open-wheel car race right outside Indianapolis, Indiana (those who named the event apparently valued the conspicuous). Between stand seating and infield shenanigans, it is estimated that approximately 400,000 spectators attend the annual event in late May. How many of those people bring their RVs?

Lots.

Newcomer tips:

  • Plan to stay all four days of the weekend: RVs and trailers must purchase the four-day pass, whereas tent campers can opt for the two- or four-day pass.
  • If at all possible, do not set up near any port-o-lets. Things can, apparently, get messy if people get bored and/or intoxicated.

How to fit in:

Indianapolis 500

  • Use your weekend to explore a little. If you’re feeling some Indy-burnout, Indianapolis is just a hop, skip and a jump away. Take a trip into town to experience a great Midwestern city.
  • Get yourself into the infield at least a couple of times. Your RV is a great home base and smack dab in the midst of tailgating central, but the real party is at the 3rd Turn Infield. Arrive early for prime festivities.
  • Become the life of your RV lot. Tailgating is acceptable nearly everywhere in and around the track, so set up your BBQ and make some friends over a brat and a brew.

What not to do:

  • Forget to go to Gasoline Alley. It’s the road between the racetrack and the garages, so you can rub elbows with all your Indy idols — and maybe get a few pictures of yourself with a driver.

3. Bonnaroo

Bonnaroo

Four days. Three nights. All the music and partying you can stand.

Bonnaroo is a relatively new music festival located way out on a farm in Manchester, Tennessee each year in June. Only a decade old, it’s already known for its epic lineup, ridiculous heat and humidity, mud, and copious “indulgences.” Welcome to the music-loving RVer’s Holy Grail.

Newcomer tips:

  • Make sure you bring enough gas to get in and out of the park, as well as run your generator. There is no gas at ‘roo.
  • Drink water all. the. time.
  • Don’t wear flip flops. Chances are they will get lost in the mud if it rains.

Bonnaroo

How to fit in:

  • Pace yourself – only Bonnaroo novices over-indulge in the first mornings and are left to shrivel up in the uncomfortable heat of their tents.
  • Get dirty and stay dirty. That’s part of the fun.
  • Remain groovy all the time. Even when it starts to rain. Even when the traffic in and out of the festival takes hours to get through. Even when you haven’t slept in 43 hours.

What not to do:

  • Think you’ll be able to make it from your RV to the stages in just a quick walk. Depending on foot traffic, getting from your campsite to the show can take anywhere from several minutes to over an hour. If you don’t want to miss the act, set an alarm.
  • Forget to drink water. Dehydration and heat stroke are very real, even if you have the A/C in your RV pumping. Don’t worry — it’s hot enough that slugging down gallons of the stuff won’t kill your buzz.

2. Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Launch

Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Launch

Scheduling a shuttle launch viewing is like scheduling the cable guy – it’s supposed to happen in a certain window of time, but there’s a fairly hefty chance you’ll be using another one of your sick days before anything gets done. Weather, tech malfunctions, personnel issues: lots of things can go wrong on Launch Day.

But to see those fleeting moments of take off, realizing that people are going into space… it is momentous and beautiful and memorable. Witnessing a shuttle launch will be the unforgettable highlight of your Florida RV adventure.

Newcomer tips:

  • If boondocking is your style, park on the causeway (SR 406) the night prior. Officials tend to look the other way during the couple of days leading up to a launch.
  • For those who prefer a campground, Jetty Park and Manatee Hammock both have spectacular views and are close enough that you will feel the launch in your bones.
  • Make your reservations really, really early.
  • Take note: night launches are even more awe-inspiring than the ones during the day.

Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Launch

How to fit in:

  • Turn off any generators when the launch is going to take place. Shuttle launches are a full-sensory experience, and the hum of the A/C is going to interfere.
  • Shuttle launches attract hundreds and hundreds — some will be camping like you, others will be making the trek in their cars or by foot. Share your RV wealth: grill up some burgers and offer them to your neighbors as you wait.

Things not to do:

  • Forget bug spray, especially at a night launch.
  • Grumble. Shuttle launches are not set in stone. If one gets delayed, hunker down in your RV and wait it out. It’s worth it, you curmudgeon!

1. Burning Man

Burning Man

Located in the torrid heat of Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, Burning Man is an annual week-long arts festival, although repeat-attendees oft describe it more as an “experiment” in community, self-reliance and totally righteous self-expression. The late-summer extravaganza is marked by (and gets its name from) the ritualistic burning of installation art, including a giant wooden man.

Newcomer tips:

  • Save up — staying for the whole festival in an RV will cost ya around $2,000.
  • Reserve your site early. As in today. Because chances are spots will be filled by tomorrow.
  • Bring supplies to cover your vents, carpets, the hood, upholstery — everything. Burning Man is nothing if not wildly, brilliantly dusty.

How to fit in:

Burning Man

  • Decorate the crap out of your RV. Paint it, hang some flags, dress it up like a desert donkey — as long as it’s psychedelic, it’s going to be a hit.
  • Invite your Burning Man neighbors to decorate it with you.

What not to do:

  • Spend all of your down time in your RV. The air conditioning might feel great when it’s 110 degrees outside, but for every moment spent inside your RV, you’ll be missing something everything spectacular outside of it.
  • Burn the Burning Man down ahead of schedule. You’ll go to jail. Just ask Paul Addis.
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