Behans Report - end of the International RV Exchange
Houston Travel Blog› entry 113 of 114 › view all entries
What a terrific time we had with the Behans! I just delivered them to the airport and truly feel sad that we will not see them for a long time. They are such wonderful people who have become dear friends.
It was also hard knowing that this really was the end of our journey, really the end of our trip.
The Behans arrived Friday to our house amid great excitement and fanfare. We had a grand time catching up. They'd visited:
- Cuidad Juarez, Mexico for the day (walked across)
- Arizona Sagauro National Park
- Grand Canyon
- Colorado (stayed with friends)
- Minnesota (stayed with friends)
- Down the Mississippi (the Great River Road)
- Nashville (met up with my Sister and Family)
- North Carolina (met up with my parents)
- Hilton Head
- St. Augustine
- Disney World! (camped at Ft. Wilderness 5 nights)
- New Orleans
- and back to Texas (6500 approx. miles)
They joked that upon arrival here, they'd wanted to honk and keep driving for another round, but we'd spied them from the window.
Their favorite parts were the times they'd stayed with my family and their friends- and Disney! Locals provide personal insight that is hard to find while touring. My parents and sister both thanked me for sending the Behans their way- I love credit from connecting nice people!
Some of the things that they really seemed to like with the exchange:
Verizon Aircard in Ciao allowed Orla's iPhone to get Skype. This allowed travel research while riding down the road, free (or almost free) phone calls home, etc. They did not end of taking my cell phone, because they knew I'd be home soon to use it, but found that communicating by email and researching by internet was plenty sufficient with the iPhone. If they needed to call in the U.S., they tended to find a payphone.
Lia's laptop: Allowed DVD's to be watched, pictures to be downloaded, and another Skype option (has the built-in webcam). Kieran bought a memory stick to put all the pictures on to take home.
GPS: The custom POI's did stay loaded when the maps were updated, so they had all the Passport America, Walmart, and Flying J locations (69,000 POI's) that we'd loaded for them.
Pictures: We'd put pictures in Ciao Baby for them- photos of their family and dog, our families together, Orla in a silly hat, etc in the picture frames. When they first climbed into the Ciao, it was a "Welcome to your RV home" that they appreciated.
Passport America: They did find they got their $44 membership worth for this half-price RV club.
National Parks: They thought the NP's were wonderful and enjoyed their $80 Pass. They went to Saguaro in Arizona, Carlsbad Caverns, Grand Canyon, Arches, Smoky Mountain, Mount Rushmore, and more.
Mechanics: Neither of us had any mechanical trouble with the RV's during the total of 6 months of their use (Mar-June for us, June-Aug for them). Ciao did great with just a few typical RV issues. I was so relieved. Today, I admired all their hard work and Ciao has never looked so clean! Kieran helped me return Ciao to storage today, and he drove Ciao like a pro, backing her into the little spot with just one smooth effort.
Insurance: Neither of us had any insurance issues either. I plan to write a Thank You note to their Insurance Company to thank them for covering us and to encourage them to allow Exchangers in the future.
Luggage: They loaded their treasures in bags, including one they bought and some extras we found here. Plan ahead to share extra luggage if you're exchanging rigs. If one person goes home first, let them carry home a big suitcase from the other house. Then the other family can haul their things home. Remember that you can store empty luggage at a house, rather than haul it in the RV.
Hot Weather: While the rest of us moan and complain about the Texas summer heat, our Irish friends just soaked in the sunshine. I was afraid they would get heat stroke! Sister Fiona reported from Ireland that they would need to use their jumpers (sweaters) upon arrival home. They appreciated the bright sunshine, lack of rain, and heat until even I started to be a bit more grateful for the sun. Admittedly, compared to the cold Irish rain, the Texas heat can be nice.
RV Exchange final Score: We both agreed that the RV Exchange was a blazing success AND that we'd been so blessed to meet such wonderful friends in the process. It is true that RVer's are a special group and International RVer's are a unique subset, so chances are high that you'll like who you meet, but little did we know how much benefit we'd get from the families having fun together. It was just an all-around wonderful RV exchange experience!