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Greg Gerber, editor of Let's RV and RV Daily Report, uses a motorhome as a mobile office and podcasting studio.
Greg Gerber, editor of Let's RV and RV Daily Report, uses a motorhome as a mobile office and podcasting studio.

When is an RV not an RV?

An RV is a recreation vehicle. Right? Wrong!

For many of the past 60 years, the term RV has been synonymous with the definition of recreation vehicle. These vehicles can be driven, pulled or pushed to various locations, areas, campgrounds and parks where the primary activity is or will be some form of recreation. The RV need not be the instrument of recreation. It is more likely to be the center of activity where the recreation begins.

Basically, the RV has been designed, envisioned and constructed as a self-contained or semi-self-contained, mobile building. It may be permanently or temporarily affixed to a site for a brief or extended time period. With a bit of imagination and creativity RVs may be used or modified to be used in a multitude of different ways.

For example, RV manufacturers have added a doors and ramps to fifth wheels, trailers and motorhomes to convert them into toy haulers. Other builders have added living quarters to stock trailers that are mainly used by cowboys and cowgirls for equestrian camping and rodeoing. These are only two of the many possible uses. Here are a few other ways RVs are being used.

Laboratories

In the 1970s, my friend, Dr. Carl Fliermans, commissioned to have a Bluebird motorhome customized and outfitted as a mobile microbiology laboratory. We used it to conduct research on aquatic bacteria at the Savannah River National Laboratory. Virtually any type of research or clinical laboratory may fit in an RV.

Offices for medical doctors, veterinarians, dentists and other health-related professionals can be taken to remote locations and provide living/working facilities for one or more people. Mobile libraries and learning centers have been built into RVs and buses for many years.

Law enforcement

Crime labs, SWAT teams, mobile police offices, drug testing and similar labs may be developed. Older, more degraded, RVs may be used by the police in sting operations for drug pushers and users. Unfortunately, RVs may serve as mobile labs for the manufacture of drugs. An RV might well serve as a home, office and lab for a master detective who can move throughout the United States solving crimes and cold cases. Similarly, an RV would make an ideal home for a criminal who may travel from towns to cities throughout the countryside on some scam or crime spree.

Other businesses

An enterprising young man who I met at an RV dealership happily displayed his 40-foot, four-slide motorhome, which was very well-equipped with fitness machines, weights and exercise equipment. He contracted with businesses and corporate offices to provide regular access to the equipment and to the services of a personal trainer.

Phil and Ann’s Mobile RV repair can be seen and employed at Quartzsite, Albuquerque balloon fiesta and other locations where RVers gather for special events. At those events, RVs are being used to haul balloons from distant locations and used as chase crew vehicles.

Food vendors

Converted toy haulers and other RVs transformed as vending vehicles are quite commonly viewed at all types of special events where food and drink may be offered. Recently, I encountered an RV vendors who sell smoothies and miniature donuts, both made to order. Any type of fast food and drink which will appeal to the masses of children and adults at special events can be dispensed from an RV.

Texas State Parks uses a motorhome to promote its recreation opportunities at festivals, parades and other community events
Texas State Parks uses a motorhome to promote its recreation opportunities at festivals, parades and other community events

Tailgating

Every university has one or more diehard, enthusiastic fan with an RV brightly painted in the school colors. Most universities have a special parking lot for tailgating that is often filled with RVs of various shapes, sizes and decorations. We encountered the number one (or number two) fan of the University of Southern California football Trojans at the Mountain Lakes RV Resort. His entire motorhome, with slides, is covered with boldly colored decals and images of the Trojans.

Music and theater

RVs have offered lodging, transportation and displays for musical and theatrical groups for the past 50 years or more. Bands and vocalists ranging in talent and popularity from religious quartets to Willie Nelson-level entertainers have depended upon RVs as support vehicles on the road.

A small shop in central Illinois specialized in customizing Prevost coaches, especially to order for Nashville singers and artists. John Madden, former NFL coach and announcer, used an RV to travel to destinations everywhere in the United States, rather than fly. My son, Greg, a TV executive for the Carson Nation TV show, bought and refitted an Airstream trailer that was used during the show as a fitting room and wardrobe facility. The show traveled to several cities and performed makeovers for several selected local citizens.

Even NASCAR drivers are know to travel the racing circuit in their motorhomes so they can spend time with their families between races.

RV rental units

Owners may rent their RVs when they are not using the unit thereby providing an income source. There may be legal and insurance restrictions that apply. Thus, if you are considering offering an RV for rent, you should check into the legal issues involved. I began a small, 30-unit RV rental business in central Illinois in 2006 by first renting my 34-foot diesel pusher to several friends.

Writer’s office and workshop

My friend, Margo, has been writing about RVing since 1995 and has nine RV books and several other books available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and as e-books online. She successfully writes and publishes in her Safari Trek, which serves as home and office. See: MovingOnWithMargo.com.

Numerous RV blogs online are written by RVers who live full or part-time in their RVs. Greg Gerber, publisher of RV Daily Report and LetRV, is now traveling throughout the United States full time in his motorhome.

Disaster relief

Many aid organizations, and even some RV owners, use their RVs to provide emergency aid in disaster situations, such as after a tornado, hurricane or severe flooding. The RVs, which are self-contained living units and can operate on power provided by a generator, mean that hot meals can be prepared, and showers offered to volunteers. They can also be parked anywhere to provide a mobile office to government officials or insurance adjusters.

RVs are well known for supporting the varied recreational interests of Americans of all ages. However, as they become even more mainstream, people are finding unique and different ways to use RVs for reasons other than camping.

About Dr. Bob Gorden

Dr. Bob Gorden is an RVer, hiker and writer. He has a PhD in microbial ecology from the University of Georgia in Athens. He is a retired research scientist from the University of Illinois Natural History Survey. He has owned and operated more than 55 RVs of various types, and has visited every state, except Hawaii, in his RV. He also traveled by RV in New Zealand, Canada and Mexico. He currently owns and travels in a 1978 GMC 26-foot Class A and 2013 Thor ACE 30.1 Class A motorhome. He has a compelling desire to be “On the Road Again!”

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