Jennifer and Michael Mitchner visit Beartooth Pass, Wyoming. The 10,947 elevation that leads into Yellowstone National Park was an
exciting trip for them.
Their Class A motorhome
By Deborah Walker
HASLETT, MI — The sun is making the lake shimmer and the sky is clear, this is how the day begins for Jennifer and Michael Mitchner; the adventurous couple who sold their home and began braving the great outdoors full time. The Mitchner’s have been traveling around the country by RV (Recreational Vehicle) since 2018 and have been to all but four states.
“We get up, eat breakfast, and usually between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m., head out to go hiking and sightseeing. If we’re feeling very motivated, we go for a run first. Then go hiking… We typically get back by 6:00 or 7:00 p.m., have some dinner and if we can, we watch Netflix and chill,” said Jennifer Mitchner.
This may seem like a dream life but for the Mitchners this is an everyday routine. Not all campsites offer beautiful views and peaceful trails for hiking, but as experienced RVers (people who use recreational vehicles), the Mitchners are keen on shopping around for the best campgrounds.
“We had a home in the country where we thought we would retire, but then we kind of got the bug to travel! We traveled by motorcycle for five years, camping by tent along the way, and we really enjoyed it. As we got closer to retirement and got a little older the idea of sleeping on the ground went out the window, and that’s when we upgraded to a motorhome / RV,” said Micheal Mitchner.
The Mitchners said they had been fortunate not to have had any issues on the road. Safety is always a top priority for the Mitchners and for protection they carry a handgun.
“Some people have issues with their actual motorhome like something going bad or an accident on the road… We have not had those problems. Honestly the handgun is mainly for wildlife when we’re out hiking. If a bear decided we looked tasty, we want to have something close by hopefully to scare it away. So, it’s more for backcountry hiking and wildlife rather than people,” said Jennifer Mitchner.
The Mitchners said they would recommend RV travel to anyone. They enjoy the freedom of the outdoors and the peace that it brings them. Living from day to day and having the opportunity to see what the outdoors has to offer at home or in another state is exciting for them. They stated that they are happy living this lifestyle and they would not have it any other way.
Other Ways to Travel if You Do Not Own an RV
Traveling by motorhome has become a growing business. Since the pandemic began, vacationing has become a challenge in itself. As government-imposed lockdowns end, and mask mandates ease, vacationers are still left to wonder, is it safe? For people like the Mitchners traveling by RV puts their worries at ease.
Those who cannot afford to purchase their RV can rent one. Pruitt RV Rental offers a safe and convenient way to travel. Pruitt RV rental is an African American-owned rental company in Michigan that lends its vehicles to those who want a different way to get around.
Traveling by RV is not the most popular means of transportation for the Black community. The National African American RVer’s Association (NAARVA) boasts over fourteen hundred members, according to their website. This, as compared to RVtravel.com’s membership which is over a hundred thousand, as stated in an article on their website. Hopefully, the number of African Americans traveling by RV will continue to rise.
Jefferey Pruitt, the owner of Pruitt RV Rental, understands how convenient traveling by RV can be. Not only is traveling by an RV safer than staying at a busy hotel, traveling through a cramped airport, or on a packed bus, it is much more accommodating.
Pruitt argues that not all hotel rooms are up to par. Travelers are taking a risk when they check into a hotel room. Traveling by RV takes the guesswork out of wondering if a hotel room will be clean, or if it will have a scenic view. RVs are like a traveling home.
“You have the luxury of having your own personal space without coming into contact with others,” said Pruitt. “If you rent a hotel room, it does not come with the same comforts as an RV. Hotel rooms come with restrictions and may not be as welcoming as you may want them to be. With an RV, you have the ability to have your own bedsheets and towels.”
According to Pruitt, RV travel makes getting to and from destinations easy. There is no need to stop and search for lodging or food on the road because those amenities are already provided onboard. Even the restroom and kitchen are right there for use. This is especially useful when traveling with children, seniors or pets.
“You can take showers, use the toilet, and wash your hands… There is water for cooking and anything else you may need. They also come with propane tanks,” stated Pruitt.
RV Traveling With Large Families
Pruitt has six biological boys and adopted a sibling set of five additional children. He soon found out that traveling with eleven children would be difficult. During his vacations, they would always visit water parks and amusement parks. What they found was as their family increased it became too large to accommodate in a standard hotel room.
After planning a camping trip with his family, Pruitt said he was “bitten by the RV bug.” Since the children did not want to sleep on the ground, they decided to rent an RV. It was such a positive experience Pruitt and his wife decided to purchase an RV.
“We fell in love with the freedom, and the flexibility. Being able to do things on our own schedule,” said Pruitt.
Open For Business
Pruitt decided to open Pruitt RV Rental in 2017, with his wife Jennifer, and business was good in the beginning. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and business became hampered by the government executive orders that were passed down in Michigan. Because his business was not considered essential, they were forced to stop renting their RVs for a few months. One reason for this shutdown was because the cleaning people hired to clean the RVs were not considered essential.
For the first three months of the pandemic, the business came to a halt. However when first responders, doctors and traveling nurses were needed, there was a demand for his RVs. Especially those who wanted to quarantine, including individual families.
“We got a lot of requests during that time to provide RVs for use in driveways and on properties, which we could not actually do because of the executive order. They were not able to restart until July of 2020, said Pruitt.
Pruitt said business has recovered and added, “We have kind of bounced back even though a lot of people have gone out and purchased their own RVs and some new owners are actually trying to rent their motorhomes to others.”
Pruitt argued that inexperienced RV owners often do not understand the pitfalls of renting out an RV. This can sometimes leave vacationers without a vehicle. Damage to the RV is a part of the business many owners did not consider.
“Most of our calls right now are from vacationers that have had their rentals canceled on them by other RV owners. An owner with a single motorhome that does not have another motorhome to replace it with if it has been damaged or an appliance has stopped working. Unfortunately, damage does happen. It’s not uncommon, but when it does happen, we make sure that the repair is completed as quickly as possible,” Pruitt said.
How Renting an RV Works
According to Pruitt, RV insurance is not the same as regular automobile insurance. The deposit the renter puts down for the motorhome and the insurance they are required to carry helps to cover the cost of repairs if necessary.
Unlike a rental car, which your personal car insurance may cover, unless expressly stated by your agent or the company has written in your policy, they will not cover RVs. Before you rent, it is a good idea to speak to your insurance agent to make sure that you have the necessary information before you travel.
Pruitt claimed, “The Class C is the most popular motorhome to rent. Most people are familiar with the size because they have rented a U-Haul or Ryder truck to move, so they are familiar with the handling of something that size which is also helpful.”
The company has expanded and has begun renting RVs in Arizona, although the service is still the same, there are some differences between operating in Arizona versus Michigan. In Arizona, they are finding that there is some confusion regarding taxes. For instance, Michigan does not charge a tax on services such as cleaning or emptying the tanks.
Pruitt explained, “You went to the beach and the RV is full of sand and you don’t feel like cleaning it out, we will provide a service to do that for you. There are so many other things to think about as well. Like the importance of renting the RV ahead of time because there will probably be a waiting list, especially for popular times of the year like holidays or popular sporting events.”
Pruitt RV Rental is not a brick-and-mortar establishment, and they are not a dealership. Instead, it is a collection of friends and families who own RVs and rent them out when not in use. Owners have RVs at their home locations and/or they store them at storage facilities. They meet renters at locations convenient to them or deliver it to the renters driveway. Renters are provided with an orientation and instructions on how to use and operate the RV before they are handed the keys. The owner is also there to answer questions or provide additional information about the RV. It’s a very smooth process.
Currently, Pruitt RV Rental is looking to add to their fleet of RVs. They are looking for motorhomes, not for the towable kind. They are available to manage RV rentals for owners who have RVs but may not want to go through the hassle of trying to rent them out themselves. Management can include cleaning and preparation of the vehicle, as well as, overseeing the bookings. This is good for owners who do not spend a lot of time in their RVs. Pruitt said, when people buy an RV they only use it for three weeks a year. RVs spend a lot of time in storage.
“Why not let someone else enjoy traveling in a motorhome if it is not in use. It is going to be the wave of the future as families want to spend more time together exploring other cities and states. RV renting can be beneficial both for the owner and the renter,” said Pruitt.
If you would like more information or a quote for an RV rental, you can check us out at www.pruittrvrental.com.