POW! Thirty minutes into my family's first RV-ing experience, and already we'd had a small scare. What was that noise? Did we run over road debris? Another car? In a 36-foot RV, you never know. But there was nothing to worry about. The noise wasn't something catastrophic-probably just nearby road construction.

About an hour later, an odd smell wafted to the front of the RV. Hypersensitive to every noise and odor as new RV drivers, we thought it might be a transmission or engine problem. Nope, it was just a microwave pizza. Piloting an RV like the Pace Arrow 36D Fleetwood we rented can be intimidating for those who've never driven anything larger than a full-size SUV, but with a little practice and lots of concentration, it absolutely is doable.

WHY GO RV-ING?
With six family members, I embarked on an RV trip from Los Angeles to Telluride, Colorado, to attend a family wedding. Renting an RV seemed the best way to experience the Colorado mountains, and more fun than a quick plane flight. We were seeking a sense of community and craved a closer look at the types of roadside treasures best seen from the giant windows of a recreational vehicle.

You're not likely to get schooled in a card game like gin rummy in a 15-passenger van. On no plane would I have been delighted by my father unexpectedly dancing to the Beatles' "Your Mother Should Know." An RV trip is an excellent opportunity to slow down and immerse yourself in the details. Before this trip, it had been a long time since any of us had reveled in the fascinating shape of a cloud. The giant windows of the RV make sightseeing easy, and when you're spending countless hours on the highway, you've got time to look at the sky or see Delta, Colorado, which calls itself the City of Murals.

Simply stepping into the captain's chair driver seat can be unnerving. Maneuvering out of a driveway onto a residential street without hitting a parked Lexus RX 350 SUV is a victory worth celebrating.

After driving from nearly sea level to a Colorado hotel at 9490 feet elevation and back again, we emerged converts to the RV-ing way of life as occasional renters. To help others who have wondered about RV-ing but don't know where to start, Truck Trend offers a few tips from one neophyte RV driver to another.