RV Life: Gerald and LeAnn Swindle

Welcome to RV Life, a new twist on our popular Elite Man Caves series, taking you inside the previously unseen world of a growing group of pros who shun hotels for a home on wheels. There’s nothing to unpack, the meals are home-cooked, and all the comforts of home, dogs included, are part of the package. A friendly, familiar neighborhood vibe resonates across the campground as everyone stays in the same place. 
While the men are out fishing, the wives go about their business, just as they do at home. LeAnn Swindle, wife of Gerald, took us on a tour of their home away from home at a Bassmaster Elite Series tour stop in Florida. “It’s my dirt,” said LeAnn. “It’s all about the familiarity of sleeping in the same bed, using the same shower, same kitchen and everything else. You don’t get that staying in a hotel. Here, we feel safer, there’s more privacy, and it’s like a traveling community with the other anglers.” 
The Swindles travel in this 2022 Grand Design Momentum 394M-R, M-class, 40-foot fifth-wheel model. The Florida campground is divided into neighborhoods, with plentiful trails for cycling, as you can see by the bicycles ready to be taken for a spin. 
On this day, a yard sale was underway in the Swindles' adopted neighborhood. Campers placed their wares in their “yard,” for others to peruse and take home. A collapsible dog crate (dog not included) was among the items left for the taking. 
Two awnings, at rear extending to 10 feet and another that opens to 18 feet, run the full length of one side, providing shade when needed, and the large rugs, as you might have guessed, add a homey touch. 
The Swindles' RV has a toy hauler configuration, and the benefits go beyond a space to store toys. 
The ingenious design converts the ramp door into a patio, complete with a doggie-proof, fold-out wall, allowing the space to be shared and enjoyed by Bama, the Jack Russell Terrier, and Watson, the Weimaraner. 
The 13-foot garage space features rollover sofas, a table, an optional half bath, LED TV and is customized to suit the needs of a pro angler and his wife. 
The foldout sofas are ideal for guests, giving them a private living space in the rear that is separate from the main living area. 
“The second purchase any RV buyer makes is a tool box,” LeAnn said with a laugh. More on that setup to come. Full-time campers for the past six Elite seasons, the Swindles should know why tools are part of RV life. 
No home away from home, and especially an RV in a campground, is complete without a grill, but not just any old setup will do. This Pit Boss Wood Pellet Grill is Gerald’s pride and joy, where many meals come hot off the grill. 
An LED screen provides entertainment when dining out. 
Here’s one of the many benefits of RV life. Most campgrounds have bike-friendly trails and roads that are safe for cycling. The Swindles ride to unwind, visit friends and otherwise stay fit. 
In this compartment is a power configuration that is setup for boondoggling, or camping on battery power. It’s ideal for overnight stays in route to tournaments. The Swindles replaced lead acid batteries with four Battle Born BB10012 100 Ah 12V LifePO4 Deep Cycle Batteries. The deep-cycle lithium-ion batteries weigh only 31 pounds and are charged by solar panels. The phased power system keeps the juice flowing throughout, and you will see why that is important. 
Controls for draining the holding tank, operating the freshwater tank, a filtration system and more are in this docking station. 
Let the interior tour begin. At rear is the rear door that functions as a patio. When closed, the interior space measures 13' in length. LeAnn added a homey touch, along with using storage containers for better organization. 
Where the business gets done. The room also functions as LeAnn’s office, where she stays busy running the Swindles' business, which is a full-time job. 
The Swindles' Grand Design model has the optional half bath, a functional feature when guests stay in the toy hauler space. 
Why have toilet paper and Dude Wipes in the same bathroom? The answer is because Gerald believes toilet paper is a secondary option to the better choice, anywhere, anytime. Dudes rule even in times of need. 
The toy hauler side of the RV functions as guest bedroom, office and workout space for LeAnn.  
More evidence of the familiarity LeAnn likes about RV life. Watson and Bama, the family dogs, get a sense of home throughout the camper. 
What you are about to see is more than a toolbox, although here is the evidence. LeAnn said Gerald organized all these tools, and all get regular use, just as they would for any honey-do list at home. 
This is a his-and-her toolbox. The top shelf is reserved for LeAnn’s cameras and all the gear she uses for creating Gerald’s social media content. 
That ranges from GoPros and all the related chargers and computer cards, to the gear needed for flying a DJI Mavic drone.   
This is the charging station that keeps all the social media gizmos charged and ready. 
The toolbox has space for a husband and wife, and of course, the dogs. 
Enter the main living area. “It looked like a tackle shop threw up in here,” was how LeAnn described the scene before the gallery was shot. The kitchen is always a busy place, but on this day, the girls were going out for lunch. 
The Swindles live full-time on the road in the RV, which means a schedule of nine Elite events, plus St. Croix Bassmaster Opens, in a calendar that runs from February through October. This setup is like a home kitchen, complete with a kitchen island, a favorite of LeAnn, for prepping foods for cooking. 
As full-time campers, LeAnn upgraded the kitchen to residential-sized appliances and storage space. She grocery shops before they leave home, with weeks’ worth of food and menus planned ahead. 
The commercial-sized refrigerator is stocked for the trip. 
And the food will be cooked on a gas stove, just like home
This is week three of a five-week road trip. Everything needed for preparing healthy meals is in here. 
The Swindles rarely eat out. “We like the consistency of not having to go out to find food at a restaurant,” LeAnn said. “It’s all here, and we can plan menus ahead.”
When it comes time to rest, and that is a rarity, the Swindles do it here. 
The four-seat, reclining sofa has functions for heat, massage, USB charging and LED lighting. 
And on chilly nights, the Swindles can recline and enjoy the fireplace. 
And while watching TV. Again, all the comforts of home. 
This space between the living area and toy hauler functions as a retro bunk, although the Swindles use the space for storage. 
Taking the tour, along the way, it became apparent that LeAnn is dialed into all of the functional features, including all the electrical components, and this is a favorite. The Victron Energy master control is like a smart home control system. “It gives me instant readings of the battery levels, which is everything with an RV, and more so when boondoggling,” LeAnn said.
Even more control panels.
At the front is the Swindles' master bath and bedroom. 
“It’s practically as large as my home’s bathroom,” LeAnn said. 
And more evidence that it’s just like home. His and her toilet paper. 
...
Like the kitchen, LeAnn opted for a residential size and comfortable mattress, again to make it feel like home during the nine-month tournament season. 
The closets offer abundant space and again, an amenity and comfort of home unavailable in a hotel. 
Nothing more to add here, other than all the comforts of home. 
What LeAnn likes most about the bed setup, other than comfort and familiarity, is the storage space below the mattress, used for extra pillows and bedding for sleeper sofas in the toy hauler. 
The tour ended with a front porch scene not unlike what you’d see at the Swindles “other” home in Guntersville, Ala., with Bama, and Watson, at right. Welcome home, no matter where that might be, from Alabama to South Dakota, and all points in between.