Mar 142009

My dad never read the newspaper’s obituary column. “I’d rather think that my friends don’t like me anymore and just stopped coming around than to find out that they’re dead,” he’d say.

Sometimes I feel that way when I hear about another fulltime RVer who has come off the road and hung up the keys.

Not that there isn’t life after fulltiming. We’ll all have to hang up the keys someday. But Terry and I just hope that for us, it’s a long, long way down the road. We have too much left that we want to see and do.

The fulltime RV lifestyle isn’t for everyone. We’ve seen a lot of new fulltimers come and go in our many years of traveling. Some tried it for a while, then found some place they fell in love with and settled down there. Others were forced off the road by death or illness. Finances made some RVers come off the road. We’ve known people who have tried fulltiming and discovered that it’s just not for them, and took another direction in life. There’s nothing wrong with that, everybody has to do what’s right for themselves. But I sure miss pulling into a campsite next to them someplace, or sharing a campfire with them.

We’ve also met fulltimers who still live the RV lifestyle, but who have purchased a lot someplace and use it for a base from which they do their traveling, and then return to.

A couple of months ago, Terry and I were very tempted by a lot we found for sale close to the water in Aransas Pass, Texas, a friendly small town we dearly love. But we realized (or feared) that if we had a lot, we’d feel obligated to return to it on a regular basis, if for no other reason than to justify the small expense of the annual property taxes. Would it become the first strand of strings that would eventually tie us down? We mentioned the property to friends, who may purchase it for their own use. Again, to each their own. It’s all about the choices we each make for our own lives. There is no right or wrong answer, no one way of doing it.

We’ve enjoyed the RVing friends we’ve made, those who have settled down someplace, and those who are still out here making the wheels turn. They have become a part of our extended family.

Yesterday two of those friends left us to continue on down the road. Orv and Nancy Hazelton had been parked next to us here at Tra-Tel RV Park for a couple of days, and they left in search of new adventures.

After we saw Orv and Nancy off, Terry and I drove down to Benson and dropped off sample bundles of papers at the local RV parks in that area. As we were leaving the Escapees park, we spotted Rick and Terry Traver pulling in, so we made a U-turn and followed them back to their fifth wheel on a rented lot in the park. Rick and Terry are a neat couple, and it was fun to have some time to visit with them before we made the drive back to Tucson.

That’s one of the great things about this lifestyle, we never know what old (or new) friends await us around the next corner.

Thought For The Day – The most precious thing we have is life, yet it has absolutely no trade-in value.

Register Now For Our Ohio Gypsy Gathering Rally

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  8 Responses to “Fulltime RVing Choices And Options”

  1. wow, just missed you, we were there checking out the park on our Harley, we live in Sierra Vista, small world, working our schedule to make it to Ohio for the gathering, as we have family near by, later, jlf

  2. Boy Nick we know what your talking about! We have been enjoying this great fulltiming lifestyle for nearly 14 years and know that one day we will have to stop. The bigest question we have is, where will we go when we stop. There are SO MANY great places in this country and seeing so many of them has even confused the situation more. Lots of great places, but none are great all year around…..
    Tough decisions!!
    Keep on truckin!

  3. Nick and Miss Terry — if we’d’ve knowed you was comin’ we’d’ve baked a cake! Here we sit at the Benson SKP park, always open to company! Maybe next time through, unless we’re gadding about down the road somewhere!

    Hey, how ’bout coming to the Chapter 21 Rally in Bowie, AZ, March 24-27? We’ll be there, the Del Rosarios will be there, plus 20 or so other couples. You’d be most welcome to drop in. It’s $12 / night, plus $7 each rally fee, or $50 for the whole shootin’ match!

    It’s all part of the adventure!

    Jerry and Suzy

  4. Re. your comments on fulltiming, I would like to define a new class of RV travel which I would call “extended timing”.

    We are not full time; we maintain a sticks ‘n bricks residence near our grandchildren in New England, where we live about half time (but never more than 179 nights a year).

    Being on the road halftime makes us more than vacationers, and we do not consider ourselves snowbirds. We view snowbirds as residents who have two residences, one summer and one winter. We travel in warm climes in winter, but we do not stay months at a time in one place.

    We enjoy having a sanctuary with a basement workshop, where Keith can go to fix all the stuff that broke in our six months of traveling, and where Kathy can go to schmooze the New England grandkids over the summer, and the Holidays.

    Since we have a home base, we can travel comfortably in a smaller coach because we do not have to carry all our “stuff” everywhere we go.

    Because we are not “fulltime”, we feel some sense of discrimination from those true fulltimers, which have a sort of fraternal bond from which we feel excluded.

    Nick, with your considerable persuasiveness and influence in the RV community, could you please embark on a campaign to define and legitimize this new class of extended-time RV’rs, who are more than casual vacationers, but less than fulltimers?

    I will understand if you do not choose to respond to this rant, but I feel better for having written it. Thanks for listening.

  5. We are “extended time RVrs” with a home base in western Kansas where we go to work about 3 months a year. We have never felt excluded by full-timers and in fact, many of them stop by our place during their travels. It’s good you have a place to voice your opinion (thank you Nick), but we have learned that part of the RVing experience is that we don’t have to put ourselves in a “cubicle” with a name. We RV!! We love it!! We do whatever we want!! We don’t need an identity!! Relax – enjoy the journey, whatever label you need to define it:-)

  6. Talk about a small world of RVers. We have been in Benson catching up with friends we met at the Gypsy Journal Gathering last month, Sharon & Don Del Rosario. We just left Cochise Terrace in Benson about 10 yesterday and probably passed you on the road somewhere on our way through Tucson on our way to Yuma where we will be a couple of days. I almost called you as we passed Tra-Tel. If we had known you were going to be that close we would have. Miss you.

  7. Like you Nick, we wonder where we will “rest” when we get off the road – which we hope will be many years from now. Unlike you guys, we do own some RV lots. I also worried that it would somehow “tie us down” but that has not been the case. We use the lots when we want and are perfectly happy to rent them out when we don’t use them. In fact, we have not been to our North Ranch lot for 18 months, and probably will not see it for at least another year.

    The lots more than pay for themselves, and hopefully they are appreciating (have till now, even in this economy). They do give us the option of sitting for a month or so for “free” when we choose to. So you don’t have to get tied down unless you want to be…..

  8. While some of us are dancing around the topic, I had been wanting to e-mail and suggest a topic for a rally seminar/discussion. Not sure if it would need a speaker or just a balanced selection on a round table sort of discussion. (Those questions/answers some of us more inexperienced travelers would ask if we met around a camp fire…but we haven’t been traveling long enough to meet you experienced folk!) Recognizing that in travel decisions, opinions are neither right or wrong, but what best suits a couple or an individual, I would love to hear reflections on why people choose to winter where they do….costs, weather variances, crowds. It is similar to the discussions of where fulltimers register: TX, ND, FL ? Where and why part-timer choose northern stick houses for summer or warm weather stick houses for winter and travel north in the summer? Questions regarding taxes? I know there are web site regarding cities and regions, but personal stories sometimes bring up issues that haven’t been considered…..Just wondering and don’t have a camp fire handy….

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