I always enjoy talking to new RVers or wannabes about the fulltime lifestyle, and hopefully, I can help them avoid some of the mistakes we made as greenhorns by sharing our experiences with them. But sometimes I feel like I’m talking to a brick wall, and I want to ask them “Do you want me to tell you what I know, or do you want me to tell you what you want to hear?”
A couple of weeks ago, at a fuel island, I had a conversation with the fellow next to us, who was driving a fancy new diesel pusher. He told me that he and his wife have been fulltiming for several months now, and that they are about to throw in the towel because it’s just too expensive. “How can anybody afford to pay $1,000 to $1,500 a month on campgrounds and still put fuel in the tank?” he asked me.
I told him that I don’t know anybody who spends even half that much on campgrounds, and he asked me how we do it. I told him about all of the ways we save money on camping fees, from free campgrounds, to discount programs like Passport America, camping at Elks and Moose lodges, fairgrounds camping, and boondocking.
“My wife would never do any of that,” he said. “We joined Passport America, but we pulled into one campground and she said “No way” and we drove right back out. We have never boondocked, she wouldn’t stand for it. We only stay at four star rated RV parks, because she doesn’t like the looks of the people at other places. It’s costing us a fortune, but what else can we do?”
I felt like telling him that his wife needed a lesson in reality, but I knew it wouldn’t matter. It was obvious that she wanted nothing to do with the RV lifestyle, and that she fully intended to have a miserable time of it until she finally made him miserable enough to give in and go do whatever she wanted to do instead.
This can be a very affordable lifestyle, if one takes the time to learn about the many ways you can keep camping costs low. But, one has to be willing to settle for less than upscale RV “resorts” (and there are a lot of excellent campgrounds that don’t get a four star rating), and flexibility is also a major asset to have. But some people, like this lady, just will not be happy living the gypsy lifestyle, and that’s fine too. It leaves more opportunities for the rest of us.
I also had an interesting conversation with a couple while I was doing some genealogy research at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City a while back, but I really had to bite my tongue to keep from bursting their bubble. They noticed my Gypsy Journal t-shirt, struck up a conversation, and told me they had just purchased a new diesel pusher, and would be taking delivery in three days.
I congratulated them, and the husband told me that they looked at a lot of RVs, both new and used, and decided to go with a new motorhome because, while they don’t plan to become fulltime RVers, they will be traveling six to eight months a year. “We just don’t want to mess with repairs and stuff,” he told me. “With a new motorhome, all we’ll have to do is turn the key and go the day we pick it up, and not have to worry about anything being broken.”
I told him that he might want to be prepared to spend some time going back to the dealer once they take delivery, because every new RV that hits the street seems to need a certain amount of time to get the bugs worked out of it. I told him that many experienced RVers seem to feel that once you buy a new rig, it takes at least six months just to get all of the stuff fixed that should have been handled before it left the factory.
“No way,” he told me, “That’s why we bought a new diesel pusher. With the money we’re spending, I guarantee you that it will be ready to roll the day we take delivery.”
What could I do, except nod, wish them well, and also secretly wish I that could be a fly on the wall of that new motorhome about a month or two down the road, to see how their thinking would have changed.
Thought For The Day – A father is a guy who has snapshots in his wallet where his money used to be.