Stuck In An RV Rut

 Posted by at 2:39 am  Nick's Blog
Feb 092011

Many fulltime RVers and snowbirds I have known seem to fall into the habit of returning to the same places year after year, often spending their winters in the same RV parks in popular snowbird roost areas like the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, the Foothills area of Yuma, Arizona, or any of the hundreds of RV parks scattered all over Florida. Some reserve the same sites in those RV parks, season after season, or even purchase an RV lot in a park. When spring comes, these same folks return up north to RV parks they like in an area, or to make a circuit visiting friends and family.

There is nothing wrong with that, if that’s what makes you happy, and we have been guilty of it ourselves. We have found ourselves spending way too many summers parked in our favorite RV site at Elkhart Campground in Elkhart, Indiana; running up to visit a cousin in Traverse City, Michigan, and then heading back to Arizona for the winter. We were stuck in an RV rut. And I have always felt that the only difference between a rut and a grave was the length and the depth.

It’s comfortable to go back to places where you know people, where you have favorite restaurants, and where you know how the local grocery stores are laid out. But is that why we got into the RV lifestyle to begin with? For us, the attraction of fulltime RVing was the new and the undiscovered.

We’ve been fulltime RVers for over twelve years now,and in all that time we’ve never been to Alaska, and we’ve only made one short trip to New England. I love the Pacific Northwest, and we spent part of our first summer on the road on the coast of Oregon and Washington, but since then we’ve only made one short visit back. Why?

Part of it was because of our schedule teaching for Life on Wheels, and following the RV rally circuit as vendors, but part of it was just falling into a comfortable routine.

I’m not big on making New Year’s resolutions, but if I do have one resolution for this year it is to break out of the rut. We had planned to spend last summer on the Northwest coast, but a family wedding got in the way. This year I told Miss Terry that we’re turning off the telephones and not taking any e-mails from family members until we’re somewhere between Brookings, Oregon and the Olympic Peninsula.

There are so many places we still want to get to, and others where we want to return again. We been to Branson a few times, but it’s been years,and I’d like to get back there again. I still want to see Cape Cod, and to explore the many historic sites in New England. I’d love to visit the Soo Locks and watch the big Great Lakes freighters pass through. I have a cousin in Ohio who I have been promising to visit for several summers now, and one thing or another keeps getting in the way of those plans. And I could easily think of a couple of dozen other “must see” places we want to visit, or re-visit.

And then there’s Alaska. How can we not go there? We’ve finally got a motorhome that’s up to the trip,and we have worked out an arrangement with a newspaper printer to print and ship the Gypsy Journal to us wherever we happen to be.

Will we get to all of them this year? Of course not. And probably not in the next year either. But the only way we can get to any of them is to keep out of the RV rut.

How about you? Are you stuck in an RV rut? Are you happy there, or are their places you still want to see, and adventures still waiting to be experienced?

Thought For The Day – Never sacrifice the day for the hour.

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Nick Russell

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  21 Responses to “Stuck In An RV Rut”

  1. We’ve been stuck in a rut … Westward from Ohio one year and south to Florida the next, Seems that we end up in the same places because of the comfort level. Although the Pacific Northwest is our first love, it’s time for us to explore the Panhandle of Florida and across the coast to Texas to try to find a suitable area for when we become snowbirds in 2012. I’m sure there are plenty of parks along the way that will allow us to stay out of the rut when we go each winter.

  2. Most RV’S have pretty big wheels so it should be easy to climb out of even the deepest ruts. Too many places in the USA to see to be stuck in the ruts.

  3. When we had our stationary life we were stuck in a rut, but when we made the choice to begin living this wonderful lifestyle, we promised we never ever would again. For the past 6 years we have kept that promise.

    We love exploring the undiscovered. There is still too much left for us to see for us to continue doing the same thing over and over again. After all the reason we chose to begin traveling in an RV was to see everything. Not sure we will ever see everything but we will make every attempt at it.

  4. We are often in a rut because too often we let other people define our limits. We own a lot in Arizona and another in Florida. Most friends know that we own one or the other and are amazed that we’re not vegetating on our lot during the winter. (They are rented for the season.) This year we came to Florida, visited our park for a day and then have been boondocking at various places in southern Florida.

    As we age, we want less stress in our lives. Traveling into strange areas can be stressful, so it also becomes desired to retrace our routes!


  5. Life is what happens while making other plans.

    We climbed out of our winter wandering rut last winter when we bought a permanent residence in south Florida. We weren’t planning to buy now, but real estate prices were at levels that you couldn’t afford to refuse last winter. We will get back on the road again, preferably in the summer, but for this year, and probably next winter, we are wallowing in our new house.

    Man plans and God laughs.

  6. I think of ours more of a well traveled road instead of a rut. As with many RVers, family matters dictate our location. Luckily, family is in South Florida. It could be worse. We have still managed to get away for our Summer Tour and will again this year. Both Chris’ mom and my dad are now in assisted living facilities. We feel they are safe and well cared for. The road beckons.

  7. No, we are not in a rut. Last year we went out west for the winter for the very first time. We discovered we love Florida in the winter but it was fun to see Quartzsite in the winter & see many of our western friends. We went to our first western Gypsy Journal rally. We went to Europe on a riverboat cruise last summer, a first. We are going on a RV caravan to Scandinavia this coming summer, a first.

    Why are we doing this? Because there are only so many years, months, days, minutes in our lives. We are gypsies. We want to see it all. If and when we have to hang up the keys, we don’t want that dreaded, “Wish we had done that” to creep into our lives. If and when we have to sit in our rocking chairs with our computers on our laps, we can look at all the wonderful pictures we took of all the great places and people. Fabulous memories.

    We are not want-a-bees. We are do-bees. It’s a great life. What we can tell others is, don’t wait, do it. If you wait, you may never be able to go out and see those places and people. And you will regret it all the rest of your lives.

  8. We are enjoying “rutting” in south FL for the winter season. Being in one place gives us a chance to work out and get back in shape, ride bikes, and clean up the rig. It’s nice to leave out the chairs and bbq, and not pack up every other day, but after about three months we are ready to hit the road again refreshed. If we had to move all the time that would become a chore and start to feel like a job for us. This year we ARE going to Alaska and we are going to mostly wing it, not get tied up into a schedule of this campground to that campground. This might mean we miss some stays all hooked up but will allow for enjoying where we are and extending a good time. No clocks, No phones, No worries, Yahoo!

  9. Is it really a rut? Rving or fulltiming is what you want to do isn’t it. Nothing wrong with visiting family each year if you want to or going to different or the same places. What ever you want,one shoe doesn’t fit everyone.

  10. If I am enjoying life and have goals and a bucket list then I don’t see any ruts. There are ruts in the Oregon trail from way back then. Why because people were following other people instead of striking out on their own. But they were doing this for one simple reason “They wanted something better than what they had”. I think there are many ruts, but with a little work these ruts can become a well maintained road through this life. The difference between ruts and roads are the level of effort put into maintaining the path.. If you just move out of the rut all you do is create another set of ruts…

  11. We’ve been in and out of ruts, but necessary. For the first few years on the road we had to return to Portland, OR for our medical situations, but even then we managed to spend plenty of time going to new places. We were on a big exploration when we were told of a grandson’s wedding, so we changed directions and still saw some new things in new places. Now our rut is getting deeper here in Benson; our last two years we were tied pretty close here, again for medical necessities, and now that we are ready to move out again, I’ve been elected to the park’s Board of Directors. But that will still give us summers plus occasional short trips. Not a rut, necessarily, but a comfortable place to live when we aren’t free wheeling!

  12. We’ve only been full timing for 3 years and even though we Winter in AZ, we’re one up on you Nick because we’ve been to Alaska in 2009 and Cape Cod in 2010.

  13. I hate being in a rut but I drive my MH by myself and it is getting too hard to drive the long distances and have been taken down by lyme disease. I did get to do most of my bucket list last year and hope eventually get back on the road again.

  14. Out of necessity we have to go south for warmth in the winter. We love AZ & So. CA and stay out on the desert from Las Vegas to Yuma. Have created many ruts along the west coast of AZ. But during the summer we pick a state or two and travel to them and see all they have to offer. Last summer was the Dakota’s. Everyone said what’s to see in ND and we found plenty. I took my rv to Alaska, drove it all the way myself as I was widowed. It was an awesome trip even with a breakdown. Over the Top of the World highway was a must and BC was the best. This summer we will be doing the Pacific Northwest (maybe) our plans are always written in Jello so who knows where we end up. Once we had plans to go to Chama, NM. We had lunch in Salida, CO and 3 miles down the road we were to make a left to go there. We continued straight on the spur of the moment and didn’t get there until 3 weeks later…seeing the Black Canyon of the Gunnison etc.

  15. Hi Nick, Thanks for the inspiration to write a blog entry this morning. We are in a RUT by choice, sort of. We enjoy your blog so much but like to take a different view from time to time. That is why we are RV folks. We are free to live as we choose. Freedom is what the RV life is all about.
    Hopefully we will get to see you guys again, somewhere down the road.
    Hugs to both of you.
    Ed & Marilyn

  16. We retired from our professional lives 13 years ago, and now live in a great house in Arizona. We have a 20″ Roadtrek which we use for travel throughout the country now and then. One place I wanted to see all of my life was Alaska. About five years ago we packed our Roadtrek and did a 2 1/2 month trip from Arizona to Alaska and back. We took plenty of time getting there, spent more than a month in Alaska, exploring almost every road in the state, and took a different route returning. For me, it was the trip of a lifetime! Our living space was cramped, but we managed quite well. Since that time I have had a stroke and use a walker. Traveling in our Roadtrek is difficult, so we don’t do it very often these days. In fact, we will probably sell it soon. My point is, go to Alaska and New England and any other place you long to explore NOW, while you can. I so much would love to go back to Alaska again soon, but I know I cannot do that. But I have a heart and head full of memories, and a photo album full of pictures, and those bring me great joy.
    Best wishes,

  17. We were in the rut, but it is as you said a comfortable rut. We have found that we enjoy going back to places we have been and find out there was so much more to see and do that it is a new experience for us. This year we will start out on the West coast, I need a grandma fix.We plan to head up to Oregon so we can visit with Mike’s 90 yr old Aunt. Who knows how much longer she will be with us. We plan to go to Yellowstone after that, this is a new adventure. We will travel thru new areas that we want to see, and eventually we will end up in Michigan so Michelle can work her magic on our rig with a new paint job. Then sometime after the Eastern Rally we will head for Texas, we finally got a site at Lone Star Corral here in Hondo. Texas is a huge state as everyone know and there is a lot we have not see of it.

  18. We are in a rut right now, and I had been mulling over this same issue for a while now. Our ruts unfortunately are medical issues and elderly parents needing our attention. We are lucky, we are young, like you and Miss Terry, so we do hopefully, have the future to plan. One poster above hit it on the head when writing about making plans and then God laughs. How true. I still have our little “bucket notebook” where I list all the places we hear about, read about and want to visit. That is what is so wonderful about this lifestyle. We are already planning our summer travels which include a family wedding, but are wide open after June!

  19. We are going to Alaska this summer with Fastasy. Thrilled to death. Checking one more off the bucket liest. We have tended to get and stay in the rv rut also. Nina

  20. I say to each his own. My Dad had to stay in MO for about 8 years after he retired to care for his mother. After her passing, they bought a 5’r and went to TX every winter. They traveled back & forth for about 9 years, then had to hang up the keys. He has dementia now but still mentions that he misses the road. We went fulltime almost 5 years ago and have been hampered by those pesky $$ issues. We started volunteering as park hosts and only traveled for 6 weeks in the spring & fall between jobs. This summer we are traveling from the west coast to the east for the entire summer and have no definite plans other than to go as far as we can afford. I think it’s great that we can all go to the extent of our comfort level. It would be really crowded out there on the road if everyone traveled all over all the time.

  21. Yes we have been having the same conversation about the same places over and over. My DW wants to travel for six months without hitting any place we have been before and we’ve been at this for over 20 years now. Sounds like a good challenge to me! When you move out of that comfort zone it’s amazing the exciting things you can find.

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