By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Fall is decidedly upon us, and traveling up and down Arizona Highway 95, we can assure you plenty of folks have already headed “south for the winter.” It’s a constant stream of motorhomes and towables — all headed away from the North. Others of you may have put the rig “up on blocks.” Regardless of your venue, those computer keyboards and smartphone pads are busily clicking away with commentary on what you’ve read in the last couple of weeks on RVtravel.com. Here’s a summary of some highlights.
Chuck’s New Lifestyle
Much said about our boss’s move to the full-time RV road. From the “staff” side of the issue, we’re not sure what to make of it – yet. Not having Chuck in the area to come breezing into the office could make it a bit trickier to get questions answered. On the other hand, “When the cat’s away, the mice might get more work done!” But here’s some of what you in “reader-land” have felt:
A common thread – “I’m jealous of your ‘nomadic’ life! Hope we can do it too someday. Good for you; enjoy!!!” writes Beverly. And Sylvia chimes in, “Congratulations Chuck! I always hoped you’d be able to do this someday, and am so thrilled for you and Gail. Today is the first day of the rest of your lives, and all that good stuff. Enjoy it to the fullest!”
Steven finds Chuck’s move inspirational. He writes: “Like you, we just started full time RVing. Unlike you, we were tent campers for 30 years, never had an RV. My wife and I retired and went right to the top and got a 40-foot 5th wheel pulled by a 1 ton truck. We did this because we plan on traveling the country full time for the next five years. I will say, you were an influence in our decision, as we attended your talks at the Hershey RV show for the previous three years, and read your newsletter religiously.” Roy suggests Chuck’s traveling rig needs an official “dub.” “Chuck, you said you were drifting so I have a name for your new home, ‘TUMBLEWEED’.”
Others look forward to meeting Chuck and Gail somewhere out there. Here’s a typical comment: “You haven’t been Down South much, if ever. Come and check out Tennessee state parks and Smoky Mountain National Park campgrounds if you can. Find out firsthand about southern hospitality! Enjoy your travels.” Chuck is looking forward to seeing our readers face-to-face. Drop him a line – he may be in your neighborhood before you know it.
Finally, lots of advice came in from “them that are doin.” Sue and Jim wrote, “Best wishes on your new lifestyle! We have been full-time RVing two-plus years and did extended traveling eight to nine months of the year for 12 years before that. We love the freedom of not having to worry about a house anymore. One ‘warning’ you’re probably aware of — we’ve had an increasing challenge with campground reservations (public and private) in recent years as more and more people are purchasing RVs. The larger the RV, the fewer sites are available, whether you’re boondocking or staying in an established campground. With more people occupying the larger sites, we have to make more reservations than we used to AND make them earlier and earlier. That limits our freedom a bit but it’s still a great life!”
Dump Station Decorum
Regardless of whether our RVs are palatial or best described as “humble,” we all have the great equalizer – we all have to dump holding tanks. On a story we published on the topic of cleaning up after ourselves at the dump station, we’ve had plenty of feedback. Evidently, though, good manners at the dump station aren’t just limited to using the hose to flush away any spills, as we hear from Mike and Linda:
“We have been off and on ‘full-timers’ for many, many years and have seen increasingly aggressive behavior from people waiting for their turn at the dump station. We always try to make clean quick and efficient ‘dumps.’ Listen … it is NOT proper dump station etiquette to get in line to dump and then walk up to the people currently dumping to ask ‘How much longer you gonna be?’ or ‘I’m waiting here… you need some help?’
“Remember, we all learned in kindergarten to WAIT OUR TURN. Don’t these super aggressive guys realize that we also had to patiently wait our turn to dump? We have actually had these aggressive guys come up and stand inches from us, throw out their chests, use loud profanity, etc. GET A GRIP! It seems like the new breed of RVer is much more aggressive, louder, impatient, and generally thinks the rules do not apply to them.”
Other readers reminded us how good manners extend to areas beyond the dump station. Joe had this to say: “After just finishing a 13,000 mile trip from Florida to Alaska and back, my wife and I are appalled at the way some people misuse free parking sites. Take for instance Walmart; they go shopping and then spend the night in the parking lot, but fail to put the shopping cart back in the rack, leave their garbage out on the lot when they leave or worse yet, put down their jacks with no protection on the paved lot to prevent damage.
“Roadside rest areas are becoming dump stations for campers as well. Trash is left everywhere and oh, if they need to relieve some of that grey or black tank water, well, what a perfect spot for their problem. Let it be someone else’s to take care of. As always, there are those who spoil it for others. Same with RV parks. You will find them stealing the toilet paper from the restrooms or destroying property because it doesn’t meet their standards.
“We are our own worst enemy and places like Walmart will become a distant memory. ‘It’s all about me, and who are you to criticize.'”
Another Side of Full-timing – The “Disconnect”
David Bott published a heartfelt video where he spoke candidly about a seldom-mentioned aspect of full-time RVing – the feeling of disconnection from friends and community. Toward the end of the video he mused as to whether he was the only one who felt this great emotional tug. David, it’s evident you’re not alone. Here’s what others wrote.
From Mari: “No you are not the only one who feels this way!! Very new to this, only since June, but already we have felt the need to be close to family and friends more than we realized we would. Thank you for sharing!”
“Thanks David for that excellent, heartfelt video. We have been full-timing for 6 years now and every once in awhile I get to feeling the same thing after being ‘on the road’ for a few months and I look forward to returning to ‘home base’ yet we too do not have a brick and mortar home anymore. It’s simply the social aspect of the importance of a home community.” – Bob
Calvin adds, “Thank you for this topic. You have illuminated a subject I have rarely seen in my studies of full-timing, and one that concerns me. (My travels have been short-term.) Your suggestion of finding a place to spend months at a time, rather than a week or two, makes perfect sense to me. I even have a place in mind (Tucson), but until I saw this I did not have confirmation that full-timers have (or can have) this issue.”