By Chuck Woodbury
People are not always what they appear to be. I’m referring here to full-time RVers. You think people are residents of a particular town and then you start talking to them and you learn they are living and traveling full time in RVs.
Several years ago, as I left the library in Brookings, Ore., I made a remark about a woman’s cute little dog. I thought it was a spaniel. It turned out it was a mutt. “He cost me a bundle,” she said, and I asked why. She said it was because it was part poodle, so it didn’t shed. “People with allergies will pay a lot for a dog that doesn’t shed,” she explained. Her dog, for example, cost $350. We kept talking. I asked if she lived in Brookings. She said that she and her husband did, but in a fifth wheel trailer. Gas cost too much for them to travel, so they were staying put.
The next morning, in Crescent City, Calif., I knocked on the door of a small motorhome with European plates: you don’t see many RVs from across the sea. It looked a lot like my Winnebago View. The owners, a retired English couple, told me they had been touring North America for more than two years in the 27-foot motorhome and three years in Europe before that. They were only two weeks away from flying home, and their motorhome would follow along. Once it arrived in their county of Kent, they would live in it full time. I asked them if living in an RV full time was unusual in England, and they said it was. They said that while in North America the trickiest problem was getting health insurance.
Later that afternoon, I was taking a picture of the beautiful lighthouse in Trinidad, Calif. A couple was also taking photos. “Are you professional photographers?” I asked, and they said no, it was just a hobby. “Are you from around here?” I asked, and they said, “Oh, no, we’re full-time RVers.” It turned out that Jack and Susan Girdis were in the area to care for Jack’s elderly father, who was in ill health. “It’s nice to be able to be with him, but to sleep in my own bed at night,” Jack said.