Wednesday, November 20, 2013

RV out to launch

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I have been planning my great escape for over 2 years. I will retire next month and plan to leave on my maiden voyage the first of the year. I bought a small Class B van which may prove too small. I am going to take baby steps and decide if buying a larger motor home and hauling a car would suit me better. I just want to get my feet wet before I jump completely in. They say reading and doing are completely different experiences. I am only a little nervous about traveling alone. I have been a widow for almost 5 years. I have done some traveling and camping on my own, but this will be an extended trip. Do single people fare alright in the full-time lifestyle or should I plan on always being the third wheel? I am very outgoing but think it might be hard building long lasting friendships with such a vagabond lifestyle. Thoughts please.
--Out to Launch in Littleton

Dear Launch:
You might be a Fifth Wheel if you go larger and decide on something other than a motor home, but you will never have to worry about being a third wheel. There are numerous ways to meet people with your same lifestyle, but actually you don’t even have to try. Friendships in campgrounds are like spontaneous combustion. We have met some of our best friends on ranger led hikes, birding in campgrounds, around campfires, even breaking down on the road. You will meet people with similar interests while pursuing things that interest you--hiking, paddling, photography, whatever. Another option would be to join a club. Not just a singles club, although there are several of those. Three that come to mind are RVing Women, Loners on Wheels, and Wandering Individuals. I think an important part of social success on the road is being a bit adventuresome, outgoing, friendly and courteous. Single or paired, these are qualities that will help you connect with like-minded people encountered along the way. Another possibility that comes to mind is a dog. Not just for companionship. Last year my wife and I met a wonderful friend while we were trying to catch our freaked out cat. Funny Face jumped out of the motor home and panicked. Janice happened along with her dog Baloo and helped us look for Funny Face. She and Baloo were from Canada and traveling all over North America in a small trailer. We became fast friends and traveled much of the winter together. Janice was very outgoing and I am sure she could make lots of friends without Baloo, but she said more than once that walking Baloo opened up many conversations and connected her with so many friends while traveling. The RV lifestyle will present many challenges to you, but making friends will not be one of them I guarantee.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink


retiredhappy said...

I belong to a women's rving forum. We're from all over the country with all kinds of rigs. We have Get Togethers whenever we can even if its only three or four of us. Go check out

mogul264 said...

Not to mention that some larger RV owners would consider swapping RV's, larger for smaller. I, myself, am looking for a Class B, and have a Class A to exchange. Contact me if you are interestested!

Anonymous said...

I am a woman who has traveled alone for years in a small class c. I have never had trouble meeting people, in fact I often feel like I am a "geezer magnet". I am not looking for a partner, but there seem to be plenty of men out there traveling alone who are. Another thing you might consider is being a camp host. I have done that and it is a wonderful experience. Years ago I met another single woman that camp hosted too.

Anonymous said...

Three years ago, I sold my house and got rid of everything to buy a Class C Motor Home to simplify my life, and have no regrets.

Surprisingly, I found the climate in southern Arizona to my liking and bought a small park model RV where I spend the winters (about 4to 5 months)very inexpensively.

During the heat of summer, I travel all over the US, enjoying all the beauty this country has to offer.

Between far away destinations, I camp at rest stops, pull outs, Wal-Marts, etc, and have never had a bad experience. However, I leave my keys in the ignition so I can just drive off in case of trouble.

People are very friendly and helpful--even passers-by. One time I sank in sand up to my bumper, and a man stopped to dig me out.

I communicate with friends from all over, visiting many when I'm in their area.

One note: Read, read, read! Many aren't aware that one should leave the black holding tank closed when in a campground, emptying that one only when it's about 2/3 full.

By all means, do drive and don't worry about being by yourself.

Unknown said...

Dear Launch,
You state that you've bought a Class B. Great! Start with that and do some simple trips (baby steps is a great description). Keep a notebook handy. There will be so many things that you won't discover until you're actually using your rig. When the idea lightbulb goes on, make note of it. Not only a wish list for what you'd like in the future but, things that are working well for you now so that you'll be sure those items will be in whatever rig you move up to if and when that happens. Most RVs have at least two checklists to follow; Preparing to travel and, Setting Up once you arrive. There may be other lists and, make your own as needed. If you're new to the RV lifestyle, I STRONGLY recommend you attend an RV Boot Camp. These are usually two day classes where you (along with about 100+ other newbies) will be introduced to RV basics such as the AC & DC electrical systems; propane system, tire care, fresh water, grey water and black water systems every RV has and more. After completing a Boot Camp, you will be a MUCH better informed RVer; much less likely to make a mistake (RV mistakes tend to be very costly). Escapees RV Club runs RV Boot Camps several times a year in different locations. There is at least one other group that offers such classes but, I don't remember their name. An added benefit of attending a Boot Camp is that you'll get to meet many other folks and get to see many other rigs over the course of a weekend. Many lifelong friendships begin at Boot Camp. If you choose to attend an Escapees Boot Camp, you'll have the opportunity to get your rig a "Smart Weigh". Escapees provide this important service for a modest fee during their "Escapade" (big annual rally). In 2014, Escapade will be in Goshen, IN, May 11~16 (Boot Camp usually runs the weekend before Escapade). Another great resource are the "RV 101" DVDs. They're a series of DVDs covering most of the same topics a Boot Camp covers. If you have a good public library system, you might be able to borrow some or all of the series. If not, the run about $20 per DVD. Google to find RV groups that might interest you. I belong to Escapees, Good Sam Club, Casita Solos, irv2 and too many others to list. Don't be afraid to ask questions online. RVer are often VERY knowledgeable folks who are generous in sharing that knowledge to help another RVer. Again, WELCOME, you're starting a great lifestyle! Regards, John

Unknown said...

Dear Launch, RV Solos / Singles do just fine. There are quite a few of us out there. Have you ever taken an RV Boot Camp? Escapees RV Club is one group that offers an RV Boot Camp. I found it VERY educational and, expect I'll take a refresher Boot Camp in a few years. There'll be an RV Boot Camp the weekend before the Escapees Escapade Rally to be held in Goshen, IN. The Escapade dates are May 11~16, 2014. Escapades offer a program called "Smart Weigh". Trained staff will ACCURATELY weigh your rig at each tire and then, go over the results with you. It sounds simple but, many rigs are overweight in one or more parameters. Overloading is a primary cause of tire failure (improper inflation is another). Boot Camp explains everything in simple terms. There are usually over 100 RVers signed up for a Boot Camp so, you'll have the opportunity to meet many other like minded folks and. see many different rigs. A real boon if you're thinking about getting a different rig yourself. Google to find RV groups you may be interested in joining. I belong to Escapees, Good Sam Club, irv2, Casita Solos, Workkamper and several others. There might be a "Type Club" for owners of the make of RV you have. There are several groups geared to solo / single women. Again, WELCOME!
Regards, John

Anonymous said...

Another lone female RV'r here! I love it. I do travel with a dog and highly recommend it for 2 reasons. The first is that it opens the doors to conversation as he's a friendly little guy. Second is that he will give me a warning at night if someone is approaching the RV. I've never had any safety issues traveling and am happiest when on the road. :)

recyclequeen said...

RVing Women is an all woman organization and has a directory of all members nationwide, chapters having gatherings all around the country that you can join in when you are in the area of their event. Also, RVW has a fulltimers chapter as well as a solos chapter!! Check us out!
Merrily Robinson