Being Odd Ducks
Did you know 80% of RVers are over the age of 50*? Not only that but most of the other 20% are work campers and/or travel with children. Boy, we are odd ducks out here: retired, childless, Canadian couple in their forties full-time RVing in a tiny travel trailer with a motorcycle on the road. We are not going to meet many RVers quite like us. I suspect that is true for most RVers: everyone has their own approach to the RV lifestyle and unique RV set-up. Still, I think we are extra weird: Canadians full-timers are rare to begin with. Most are retired snowbirds of retirement age and most have a much bigger RV than us.
Regardless of the differences, I think that we will be able to find common ground with most people. With a common interest like RVing, age is less important when connecting with someone than outlook. I was pleasantly surprised to discover at Elmore State Park that the couple with the Class A motorhome and motorcycle I thought were in their mid-fifties are actually in their mid-sixties and still going strong! I enjoyed chatting with them as their enthusiasm for life was inspiring: I hope that we will be as energetic and optimistic in our 60s too.
On the subject of full-timing in Canada and snowbirding in the USA for 6 months, we have to grapple with the fact that we will need to live in our RV in Canada for the other 6 months. The fact is, it can be cold in the shoulder season, something I am experiencing firsthand here in the Adirondacks on the first day of fall. I woke up to 2 degrees Celsius this morning where I could see my breath. The reality of living in an RV with 1.5″ thick walls that lose heat quickly is sinking in: constant exposure to cold makes Sadie cranky and more likely to bite and could wear down our immune systems leading to colds or flu.
As I noted at the TC campout the first weekend after Thanksgiving, electricity sure helps in the cold. It leaves me realizing that finding shore power for the colder months will be important. We can get by on propane but it is an inferior solution as the furnace will switch on often trying to keep up. That will be costly too – running the furnace constantly can drain a propane tank in just a few days.
I’ve noticed that as a traveler constantly in unfamiliar places, I have an uneasy feeling of being an intruder in other people’s space. Even though my BoonDocker’s Welcome host was very gracious, I felt like an interloper parked so close in their backyard and especially everytime I sat on their front porch to tap into their wifi, my only connection to the outside world. I feel more comfortable at a Harvest Host, where as a customer buying food or wine, I have effectively purchased the right to camp on their property and use their wifi, bathroom and water. When we arrive at a visitor’s center, I even feel uncomfortable as I sit for an hour or 2 tapping their wifi, even though that is what they are there for!
Well, the reality of becoming full-time RVers is that we will need places to stay, wifi to surf, water to access, etc. While we can simply pay for everything we access, where there is an available, free alternative, it makes sense to take advantage of that. The issue is coming to terms with being someone who takes advantage of a free resource. While I feel this tension myself, I suspect that James will have even more difficulty.
I believe that in many cases, people are only too happy to help us out. BDWs often are motivated to have an RVer come stay with them because they want the opportunity to meet an interesting traveler and live vicariously through them. Dinner invitations with friends may follow for the same reason: we have purposely invited our world traveling friends Paul & Janet, and Gene & Neda over for dinner just for the opportunity to talk with them and learn more about their travel experiences: others will no doubt want to do this with us too once we are on the road. Perhaps people we have never thought of will invite us to share a meal or stay on their property; we only need to be open to accepting. What I keep reminding myself when I feel like an intruder is that I am not: I am welcome in the space and the best thing I can do is smile and say thank you!
This past weekend, I stayed hitched at Elmore SP. To make this possible, I planned ahead: I knew I was running low on groceries so I planned a stop at the Littleton Food Co-op on the way. It worked perfectly: the food co-op was right along the route and I was able to unload the groceries directly into the fridge and cupboards. When we are staying at a State Park, if we call ahead, we know we will have a spot so we don’t have to worry if we arrive an hour or two later because we made a stop or two.
If we are only staying somewhere for a couple nights, there is an advantage to staying hitched up. Not only is it less work, it forces us to enjoy the place where we are, particularly good when we are at a great place like a state park. It also gives us more time to enjoy it, since we don’t waste time hitching and makes it easy when we need to head out. State Parks are lovely and not free: since we are paying to be there, we might as well stick around and enjoy it!
- THE ECONOMIC EFFECTS IN NOVA SCOTIA OF THE RV OVERNIGHT PARKING BAN AND ASPECTS OF CAMPGROUND MINIMUM STANDARDS by Andrew Cornwall Copyright 2005 – 2006. See page 19 for age statistics. https://www.escapees.com/parking/overnight-parking