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bruce t

Why did we go RVing?

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On another thread about solar I raised the question about why we need all our 'stuff' while RVing. Which made me think about why we went RVing in the first place. Different answer for different folks I guess. Some to see the world/country. Some to see family. Some to work. All while traveling with all the comforts of home. But for others RVing is an escape. An escape from this ever nuttier world we are living in. An escape to a simpler life style.

Me/us. Well health and the almighty dollar drove me into a health crisis. So a search for the simpler life style found us in an RV in a foreign land called the USA. Had 5 wonderful years traveling. Health improved. So what did we do. Returned to Australia. Went back to work. Started the cycle all over again. Health went south. Back to the USA 8 years later. Another motorhome. 10 years later health caught up to me again. Folks in Lexington hospital were brilliant. Saved my life. Shipped me back to Australia. Now we have a simple little motorhome without all the complications here in Australia.

Moral? Oh yeah there's a moral to this story. Life's short. Stuff is expensive and only complicates your life. You father and grandfather and great grandfather got on just fine without it. Ask yourself why you really want to go camping and if you really need 3 a/c units, the coffee machine, the bread maker, 3 tv sets, or any tv sets at all. Who wants to watch politicians scratch each others eyes out anyway?

Why do you go RVing?

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I have always been a traveler, my father was in the Army and we traveled back a forth across the country for as far back as I could recall. Arizona, Illinois, Florida New Jersey back and forth we went. Stopping to see the giant frog or the big ball of yarn. We visited Mammoth Cave back in the 1950's when they had underwater boat trips on the river. I was navigating for my mother when I was seven.

As I grew up I started camping, first trip to upper Wisconsin on the shore somewhere. In a tube tent, remember those? Giant and plentiful skeeters too.  I upgraded my gear step by step as time went by. Spent weeks in Yosemite and Death Valley when I was in the Navy in the Bay Area.

Got married and infected my wife who did not come from a traveling family. Not too long after we got married we traveled to Utah, Wyoming and Idaho from Florida in a Toyota Tercel. Had a bigger tent by then. As the years went by my vacation time got longer and longer each year and the kids came along. Tents got bigger and bigger and then we bought a used popup. Went thru three popups getting larger and larger then jumped to a hybrid. A fiver followed, all 48 lower states were visited with the kids.

And then they were all gone, we downsized to a 30 ft TT (found an incredible deal on an Arctic Fox down here in FL from a dealer who did not know what he had on the lot) and are in the process of getting rid of stuff in the house. We are too old and creaky to sleep on the ground anymore. We like to really get away, boondocking so no Class A's for us. Class C's just seem too small inside.

But getting out and camping keeps us young and active. We can hike those semi steep trails out west. What else are we going to do? People who vegetate at home after retirement die young in my experience.

zOur goal is Alaska of course after the panic ends.

 

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Yes I need my 'stuff". I love the outdoors, but after 21 years in Army Infantry and camping in a 2-man pup tent, sleeping on the ground with 2' of snow around the tent, or in 100° weather with no shade.. Now I want the luxuries.

Edited by Ray,IN

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I backpacked.

Then I worked for the Forest Service in my early 20's and lived in bunkhouses, tents, and in a small trailer outside a bar in Idaho.

The trailer was my favorite.  Yeah, the bar was interesting, but in the other direction was a river for fly fishing.

I don't consider RV'ing camping.  I consider it living. 

That means my hobby stuff comes along.   Fly fishing, bird hunting, photography, and astronomy.  That's a lot of stuff to haul around in a BIG TRUCK and small RV.

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11 years ago my wife and I were sitting around watching the travel channel and saw some show about RVs, we thought that looked "interesting".  In 1999 we borrowed a pop up and went on a two week trip to Colorado and Utah, that was a fun trip!  Over the years we've done a lot of traveling but it was mostly on our Gold Wing.  We bought a Montana Mountaineer fifth wheel and took a trip to Arizona (from WI).  We LOVED it!!  We're on our third fifth wheel now and love traveling and seeing the country, hiking and taking photos.  

 

Dan

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Hey Dapperdan I'm trying to preach 'simple is better' and you go and throw a rig like that into the mix. Would go please go away and stop annoying me! 😂

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There is a major difference in the attitudes about RV's and camping between the USA and AU. Probably one of the major reasons is that in the USA, even if traveling on foot or horseback, there are few if any places that one can get as much as 50 miles from the nearest maintained road, while in AU about all you need to do is to get 100 miles into the interior of the country. One needs to see the difference in what we consider to be a developed national park for most Americans to begin to understand. Most of us here would think that we were really roughing things if we spent more than a night or two in the typical AU national park campground. 

I wonder how many of the AU citizens actually get out of the cities and developed areas for recreation? I read somewhere that the average American visits only 9 state in his lifetime. Most of us who RV here are thinking more in terms of roughing it meaning that we don't have room service. 

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As a nation we tend to be fat and lazy.  That is no exaggeration as obesity is extremely common and overweight to the level of nearly obese is almost the norm.

Lots of us more active Americans do visit National Parks and other scenic and more remote areas.  Even then the statistics are well known.  The NPS studies show that 97% of visitors to the National Parks never leave a paved area.  As a frequent visitor to the National Parks I have see this frequently.  I even did a study of my own at Artist's Drive in Death Valley.  The drive to and from the main viewpoint takes a good 20 minutes.  At the viewpoint the colors are awesome with soil and rocks of intense shades of greens, purples, and reds.  You can actually walk through this wonderland by going down the equivalent of a flight of stairs and walking another 50 yards or so.  I timed visitors on a sunny, 75 degree afternoon.  The average visitor stopped at the overlook, got out of the car, snapped a couple of pictures and was gone within 2 minutes.  Virtually everyone who stayed 5 minutes or so took the extra time because one or more members of the group stopped at the outhouse.  Maybe 1 in 50 visitors actually walked down the steps and the 50 yards to at least the start of the area.

Since we are fat and lazy, it should not be any surprise that the typical RV needs to have recliners, a large refrigerator, and a TV and weighs several tons.

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We have been RVers for many ,many years this 3402 is our 6th Rv and 2nd 5th wheel. The first 4 were bumper pulls and we did weekends and maybe a one week vacation. When we both  retired our goal was to see the USA and winter in a warm place. We have been doing that since 2006.

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We always traveled, by car, by air, by cruise ship, so we both realized that RVing would work for us.  We part timed a while, then full timed for 15 years and now travel 6 to 7 months in the RV avoiding the Arizona heat. 

We walk a lot, sometimes we even hike, over 15,000 steps a day.  We explore the trails when in National Parks.  I do have to be careful because I inherited my father's bad knees.  My father thought his Army career had messed up his knees, so I wish he was still alive to tell him it was not the Army.  Still JimK would look at me and think I didn't exercise.  

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2 hours ago, Bill Joyce said:

We always traveled, by car, by air, by cruise ship, so we both realized that RVing would work for us.  We part timed a while, then full timed for 15 years and now travel 6 to 7 months in the RV avoiding the Arizona heat. 

We walk a lot, sometimes we even hike, over 15,000 steps a day.  We explore the trails when in National Parks.  I do have to be careful because I inherited my father's bad knees.  My father thought his Army career had messed up his knees, so I wish he was still alive to tell him it was not the Army.  Still JimK would look at me and think I didn't exercise.  

What you describe is way, way beyond the typical.  I believe 15000 steps works out to be about 7 miles.  That puts you well into the top 1% for exercise.  You must be pretty fit and I would guess that would be very noticeable.   

Sadly, the pre-Covid obesity rate in the US was over 40%.  Covid has only made that worse.

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Folks we've drifted off the track here. Yes we are all a bit round in our later years. It's called old aged spread. Well not so old aged spread!! But why did we go RVing?

For us it was to simplify our lives. To suck in the clean air. What there is of it now days!. To see what's over the hill and behind the tree. To eat what they are eating and to see how they live. To open our eyes and see how the other 99.99% live.

FWIW we love the USA. Sure you guys do it in style. We love that aspect of the USA. Sure your National Parks are wizbang but so are your trails. Go more than 100 yards from the trail head and the world opens up. The CCC was the best thing that America ever had. Those guys, and gals, gave you assets that are beyond belief now days. Something we can only dream of here in Australia. If you ever want to trade your system for ours just hollar.

 

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9 hours ago, JimK said:

As a nation we tend to be fat and lazy.  That is no exaggeration as obesity is extremely common and overweight to the level of nearly obese is almost the norm.

Lots of us more active Americans do visit National Parks and other scenic and more remote areas.  Even then the statistics are well known.  The NPS studies show that 97% of visitors to the National Parks never leave a paved area.  As a frequent visitor to the National Parks I have see this frequently.  I even did a study of my own at Artist's Drive in Death Valley.  The drive to and from the main viewpoint takes a good 20 minutes.  At the viewpoint the colors are awesome with soil and rocks of intense shades of greens, purples, and reds.  You can actually walk through this wonderland by going down the equivalent of a flight of stairs and walking another 50 yards or so.  I timed visitors on a sunny, 75 degree afternoon.  The average visitor stopped at the overlook, got out of the car, snapped a couple of pictures and was gone within 2 minutes.  Virtually everyone who stayed 5 minutes or so took the extra time because one or more members of the group stopped at the outhouse.  Maybe 1 in 50 visitors actually walked down the steps and the 50 yards to at least the start of the area.

Since we are fat and lazy, it should not be any surprise that the typical RV needs to have recliners, a large refrigerator, and a TV and weighs several tons.

We have had our latest travel trailer for a little over a year now and have never tried the tv. 

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I should have been more specific.  Clearly those who post of this forum are not likely to be in the majority of Americans who are overweight and especially not in the 40% group of obese Americans.

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As others, we started in a tent and progressed to a pop up, small Scotty trailer, then kids got involved with school/sports activities so we stopped camping for a few years.  When they left home we got a 27' travel trailer to full-time.  We sold everything in the house and took off with no plans. We were downsized from our jobs and knew we wanted to travel.  We found the travel trailer too small and not insulated well.  Went to a 33' 5th wheel for 8 yr then to the 40' motorhome for another 8 yr.  Yes, the motorhome was more than we really needed but we relish our individual space and hobbies.

We volunteered for public parks a lot.  So even though we had the motorhome we dry camped or boondocked on public lands 90% of our time. We took the motorhome on gravel roads up to 20 miles back. Then we used the Jeep to explore deeper.  We moved with the elevation so rarely needed the AC.  We never watched TV.  Our coffee pot was a stovetop and our toaster was a frypan.  We spent our time outside hiking or getting deep into the lands to explore and hike.  We only had 300w of solar - minimal.

Although we didn't camp minimally in a small RV we did give up a lot of possessions from our previous life and never missed them.  It was a clean break.

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Our reasons for keeping an RV have changed over the years. We bought our first RV because it had become so difficult to get out tenting with 3 little boys and by changing to a popup we were able to go more often and it was a very light weight trailer with a place to sleep and to store our gear. We towed it with a 4WD.  In those years our recreation was hiking, fishing, hunting and similar activities with only occasional short trips to tourist areas. We moved to a fully self-contained RV because we acquired an interest in recreational property to visit even in the winter and that RV was seldom moved. 

To me, when we moved to the full-time RV life what we wanted was dramatically  different because our reason for the RV had also changed a great deal over the intervening years. After our kids left home we began to use the RV for attending square-dance weekends and festivals. With that change we wanted something more on the order of a rolling motel and the step from there to living in an RV was that of getting a very compact home that we could take anywhere we wished to go. In the days that we were going into the backcountry, it would have been nice to have had one of the RVs which are popular in AU and are more off-road capable, but with the budget that we had we could not have afforded to buy one.

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On 10/19/2020 at 7:27 AM, Kirk W said:

I wonder how many of the AU citizens actually get out of the cities and developed areas for recreation? I read somewhere that the average American visits only 9 state in his lifetime. Most of us who RV here are thinking more in terms of roughing it meaning that we don't have room service. 

I would have believed 9, but it looks like it's more like 12 states...

How many states has the average American visited?

We have now managed to visit 43 states in our 30 years of marriage. Only about one year of that was in any form of RV.

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12 minutes ago, dixonge said:

I would have believed 9, but it looks like it's more like 12 states...

I suspect it also depends on the source as I doubt anyone actually knows but the most recent source that I am able to find is 2019, Forbes magazine, which says 10 or fewer. But that really wasn't the original subject. 

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On 10/18/2020 at 8:39 PM, Ray,IN said:

Yes I need my 'stuff". I love the outdoors, but after 21 years in Army Infantry and camping in a 2-man pup tent, sleeping on the ground with 2' of snow around the tent, or in 100° weather with no shade.. Now I want the luxuries.

Amen. When I was in my teens and 20's sleeping on the ground in all weather for Uncle Sam was an adventure.  I've lived in a remote trapper's cabin in Maine in winter, hiked 1000 mile of the Appalachian Trail and bicycle camped across the Northwestern US.  Now I'm 70.  Parts hurt that once did not.  I get cold more easily.  C-rations and campfire cooking are less appealing.  A good bed, comfortable furniture, a full kitchen (I'm the cook) and even TV entertainment are much appreciated. That is especially true since we are in this full time.

Life is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.  Our needs vary from person to person and our individual wants and needs change with the years.  I'm not convinced that selling the fiver for a popup is a good idea.

Wayne

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