Page 39

DESERT EXPOSURE

FEBRUARY 2019 • 39

LIVING ON WHEELS • SHEILA SOWDER

Robert Pittman

Stationary RVing

Certified Advanced R O L F E R ®

Why RVers give up their life of wandering but still live in their RVs

“I

n the old days, there was always plenty of room at the RV parks, even at the last minute. Now you better have a reservation, or you’ll be spending the night in Walmart’s parking lot.” So runs a grievance we’re hearing more and more from RVers visiting our area. One day when I had some extra pondering time, I spent some of it thinking about why that should be so. Now all your smart alecks out there will say it’s because there are more people RVing; ergo, more full parks. And I can’t argue with that logic. But I have another theory, based on a trend we’re seeing here at Rose Valley. I call it “stationary RVing” – people living in RVs but staying in one RV park permanently. It’s the reason we’re having increased difficulty scheduling monthly sites for our regular summer guests – too many RVs are coming into the park and never leaving! But why? What prompts fulltime RVers to give up traveling in order to stay in one location, yet continue to live in their RVs rather than a house or apartment? All the articles in RV publications and websites give the impression that fulltime RVing is one endless journey, but this is far from the truth. I wanted to understand the motivation behind stationary RVing. I gathered up a group of Rose Valley long-term residents by promising them the opportunity to talk about themselves. And free food and cold beer. The group was top-heavy with men, but they seem to have more free time than their wives. My question: What led to your living fulltime in an RV but staying in one permanent location? After a few minutes of arguing the meaning of “living fulltime” and the definition of “permanent,” the panel settled down to some serious contemplation. Finally, Dick set down his Heineken. “I’ve owned RVs for the last 50 years. Weekends and vacations, it was the best way to visit the US, gave us the freedom and flexibility to broaden our horizons. Of course, when we started, gas was 65 cents a gallon.” “I remember when it was three for a buck,” George said. “We all do,” Dick said, “We fell in love with Silver City, for the environment, the culture, the climate. Moved here, bought a home, got a job. And when I retired, I weighed the costs of the house versus our fifth wheel – property taxes, maintenance, utilities – and the RV won out. Made life simpler. “Plus, now RVs have all the comforts of home,” piped up Phyllis, “Washer/dryer units and dishwashers, full-sized refrigerators, kitchen islands, media centers and office space, recessed lighting,” “Patios with sliding glass

doors, outdoor kitchens,” Dick said. “Guests rooms. I even saw a motorhome with an extra sleeping loft. Great recliners, kingsized beds with memory foam mattresses.” “My wife loves our extra bathroom,” George said, “says she never wants to share a bathroom with me again as long as she lives.” “We can all guess why,” said Dean, as the others snickered into their beer bottles. “Back to my question. So far, we’ve got economics – it’s cheaper to live in an RV fulltime. And house-like amenities. Anything else?” “Here’s my story,” George said, “and I bet there’s lots of folks could tell you the same thing if they’re inclined to be honest. We’d lived in the same town for years, and our kids all lived close by. When my wife and I were getting ready to retire, I started thinking what life would be like when we weren’t working all day. Babysitting the grandkids, chauffeuring them to and from activities, running errands for the parents. Hell, we’ve got six grandkids, with another on the way. And I know my wife – no way she’d ever say no.” He took a sip of his Dos Equis. “So, I started talking up the RVing life, made it sound romantic and adventurous-like. She bought into it and off we went.” “Yeah, but why settle down permanently then?” I asked. “Oh, we moved around all the time the first couple years, even worked at a few campgrounds. But then we realized you have to stay at least a month to get to know a place.” “Moving around is really expensive, don’t let anyone tell you it’s not,” Dean said. “And it’s also a pain in the ass.” “Eventually I started longing for more connection, I guess you might say more community,” said Phyllis. “And once you stay for a while, you get to know the people, get involved in things.” “But I thought that’s one of the things RVers are trying to escape,” I said. They all gave that idea some thought while they sipped a little more beer, ate a few more chips. Finally, Dick said, “That’s what we THINK we want to do, but really, we just want a little adventure, maybe to feel a little freer of routine obligations.” “After a couple years of wandering, we start looking for a place to call home,” added Dean, “only better than the home we left. Better climate, better environment.” “And no grandkids to babysit,” chimed in George. “But knowing we can leave anytime,” said Phyllis, “just pack up the RV and move on down the road.” “I’ll drink to that,” said George, and they all clinked their bottles

Center for Healing Arts, 300 Yankie St., Silver City

Appointment or free consultation:

575-313-4379

together in a toast. Sheila and husband, Jimmy Sowder, have lived at Rose Valley RV Ranch in Silver City for four years following five years of wandering the US from Maine to California. She can be contacted at sksowder@aol. com.

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Desert Exposure - February 2019  

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