When we started fulltiming, a veteran road warrior told me that you’re not a real RVer until you have accomplished most, if not all, of what he called RVing’s Top 10 experiences. We must be slow learners, because after eleven years on the road, we still have a couple to go. So are we real RVers yet?
1 – Boondocking: To truly experience the freedom that the RV lifestyle has to offer, at least once you should spend a few days or even a week or two boondocking, also called dry camping. I define boondocking as living without being hooked up to a water source or electrical outlet, living off my RV’s systems. The feeling of independence you get when you sever the campground umbilical cord is something you must experience to understand. Whether you prefer to camp for weeks on end on BLM land in the desert or just cross the country spending the night in the parking lots of RV friendly businesses like WalMart, boondocking can save you a lot of money, and once you get used to it, it is lots of fun!
2 – Quartzsite: If you spend any time at all around fulltime or snowbird RVers, before too long someone will ask you if you have been to Quartzsite yet. Located on Interstate 10 about 125 miles west of Phoenix, Quartzsite is a sleepy little Arizona desert town of a couple hundred people most of the year. But every January, thousands and thousands of RVers descend on Quartzsite to boondock on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land in the surrounding desert, and to attend the big Quartzsite RV Show and the numerous flea markets, rock and gem shows, and other events held every winter. It’s big, it’s crowded, it’s dusty, and it’s fun! Some people love it and some attend once and seek quieter activities for future outings. If you have not been to Quartzsite yet, you owe it to yourself to experience it at least once.
3 – Rainbows End in Livingston, Texas: Rainbows End is the Mecca for serious RVers. National Headquarters of the Escapees RV Club, literally thousands of RVers “live” on Rainbow Drive in Livingston, the address of the Escapees Mail Service. Rainbows End includes a very nice RV park, the club’s National Headquarters, and CARE, the adult care center the Escapees created to provide assistance to retired RVers and those recuperating from illness or surgery. RVers come to Rainbows End to license their vehicles and become “legal” Texans, to tour the club’s mail forwarding service, to meet friends, and just hang out with like-minded folks.
4 – The Rally: RV rallies offer the opportunity for fun, fellowship, and education, and the biggest RV rally is the Affinity Group’s annual mega-event, known simply as The Rally. Thousands of people come to camp, shop the vendors, attend seminars, enjoy entertainment from top named performers, visit with old friends and make new ones. This year’s event will be in Louisville, Kentucky July 22 – 25.
5 – Escapade: Though not on the huge scale of The Rally, the annual Escapees Club Escapades are events no RVer should miss. You will meet lots of nice people, attend some excellent seminars, and enjoy the entertainment every evening. This year’s Escapade will be in Goshen, Indiana September 12- 17.
6 – Slab City: Located on an abandoned military base in Niland, California, Slab City is a popular gathering place every winter for RVers who come to boondock and enjoy what many call the last great bastion of freedom in America. Populated by serious RVers, snowbirds, eccentrics who live there year round, and an assortment of colorful characters, Slab City is another one of those places you either love or hate. Check it out once, and draw your own conclusions.
7 – Elkhart Indiana: Home to at least half of the RV manufacturers in the country, Elkhart, Indiana has a lot to offer RVers, from factory tours to RV surplus stores, displays of some of the earliest RVs at the RV Hall of Fame Museum, RV rallies, and lots of fun exploring the Amish countryside just east of town.
8 – Highway 101, Oregon Coast: This is surely one of the most spectacular drives in the United States, offering beautiful ocean vistas, charming fishing villages, beach combing, whale watching, lighthouses, and memories around every bend in the road.
9 – Padre Island: Every winter RVers come to Padre Island National Seashore, near Corpus Christie, Texas to dry camp at Padre Island National Seashore. A $10 annual permit is required, and water and a dump station are free. There is no time limit, and many RVers stay the entire season.
10 – The Alaska Highway: This is the ultimate RV destination for many. A trip up the Alaska Highway includes adventure, wonderful scenery, wildlife, history, and memories to last a lifetime. The road is not nearly as bad as some people would want you to believe, but the experiences you will have are more than anyone could ever describe.
Well, are you a real RVer? How many of these Top 10 can you lay claim to?
Thought For The Day – If God is willing to forgive us, why do we sometimes find it so hard to forgive ourselves?