Monday, July 12, 2010


All of today’s photos are scenes from our explorations around Traverse City.  Hover your cursor on any photo to see the caption.

Our view at lunch in Fishtown.Leaving the Northwestern Michigan Fairgrounds, after 11 days exploring northwestern “lower” Michigan, we said goodbye to friends (and Boomers) Priscilla and Bill Scott (AZ), and to the friendly hosts, Henry and Kaye (LA).  Boomers Edmund and Margie Strickler (TX) spent two nights there earlier in our stay and we enjoyed reconnecting with them.

At our next stop, Thunder Bay Resort in Hillman, on the other side of the state, we’ll reconnect (briefly) with Linda and Howard (, a couple we first met in Quartzsite, AZ… and I think a Boomer couple is at the resort, too.  More visiting!

Why do I mention all this?  A recent post on “A Camp Host Housewife’s Meanderings” got me thinking about loneliness and friendships on the road.  Levonne was feeling the blues over the 4th of July, away from family and friends as she and her husband are hosting at a campground in Morro Bay, CA.

A garden of glass flowers in Sutton's Bay.Odel and I first traveled in Michigan in summer of 2003, 3 months after we left Sacramento, California.  We knew NO ONE, anywhere we went.  A long stay in one place for us was 3 days; we often stayed just one.  All the new sights kept us from being lonely, but after several months on the road, we began to realize that we needed a way to make friends – friends who shared our lifestyle and interests, friends we might meet again someday.

Fast forward to 2010.  Not more than a couple of weeks have gone by without visiting with friends or family during our travels across the country this year.  Lonely?  Never!  How’d that happen?

We joined the Escapees RV Club before we began fulltiming, and in 2003 we joined the Boomers, a group of Escapees who “share a youthful mindset”, who travel frequently, hike, bike, and gather regularly for “Boomerangs”, planned or spontaneous rallies. 

Lake Michigan waters along the Leelanau PeninsulaNew Year’s Eve of 2003 found us in the desert outside Yuma, warmly welcomed by dozens of Boomers, all new-to-us faces.  We continued to meet with Boomers whenever we could, attended a couple of Escapee “Escapades” (big rallies), and connected with other campers in campgrounds we visited.   Not too many years later, our challenge was not finding friends along the road, but making certain we carved out enough “alone” time.  :)

It is easy to find friendly folks in campgrounds everywhere, but I think Levonne was missing the deep friendship that comes with not just shared interests, but shared memories.  Whether moving to a new town or moving around the country, it takes time to find your new friends and build those new memories: the hike over the Continental Divide when the skies opened; learning to construct an earthen oven out of “found” materials, and enjoying the pizza later; New Year’s Eve fireworks in the desert; climbing the big sand dunes in Colorado, and screaming as we rode a “sand buggy” over the dunes in Oregon; burgers on the grill after a winter hike in sunny Arizona; walking the sugar sand beaches of Florida; talking and laughing late into a cold winter night during a reunion of friends in Bisbee.

Lake Michigan Overlook at Sleeping Bear Dunes National LakeshoreIt look a little effort to find our new circle of friends - but mostly it took time.  For me, each year of fulltiming is better than the last: we understand our motorhome better, we understand our own needs better, and we’ve made many lasting friendships that deepen over time and shared experiences (helped along by technology that allows us to keep in touch with far-flung friends). 

Now, seven years and almost 100,000 miles later, we have many more friends than we did in our working lives, and we’re grateful we can live a lifestyle that brings us into contact with so many great people doing so many interesting things.  I love how our “neighborhood” has grown!

A funny postscript:  I wrote this as we traveled from Traverse City to Hillman.  When we arrived and began setting up in our new site, the neighbors introduced themselves – and they are fulltimers, from Sacramento, CA, our prior hometown.  Such a small world, really!


  1. Laurie, submit this post to the Escapee people so they can publish it in their magazine. Your insight into the way of life is refreshing and instructive for those that follow behind!


  2. Several requirements for happy full-timing, I think.

    1. You really gotta get along with your spouse (and vice versa.) Living in a tin box of 300 sqft with somebody that upsets you is a bad idea.)

    2. You have to be willing to talk to people. Kay Peterson wrote of a fellow who was ready to give up full-timing because he was lonely, but he was observed not to be open to others. He was hiding, driving others away, and wondering why he was lonely. Whether it's a campground neighbor, a person in a restaurant, a church or synagogue, or whatever, you have to talk to people.

    Travel safely...

    Ed Greenberg

  3. Thanks for the insight into preventing loneliness
    on the road. That is exactly why Mike and I joined Escapees and also the Boomers. We are new and haven't traveled this first year as much as we wanted but we still want to expand our friends. This is an excellent way. I realize it takes time and this first year was a learning curve for us. We are looking forward to meeting other Escapees/Boomers as we begin to move around this great country.
    Have fun in Hillman!!

    Mike & Gerri (happytrails)

  4. This is a very good article, thank you for sharing your insights!

    It'll be at least 4 more years before I can attempt RVing full- or part-time, but I figure it's not too early to start reading up on RVers experiences.

    When you have time, can you tell me how you handle all those annual medical checkups and dental cleanings?


  5. Very well said. One other thing to remember: in order to have good friends, you need to be a good friend. We, too, have more friends as fulltime RVers than we ever had in our sticks and bricks lifestyle. Have fun at Thunder Bay.

  6. I agree with Rod, you really should submit this post as an article to the Escapees magazine. It would help so many people!!! I'm going to mention this post in my blog, OK?

  7. Boy, you hit that one on the head. We are much less outgoing than you guys, but still are amazed at the number of good friends we have accumulated over the last 4 years. I agree, you should submit the post to Escapees.

  8. Laurie, This is a magnificent piece of writing. You capture the essence of the RV lifestyle.

  9. We aren't full-time, but the 5 months we are gone from our family I MISS them...but lonely?? I think someone can be lonely in a crowded room. Lonesome is a word I try not to use...."missing people" is what I prefer to call it. I'm very sure Levonne was missing her "peeps". I sure miss mine when we are gone, When I do I either call them, or "skype" the ones I can..I get my "homies" fix, give Den a big kiss....and go and try to find an RV neighbor I can visit with. I have to say, I do NOT know how I would be full-timing...I'm thinking that everyone must handle it differently. We have made so many friends by blogging...thanks to everyone of you!!

  10. I couldn't have said it better. We have more friends since fulltiming than we ever had before. And we weren't even looking for them! But we also appreciate those friendships more than we thought we would too.

    Thanks for a well written post.

  11. Well, once again it looks like we are the exception to the rule. Feeling lonely or missing people has never been an issue for us, either on the road or being home for the summer. I can certainly identify with the person who remarked about being alone in a crowd though. Happens to me every time!! Kelly's summer job has her nose to nose with the public from the time we get home in the spring until the time we leave again in the fall so our RV time is a huge break away from the public for her. And me, well I'm just like that all the time anyway. Enjoyed your post:))

  12. Since we started our adventures we have met some very nice people we stay in touch with. We've even traveled around with some of them for over a month to different areas. We have also met some very strange people that we chose to steer clear of. You get all kinds out on the road, that's for sure.

    I don't feel we've ever been lonely. Skype, cell phones and the internet with video conferencing make it easy to keep in touch. Email and blogs are another easy way to keep up-to-date with everyone. We find we actually are closer to our family when we travel because we tend to call them more often.

    The holidays are a way to meet new friends. This past Thanksgiving we were out on the road and the campground owners put on a huge Thanksgiving dinner for everyone in the park, free of charge no less. Nice way to meet to people and enjoy a meal. You do have to make the effort to leave your motorhome and venture out to talk to people though. After all, you do have rving in common.

  13. Wow, not only are you an excellent writer, but your blog site is outstanding. Looking forward to following your travel adventures. We can learn a lot from you, as we have only been fulltimers for 10 months.

    Safe travels, hope we meet "down the road".

  14. What a great post thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  15. Laurie, Odel, someday we will get together. somehow, I think er have a lot in common.

  16. Thanks guys, my wife has been worried about the loneliness (we are about to retire and want to live on the road). I'll have her read this, it should alleviate some of her anxiety.