Fulltime RVing – Do You Ever Get Bored?

panoramaThere was no shortage of opinions on our plan to sell our belongings and hit the road fulltime back three years ago. A fair number of our friends thought we were crazy. Most of my family held the opinion that we would come to our senses and settle down after a few months, but inquiries about when that will happen haven't been as frequent lately – maybe they've given up hope of us ever returning to normal.

It's a different existence, to be sure, and there are challenges – you only have maybe 10% of the “stuff” people keep with them in a regular house. You're constantly checking local ordinances to be sure it's OK for you to stay where you are – people with houses don't have to do that.   And you're never in the same place long – there's no such thing as becoming familiar with the neighborhood and getting to know the locals, and getting something mailed to you is a complex procedure.

It's a big world out there.

It's a big world out there.

So the question we get now that it's apparent we have no intention of returning to normal life anytime soon is: Don't you ever get bored? I mean, driving around all the time, sitting cooped up in a tiny Class B RV staring at each other night and day, nowhere to relax and hang your hat – surely it's getting to be a drag, they say hopefully.

Well, no, it's not. We spent much time and effort planning our equipment so that our day-to-day existence on the road would be as close as possible to our life in a sticks and bricks house. Sharon had already been retired for 15 years when I hung it up, and her daily pastimes were reading, watching TV, and surfing the web.  My leisure activities when not at that cursed place of employment were fiddling with my vehicles and house, surfing the web, and reading.  Unless we wanted to develop a complete new set of pastimes, we needed TV and internet access and a constant supply of fresh reading material.

Our media center - TV, internet and who knows what else - maybe SETI ;-)

Our media center – laptops, TV, internet, a Blu-Ray player, satellite radio, and who knows what else – maybe SETI 😉

TV and internet was easier than it would appear at first glance. TV was simply a matter of getting a DirecTV satellite account and purchasing a tripod rig to mount the dish on. Internet was slightly more complicated – we have a data card that works off the cellphone network, and an internet satellite dish and tripod for when we're out in the boonies.  Since we spend at least half our time out in the boonies, the dish has done a wonderful job of providing uninterrupted internet access no matter where we go, and the card is great for in-motion use as we drive, and to check for gas, groceries, and camping spots as we move across the landscape.

The book bag. Pathetic, isn't it? We really have no storage when it comes to bulky, one-time-use things like books.

The book bag. Pathetic, isn't it? We really have no storage when it comes to bulky, one-time-use things like books.

Ironically, maintaining a fresh supply of low-tech reading material was much more difficult. We started out with a book bag, and would take advantage of paperback exchanges we ran into along the highway. Since the supply was somewhat limited and neither one of us was in the market for romance novels and Tom Clancy stuff, which seemed to compose the bulk of the offerings, our reading for the first year or so was spotty. We would buy new or used books occasionally, but the volume of reading material we went through made this a budgetary problem. I finally hit upon the solution of signing up for a library card at the city library where our nominal mailing address is (we DO have a mailing address – its my sister's/parents' house) and using their online e-book checkout. It's great – a wide selection, new books within a reasonable interval of their publication, and best of all they don't weigh anything or take up space! We download these to our his-and-hers laptops, and read away to our heart's content.

When you're camping at Chaco Canyon, it's easy to get motivated for a walk.

When you're camping at Chaco Canyon, it's easy to get motivated for a walk.

So what do we do to keep from getting bored? The same stuff as we always did – plus, we go for many more walks than we used to. Fiona's always up for a long stroll, so she gets some of the credit for this, but it's just more appealing than when we lived in a sticks and bricks house. We went for walks when we moved to the new neighborhood, but after a while it got boring – same old stuff, walking around the neighborhood to see if anyone had gotten new lawn furniture or a new car, that's about it. Now we have a new neighborhood to explore every week.  So no, we're not bored – far from it. We have all the old comforts of home, plus some exciting new opportunities. And the weather's always perfect, which helps to get one outdoors 😉

Driveway camping with our Canadian friends Dotty and Jean in Arizona.

Driveway camping with our Canadian friends Dotty and Jean in Arizona. That's Kitt Peak on the right.

Do we miss our friends? Well, no, not really. We're not the most sociable of people to start with, and we spend a couple of months a year with family over the holidays and find that's enough to keep in touch without getting on each others' nerves. Same with old friends – we do a long slow circuit around the country, and drop in once a year for a few days. What's new and exciting for us, however, is the people we meet on the road. We met a nice couple who live where we are now – Chris and Carol – and stay in touch with them.

We have also formed fast friendships with fellow nomads – Victor from Three Forks, Caroline, and Mick the Brit- and keep bumping into them all over the country. We just finished a rousing reunion with Mick the Brit up on the Beartooth Plateau, and hope he'll be out to the coast while we're still out here. And Ginny Evans our fellow Roadtreker has hit the road fulltime – we saw her in Montana and we'll see her again soon where we are now, on the Oregon coast. So no, we don't get bored. Life's more of an adventure than ever.  Sometimes not knowing what's going to happen next is good for you 😉





  • Maureen

    You truly do have that “big backyard ” Campskunk. I’m a Canuck so when I leave the comforts of my home I am mindful of other medical systems because of the coverage our system provides. Extra coverage is usually easy to purchase when travelling abroad. How does it work for you when you need medical care in the USA?

    • Campskunk

      Maureen, i am paying an amazing amount of money to Blue Cross, one of the big health service insurance providers down here. unlike HMOs and other locally based provider networks, they have affiliates across the country, so I’m covered coast to coast. i sure hope so – they get about 30% of my income and i’ve never filed a claim except for my yearly optical exam.

  • Brad Smith

    > And the weather’s always perfect, which helps to get one outdoors 😉

    The winking emoticon suggests you’re well aware the weather is not quite always perfect. Particularly when camping in the boonies, how much of an impact does cold and hot weather have on the pleasure of being on the road fulltime?

    • Campskunk

      Brad, i’m really serious about the good weather. my weather is about as perfect as you can get – i migrate around the country, following the good weather, and it’s (almost) always 70 and sunny. i bet i get 330 days a year of full sun, which helps my solar panel output. here’s a post i wrote on how to ensure good weather year-round: http://roadtreking.com/70-and-sunny-all-year-moving-with-the-weather/ i will sit through a half day of rain if it’s just a front moving through, but if it’s going to rain longer than that i’m on the weather websites looking for a direction to travel in to get back into the sunshine.

  • Nyla

    I always told our kids “the only one that can bore you, is YOU” So get over it! and that is why you are not bored. You do not let yourself!

  • Winona Kratz

    Hey, Campskunk! I really enjoy reading your “Roadtrek Reports”. Like you and Sharon, I enjoy reading too and am always cruising my local library for e-books to download. I’m a huge Lee Child fan (Harlan Coben too), but I recently steered away from mystery genre and finished a light-hearted story by Rachel Joyce that you may enjoy — “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Frye”. Good ‘ol Harold was on the road too (on a mission and meeting some quirky people along the way). Just a suggestion! Anyway, we’re always looking forward to your contributions to the website. Happy trails! [Winona]

    • Campskunk

      thanks- i’ll look it up on the library website. you and stu should bust loose and we’ll meet out on the road somewhere and compare book notes!

  • Laura Robinson

    Hi RT and Sharon, I read a great book about an elderly couple who go on an RV trip called “The Leisure Seekers”. I am not implying that you are elderly, I am just sayin’ it’s a good read 🙂

    • Campskunk

      thanks – i’ll read it so i’ll know what to expect when i get old 😉

  • I love hearing how you make like enjoyable. Enjoy the ride!

  • Bill Sprague

    Campskunk, you guys sound like us except we have not made the RV leap as yet. Soon we hope. We have friends across the country but only are in touch in Christmas letters. We think it could work to just camp nea them and be neighbors once a year. You’re doing it and that’s encouraging. Now to find a deal on good walking shoes and an E-Trek…… Thanks!

  • You do know, don’t you, that if you ever feel like sitting at a “real” table, you’re always welcome to have dinner here with us. We’ll make our famous “killer cheese bread” and give you a to-go bag for whatever remains uneaten. –Carol and Chris

    • Campskunk

      hi carol! thanks for taking pity on the homeless – chris and carol are the couple on the Oregon coast who spotted my solar panels, knew who i was, and invited us over for dinner, where we sat down at a REAL TABLE with PLACE SETTINGS! it was the first time in months we didn’t eat dinner in the RT, and we also got to meet abigail their somewhat cranky but very loveable kitty. it was a wonderful gesture and made Oregon an even nicer stop along the road for us.

  • Sherry Hooker

    I’m surprised that as much of a techno-nerd that you are, you don’t have e-readers for your reading fix. You can easily get free or very low-cost reading material, usually $.99. My daughter has over a thousand books, and the lions-share of them were free.

    • Campskunk

      sherry:
      it would be just one more single-purpose device to carry – we can use the laptops to read with by downloading the epub version rather than the kindle version, and get by with two less devices (we can’t share anything – each has to have their own). i also download free stuff off the web from google books – reread a lot of mark twain and other classics the first year we were out. an e-reader would be a little easier on electricity, though – the laptops take about 40 watts to run.

  • Judi Darin

    The Oregon coast is amazing. I live in Portland and camp along the coast as often as I can. Is it possible to attach a photo here?

    • Campskunk

      no, i don’t think so – i know you can post a link to one, but not the photo itself.

  • Judi Darin

    I posted a few photos of the Oregon coast in the Photography Forum. One of them is upside down and I couldn’t manage to fix it, so please excuse my tech lack!

  • Just a tip on a great place one can camp for free for 14 days at a time (then move to another nearby camp) from April through October just east of Salem off i5 in Oregon. It is called Quartzville Creek. If you do a google follow the link to the BLM info. There is an ~11 mile stretch along a beautiful river that has free camp spots. My wife and i spend several weeks in the area each season to gold pan. Here is a recent 360 panorama of a typical camp (or van conversion + fiberglass trailer is in the picture).
    Happy Trails !!

    http://accrete.com/p-tcla/2013-08QCring10panorama.jpg

  • love this

  • Gary Svitkovich

    Shasta Mountain.

  • Think I may have to have one of these

  • This is me when I retire!

  • Claudia Sherrill

    Great rig!

  • Marisela Santiesteban

    Beautiful

  • What a great life. hope we can do it soon also.

  • Jennifer Clark

    I would like to have one of these

  • Mary Jane Thorpe

    Can you make monthly payments on one???

  • Sue Clarke

    Yes you can make monthly payments Marisela Santiesteban. Only way we could afford one!!

  • Glenda Messina

    Beautiful

  • Love it!

  • I think that’s Mt. Hood, not too far from Hood River Oregon.

  • Looks like Mt Hood.

  • Campskunk

    that is indeed mt hood, seen from Panorama Park, just south of the town of Hood River. we were there in cherry season – giant plastic shipping containers full of cherries out front of the fruit stands, fresh from the fields. grab a bag and stuff it with all the cherries you think you can eat. we camped in dispersed camping around the south side of the mountain by Sahalie Falls – wonderful solitude and beautiful views.

  • Full time in a 29′ rig and love it.

  • Jayson Conover

    Want one in 4×4!

  • David Norris

    I definitely would like to have one but can’t afford it

  • Jennifer Santa Maria

    Nice rig. They cost about as much as the big bus RV’s!

  • Gordon Harris

    Big enough for 1. So small have to have the tote on rear?? Get real, if you need that much more room get a small class C and save$$

    • Campskunk

      and trade my 15 miles per gallon for 8? no thanks. i also love the handling – a Class C’s center of gravity is a foot higher than a Roadtrek’s, and good luck if you have to stop in an emergency.

      the point of a Roadtrek is to have quality construction that will still be going strong after ten or 20 years. solid wood cabinet fronts, marine plywood, and real cabinetry construction, as opposed to the Class C’s particle board and staple gun construction. i am in this for the long haul.

  • Sandra Fenn Gibbs Vann

    What’s on top of that Roadtrek??

  • Mon rêve…….

  • It’s big enough for me!!!!!

  • I had a a small 1968–69, 22R engine, pop-up camper chinook & it’s the life 2 have a smaller RV than a big one due 2 the practicalness of it all. 1 & 1/2 yrs 2 go i’m getting another & finally will B free of homes that anchor ya dwn. No freedom there !!,……

  • Sandy Moran

    Loving your articles and I’m More certain than ever that we made the right decision to hit the road..had to compromise to make me sweetie happy ..he wanted and needed roots..so the condo in FLORIDA works.left Seattle Jan 5 and loving every minute

  • John Wallace

    sunshine !

  • My retirement is soon I would very much be interested in something like that.

  • Wish I could do this!!!

  • I love it