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The routines of the RV lifestyle

We all seem to have routines in our daily and monthly lives, regardless of how much some of us yearn for and brag about our spontaneity. Routines that seem to provide a certain sense of security and well-being. Routines that are by choice or are somehow forced on us by our lifestyle or our preferences.

For many years, as I have being RVing around this great country, I have scoffed at the routines that are so apparent in the lives of my friends who live in stationary homes, while priding myself for my absolute freedom and spontaneous activity as I have roamed about the country. Now, realistically, I must admit that I have several routines in my own in living the RVing lifestyle.

Other RVers have even more routines that dictate their daily and monthly activities. Let’s examine some of these and see if they may hold or add some positive aspects for our lives.

Each of us has our routines that are natural for us and are often unique to our own wants and needs. These routines and activities seem the norm and often we do not realize that they are not much different from those of others. My routines involve RVing and embracing the opportunities and freedoms associated with the individuals and communities who are actively involved with the RV lifestyle.

Having now completed more than seven years of being a single, male, full-time RVer traveling in the United States, Mexico and Canada, I have established my own daily, monthly and annual routines. The routines of many people are well defined and restricted to a rote set of actions. My routines are keyed by the actions that are defined by a few words such as spontaneity, freedom, openness and adventure.

TV routines

Virtually every RVer depends upon TV for entertainment, news and noise. When an RV enters a resort and is safely parked, one of the first activities is to setup of the TV satellite dish or antenna. As soon as the power cord is attached, it seems the TV must be activated for the enjoyment of one or more members of the family.

The activation process may require a quick tour of the neighborhood to note the proper direction to aim the dish toward the appropriate satellite. Then the action begins. For some, this requires an hour or more of adjustment while others may accomplish the same result in a few minutes. Once the TV is turned on, the routine of watching favorite programs is set in place. Watching may be an even more enticing routine. Many have absolute, must-see favorites and other RVers simply like the company of their favorite TV actors to brighten their day.

Computer and cell phone routines

In a manner similar to the TV, one other method of communication with the outside world is with computers and phones. Unfortunately, these appliances may not operate or make connections in the same manner at each RV resort. Therefore, it is often necessary to locate the optimum or best place in the park to receive cell phone and wireless signals. Part of the routine is to find the best spot and to then go to that spot, whether to the top of the nearest hill or mountain or to the recreation center to find the signal.

In some rather remote areas, this can be a very definite and real challenge, depending upon the cell phone company that has your business. It is not unusual for RVers to compare their phone and laptop reception with that of their neighbors, and the results may motivate them to change their phone plan to achieve the best results for that state or local community.

Biking with folding camper background

Exercise routines

Swimming, walking, riding a bicycle, hiking, jogging, water exercises, pickleball, tennis, horseshoes, dancing and shuffleboard are activities that are usually available at RV resorts of any size or quality. Others offer golf and similar upscale sports. Too many of us are not sufficiently motivated or physically capable of being active in sports, and we spend too much time using a table fork and spoon as our only exercise.

As the numbers of younger RVers increase, there are more vigorous exercise activities that are included in the daily routines. The RVing lifestyles and resort activities must now include such things as weight training rooms, zip lining, wall climbing and similar sports more tuned to the younger generations.

Pet owner routines

The majority of RVers have one or more dogs or cats that require exercise or opportunities to relieve themselves in the great outdoors. Because of the very valid RV resort rules that pets must be kept on a leash, the owners are required to escort their pets and to clean up after them. The routine of pet walks may be the only exercise that the owner gets during the day. These walks may give them a place to meet other pet owners or, at least, meet their pets. Bending over to pickup the poop certainly adds to the exercise.

Shopping and more shopping

As with the stationary lifestyle, one or more family members are sure to enjoy the shopping experience. However, as RVers travel from one area to another, this offers greater and more diverse opportunities for shopping pleasure. Finding and taking advantages of these new opportunities is often a rewarding challenge for those enterprising shoppers. Although storage spaces are limited in RVs, that does not inhibit really creative shoppers because they will find a way to store or display the really important items that they purchase.

In fact, it may be necessary to add a storage trailer behind the RV to accommodate the dedicated shopper. Shopping, of course, is not limited to one gender, for both big boys and big girls must have their BIG TOYS.

Travel via Type C motorhome

Travel routines

For many of us, the pleasure of traveling, seeing new places or revisiting sights that we have previously experienced, is the primary goal and cherished privilege of the RV lifestyle. Our type of travel is not for the purpose of traveling or moving along the highways of life. Rather, we wish to go to see, to feel, to smell, to live, to embrace, enjoy and really experience our destinations.

Therefore, when we remain in one location for extended periods of time, our minds and bodies eventually signal us that it is time to go, time to travel to a new experience or to rejuvenate our senses. For me, this may happen in a single, spontaneous moment when I am motivated to leave almost instantaneously. That is why I like to travel alone rather than with a group of RVers where I am compelled to adjust or modify my travel schedule. Of course, many RVers prefer to travel as a component of a caravan, but not me.

Moving on to see the mountains, valleys, canyons, deserts, oceans, lakes, rivers of this great world, to enjoy the sensation of being there and being a part of the vast living universe are the primary reasons that I continue to travel in my RV.

Exploration

Often, RVers are prone to explore on a fairly regular basis. Some explore only as far as their golf cart will carry them while others wander afar in various types of ATVs, razors, off-road vehicles or four-wheel drive trucks.

The exploration usually has a destination of some type, be it abandoned mines, logging trails, back roads in federal and state lands, national parks, national monuments and on uncharted private properties. Often a combination of off-roading, hiking or back-packing leads to the most interesting and challenging locations for responsible RVers.

In the southwest, there are the great sand dunes near Glamis, Calif., and the public lands near Quartzsite, Ariz., that become destinations for RVers, their toy haulers and various ATVs and dune buggies. Glamis Sand Dunes are particularly interesting to RVers during the cooler winter months when the dunes are practically filled with hundreds of wheeled vehicles.

Couple Reading in Type B Web

Reading

Reading books, both fiction and non-fiction is more than a routine, it is a necessary part of my life. Reading for knowledge, pleasure and relaxation (there is pleasure in gaining knowledge) are equally important to me and many other RVers.

Although there is limited space for storing either paperback or hardback books in my RV, I have found sufficient space for books that lead me to special places including ghost towns, off-road Jeeping sites, hiking trails, unique museums and off the beaten path destinations. Most of the RV resorts have lending libraries of one form or other which provides books for exchange. Some of my best and most useful books have been found in these libraries. Of course, I have left good books in exchange.

Two of the better libraries that I have encountered are those at Desert Shadows in Casa Grande, Ariz., and Twin Lakes in Menifee, Calif. Both of the libraries are supervised by staff of the resort so that all of the good books will be returned.

In the past, I have used my Kindle Fire to download free Amazon books, but while on the trip to Italy, my Fire was inadvertently forgotten on the British Airways plane and has not been returned. However, with the help of my friend, Joe, another voracious reader, I have now learned to download Amazon books on my laptop. Thus far, I have only acquired free books which are not of the best quality, but I expect to learn, in the near future, to borrow good books from various RV park or county libraries.

Annual routines

RVing Snowbirds are perhaps the most obvious of the annual routines. RVers from Canada, the northern parts of the United States and a remarkable number of Alaskans travel via well-known highways to warmer locations in the United States and Mexico.

Thousands of sunseekers find their way to RV parks in search of warmth and to escape the snow and freezing temperatures. While RVing in Baja Mexico in Feburary 2014, I saw many RVers who traveled far to enjoy the warm weather along the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean. In the spring they migrate back to their summer homes via the same or alternate highways.

RVers from all across the nation head for Quartzsite and spend from a few weeks to several months parked in the desert. Many have their favorite locations clearly delineated using rocks to outline their very own parking space.

Albuquerque International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is my favorite annual routine. I like to attend, participate in and serve as a crew member for this great event, which begins the first Saturday of October and extends to the following Sunday. For more than 15 years, I have crewed and had a wonderful time working with friends who own two balloons. Usually, I park my RV in the Sandia Casino Parking lot, which offers free parking and a fine view of the balloons when in flight and a daily view of the Sandia Mountains to the east.

There are, of course, many other routines that we embrace or may not even recognize in our lives. This is a suggestion that you may wish to enjoy your routines. Alternatively, you might decide to change or add a (or more) routine to enhance the zest and excitement in your life.

About Dr. Bob Gorden

Dr. Bob Gorden is an RVer, hiker and writer. He has a PhD in microbial ecology from the University of Georgia in Athens. He is a retired research scientist from the University of Illinois Natural History Survey. He has owned and operated more than 55 RVs of various types, and has visited every state, except Hawaii, in his RV. He also traveled by RV in New Zealand, Canada and Mexico. He currently owns and travels in a 1978 GMC 26-foot Class A and 2013 Thor ACE 30.1 Class A motorhome. He has a compelling desire to be “On the Road Again!”

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