Monday, December 16, 2013

Need your help on a question

Recently I received the following email asking for help:

“Hi, we started full-timing this year.  I started out so excited but have fell into a disappointed depression.  Seems everyone says how friendly people are and how much fun it is to travel but I am not so sure.  We had fun traveling in our car but now that we are in an RV we seem lost.  We are in Mesa, AZ at this time.  Parks are so expensive and even if they´re not it is hard to fine a good one.  Thought maybe you could give me some ideas to get me out of this slump.  Appreciate it so much.  Help!!!  We are from Ohio.  Can’ t go  back we sold our home.”

I answered her back with:

I am so sad to hear that you have not had a better experience fulltime RVing.  First off, do you belong to Escapees RV Club?  If not I highly recommend you do so.  We met most of our RV friends attending rallies and activities through Escapees.  Within Escapees they have sub-groups one of which is called Boomers.  It is strictly a social group without any structure except to gather with other Boomers across the country as we travel.  We communicate with each other on Facebook and through a monthly electronic newsletter.  Most of our friends on the road are Boomers.

As far as finding good RV parks to stay, check out parks at and read comments before deciding where to park.  Some people travel a lot only staying a week or two at one place, while others stay at one place for three months and only move four times a year.  If you move often it is harder to make friends.  We came to Betty's RV Park two years ago and met so many people just from our time here and have kept in touch with them and met them in other places in the country.  Finding a friendly park with outgoing people almost guarantees meeting friendly people.

No matter which way you travel, you DO have to put yourself out there in order to make friends on the road.  You have to make the first move and introduce yourself to others.  Go to RV park activities, introduce yourself to others in the laundromat, church, etc.  One of the best ways I've found to meet others is to simply sit outside my rig in a chair and greet people as they walk by.  Or, you go walk around the RV park and greet people who are nearby.  But you have to be the instigator to meet others.

I hope some of these ideas will ring true to you and you will try them.

One other thing I'd like to suggest.  I'd like to put this question on my blog to my readers and see what suggestions they come up with in comments.  Of course I would not use your name.

In an additional email I also suggested she read Nick Russell’s excellent post on 
making friends on the road.

Come on now folks let’s get behind this and help this fellow RVer. What suggestions do you have that would help this blog reader?  Make your suggestions in the comments section and I will publish them.  Oh, I hope I get lots of comments!

Remember, you are loved.
Read the story behind the saying HERE


  1. Bobby, great suggestions to the new RV'r....Nice of you to take that effort on.....see, RV'rs are just so friendly! Anyway, you may want to suggest Passport America to these folks in regards to keeping costs down.
    Some of the problem is attitude. I think full timers are a bit of gypsies and often have no plan, they just go somewhere when they get the itch. Some need to be in places where they have lots of activities while they sit. You do have to have projects to do (hobbies, etc.).
    You may want to see if Jim and Nancy Tidball are anywhere near these folks. They are great folks who might be able to visit and get the jest of whats going on. Hope this is helpful!

  2. You are definitely right about not being shy and instigating conversations. Don't be scared talking to other RVers especially in parks or campgrounds. Life is what you make it and one of the best ways to get to knowing anyone is greeting them with a smile. Participating in Potlucks or get-togethers at restaurants is another way of getting to know people. Again you have to take that first step and say "Hello". Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  3. Sometimes during the summer it can be hard also as weekend campers are a whole different breed now a days. They are there for the weekend to have fun and then gone.

    I agree that going to the RV rallies is a great help and getting involved with the Escapee groups. Sign on to the Escapee forum and see if there are others in "the graduating class" getting together. Heck, '07 class adopts everyone and I believe they will be in Q this winter, at least some.

    Where is this person traveling? During the winter Florida is very expensive the further south you get. Try going to Texas or Arizona. I find some of the resorts can be a little hard to make friends as a lot of folks go back year after year and have their friends, you just have to make the effort, they don't always come to you. And as you said Bobbi, get involved.....


  4. I would say everything you said but would encourage her to check out the Escapees RV Parks once she joins Escapees. They are about the only RV parks we ever stay at so if money is a problem, they are pretty affordable. If they are into boondocking, it only costs $5 a night at most of the Escapees parks. Be sure they put the Escapees decal on their rig and towed. I always look for the decal and stop and introduce myself if it see it anywhere else besides an Escapees park. We have invited three difference people to our cottage in Vermont when I saw their decal on their vehicle in parking lots in Vermont. Kay Peterson also wrote a great article about meeting people. I'm sure if you write to the editor of the magazine, she could tell you which issue it was in. Good luck and hang in there. It's the BEST lifestyle for so many of us.
    Joyce Space

  5. We know exactly what the Ohio fulltimer is talking about. We are from PA and are also in Mesa, AZ. But since leaving PA on August 15th, after selling our house, having public auction, closing our business, WE HAVE HAD ALOT OF PROBLEMS! On Sept. 23 we had to take our 2013 Sanibel back to Elkhart, IN from Mesa, AZ after finding out that our frame welds were broken when our bedroom slide would not go in. We then headed back to Mesa but in TX, we had two tires on the Sanibel smoke and explode!!! The first one just smoked.....the second one exploded into the air with the rim hitting the pavement and busting up the fender. We were "taken" by a tire service 60 miles away for over $800.00 for one tire change!!! When we got back to Mesa, we had contacted one of the well-known rv bloggers and his attitude was "what do you want me to do about it" I guess we wanted some suggestions or just a little chance to complain and talk with SOMEONE about our problem since our friends back in PA really don't understand WHY we chose this lifestyle nor want to hear about the problems we are experiencing out here as fulltimers. As far as friendly people....yes we have met a lot of friendly and not-so-friendly people out here. But you can have that if you live in a sticks and bricks. We are now waiting to have our AXLES changed out due to them being compromised by the exploding tire hitting the road. We have been fighting for over a month to just have that done. We still have yet to hear back about our tires that only had about 7853 miles on them. But at this point we don't hold out for much hope. We submitted pictures, emails, letters and bills to Forest River, Dexter, Tredit-Tires, and Coach Net. WE ARE NOT GIVING UP ON THIS LIFESTYLE!!!! We are not quitters. Whether or not we make friends or just meet friendly people, this trip has been interesting to say the least. We are trying to remain positive and still enjoy ourselves. Last night my husband and I went on a Moonlight Hike out at the Lost Dutchman Park and it was GREAT!!!! We too would like to make some friends we can stay in contact with, complain to, share with and just be able to talk with people who have this lifestyle. We guess, EVENTUALLY it will come. Since we have only been on the road for 4 months, well we are just NEWBIES and will eventually learn the ropes. We have been in contact with a couple who are workamping nearby but have yet to get together due to our activities and their work schedule but we aren't giving up on that either....we hope to get together with them before we leave the area. We'd love to hear from newbies and those of you who are seasoned.....of course ONLY POSITIVELY....LOL.....Thanks for

  6. I would also recommend Passport America and Happy Camper Camping Club as well for their 50% discount. Also there are quite a few rv groups on facebook that you could join, Camping in the USA, Rvers Life for me, RVers over 50 to name just a few. I have found many new friends that way and look forward to meeting them when we go out on the road next year. Another way is to check out the Forums on the Escapee site. You can meet new people that way and as Bobbie said Rallies and get togethers are a great way to find new friends. It's ok if you use my name.

  7. That's strange. I left a comment earlier but it's not here. Been having trouble with Yahoo Pop-ups.

    It's about time

  8. The following comments were sent to me to share so I'm adding it to the comments so other can see it.

    Thanks for posting on your blog the note from a a fellow RV'er who is having a tough time getting going. My comment is:

    Yes, when we first started full timing we left behind our world. Our church, gun club, hunting buddies, neighbor friends, and our whole social life that was so important to us. I still remember driving out of the garage never to return, honking our horn waking all the neighbors as we drove by. This was our way of saying good by and God bless. Of course we felt a sense of sorrow, but we also felt a sense of adventure. This was the beginning of the rest of our lives.

    We soon learned that that if we were to enjoy life to the fullest we had to get involved "with life". We had to met people who wanted to do the same thing we wanted to do. We joined Escapees, Alpenlite Travel Club, went to Good Sam rallies, boon docked in the desert, and talked to as many full timers as we could. In other words,we wanted to get involved with like minded people and to do this we had to "mingle". And we met some truly wonderful people.

    We have been doing this now for over 13 years, and our lives have bloomed beyond expectations. Our kids say, "Mom and Dad a lot times we don't know where you are, but we do know you have more close friends than you ever had". Full timers have a support group out there beyond belief and I have seen it is action.

    How did this happen to us. Very simply, we took the responsibility for our own happiness and got involved. It will not come to you, you have to seek it.

  9. I would heartily second the idea about going to the SKP parks - Jojoba Hills in Aguanga CA is very friendly with lots of activities.....$5 per night boondocking and we have good specials right now for full-hookups, too - call 951-9130 - I am at extension 4638 (won't be back until `12/31) Benson is also a great friendly park.....we have some good friends there,,,,,,

  10. Bobbie - I agree with your suggestions. Since they mentioned they were up in Mesa, I would suggest they head east on I-10 then west on I-8 to the SKP park in Casa Grande. To me, it is a friendly park and reasonable rates as long as their RV is no more than 40'.

  11. Not to beat a dead horse but our first park was a Escapee park and we stayed for seven weeks. We also do volunteer camphosting and it really puts you out there. We always check licence plates as they are great topic starters.

  12. Bobbies ideas are great! Join Escapees and go to rallies or go to the Escape parks and always go to happy hour.. Here are a couple ideas of ways we meet people. Don't sit inside your unit. Look for a park that has activities and get involved. When you are parked somewhere walk around the campground and when you see someone sitting outside ask them a question about their rig. People always love explaining stuff about their rig. If your a crafter teach a class yourself. If you are a bird watcher set up a trip to a local park and lead it. Their are a lot of people like you who want to meet people.
    If you see large groups at happy hour stop by and chat as most of the time they will invite you to join them.
    Clear skies,
    Mark and Renita

  13. If in Mesa there are a number of extremely large RV parks (2000-3000 units) and many are filled with returning "snowbirds" that sometimes can be cliquish. We are Escapee Boomers and often stay at a Cal-Am affiliated parks that honors 1/2 off discounts for seven days. Mesa Regal and Val Vista are two very active parks. As others have said YOU can't just stay in your rig. Spend time in the main club houses reading the activity boards to see what is going on. If you golf, knit, play bridge or billiards, shuffleboard, water aerobics, horseshoes, perform, like crafts, etc. you should find a non-intimidating place to get started. Also check the local advertising newspapers (White Sheets) to locate social events with others from Ohio for their monthly social. As Boomers, all we do is go online to one of our club pages and post "Anyone in Mesa and want to get together?". Within minutes we are arranging meals out and social Happy Hours with other Boomers staying in parks throughout the area. Also plan to head for Quartzsite for the humongous RV gathering in the desert along I-10 between mile markers 15-19. You can stay in parks with hook-ups or boondock on BLM land. Please let us know if you are headed to "Q" and you can join us at Boomerville with the folks from 150+ RVs of all makes and models. You will not go away lonely!!!

  14. Wow, what great suggestions our readers have provided!!! One repeated thread seems to be to join Escapees RV Club ( and then join their sub-group the Boomers. Also good idea is to stay at an Escapee RV Park to meet other members. Thank you all for helping out.

  15. Bobbie and Jim - great suggestions from you and your commenters. Linda and I would just like to address the financial situation. It IS expensive to go RVing unless you study the alternatives. The Corps of Engineers has very nice campsites with reasonable rates. If you get a Senior Pass, you get half off those rates, as well as half off for National Forest campgrounds. You can also overnight at most Walmart parking lots. If they care to boondock occasionally, go to This is a site that lists people who allow an RVer to stay on their property for a few days without charge. Then there is a site that lists all campgrounds. It is And all the advice about being outgoing and presenting yourself is good. It may take a little time, but there is a great and beautiful America out there to see and enjoy. I'm sure there are friendly RVers out there to enjoy it with.

    1. Mike, you made good points for the expense consideration. We use COE's a lot as you can usually stay two weeks. We use national forests campgrounds a lot also in the summer time. Thanks for your input.

    2. Again, thanks to all who took the time to share with us. Linda and Bob

  16. We certainly can relate. We sold our house in MN and felt good about our fulltime rving adventure. As it turns out, we've spent most of the time parked in our grown children's back yard. We are currently in NC and still haven't decided where to go for winter. I think northwest NC is too cold in January and February. Last year we really ventured out in January and went to Carrabelle, FL. After we arrived we both got the flu and hubby ended up with pneumonia. We'll continue trying this adventure for a while but wish there were more nice, clean reasonably priced parks. We are Minnesota Nice but have met a lot of stuck up not so nice people.


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