For several years, before we started full-time RV traveling, we watched several YouTubers (Less Junk More Journey, Keep Your Daydream, The Next Exit, and Fate Unbound, to name a few). They all have their personal traveling styles. Fate Unbound, for instance, boondocks in remote areas about 98% of the time. The Next Exit travels almost exclusively in the Thousand Trails system and last year became “snowbirds,” purchasing a casita in the Yuma, Arizona area for the winter months and traveling the rest of the year. The others do a combination of boondocking, RV parks, and state and national park campgrounds.
Based on the expense of staying in RV parks on a regular basis and knowing the budget we had in mind, we initially set our sights on doing a lot of boondocking. Hence, we bought a composting toilet, installed solar panels, and installed a few more 12 volt plugs in the Airstream. We also looked into various memberships with camping perks. And, a few months before we started full-timing, we became part of the Thousand Trails system.
We are still discovering our personal traveling style, but many of the decisions we made before we started traveling have worked for us. Here’s what we’ve learned so far:
Tucked in out-of-the-way areas of the southern AZ desert are hidden gems. Those who traveled West in the 1800s knew this, as this is where gold, silver, and copper mining proliferated. But the gems these days are the sweet towns left behind as various mining operations shut down or moved away.
If it weren’t for the snowbirds or for those traveling to Los Algodones, Mexico for more affordable dental work or eyeglasses, Yuma might just be a tiny dot on the map. Except this is also where winter lettuce and cauliflower are grown—thousands of acres, with rotating schedules of planting and harvesting so that something is always being picked, packed, and shipped.
We found ourselves in Palm Springs in the early part of December during the pandemic. In “normal” times, I imagine this is where retired golfers converge. Palm trees, sunny skies, temps in the 70s, and golf courses scattered everywhere. Ten months into a pandemic, however, found California in another serious lockdown as emergency rooms and ICU beds filled to capacity and beyond. Most Canadian snowbirds were not able to cross the border to migrate to the south for the winter. Although our RV park was at about 75% capacity and the pickleball courts were active, the area seemed saddened by the lack of its usual hubbub of activity.
We are Karen and Carl Newton, newbie full-time RVers!