Social Life For The Introvert Solo RVer

I have been working on this post since the end of July. It’s a topic I felt like I had to write about, yet it’s been very difficult to get down in words. It’s been quite a struggle and I think it’s a bit disjointed and awkward, but I hope you will be patient and can manage to get my meaning. So here goes:

I became both a full-time RVer and single all at once when my ex and I split up. While I had envisioned full-time RV living for a good while, I had always assumed it would be as a couple and I had always assumed we’d make an orderly transition to the lifestyle. Instead, for all intents and purposes I became both single and without a sticks and bricks abode quite suddenly in one phone call on a Friday evening.

I’ve read posts on RVing internet forums and on RVing Facebook groups from singles discussing how difficult it is to travel alone. Well, I love traveling alone! I’ve always loved traveling; moving from here to there and seeing new landscapes unfold before me. I’ve traveled on foot, by bicycle, in a car, by plane, and in the motorhome. I enjoy them all, and I’ve done them all both alone and with a partner.

Traveling alone is certainly different than traveling with someone else. Since this is primarily an RVing blog I’ll limit my comments to that realm, but in general they apply to whatever travel mode I’m in.

Moving down the road with the car behind the motorhome, I am about 55′ long, 12 1/2′ high, and 8 1/2′ wide. It’s rarely possible to just pull over to the curb and figure out where I’m supposed to be going, and I don’t have a co-pilot who can look things up and help me figure things out, so when I hit the road in the morning I try to make sure I know where I’m heading and how I’m going to get there. This includes where I am going to stop for gas or to fill up on fresh water or to dump the waste tanks if needed.

I usually travel with two GPS units; my RV-specific Garmin and Google Maps on my phone. Most of the time this is completely redundant and unnecessary, but I remember well the day I came over the pass from Boulder City into Henderson , NV heading through Las Vegas. The highway was being worked on and that work included a re-alignment of some on-ramps, and that threw off the Garmin and caused it to just quit navigating. Now one does *not* pilot this motorhome through heavy traffic and play with the GPS at the same time. Fortunately, Google maps was still working and that kept me on course through the city until I could finally stop somewhere — I don’t recall, but probably a highway rest area — and get the Garmin back on track.

Okay, I’ve wandered a bit off-topic here. Let me try to get back on track; social life for the introvert single RVer.

I enjoy traveling alone. I like that I can decide on a Saturday evening that I want to go to Oregon, and get up on Sunday morning and go. I like that I can decide whether I want to drive 100 miles today, or 500 miles. I like that if I just want to stay in and watch Netflix all day I can do that, or if I want to go out and hike 15 miles through desert heat, I can do that. Heck, I once made an all-day field trip to see a creosote bush!

One of the downsides is that I have gone literally weeks without interacting with another person other than transactional conversations like checking into a campground. As an introvert it is way too easy to slip into this pattern, and eventually it takes a toll even on me. I remember having this thought conversation with myself back at the end of last year, and one of the things I did to combat this was to sign up for the Xscapers Convergence in Quartzsite last January. There are lots of great people who belong to Xscapers, but that’s the problem for a single introvert; there are just too many people. I ended up actually hiding out in the RV a couple of days during the week-long Convergence, as it was simply overwhelming. And when I left there I parked out in the middle of nowhere in the Mojave National Preserve for 10 days by myself, just to recover.

That proved to be a sub-optimal idea, but I didn’t give up. Eventually I came across the Wandering Individuals Network (WIN). An awkward name, but an organization that proved to suit me well. For one thing, as the name implies, it is made up entirely of singles so I’m not stuck trying to fit in with large groups of couples. For another, while most members are retired they are very active, with lots of hiking and cycling and paddling. Just my type of folks. And the WINs run multiple “circuits” so they end up broken up into smaller groups that suit me better.

This summer I spent 4 months working as a campground host at a Forest Service campground in Colorado. To my surprise, I came to really enjoy chatting with the campers. I met lots of really nice people. It did get a bit overwhelming on the holiday weekends, especially at the end of the summer when I was taking care of 3 campgrounds and there were so many people that needed attention, but I managed it. It helps that I never had to deal with any real jerks.

And of course I am not totally alone in the world. I have a relationship with Aoife. It’s mostly a long distance relationship as she lives in the UK, but she’s spent a total of about 7 weeks with me in various locations so far this year, and we have a blast traveling and exploring together. She’ll be flying in again in a couple of weeks while I am in Connecticut.

So what does all this mean? Is there some kind of conclusion to be drawn? Umm, yeah, I think so. For me, I have to put in a bit of effort to put myself in situations where I interact with other people. I need that. But not too much. I need my alone time as well. And if you ever find yourself parked next to me somewhere, say hi to your shy introvert neighbor. I’ll appreciate it.

On The Road Again

I finish my summer job on Saturday, and come Sunday morning I’ll be on the road again. And if Willie wants to come along and sing while I drive, he’s most welcome!

I have been busily attending to a seemingly never-ending list of chores, some large and some small, needed to get the rig ready to roll again after sitting still for 4 months. It’s been a wonderful summer but I am incredibly excited to be moving again. It feels like what I’m meant to do.

When I leave here I’ll head to Denver (actually, Auroroa) where I have an appointment to get six new tires on the motorhome on Monday morning. They’ll also be putting on new metal valve stems to support the sensors of the TPMS system I bought recently.

On Tuesday I’ll leave there and start making my way to Forest City, Iowa where I have an appointment at the Winnebago Factory Service Center to get a number of things worked on. My appointment isn’t until the 24th so I expect to have a few days to chill in Forest City beforehand.

From Iowa I’m heading for Connecticut; hopefully in time for Anju’s birthday on September 30th. I’ll be in Connecticut for a few weeks enjoying the fall weather, visiting family, doing some hiking, and generally getting back in touch with my New England roots. And Aoife will be flying in for a week while I’m there, so my family will get to meet her and I’ll get to show her around the places where I grew up.

Eventually I have to leave Connecticut and head “home” to Livingston, Texas where Ill see my doctor for my annual physical and get the vehicles inspected and the registrations renewed. Those stops in the Carolinas on the way are just one idea. I’ve not actually decided which route I’ll take to Texas. I may go via Memphis and visit my cousin there instead of going down the coast.

And finally, I’ll leave Livingston and backtrack a day into Louisiana where I will spend the winter volunteering at a National Wildlife Refuge in exchange for a free RV site and utilities.

As for next spring and summer, I have multiple ideas but none of them have coalesced yet. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Happy Nomadversary To Me!

One year ago today, August 30, 2017, I moved into the motorhome and have lived here since.

Probably somewhat uniquely, I didn’t know that’s what I was doing.  I had taken the AdventureMobile to the local state park campground and was expecting my now-ex to join me in a few days once she finished some jobs she had scheduled. Instead, a couple days later she called and told me she wanted a divorce and for me to move out. And wham! I made the transition to full-time RV life just like that. One trip back to the condo to collect some more of my clothes, and I was done.

It’s been a hell of a year. I stayed in the area for a couple of months while she and I worked out the details and while I gracefully exited the business we ran together, then I struck out for parts unknown. I left New England in mid-November heading south. I remember spontaneously stopping at Mammoth Cave NP for a few days, then heading to Memphis where I camped on the bank of the Mississippi and spent Thanksgiving with my cousin. Then I headed down the Natchez Trace and enjoyed the free campgrounds before heading west to Texas where with the help of the Escapees I established Texas residency, got my Texas drivers license, and registered my vehicles there.

I spent Christmas on the Texas coast and New Years Eve in a Walmart parking lot. I soaked in a hot spring on the bank of the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park, experienced Quartzsite, boondocked in the California desert, spent my birthday on the beach in San Diego, explored southern Utah, hiked in the Grand Canyon, and now I’m winding up a summer of workamping in Colorado. And as icing on the cake, I got to share some of these adventures with a wonderful woman who has come into my life.

I’ve tentative plans for the next few months, but I can’t really say what the next year will bring. I do know that if I find myself somewhere I don’t care for, my home has wheels and I can move on. I think that might be the very core of the RV lifestyle.

I do think I might travel a bit less than I did the first year, and thus spend a bit less on fuel. From conversations I’ve had, it seems a nearly universal experience that folks travel a lot their first year. The freedom is addicting.

I’ve spent more money this first year than I had intended. I need to give that some real attention and get my budget under control. It’s certainly easier to spend less than it is to earn more, so I am determined to do so.

So much to look forward to!

I’ve Got The Power!

Okay, that’s just silly! But this post is about power. Specifically, how I store it. Let me explain.

When my ex and I bought the motorhome in 2016 it still had the original 12-volt marine batteries that were installed at the factory in 2010 (it’s a 2011 but was manufactured in July of 2010). The batteries were pretty much toast but the original owner only camped at places with electric hookups so they didn’t care, or perhaps didn’t even notice.

So in April of last year I replaced those two 12-volt marine batteries — marine batteries are sort of a hybrid between a starter battery and a deep cycle battery — with two 6-volt deep cycle golf cart batteries wired in series. These were standard flooded lead acid batteries that require periodic topping off of the water, and which emit gases and therefore require venting. This was fine as they went into the battery compartment under the stairs which is open to the outside and thus well ventilated. I installed a watering system to make keeping the water at the proper level in each cell a trivial job.

Fast forward to March of this year. I’d gone through the winter doing a good bit of boondocking and dry camping (camping without hookups) in National Parks, depending on a small portable solar panel and my generator to keep my batteries charged. I made a return trip to Quartzsite specifically to have some solar installed on the motorhome. I had three 160 watt solar panels installed on the roof, for a total of 480 watts, as well as a solar charge controller and monitor. But generating all that electricity is useless unless you can store it for when you need it, so I also expanded my storage by adding two more batteries.

My battery compartment will only hold the three batteries that were already there; the two 6-volt house batteries I had installed last April, and the chassis battery. The only logical place to put the new additional batteries was in one of the basement storage compartments. In order to install more flooded batteries I would need a battery box installed and vented to the outside. Instead of doing this, I had two 6-volt deep cycle AGM batteries installed. AGM batteries are sealed so they can be installed without venting. It’s less than ideal to mix AGM and flooded batteries, but I didn’t have the money to replace my flooded batteries with AGMs at the moment.

One of the good parts of spending the summer in one place is that I’m not spending money buying gas to travel, so I had the extra cash to finally buy two more AGM batteries, and today I swapped out the flooded batteries for the new AGMs. I now have four matching batteries.

This completes the first half of the project; generating electricity and storing it for use. Now that I’ve got a fair amount of power on tap, I need to make some modifications to the power distribution in the motorhome so I can take full advantage of it. That will come later; probably next spring.

The flooded 6-volt batteries installed in April 2017
The new 6-volt AGM batteries installed today
The two AGM batteries and solar charge controller installed in the storage bay last March
The monitor that lets me keep track of what the solar charge controller is doing and the state of the batteries


For years I’ve suffered with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and just about this time of year, when the quality of the morning and evening light starts to change, I’d get a deep feeling of dread for the upcoming cold dark gray days of November in New England. I’m sure my ex could tell stories of how cranky I would become before spring finally arrived.

Now that I am no longer tied to any one place and I know I can leave when I want to, I am actually looking forward to autumn again. I plan to be back in New England to visit family around the first of October, and I am rather excitedly anticipating those cool crisp fall days. It has to be decades at least since I have felt this way. It’s really quite amazing!

Some Random Thoughts On Workamping

I am about halfway through my very first workamping job, and I thought I’d share a few random thoughts on the experience. I am working for a private company that operates Forest Service campgrounds in the White River National Forest, among other places. I work as a camphost for North Fork Campground, and as an assistant to the guy responsible for maintenance at about a dozen campgrounds in the area.

When I took this job there were a few things that concerned me:

  • After being footloose and fancy free for 6 months, never spending more than 10 days in any one place, would I go stir crazy being in one place for 4 months?
    Well, so far I’m loving being here. It’s a gorgeous corner of the world, and there is a lot to explore. I’ve been doing a fair bit of hiking on my days off, and also trying to teach myself to mountain bike (without much success, I might add). I’ll be ready to leave and head east when my job ends in September, but I’m not chomping at the bit to get moving.
  • Just how gross would it be cleaning bathrooms?Not that gross, I’m happy to report. For one thing, this campground isn’t all that heavily used during the week. But mostly it’s because I have all the tools I need to clean without getting too “up close and personal.” I regularly get compliments from campers on how clean the restrooms are. Considering that these are what the Forest Service refers to as “vault toilets,” and that there is no running water, that’s quite a compliment.
  • How much of my time would be spent dealing with jerks?As it turns out, nearly none. I’ve not had to deal with any real jerks that would necessitate calling in law enforcement. The huge majority of campers are wonderful to deal with, and I’ve had some really fun and interesting conversations with some of them. There is the occasional person who tries to get out of paying for their site or who resents being asked for the information I need to register them, but they were all handled without any harsh words being exchanged.