Snowbirding 101

Snowbird connections

The social side to RVing adventures

Rvers playing guitar together
RVers gather for music and fun. — Photo by Lynne Benjamin

As snowbirds we are motivated by the weather—we look for places that don’t sell snow shovels. Some snowbirds (even in RVs) like to go to the same place and stay in the same park with the same people year after year.

We travel. We want to find out what’s on the other side of the hill—and as travellers we tend to connect with other people who, like ourselves, want to find different places to explore. But whether you like the familiarity of the known or the adventure of searching for the unknown, the common thread is connecting with people who share your interests.

In the beginning…

In the beginning, when we first started RVing, there was Ann and Eldon. They were full-time RVers who had been travelling for a few years. We latched onto them like a couple of homeless puppies and they took us in.

Eldon’s mantra was “If there’s a back road, why take the highway?”

Ann and Eldon never came to visit us in Canada but until Eldon passed on, we would meet up with them every year to visit and explore back roads none of us had travelled before. We still keep in contact with Ann (who is off the road and lives in Las Vegas).

People find us, too

There we sat next to a dry wash on BLM land just north of the Organ Pipe Cactus National Park. A red pickup truck stopped right across from us on the other side of the wash and a white-haired couple started walking through the wash towards us. We had no idea who they were.

“You’re from Alberta, eh?” Gordon said as they climbed out of the wash. “We saw your license plate. We’re from Alberta, too. We’re from Pincher Creek.”

That was the beginning of a long and treasured friendship. Pincher Creek is less than an hour away from Lethbridge and we often visit and travel with Gordon and Lil during both summer and winter.

Over the years, Gordon and Lil have developed quite an extensive network of snowbird connections through organizations like Good Sam and the Escapees RV Club. They frequent a lot of RV rallies where they find old friends and make new ones.

Boondocking

Believe it or not, people seem to be more inclined to come up and talk to another RVer when they are boondocking rather than when they are staying in an RV park.

If you’re sitting outside, it is not unusual for a passerby to stop and start up a conversation. And passersby happen often as people take their morning constitutional and walk about nursing a cup of coffee along the way. I call this the morning coffee parade and it seems to happen no matter where you are.

Most of us are social animals and love to visit. They say that if you want someone to talk to, all you need to do is lift the hood of your vehicle and you will attract umpteen dozen helping hands or pick up a guitar and start strumming and a crowd will gather.

A lot of the casinos offer free dry camping areas, and there are actually RVers who meet there year after year and form a kind of bond. For instance, Joe and Nellie from Georgia meet Bill and Julia (Nellie’s sister), from Alaska every year so that the sisters can visit.
Snowbird connections are strong and long-lasting

We tend to make new connections every year. Last year we shared many adventures with Chuck and Sheila and this summer on our way up to the Columbia Parkway, we made a point of stopping at Wetaskiwin to visit with them. We parked the motorhome in their driveway and visited for a few days.

We met Chuck and Sheila first in Laughlin, Nevada. When we connected again in Yuma, Arizona, we all went off to explore some of the back roads and lakes around there. We did a day trip to Mexico and then they joined us at a BLM area near the Organ Pipe Cactus National Park. There’s a good chance they will be here for the Corn Festival in Taber. We can probably accommodate them over by where we park our motorhome. We do know that we will connect with them again when we all escape the snow next winter.

The art of boondocking is also referred to as dry camping, dispersed or primitive camping, and it offers many campers the opportunity to enjoy the comforts of their RV while still appreciating nature without the modernization or amenities that campgrounds offer. (www.rverscorner.com)

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