We present his 40 years of RV reflections for your enjoyment.
Jim Lawrence is a man whose name is familiar to RVers across North America. He has written numerous articles for RV publications—including a couple of chuckles we’ve posted on our website—and in nearly 40 years on the road he has been instrumental in promoting the community aspect of the RV life.
When we called him to do an interview about his time on the road and his time spent with the famous, but now disbanded, Road Runners Trailer Club of B.C., he said that he might send us down some photos. What we received were three massive tomes of memories. Inside these precious books were pictures dating from 1962, along with brochures from the places the club had visited, numerous newspaper articles and more than 30 years’ worth of Lawrence’s documentation of the group’s activities. Along with this documentation were a number of articles and pictures in memory of fellow club members who passed away. These poignant rememberances emphasized why the Road Runners disbanded—there were just not enough of them around anymore. He also sent me this letter:
Away back in the 40s we started out in the least expensive way by tenting. Our first big trip was in a borrowed trailer—about 13 feet long—and we wound our way down to Disneyland. We never knew about anti—sway bars and every once in awhile we would have to come to a stop and start out again. We were forever having to search for a store that sold ice as our milk and butter, etcetera, didn’t keep well in that heat. We finally made it home again and we were hooked.
We rented a tent trailer but that holiday on Vancouver Island was an unending rain storm. We had to rent a motel room one night in order to dry out. Then we rented a camper to fit on our son’s truck and spent a couple of weeks at Long Beach. We were camped, in those days, right on the beach. What a treat to have the waves crashing nearby. A thrilling experience we had there was hearing the broadcast of the first moon landing. We were lying on the warm sand listening to the broadcast and looking up at the moon and just living that event.
We had enough of renting and borrowing other people’s RVs and decided to get one of our own. It was a 19—foot Jayco. What a thrill. It was brand new and we were the first to live in it. Then we joined the Road Runners Trailer Club and a new and wonderful life opened up to us. After we joined, a number of our friends joined also. The club was founded in 1956 and we joined in 1964, I believe. When it closed down as an active club it had been operating for 44 years.
We—those of us who are still alive—are still great friends and get together for social events such as lunches and parties.
Some of us who still had RVs and were moderately healthy despite our age joined another trailer club for several years. Last year I sold my 1976 “Kit” motorhome and just attend a few social events of both clubs. Being in a club is a very delightful event and one that I can heartily subscribe to. You are all together to do games, cards, walks and countless other things. There is always an “expert” to help you with your mechanical problems and you never feel frustrated or alone.
In 1992 we moved into our condo and for two years just parked the rig on the street. Then the RCMP invited me to move it. We rented a space a couple of blocks away for a few years before that space was torn down to build a high—rise. We then ended up parking it at my daughters for several years in Coquitlam, but that was not too convenient. Last year, for several reasons, I decided to sell it. The local RV dealer was going to sell it for me, then he decided to buy it himself.
So this unit had been across Canada, across many miles in the U.S. of A. and all over B.C., the Yukon, Alaska, Alberta and Saskatchewan. It sported over 130,000 miles and still looked great. But at six to eight miles per gallon, hard to get parts and old age—the RV and me—the time had come to give it up. I’m glad to not have the worries anymore but this is a sad end to an era.
It is impossible to give due justice to the lifetime of memories sent to this magazine by Lawrence in just a couple of pages. Instead, we are treating this story as a way to honour the Road Runners Trailer Club and its members—those alive and those remembered.