RV Snapshots

Retired RVers strike up a wish list for future travel plans

Wayne and Linda Oliver began their RVing adventures back in 1974 in a Ford Econoline van

Photo of a couple at the top of Whistler's Mountain in Jasper, Alberta.
Wayne and Linda Oliver from Langley, B.C., stand at the top of Whistler's Mountain in Jasper, Alberta. — Photo courtesy Wayne and Linda Oliver

What year did you begin your RV adventures and what inspired you to travel?

Our first RV was a Ford Econoline van that we converted for camping in 1974, when we were first married and still students. We came by the desire to travel naturally, as both our families camped and travelled by car to destinations like the Seattle World’s Fair in 1962 (Wayne) and Mexico City 1964 (Linda). In our families, “going for a drive in the country on Sunday” was a favourite activity.

What would be the title of your all-time favourite book?

Our favourite and most used book is titled The Road Atlas Large Scale: United States by Rand McNally, which includes a Walmart store directory. Although we use a GPS to navigate, we always check a paper map. With this atlas, the print is large, something we both need now, and we can make notes in the directory about overnight parking at the different Walmarts.

What RV model do you own?

Earlier this spring we downsized to an Allegro Open Road, a 32-foot Class A manufactured by Tiffin Motorhome. We are enjoying our first brand new coach and the smaller size has made camping in the national parks a lot easier.  

Is there one destination you have not travelled to yet that you would like to experience?

We are in the planning stages for visiting the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The event is the largest hot air balloon festival in the world. The fiesta has been on our wish list since fellow travellers raved about the event. It’s the final destination of a three-month trip as we travel through the states of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah in the U.S. and then to New Mexico to arrive in Albuquerque in October. This trip will combine great scenery, lots of history and an exciting event—all the items we look for when we travel.

Do you consider yourselves to be snowbirds?

Yes, Linda and I started spending time in Arizona during the winter while we were still working. Linda’s parents have been snowbirds for 34 years and they introduced us to the warm, dry winters of Arizona in 1980. Now that we have been retired for four years, we spend three months every winter in southern California and the southern desert area of Arizona. We move from place to place during the three months, as we are still enjoying searching out new destinations and what they offer. It doesn’t matter if it is desert scenery or an old abandoned mine site—it is all interesting and often an adventure.

How do you plan your RV adventures?

Our ideas for our RV adventures come mostly from magazines like RVwest and conversations with fellow travellers. Occasionally, the ideas are from places we’ve read about in fiction. Tony Hillerman writes a Navajo tribal police mystery series set in the Four Corners area of New Mexico. When we decided to attend the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, we knew we would visit the northwest corner of New Mexico as well. 

The planning that we do takes these ideas and expands on them from information found on the Internet. We start with official government sites for provinces and states and follow the information trail. For example, on the proposed Balloon Fiesta trip, we knew we were going to be in Montana before visiting Yellowstone National Park located mostly in Wyoming.  

I started with Montana’s official state travel site. This led me to a campground for the Rocky Mountain RV Park and Lodging. On the campground’s website, there is an Things To Do page. The write-up on the Beartooth Highway intrigued us and we googled Beartooth Highway and found this site: www.beartoothhighway.com.  We will be including a day trip on this highway in our itinerary.  

When we plan our trips, we gather as much information on interesting places and things to do as we can, but we don’t become disappointed if we don’t see everything we’ve planned.  We believe it is better to know as much about an area and choose not to do something rather than miss something because we didn’t know about it. 

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