How long can I reasonably expect to stay in the active RV game?

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JudyJB

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I have met a lot of older RVers who are still on the road, so I think it is desire and health, not a specific age that makes a difference. I am 78 and drove a little over 15,000 miles last year. I plan to do about the same amount of driving in 2022, assuming my health holds out. I have not have any tickets or accidents in the last 15 years, other than backing into a telephone pole once and a tree another time while parking a few years ago. My biggest problem right now is that I have arthritis in my left shoulder. The doctor would like to replace it, but that would mean not being able to dump tanks for quite a few months, so I will rely on Advil for now.

I did stay 4 months in a commercial campground in Eugene, Oregon, to get CLL cancer treatment a few years back, but it was not traditional chemo, so I never really felt sick or weak.

There are still too many things i want to see or see again, so I am not ready to settle down to a permanent place yet. Got reservations mostly through October. Also, I am headed to the UK in May for 6 weeks, so I am looking forward to that. Will go alone and rent a car. (Yes, they said age does not prevent me from renting as long as I have a valid driver's license.) My distance walking is getting harder, so it will be interesting how I handle the big cities. (Been there and done that before, so that will make it easier than if I were a newby to solo travel in England and Scotland. )
 

LarsMac

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Well, there ya go. I reckon that when the driving around starts interfering with the Naps, it may be time to hang up the keys.
 

Isaac-1

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I am still in my 50's so not sure how qualified I am to have an opinion on this, however I will say that I have been to a couple of FMCA regional rallies where the average age of attendees was over 75, based on polls taken asking people to stand at the evening events. We also have a member over on the Trek Tracks (Safari Trek Owners board), that was active until selling his coach at the age of 88 earlier this year, he quit because he said it was no fun traveling without his wife, who has been in a nursing home with dementia the last year or so.
 

SargeW

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The wife and I have also discussed how long we would keep it up. Been doing it about 24 years now, and the only reason we have come up with thus far is we will stop when it's not fun any more. The stick house in Havasu gives us a place to be if we want to, or if winters get too bad. We have also talked about down sizing some day, but no real plans on that either.
 

Old_Crow

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We also have a member over on the Trek Tracks (Safari Trek Owners board), that was active until selling his coach at the age of 88 earlier this year, he quit because he said it was no fun traveling without his wife, who has been in a nursing home with dementia the last year or so.
I can relate to that. Unfortunately for me, staying put won't fix that issue. I decided the best thing for me was to keep working as long as I can.
 

Kirk

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I decided the best thing for me was to keep working as long as I can.
I hope that works out for you and that you don't regret that choice later in life. I was offered a decent retirement at the age of 57 and hesitated because I would have gained significantly by waiting until 60 and SS would have been more if I had waited until 65. As I look back today after 22 years retired, I consider the decision to take that early retirement to have been the best career decision that I ever made. We went fulltime as RV volunteers at national parks, wildlife refuges, COE, state parks & historic sites, and even a few county parks. By doing that we have had experiences that would only have dreamed of and that we could never have had in any other way. Now that age is starting to catch up with both of us, we are so happy that we made the choice that we did.
 

Old_Crow

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Kirk, I'm also working in Forest Service campgrounds. Main difference is, I'm getting paid for it.
Started out hosting and let them talk me into going for Area Manager. My normal area is north of Bishop, CA, and I have responsibility for 14 campgrounds in the Inyo National Forest. It's possible(with a bit of notice)for me to change areas. I've managed 2 different areas of the Inyo and I spent 2020 in Sedona, Arizona.
Currently, they talked me into working a winter gig in the Cleveland National Forest, east of San Diego at Laguna campground, for just this winter.
 

DutchmenSport

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As you stated in your original post, everyone is different based on age, health, finances, personal interests, and changing family relationships. Those are the factors that drive how long anyone does anything.

It's kind of like, when you decided it was time to retire from your full time place of employment... you just knew it was time to call it quits. When the "joy" becomes more of a "hardship," it's time to think about doing something else. I think it really is just that simple.
 

Peggyy

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Winter springs fl
Well I am 69 and my husband is 70. I think we are in pretty good shape. However certain aspects of the traveling just get to be tiring. The packing and unpacking, grocery shopping, laundry, maintaining the rv, etc. On top of that the driving gets tiring so we find ourselves going less distance than we used to in a day. We are thinking of calling it quits in a few months. We have a few trips planned this spring and a big trip planned to Maine and then we will probably consider selling ours.
 

motojavaphil

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This journey through life is never boring. Struggled to get here enduring all manner of insults to mind and body to retire. I retired in 2009, discovered full timing was not for us in 2012 and bought a house becoming snowbirds. I have wondered about stopping but figured I'd get the shoulder tap when the time is right.
 

decaturbob

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OK, first off, I know everyone is different. Sure. However, at some point, there must be an age when just about everyone has said, "That's it, for me. I'm selling my RV, getting a little condo, and taking it very easy until I leave this existence." Again, I know, even as I type this, that there will be some folks in their 80's and 90's (and maybe beyond), who will read this while sitting in their long-term slips at nice RV parks, who will think, "Some folks never leave the RV scene."

I'm actually gearing this more towards "active RV enthusiasts," like me. I'm talking about the road warriors who like the constant tinkering, who get excited about finding perfect, new routes, who brag about being able to change a tire in under ten minutes, start to finish. When, if ever, do those types decide to take it off the road, for good?

I'm hitting 70, this year. I've been RV'ing for about thirty-five years, camping off my motorcycle, and out of my van, for fifteen years, before that. I still like the adventure, but two blowouts, in three days, a few trips ago, and a possible hiatal hernia as a result of wrestling with changing a tire in a muddy rut (yes, I should have/could have gone a little bit further down the road) have got me wondering if I really want to buy the next RV, really want to plan our Route 66 trip, for this Spring.

So, all of you RV long-timers, what has been your experience? What do you know of your former RV comrades who put it to rest? What age, on average, have you seen folks decide to settle down to an RV-free existence?

All answers and insights are greatly appreciated.
I am 68 and been RVing for 6 years and I been surrounded with RVers well into the 70's and early 80s. Goes back to being fit enough for all the work of a RV
 

DutchmenSport

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...On top of that the driving gets tiring so we find ourselves going less distance than we used to in a day. ...
I'm sorry to hear this. when you reach this age (I'm 66 plus), there is nothing wrong with slowing down. But, slowing down does not mean you have to stop.

When the kids were still little and we camped (tent camped then), it seems we were always on the go-go-go. Rush, rush, rush. Drive like a wild cat to get "there." Set up camp, and rush to the first activity with the kids. Rush for food, rush to the next activity, rush to get back to the campsite to get some sleep. Rush to get up the next morning, and rush to do it all over again. Stay till the last dog is dead and then rush to get back home. Rush, rush, rush.

When the kids no longer traveled with us because they started working, driving, and growing into their own lives, we found the need to "rush" so much was stupid. We started slowing down. We actually started doing things that old-farts like to do ... sit around the campfire and simply gaze into the flames.

We realized we did not like driving the long distances, and driving for hours on end any more. We started making our trips all about the "journey" and not the "destination." Life slowed down. Sometimes we travel a distance of only 4 hours driving time. But we may stop 16 times in that distance and spend time looking or doing things along the route.

We also realized the need to hike trails, ride bicycles, and visit amusement parks wasn't a need any more. What was needed was time to relax, take it easy, and enjoy the environment around us.

This resulted in longer stays at one location and shorter drives. This cuts the "work" out of packing, unpacking, and driving all the time. Last January and February, we stayed 6 weeks at the same campground. We soaked in as much local culture as we could in that time, and enjoyed every moment of it.

We started breaking camp 2 days before we actually drove away. That involved cleaning out all the dirt, putting away the yard furniture, and double checking the truck mechanically. We took the time to do it and we were not "rushed."

This is the approach you need to take. Slow down, move less, shorter drives between destination spots, and don't plan things out in detail and have schedules that drive you batty.

Then, you'll enjoy camping a lot more at this age!
 

Peggyy

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Winter springs fl
I'm sorry to hear this. when you reach this age (I'm 66 plus), there is nothing wrong with slowing down. But, slowing down does not mean you have to stop.

When the kids were still little and we camped (tent camped then), it seems we were always on the go-go-go. Rush, rush, rush. Drive like a wild cat to get "there." Set up camp, and rush to the first activity with the kids. Rush for food, rush to the next activity, rush to get back to the campsite to get some sleep. Rush to get up the next morning, and rush to do it all over again. Stay till the last dog is dead and then rush to get back home. Rush, rush, rush.

When the kids no longer traveled with us because they started working, driving, and growing into their own lives, we found the need to "rush" so much was stupid. We started slowing down. We actually started doing things that old-farts like to do ... sit around the campfire and simply gaze into the flames.

We realized we did not like driving the long distances, and driving for hours on end any more. We started making our trips all about the "journey" and not the "destination." Life slowed down. Sometimes we travel a distance of only 4 hours driving time. But we may stop 16 times in that distance and spend time looking or doing things along the route.

We also realized the need to hike trails, ride bicycles, and visit amusement parks wasn't a need any more. What was needed was time to relax, take it easy, and enjoy the environment around us.

This resulted in longer stays at one location and shorter drives. This cuts the "work" out of packing, unpacking, and driving all the time. Last January and February, we stayed 6 weeks at the same campground. We soaked in as much local culture as we could in that time, and enjoyed every moment of it.

We started breaking camp 2 days before we actually drove away. That involved cleaning out all the dirt, putting away the yard furniture, and double checking the truck mechanically. We took the time to do it and we were not "rushed."

This is the approach you need to take. Slow down, move less, shorter drives between destination spots, and don't plan things out in detail and have schedules that drive you batty.

Then, you'll enjoy camping a lot more at this age!
Thank you so much for sharing this. You are right. We have not learned how to stop and smell the roses along the way. I read your post to my husband and we decided we should heed your advice on our next trip and just slow down. We always feel like we are supposed to be doing something Instead of just relaxing! Thanks again.
 

Robert K

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Jan 30, 2011
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602
DW is 63 I am 62 ,we still are working.
We will leave for Fl. In a few weeks,which we have done for last 10 yrs. In the first 7 years we would make the 1300 mile run in 2 1/2 days.
This year we will be more like 4 days.

Next year is a trip out west of about 5-6 months or what ever it takes.
 

UTTransplant

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Cedar Falls, IA
DutchmanSport has it soooooo right! Weeklong vacations with the kids we’re always so busy! Long drives to get to the mountains (12-14 hours), getting there tired, run, run, run. Now we leave the rig mostly packed. We move coats and seasonal apparel between house and MH, but most stays in the coach. We even leave food staples, though we occasionally clean out the refrigerator. My perfect day of travel is now 4-5 hours, and we enjoy staying at a central spot and soaking in the local attractions. The fact that this style of travel takes a lot less personal energy is an added bonus.
 

JudyJB

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Just to add to my previous post, even though I am still in travel mode and expect to be in that mode for a long time, I have slowed down and tend to spend longer periods in places. For example, instead of staying a few days in a destination, I now tend to stay up to the full two-weeks allowed in state and federal campgrounds. And I also try not to drive much more than 200 miles each day.

I also do not always feel the need to do something every day. Sometimes, I just stay inside and read, watch TV, and do some cooking--after all I am retired. For that reason, I like a camp site with a view so I can enjoy it even if I am not outside walking around.

I also strongly agree that you should leave your camper mostly packed. I full-time, but you should be able to leave all cooking things and even a lot of paper goods and dry foods put in vermin-proof containers, along with canned food. (Leave a mousetrap or two set up, if you are afraid of critters getting into stuff.) Ditto for bedding and cosmetics, etc. plus even things like extra jackets and sweatshirts. That way, all you need to do is add fresh food and personal clothing. That will cut down on a lot of packing and unpacking and make it easier to go off for short trips on a moment's notice.

You might also consider taking only necessary things along with you so you don't have so much setup and put away. Do you really need an extra table, four chairs for two people, large grill, etc? Taking less stuff means less work and makes things easier for us who are older.

Having a mostly packed rig will also provide you with a "lifeboat" if you have to evacuate in a hurry.
 

JudyJB

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And, SRGuy, stop changing your own tires!!!! In fact, try to stop driving down muddy roads.

At a certain age, you have to get road service and use it!!
 
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