By Chuck Woodbury
Originally published in March, 2010
I’m 62 years old. Some people think I’m 100. The reason is that I was in my 30s when I started traveling by RV and writing about my travels. At age 40 I began seriously traveling by RV writing for my on-the-road newspaper Out West. Back then, people thought I was much older because most people who traveled with motorhomes were senior citizens. “We’re Spending our Children’s Inheritance” was the leading RV bumper sticker of the era followed by “Grandma and Grandpa’s Playhouse.”
Some of those readers still follow me through the RV Newsletter.
I recall one man in particular, Ernie Herring, who was in his mid-90s when he first subscribed to Out West. He wrote me often with great wit. When he turned 99 I told him I wanted to attend his 100th birthday. But I never heard from him again. The thing I remember most about Ernie was where he lived: The town was Leisure World. But on his return address labels it was “Seizure World.” Ernie made me laugh even before I opened his letters.
SO HERE I AM NOW, closing in on 30 years since I started seriously exploring America by motorhome. Someone who had known me years ago was asking about me the other day in an RV news group: “Is he still around?” I suspect he figured I had moved to Seizure World myself.
You know, when I was 30, single and trying to figure out what to do when I grew up, I began a personal journal in which I tried to understand why I was so restless. After a few years it became clear that I had a very deep and basic need to travel. Not take bus tours: I needed to roam — to take road trips — to see, at my own pace, what was around the next corner. I determined that I needed to carve out a life that would allow me to do just that. The only way, I concluded, was to write and sell my stories to magazines. So, with a small, mechanically challenged motorhome and a manual typewriter (at first), I hit the road. And for nearly three decades now, off and on, I’ve continued.
These days, only months away from when my only child moves 3,000 miles away to attend college in New York, I am obsessed again with the divine prospect of taking long, leisurely RV road trips without neglecting my “little girl” back home.
Now, I just have to find a nice lady to go with me.
(UPDATE in 2016). I found her!