Saturday, September 23, 2023


Hibernating in your RV. Others ask ‘Is anyone in there?’

By Chuck Woodbury

My long time buddy Dave Williams wrote something in his blog this week that got me thinking.

Dave wrote: “People in campgrounds and RV parks must think I’m weird. Maybe even scary. They’ve got to be suspicious. I’m pretty sure they warn their kids to stay away from me. I arrive alone, hook up to the power and water, and then I disappear inside my camper for days. . . . I don’t put out camp chairs or fishing tackle. I don’t set up a grill, lanterns, a pile of firewood or any other indications that a campsite is occupied and intended to be enjoyed. . . I just plug in and disappear.”

I had to laugh when I read this because I do the very same thing! I have often wondered what people in campgrounds think of me when they see no activity around my motorhome. There have been times when I’ve walked outside to be greeted by a neighbor who said, “Oh, I didn’t think anyone was in there.”

Dave and I share a common love beyond RVing. We both love to write. I can spend days on end writing, and I know Dave can, too. Dave wrote in his posting about how he adores his wife, but he says when she comes along on his trips he can’t write. I know the feeling. When you are with someone, you socialize. You do things. You go places. You have “cocktail time.” When I bring someone along, I feel guilty about spending so much time writing. It may be fun for me, but I know it’s boring for my companion.

Writing is a very solitary thing. I suspect for most writers it’s best done in the company of only oneself.

MOST OF MY TRAVELING is for my “business.” I write for this newsletter, I write stories about RVing for our various blogs, sometimes I just write in my personal journal. Every once in awhile I take on a magazine assignment. Once I even wrote a book. I am what’s known as a writing fool!

Yes, I stay in campgrounds, so technically speaking I’m camping. I take occasional walks and hikes. I make a campfire once in awhile. But mostly, when I am alone, I just write. Ah, the peace, the solitude — the freedom to follow one’s own rhythm! Often when I look out my window, there’s a lake, a beautiful forest, the ocean or a river. To me, writing amid nature’s beauty is about as good as it gets.

But my incessant writing is a problem because I need to be alone to do it. The problem is that I like people. I enjoy traveling with my very special lady. But when I travel with someone, I am Chuck the traveler not Chuck the writer. And when that happens, yes, I have fun, but soon my writing addiction grabs me and I begin to get edgy, nervous. Before long I crave a keyboard. “Lock me in a room. Leave me alone. Let me write.”

Sometimes I think I am all messed up. But so far, after all these years, I can still interact with other people and appear normal. They do not know about my secret addiction. So I think I am okay, at least superficially.

Photo: That’s me a long time ago back when the world was black and white. I took the photo using a self-timer through the back window of my first RV on the first night of my first trip as a freelance magazine writer in that tiny, 18-foot, leaky, mechanically challenged, poor excuse for a motorhome. I am typing on a typewriter. Oh, writing was not fun on that primitive device. My hair, as you can see, is not gray like today. For some reason when I got older it turned that color. I don’t like it, but I won’t get it dyed because I would look stupid. And looking gray is better than looking stupid.



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