Tuesday, November 28, 2023


RVs are about to upend American life

By Chuck Woodbury
In 1790, only about one out of 20 Americans lived in urban areas. The ratio had dramatically changed to one out of four by 1870, one out of two by 1920, two out of three in the 1960s, and four out of five in the 2000s.

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association predicted this past week that 600,000 RVs will be shipped to dealers in 2022. If you combine that figure with those of the past three years, it adds up to more than 2 million RVs on the road that were not there before. And if you look at the number of large, comfortable RVs being sold, it prompts the thought: “How many of these RVs will people live in full-time?”

Remote work is more common today than ever before. Living in one town, even one country, is not necessary. Countries around the world are offering incentives for road warriors to move there. At least 45 communities are currently offering incentives to attract remote workers, some upwards of $20,000, according to USA Today.

Heaven knows, the RV industry is promoting the idea of working remotely, suggesting an RV is one great way to do it.

I believe in the next ten years we will see a significant shift in how we live. We will not long define where we live as urban and rural. It will be urban, rural and mobile.

Life isn’t bad living in a beautiful RV park.

Retires will sell their homes to live in a comfy RV. Remote workers will buy RVs to work from anywhere. Work campers will find more and more temporary jobs to help fund their mobile lives. People displaced by wildfires, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes will choose to move to a home that can move when disaster threatens. “No way am I rebuilding when the next wildfire could just burn it up again,” they will say. The fact that their fire or flood insurance jumped five-fold is definitely a downer, too.

Poor people will discover that living on the street or in a cheap RV park in a $500 junker RV is a lot more appealing than living in a tent by the side of a freeway. The number of these RVers will jump significantly very soon among the millions of people being evicted from their apartments and rental homes. Buying a home for these people is out of the question; even putting together a last-month and security deposit for a cheap apartment is impossible. At least a junker RV has a roof and a bed, and offers some privacy. An “RV rancher” will rent down-and-out folks such an RV for $100 a month, and offer to move it if the cops order them to leave.

When I started this newsletter 20 years ago, “RVing” was almost synonymous with “camping.” Very few people lived in RVs year-round back then.

We suggest that the kitchen in this RV is nicer than most home kitchens.

Now, go to any RV show and check out a few 40-foot fifth wheels, trailers or motorhomes. I have stood in such RVs at big shows and observed those who entered after me. I can’t tell you how many times I heard one of them say, “I could live in this.”

The move to mobility from stability has begun. It’s hard to see because the change happens day by day. But it is happening and, one day, living on wheels will be considered a very normal thing to do.

Just watch.



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KellyR (@guest_194191)
1 year ago

“Upend American Life” Do you really think that the American dream of buying a house and settling down in a community will go to “I want to be a nomad the rest of my life.”? There will be some, I suppose, that will decide to do that, but I can’t believe that these houses on wheels will Upend American Life. Build quality alone will eventually end that dream. Twenty year loans on a ten year vehicle will end that dream. How many new ten year RVs can one buy if each still has ten years of loan on them? You are right, RVing and camping are now two different activities. For some RVing has become living in a mobile trailer park. The fever will eventually subside.

Carson Axtell (@guest_141941)
2 years ago

Things are not likely to improve for this growing number of RVers, either, until they learn to organize, support special interest lobbies, and exercise political power sufficient to counteract the communities who are increasingly trying to block attempts at providing infrastructure, whether private or public, to support this citizen group.

Last edited 2 years ago by Carson Axtell
We Deliver For You (@guest_141842)
2 years ago

Here is something else that is evolving. Rural mail carriers drive their own cars, as Postal Contractors, to places located out of town. It used to be mail, magazines, and the occasional package, with a bump at Christmas time. Now, campgrounds located on the edge of town host long-term campers. Who have internet access. And order LOTS of stuff. So it is not unusual to fill the postal contractor’s car with Amazon boxes and totes filled with RXs sent by mail. RVers order flag poles, which barely fit in the car, or new generators, which are big and heavy, or outdoor furniture, which comes in huge boxes. A big campground, filled with well-to-do campers, has become the address with the most volume on the route. Other carriers on different routes say the same, the campgrounds on their routes fill their cars, sometimes necessitating a second trip.

Donn (@guest_141777)
2 years ago

Before all of this occurs we must face up to the huge problem Dr. Paul Ehrlich spoke of way back in the 1980’s. Essentially, the argument runs like this….too many people, too few resources. Some folks MUST go.

Lisa Kammeyer (@guest_141740)
2 years ago

I’ve been saying this for years. Not to mention housing in many desirable locations isn’t affordable anymore. I’m restoring a vintage Chinook camper as we speak. There are literally hundreds, maybe thousands, of people who have vlogged their school bus builds. I have watched many of them. They’re beautiful! People are so creative.

Michael Starks (@guest_141489)
2 years ago

You seem to presume that gasoline and diesel will remain plentiful or affordable. But climate change is likely to drive government regulations and market forces that will make that unlikely. Perhaps petroleum-powered RVs will be replaced by all-electric. But that also seems unlikely unless there is a major breakthrough in battery technology that will enable RVs and pickups to carry and tow the kind of weights over the distances that we are used to today.

Bob p (@guest_141503)
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael Starks

Don’t discount gas and diesel yet, experts in the industry say it’ll be another 50 years before EVs make a big enough dent to make a difference. Infrastructure has got to be built to support them and I don’t see any power companies scrambling to do that. Right now EVs make up 2% of sales, that’s not enough to blink an eye about, auto manufacturers act like they are hurriedly trying to build EVs, but their real production is still the meat and potatoes ICE vehicles. The ICE hasn’t reached its full potential yet, 20 years ago it was unheard of for a truck to get 20 mpg, now some diesels are getting 30 mpg. At that rate EVs will never replace ICE. Until EVs reach a level that ICE is as far as range and refueling they are nothing but a fad. It’s all ready been proven that when they try to tow, even a fairly light weight trailer their range is cut by at least 50%, and then you have to take a 2 hour break to recharge if you can get into a charging station without uncoupling the trailer.

John Koenig (@guest_141776)
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael Starks

The “Powers that Be” have been actively trying to kill off 100LL (Low Lead) aviation gasoline for OVER 30 years now. Over those decades, several “breakthrough” alternative aviation fuels have been trumpeted BUT, for one reason or another, unanticipated “gotchas” kept these plans from coming to fruition. ICE’s (Internal Combution Engines) will be with us for DECADES to come. Heck, several STATES have serious trouble just providing electricity to their residents and businesses. Where do the electric car proponents think the “extra” power that will be needed to charge these “E-Cars” is going to come from?

Richard (@guest_141370)
2 years ago

“Pandemic” destroys industries/jobs. Incomes go away. Runaway inflation widens the gap. People move into “Cheaper” RVs, into rented spaces. Their “Personal Property” becomes a few thousand dollars of Depreciating RV. Not 100s of thousands of dollars of Appreciating houses/real estate. Personal wealth plummets. Associated taxes are not paid, communities suffer. Empty properties are bought up by corporations, which may/may not be supported by government grants/programs. Which also get tax breaks. Government must eventually step in and “Save” the communities and corporations with Printed money of plummeting value.
Most personal property, and real estate is now owned/controlled by government. Which is the goal of One World Order.
It’s happening.

Bob p (@guest_141493)
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard


Elaine Ashton (@guest_141495)
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard

Richard has nailed it as far as I’m concerned

Jed (@guest_142115)
2 years ago
Reply to  Elaine Ashton

Exactly what’s happening. Largest transfer of wealth in recent history occuring these last two years. It might not matter to most now, but eventually it will spell the end of any republic in the USA as we have known it. Welcome to Rome 2.0.

Dee (@guest_142618)
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard

Richard is 100% correct.

Kikiesq (@guest_141276)
2 years ago

I think everyone’s prediction that millions will be evicted is way off. First of all, there is relief money. Landlords are only going to evict those tenants they no longer want for some reason other than rent. They also won’t evict unless there is a demand for units. Supply and demand is still the driver.

Where I live there is a large homeless population. There are also hundreds of beds available in multiple shelters but the expectation is that they are sober. What’s the real problem here?

tom (@guest_141243)
2 years ago

Until the death toll of all electric.

Ran (@guest_141225)
2 years ago

Yeppa! Now we just need a place to go! What happened to the good ole days? I guess we’re all getting older and have seen the world changes, some good, some not so good! Life’s short, get out and enjoy! Keep positive, because anyone can be negative.

Rick (@guest_141220)
2 years ago

i ve been there my whole life, nothing new here but as you say never imagined the usa changing in that way amazing

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