In Defense of Weirdos Like Us

While I walk Banjo in the early mornings (and then walk myself in the afternoons), I’ve been thinking more about the people here in this strangest of campgrounds at the Escapees national headquarters. I’ve broken them down into these categories to the best of my seven-days-here knowledge.

Temporary Campers

Many people in the campsites that are more like parking lots (in the woods like us or out in a field in the new section) are here to get business done. Between appointments to renew their drivers licenses or take their dogs to the vet, they’re doing things we’ve tried to do surreptitiously at vacationing campgrounds.

This guy on top of his motorhome is doing some kind of maintenance. A guy behind us is building something with a small saw on his picnic table. We see people exchanging their license plates, working on their engines. They’re here for a few days as a conventient, cheap place to get stuff done.

That’s us!

Residents in Houses

A good portion of the campground map includes deeded lots with houses on them, most with huge carports with campers inside. I’m guessing Escapees once owned all the land, divided it into lots, then sold some, bought some back, I dunno. But these for sure are privately owned.

It’s true: some are sketchy, run-down little houses in the woods with Trump banners nearly as big as the house. But some are maintained and cute, and some are funky. Does that chandelier above the bench in the photo above look like it’s made of microphones to you?

How about the tin vulture on the right as an alternative to a lawn chicken.

I chatted with this lady about her quilting yesterday when I stopped at her yard sale. She and a friend were selling their handiwork (this is a pattern by Ricky Timm) plus their recently-deceased husbands’ items.

As I stood in her yard, I texted my quilting friend in New Zealand and facilitated a quick conversation between the two about the pattern. Then I started to wonder how important our home location is these days. To someone who’s used to traveling in a camper, the world is your home maybe even after you’ve settled down in retirement. And with the internet, the world is a much smaller place anyway.

Residents in Campers

This third group has me stumped a little more. They, too, live on deeded lots, but without houses, just their campers and maybe a large shed.

Like with the houses, some campers are derelict and tucked into the woods, little surprises I see out of the corner of my eye while I walk. And some are giant and parked on concrete pads, under carports.

Perhaps they love “the RV life” but are done with traveling so much, so they’ve settled here in the homes they own: it’s what’s familiar and already paid for.

And some of these homes are mighty, mighty fancy. When I googled the interior of the one above, I came up with the image I put at the very top of this entry.

And there are amenities here in the park that mirror those at a retirement neighborhood, just RV-style: laudromat, dog park, ice cream parlor, rec center with (in non-COVID times) bingo and socials, a pool. Plus air for your tires and a weigh station!

The CARE center is. I think, a big benefit of this place for retirees.

You can live in your RV home (instead of, for example, the tiny little apartment my mom lived in when she needed help), and caregivers on the Escapees staff help with grocery shopping, meals, all that stuff retirement facilities offer.

People parked at the CARE center have ramps up to their trailers, plus access to indoor and outdoor social areas.

I think you don’t even have to be old to qualify for a spot: club members who need help after surgery or illness can stay here, too. It’s not fancy, but it’s also not a run-down apartment where you’re entirely isolated.

Bottom Line for Retirement

Let’s say you’re retired and have limited resources, but you own your RV and love it, plus you love the campground lifestyle.

Why would you opt for a cheap apartment in some city you don’t care about, when this RV park has been your go-to place for years when you needed to do an annual check-in? You already have an address here (we do) and the benefits of being Escapees Club members. Why not just live in your RV here, or in a small house and your RV?

Okay, I can think of a million reasons why not, but that’s me. At least I’m able to imagine how this neighborhood works for some people.

3 thoughts to “In Defense of Weirdos Like Us”

  1. “To someone who’s used to traveling in a camper, the world is your home maybe even after you’ve settled down in retirement.” interesting…