For some, the road trip just never ends
Dwayne and Joyce Tomson and Frank and Sheila Demers keep their daily schedules light, their itineraries vague, and their eyes on the road as they travel around the country in their motor homes.
They are “full-timers” – people who travel all year long in their recreational vehicles.
Formerly permanent residents of Nevada County, the Tomsons and the Demerses swung through Nevada City recently to visit with relatives, check in with doctors, and get haircuts.
They have no intention of quitting the road, they said.
“We like new adventures,” said Dwayne Tomson, 68, as he sipped coffee near his RV parked at the Nevada City Elks Club.
“It’s surprising what you find when you go out there,” said Tomson, a retired businessman. This year, he and his wife traveled to Florida, Alabama’s beaches and the sandy dunes of Oregon. The Tomsons are staying in town here while they wait for new furniture to arrive.
The Demerses, who also parked their RV at the Elks Club, left Sunday to get some warranty work done on their rig at a factory near San Diego.
Then it’s off to Mexico and Texas, where they’ll stay put most of the winter months, said the 67-year-old Frank Demers.
They have logged 1,600 miles since February as they traveled from Southern California to Texas and from Oklahoma to Tennessee and Mexico, said Demers, who particularly enjoyed the fishing villages along the Pacific coast in Washington and Oregon.
The Demerses, who have been traveling since 1999, log a few hundreds miles a day when they travel. Their rig features all the comforts of a regular apartment, including a washer, dryer and satellite television.
“Every once in a while, we have to set up the alarm clock, and that’s really tough to do,” said Demers, who retired from Hewlett Packard Co.
The Tomsons, who’ve been traveling for about two years, met the Demerses last month to go crabbing in Oregon. They all try to keep their calendars as open as they can.
“The most difficult (thing) is not to overschedule ourselves,” Tomson said.
Mail is a problem, he said. He has made arrangements with a daughter in Chicago Park to pick up mail from a post office box and mail it to Joyce and him when they stay in one location for any length of time, he said.
Altogether, more than 1 million people travel full time or part time in RVs, estimates Mark Nemeth, spokesman for Escapees, an RV association of 33,000 families based in Livingston, Texas.
The vagaries of the economy have taken their toll, said Nemeth, who traveled full time for several years until the economy’s downturn forced him off the road. The last couple of years have been difficult, he said.
Nemeth, who performed odd jobs in parks while he lived in his RV, said his experience on the road was a blast.
“It’s a wonderful way to live,” he said. “It’s a very free lifestyle.”
As for the Tomsons and the Demerses, they say they’ll travel as long as they can.
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