In this world where events unfold which leave us wondering how people can be so mean, so cruel to others, it is heart warming to know there are still some wonderful people in the world. People who are kind. People who help each other. People who are proud to fly the flag. People of faith in God and people. Where can you find these people? RVing.
People who RV are some of the most wonderful people you can meet. We have visited many RV properties since 2009 and in each, we have found some of the friendliest people. It doesn’t really matter what they are driving or towing. Motorhome, fifth-wheel or trailer. You could be next to a the front line worker who saved their money over the years, next to someone working mobile on the road, next to someone who was a titan in their field but now retired, someone who sold their personal business giving them a windfall, or a young couple on the road trip of a lifetime and yet, we all blend together as RVers. Truly, we have been on the road since 1999 and almost full time since 2013 logging over 60,000 miles in that time and we have truly met some incredible people and communities. Here are just a few who could help you get through a tough day;
MENTOR RVers. We have been blessed with so many people who helped us along the way. In the early days, we learned from other RVers who might pass quickly through our lives as they traveled. Some just meet you in a RV park one day, help you in a particular situation and then are gone like the wind. But there are others who stay in your life like our first encounter with work campers, Phil and Stephanie Grey.
Now Phil has stories of the Herberts with their first and second motorhomes. Some are true. Okay, many of them are true, like the time I decided to warm up the engine in our first motorhome by driving it around the RV park. I then backed it into its site without a spotter (a no-no). Proud of my accomplishment, I noticed Phil coming up in the park golf cart holding all of my tire covers which I had forgotten to remove. But we did listen to their suggestions, their stories and learned much along the way. Thank you both.
Another we met Pete Scalf of RV Chassis Master who was an encyclopedia of knowledge but better yet, could repair anything we did wrong in our second and third motorhomes. Here is one of Pete’s classy photos!
Pete ran an outstanding RV service in Florida receiving national recognition for his work. Moving to East Tennessee for family, he opened an RV Master Chassis which was a wonderful service for RVers. He also taught us about our jacks, our slide outs, covering our tires and mirrors when we arrive, and many more little things you do not learn when from the RV dealer. Best of all, he always did it with a smile and was so helpful over the years. We will always owe a huge debt to Pete and his wife, Liz which we can only pay back by paying it forward to the RVers we meet. And again, Pete and Liz are two of the nicest people one could hope to meet.
OLDEST RVer. As Teresa and I travel, we have met a number of people in their late 70s or 80s, very sharp, very active, still traveling in their motor homes. BUT… while in Cape May, we met our RV hero in Mr. Vivian Owens, Jr. He pulls his motor home into the space, sets up, gets around well. When I had a moment to speak with him about his motor home, he told me it was a 2007 model he bought new. He traded in a 5th wheel trailer because he was turning 90 and thought the motor home would be easier to handle. Did you hear that? He was turning 90 in 2007. Vivan was 96 in 2013 and one would be hard pressed to have guessed his age. His younger wife is a mere 71 and they have been married 25 years now. 96 and still enjoying the motor home. That would mean we could be traveling for 40 years before I would be 96! WOW! Only wish I had gotten a photo of this amazing man.
GREATEST CHALLENGE/GREATEST RETURN. Our friends Chad and Shannon Dixon risked a great deal when they decided to create Anchor Down RV Resort in Dandridge, TN.
Deciding to create a world class RV resort overlooking the TVA Douglas Lake instead of a condo development (due to the regulations around the latter), the Dixons put a great deal of themselves into their multi-million dollar investment. Chad and his team built the Resort as he is a first-class, well known contractor in that area. They were able to secure financing for the venture and when they opened, were the first RV resort to receive a perfect rating of 10 -10-10 from Good Sam which rates on Facility-Restrooms-Appeal. Since then, the resort has received even more impressive national recognitions for its incredible service, amenities and location. But to take that leap of faith, putting their hearts into this project and then to see the results, one can only sit back in admiration and astonishment. Job well done!
MOST MILES RVer (and most interesting). Mentors. Friends. Accomplished. Humble. So many adjectives to describe these two wonderful people. Joe and Barb Vanacore from Ormond Beach, FL. Here is a photo of Barb, Joe and Teresa.
Now very good friends of ours in the mid-80s, they have lived quite a life. I could write an entire blog about Joe’s successful careers, his ability to be in the right place at the right time, their ability to overcome incredible challenges in their lives, their RV history, their various RV units from Chieftain, their larger diesel motor coaches which has culminated into their 360,000 miles of RVing. One of Joe’s legacy items is that he built the first high rise condos on Daytona Beach. His sons now run Vanacaore Homes, a very successful builder on the East Coast of Florida. But through it all, their friendship, their incredible humility and graciousness has made them dear friends to us.
FRIENDLIEST COMMUNITY. Without a doubt, The Gardens RV Village in Crossville, TN. (www.gardensrvvillage.com). From our first visit there, we have been overwhelmed by the people who live in these amazing RV homes. Now what does an RV home in a first class community look like?
But the real beauty of these customized homes with large RV garages? The people. We visited one weekend and over three days, were guests in many of the homes. Each was spotless where one could even eat off the garage floors. Each home was customized by the developed, Tim Wilson to the homeowner’s specifications. We realized that this community was so friendly because where do you meet the friendliest people? In RV campgrounds, parks and resorts. And we heard the stories about how someone posts that they are traveling to a resort. Others see it and on the departure date, one will see about twenty RVs pulling out together. We heard how a woman lost her husband while they were traveling in Florida. Forty couples showed up in their RVs for the funeral and help her get home to The Gardens. Affordably priced, a real melting pot of RVers from the Southeast, the Midwest, the Rust Belt and more. The Gardens is easily our choice for the friendliest community we have come across in our travels.
As we started this blog, we have met some of the most wonderful people as we travel in our RV. When you’re worried about this world and the mean people in it, next time you see an RV on the road, give them a friendly wave and remember there are some really great people in this world — RVers!
Until next time, we are on the road again and loving the Lifestyle!
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