Thursday, January 26, 2006

Full-time RVer finds freedom, community

Planning for retirement, Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Mary Olson didn't know which state she wanted to live in, so she made a choice that allowed her to enjoy them all: she bought a recreational vehicle.

Olson had never driven a large vehicle or even gone camping in her life.

"I said to the salesman, 'Maybe before I give the down payment I should go out on the road.'" She took the wheel of a 36-foot motor home (RV enthusiasts call them "rigs") and navigated a misty, windy day on Interstate Highway 10 in Texas.

"I made left turns, I made right turns, got back and parked it between the yellow lines in the parking lot, and said, 'Oh, I think I can do this,'" Olson said.

It was 1999, and the single former nurse had just joined the ranks of the approximately 1 million people in the U.S. who live in their RVs full-time, according to Rachel Parsons of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association in Reston, Va.Overall, Olson is pleased with her life and has no plans to buy a conventional home.

Speaking from San Antonio, Texas, she said, "You can get up in the morning and be at the beach or the mountains or the desert, and if you don't like your neighbors you can move. Though I can stay in parks, I'm also self-contained, so I can be in the middle of nowhere." Full Story...

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