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Retired Boomers are Hitting the Road in RVs

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May 15, 2014 by   Leave a Comment

Jim and Jaylene Myers knew exactly what they wanted to do when they retired in 2008: Go wherever whim and chance might take them in their 45-foot recreational vehicle.

The New York Times reported that in the last five years Jim, 63, a former paper manufacturing executive from Seattle, and Jaylene, 62, a former schoolteacher, have camped in Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, retraced the route followed by 19th-century wagon trains, gone fly fishing in Colorado, visited the Alamo in Texas and relatives in Alabama, and devoured crawfish in Breaux Bridge, La. Along the way they have befriended hundreds of other RV aficionados who, as he put it, are also “living the dream.”

“When I was working, my life was my schedule,” Jim Myers said. “It was an endless run of meetings. One thing I wanted when I retired was to not have a schedule and to get to know places I’d only seen from airplanes on business trips.”

The Myerses are members of a high-octane tribe of retirees who are transforming their golden years into a golden age of adventure on the open road. Inspired by disparate strands of the American way of life — from don’t-tread-on-me individualism to an it-takes-a-village communitarianism, from a love of nature to a craving for the best creature comforts modernity can offer (or both) — they are a wildly diverse bunch.

Some live in small trailers that cost a few thousand dollars and are barely larger than a van. Others cruise the country in expensive rigs — such as those favored by celebrity RV enthusiasts like Clarence Thomas and Robert De Niro — with flat-screen televisions and king-size beds. Some seek the country’s most isolated nooks and crannies; others stay in plush R.V. resorts that offer more activities than costly summer camps for children. Most travel as couples; a few go solo.

They include former teachers, lawyers, doctors, firefighters, artists and corporate executives. Not that it matters. In R.V. culture, “no one asks what you’ve done,” said Kathi Vogler, 64, a retired nurse from Pompton Plains, N.J., who has traveled with her husband, John, a retired middle school principal, for five years, “just where you’ve been, where you’re going, what you’ve seen.”

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