Former Perysburg residents have been full-time on the road for last 8 years PDF Print E-mail
Written by By KAREN NADLER COTA Sentinel Lifestyles Editor   
Thursday, 23 July 2009 08:47
The RV'rs motto might easily be "Don't fence me in."
"It really gets our dander up if someone tells us we have to be somewhere at a particular time," says former Perrysburg resident Tom Reynolds, who with his wife Sally has been living out of an RV for most of the past decade.  He's half joking, but only half.
"We went full-time on the road eight years ago and will be starting our ninth year in October."
They planned for their RV-based retirement several years in advance, while she was still working for Sky Bank in Bowling Green and he was wrapping up a 40-year career in the computer industry, most recently at Bostwick-Braun Co.
"We took a number of (RV) vacations to different places before we retired," including Yellowstone; Mt. Rushmore; Washington, D.C. and New England.
Those trips convinced them this was how they wanted to spend life when working for a paycheck was no longer required.
"We sold our home in Perrysburg" and took off that first winter for Biloxi, Miss., meeting up with his parents who were down their RVing themselves. It's a lifestyle Tom had known since he was 6 years old; Sally's RVing history goes all to way back to age 4.
"We bummed around with them and went to the casinos. From there, we went to Florida and spent the winter traveling all around the state."
In the years since they've made it to every state in the union except Connecticut, Rhode Island, Colorado and Utah; and all but two of the Canadian provinces.
These days they've got a basic circuit they follow from one year to the next, with summers spent mostly moving around Ohio and Michigan. Come October they start the trek toward Florida, stopping in South Carolina to visit Tom's son-in-law. By early November they're spending a day or so at Disney World, moving on to Naples for Christmas.
"We meet a ton of people on the road that have turned out to be good friends."
The Reynolds came back to Bowling Green this week to take part in the Family Motor Coach Association convention.
"I first heard they were going to have this in BG in January of 2008 'cause the FMCA president happened to be camping next to us" at a park they were visiting.
Reynolds knew what that was going to mean for the city, and the sheer scope of the event.
"I kept telling people back in BG: 'Don't try to hurry anywhere, and don't try to eat out in town!'"
But he also knew the FMCA people would be pleasant guests.
"Most people who RV are really easygoing, and if you've got any kind of a problem they're always willing to help you."
The best thing about the lifestyle, for the Reynolds, is that "you constantly run into people you've camped with before, so it turns into one big happy family."
They're on their third RV together and can't see why anyone would pooh pooh the lifestyle.
But is 365-day-a-year living in a camper - no matter how luxurious a model - just the least little bit claustrophobic?
"No, not really," Reynolds insists.
It's true, most RV's are a mere 96 inches wide. But they're 34 to 40 feet long. And don't forget the pop-outs.
As for preparing meals in their tidy, if somewhat compact motor coach kitchen, it's no hardship.
"We really cook in more than what we eat out. Especially if there's friends in the area, we have potlucks" with each couple contributing a dish.
In this day of cell phones and Internet, it's not hard for family and friends to keep up with the always-on-the-move couple.
And it's easy for the Reynolds to keep track of practical matters like banking and bill-paying.
"You can pay all your bills online, so there's really very little mail coming to BG." They have an arrangement with "one of Sally's girlfriends" who sends them their mail at intervals.
"It's a pretty free lifestyle," Reynolds pointed out, "and the name of the game is to have fun."
Of course, "you do have to have a budget."
As RV'rs discovered last summer, "you can't control the cost of gas or food. You can control the cost of camping by belonging to one of the camping membership organizations."
The Reynolds have seen the impact of the economic downturn this past year.
"We saw more private campgrounds that weren't full, but the member campgrounds were full. So people were using what they'd paid for."
Last Updated on Thursday, 23 July 2009 09:15

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