“Our schedule is based on fishing,” Christine said. “We follow trout, then in the winter we want to escape cold weather and snow.”
They had been fishing dorado and ballyhoo for several weeks when the United States and Mexico agreed to close the border to nonessential travel, and the Spencers realized they would have to head north to avoid getting stuck.
But back stateside, with campgrounds shuttered nationwide, it was nearly impossible to find a place with an RV hookup to park for the night.
After many phone calls, the operator of a 55-plus mobile home community in Yuma, Ariz., offered them a two-night stay. They used that respite to connect with friends in Mesa, Ariz., who agreed to host them in their driveway. “I assume the welcome mat is getting a little worn,” Christine said. “Thank gosh I’m a good cook for earning our keep.”
The past two months have generated significant upheaval for retirees who had hoped to spend their golden years traveling North America by RV.
Pre-covid, the ‘van life’ was a free, easy and trendy lifestyle. Now, its practitioners are pariahs.
As the spring travel season got underway, such popular destinations as national parks were gated. Now some parks are reopening with restrictions. The borders with Canada and Mexico are still closed to nonessential travel, and private RV parks are keeping such shared amenities as swimming pools shuttered.
Thirty state park campground systems remain closed, have delayed opening or are open to state residents only, and 37 percent of campsites nationally are still shut down, according to online RV resource Campendium. Gas may be cheap, but the recent bear market has hurt retirement portfolios.
And as social distancing and other restrictions loom, couples such as the Spencers are considering whether to turn off the ignition for part of the year.