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By Greg Gerber
RVing is a fun family activity and millions of families and couples take part in it each year. But, what about singles? Can they enjoy the RVing lifestyle without having to live like monks in seclusion?
There are a number of organizations that cater to singles:
- Sisters on the Fly – sistersonthefly.com
- Loners on Wheels – lonersonwheels.com
- RVing Women – rvingwomen.org
- Wandering Individuals Network—rvsingles.org
For those solo RVers who want to enjoy an active lifestyle with frequent travel, the Wandering Individual Network (WIN) will certainly keep them busy.
President Maynard Magee bought the club several years ago. Since then, he has been actively working to redesign the club’s website and spread word about the organization that today numbers 400 members.
The key word in WIN is “network,” something Magee and other members diligently work to establish by sharing recommendations, tips and life support.
“We do more traveling than any other singles RV group,” he claimed. “We make 60 to 120 different stops every year.”
Created for adults
Right now the average age of club members is 65 and it’s split evenly between men and women, but Magee expects that to change based on the number of younger people who have started to join.
“We really don’t have an age limit for membership. If people are active and can keep up with us, we welcome them into the group,” he explained. “We’re not a rocking chair, play shuffleboard and lawn bowling kind of group. We’re a rock and roll group – rolling down the road to adventure.”
The group is ideally suited for full-time RVers, but many members are still working. Magee thinks anyone over 45 would fit in well with the group.
Children aren’t allowed except under special circumstances, such as when a member’s older grandchild is traveling with a grandparent for a short time.
Worth the price
Membership is $84 per year, which is twice the annual fee that other clubs charge, but Magee is okay with that because of the variety of benefits his members enjoy.
“Our members can pay for the entire annual fee in just four days because we seek out places to camp that are either free or very low cost,” he explained. “In fact, our members saved so much on our east coast trip last year that it paid for their membership for the rest of their lives.
“We don’t like the idea of spending a lot of money when we’re sleeping. So rather than pay $40 to $50 for a campground, we look for the least expensive places to stay,” said Magee. “Our members would rather spend their money on food, entertainment, tours and recreation instead of on a campground experience.”
For example, the group has parked at Casino del Sol in Tucson, Ariz. There was no charge for parking the RVs in the casino lot, and members enjoyed some low cost entertainment and good meals by visiting the casino together. They also invested a lot of time touring the area and making the most of their time in Tucson.
Each evening, group members gather for what Magee calls the “circle.” Everyone brings chairs over to his fifth wheel and they talk about their day and what they experienced. Then, as members start suggesting ideas on things they want to do the next day, he writes down the activities on a big white board that is always stationed outside his RV.
Members indicate which activities they’d be interested in doing, and a volunteer leader for each group is appointed. That person coordinates travel plans and ridesharing.
Members can select activities during circle or sleep on it and make a decision the next morning during the all-group “hugs and mugs” morning gathering.
The daily activities are as vast as the interests of members. Some may go kayaking, others hiking, and some bike riding. Others may opt for a museum, theme park, sporting event or simply shopping.
The beauty of the WIN method is that people who go on an activity one day and report back at the circle that night may entice others to follow in their footsteps the next day. Boredom is never a factor with the WIN group, Magee noted.
The WIN website at www.rvsingles.org offers photos depicting the various activities members have enjoyed.
“Rather that writing a bunch of words promising what we do, I opted to post pictures on our website showing the things we typically do when we visit an area,” said Magee.“If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, we have an encyclopedia of activity on our website.”
Not a caravan club
The Wandering Individuals Network is not a caravan club in that the same people travel from one event to the next in a large caravan of RVs. The host locations are established and GPS coordinates shared with members so they can travel at their own pace and join other members whenever they want.
Some may show up for one event, or others may travel together for a week or two. Most host locations are only a few hours from one site to the next, which gives members plenty of time for a leisurely journey without worrying about keeping up with or holding back other members.
Activities are centered around “circuits.” For example, the group may travel along a southwest circuit. Then, as the weather warms, they may follow a New Mexico circuit before heading to the Rocky Mountains in June,and the Pacific Northwest in the summer.
“Basically, we ask our members where they want to go and what they want to do. Then we find volunteers to plan the stops and scope out various activities to do once we get there,” said Magee. “One person usually volunteers to be a coordinator for a single stop, and then he or she just gets to play at the other locations.”
Members are not obligated to visit each location in a circuit. They may opt to spend more time in one area and catch up with the group at another stop. Some members still work, so they’ll join up with the group for long weekends.
Staying in touch
Members receive a bi-monthly email newsletter that describes past events in case members want to travel to that location on their own. But, it also outlines stops along current and upcoming circuits in the event members want to catch up to a group there.
Special news alerts are sent to members in case travel plans need to change, such as if a campground was washed out in a storm.
The group’s website was created to work across multiple platforms from laptops to tablets to smartphones.
Magee thinks RV dealers should embrace clubs like WIN when their solo customers are looking to buy an RV to seek adventure.
“We are an RV dealer’s best friend because we show their customers what to do and how to use their equipment,” he explained. “Many times, single RVers will buy an RV and start traveling, but become completely frustrated trying to figure out how everything works on their rigs.
“We love new RV owners and can coach them to ensure they get off to a fast start and have an enjoyable experience,” he added. “We also show them products they can buy to enhance their lifestyle, and how to save money while camping.”
If singles are going to join a club, they should become a member of the Wandering Individuals Network, said Magee.
“We’ve invested the time, effort and money to establish an active group for RVing singles and we do it better than any other club,” he explained.
For more information, visit www.rvsingles.org or call Maynard Magee at 303.522.7661.