Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Land Versus Water Cruising

Marathon, Florida
24 42.40 081 N 05.68 W

It's kind of a running joke.  Cruisers start with a sail boat, then they graduate to a trawler, then to an RV, then to a wheelchair.   Ha ha, lame joke.   However, we've known people who have actually made each of those transitions.

In recent years, two of our closest cruising friends, gave up their boats and bought RVs.  First it was Stephan and Lori, then Pat and Ray.  I thought it was interesting as to their insights about how cruising on land was or was not like cruising on water.   I learned several things from them.

  • A boat can anchor out, or it can tie up at a marina.  Similarly, RVs can park in the wild, or they can go to an RV park.  Our friends tell us that parking in the wild is rarer in RVs than anchoring is in boats.  They spend almost all their evenings in RV parks.
  • Because they make reservations in RV parks, and because they are less influenced by weather, RV cruisers tend to fill up their calendars well in advance.   Boaters by contrast try to resist all planning and obligations to be at a particular place on a certain date.  I think that's a very profound and important difference.
  • The social dynamics of RV cruisers is different than boating cruisers.  One reason for that (as described to me is that in the morning, most Neighbors in the RV park will take off in all directions.  You're not likely to meet them again.  That gives less incentive to invest on making new friends spontaneously.  On boats, especially in the islands or along the ICW, you're highly likely to meet the same boats again and again, so friendships can blossom.
  • Creature comforts are much easier to host on an RV.   Things like a reclining easy chair, or an upright refrigerator, and a TV.  The TV can be corrosive though.  It can seduce RV cruisers back into the mainstream consumer culture they were trying to escape from.
  • Repairs are more frequent, more expensive, and harder to do yourself on an RV as compared to a boat.
  • Like boaters, RV cruisers like to hold rendezvous with others of the same make and model, or with some other kind of affiliation.   Boat rendezvous are more local.   RV rendezvous can attract people from thousands of miles around.
  • Some RV parks, like some marinas or harbors, attract mostly transient people who come in for a short time, then leave.  Others attract people who stay for extended periods, or who become semi-permanent residents.   In that respect, water and land cruising are alike.
Curiously, Stephan, Lori, Pat and Ray all gave up RV cruising and moved into fast land fixed housing after a couple of years.  Their RVs sit parked in their yards most of the time.  Their reasons for doing that were similar and family related.   Of course, unlike the sterotype, none of them are even close to wheelchair read yet.  It seems that water cruising, followed by land cruising, were chapters in their lives.   Libby and I don't plan to do that.  We hope to stay on the boat until we're too infirm to continue.

Another difference is the kinds of traffic you meet along the road. See below. :-)

1 comment:

  1. Ah, but keep in mind, Dick, that RV cruising is still cruising. Cruisers have a certain wanderlust that compels them to travel, be it in a sailboat, a trawler, an RV, a motorcycle, or on foot. A few decades ago, hobos did it in railroad cars. We're all cut from the same cloth and wouldn't have it any other way.


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