We’ve Escaped

Chickens roosting in tree at Luckenbach, TXIn late 2006, Jim and I were secretly scheming about dropping out of society. Around that time, we went to see our friends Joel and Lynn get hitched, and it was at their reception that we met Joel’s dad, Bob. Suddenly it felt like the universe had conspired to put us together, because over wine and appetizers we learned that Bob was a former fulltime RVer. It was so exciting to meet a real live fulltimer for the first time. He made us laugh with his funny stories of life on the road for nearly 10 years.

We hinted around that we were thinking of traveling for a while, and Bob wholeheartedly encouraged us to “do it now while you’re young!” He was also the person first to tell us about Escapees, the RVing club for everyone, but especially geared toward meeting the needs of fulltimers. “They’re the best people you’ll ever meet!” he said.

After two years on the road, we finally took Bob’s advice and joined. Why did we wait so long? Well, when we started, we just didn’t know if this road tripping lifestyle was going to be a long-term thing. Once we knew we would be fulltimers for the forseeable future, we decided that it was time to relieve Jim’s sister of her generous help in handling our mail and banking issues. And we also wanted to get the hell out of California before we had to pay our vehicle registration and insurance policy extortion bills due in May. So we bit the bullet, and joined up.

Why Join Escapees?
Landa RV Park Resident Bad Boy CamperI’m guessing that our Bad Boy neighbor here at Landa RV Park isn’t part of the Escapees establishment. But many other fulltimers we know join Escapees not just for the camaraderie, or their affordable RV parks and get-togethers, but also because the group is incredibly organized and offers us a place to call “home.” Literally. If you join the club, you can sign up for Escapees mail forwarding service and utilize their Livingston, Texas headquarters address for all of your household and business administrative needs. You can also use the address to declare Texas as your “home state” or “domicile,” once you’ve followed the proper procedures.

See, when you don’t rent or own a stick house anywhere, or have a place where you get mail, you literally don’t exist in the eyes of credit agencies, insurance companies, and so on. You can’t even register to vote!

Armadillo in field at Luckenbach, TXThink about it: every single person in this country must have a “domicile” they call home. For those of us with homes on wheels, this can be a problem. Our RVs don’t count as homes in the eyes of The Man. Escapees solves this problem for us, by helping us to become Texans.

We went to the Escapees headquarters a few weeks ago. The people there were truly some of the nicest RVers we’ve ever met, and were so helpful in getting everything set up for us. We got a new mailing address, and registered our vehicles in Texas. We recently just got our driver’s licenses too, so now, we are official Texans.

Texas Oil Guy License Plate in LuckenbachFor now, it feels pretty good to sport Texas license plates, since Californicator plates don’t exactly buy you a lot of respect in the rest of the country. We’ve met many people who like to pin the downfall of the U.S. economy on California’s greedy real estate market (Florida gets lumped in there too, however).

So today, we know we’re not really Texans, but we also don’t feel like Californians anymore either. Great. Now when people ask “where are you from?” they’re going to get an even longer story than before!

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36 Responses to “We’ve Escaped”

  1. I haven’t been to your site in a couple of weeks and just had to comment after reading your last few posts. (Nothing goes better with my Saturday morning cup of joe than catching up on your recent escapades!) I’m so glad Texas is treating you well and you are enjoying your travels across our state. Although I can’t wait for the day I leave this area, I do realize that it’s not exactly a bad place to be or be from (especially these days!) I’d bet you’ve probably seen as much of (if not more than) the state as I have after living here all my life. Hopefully someday I can travel to other parts of the state and appreciate it more for all it has to offer.

    And how funny that I just ran across the Escapees site a few days ago while searching through workamping ads…seems like an awesome organization and now that it’s got your endorsement, we’ll definitely check it out when we finally hit the road. I love living vicariously through you two…it helps me keep the dream alive. Two years and counting…fulltime or bust! Take care and safe travels!

    • Keep the faith Melissa, with that kind of determination, you’ll be on the road before you know it. Thank you so much for reading and the kind words.

  2. Jackie, Joel's mom May 9, 2009 at 2:25 pm Reply

    Fulltiming was truly a wonderful experience. We never changed our regestration because we spent a lot of time in CA. Our family is here and we felt we should pay our share for roads etc. We did use the Escapees mail survice, picked up mail in some really out of way places, like Cantwell AK. and Hope ID. Fulltimers are not just retirees. Many of them work along the way. We will never regret or forget our years on the road. Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” is still our favorite song.

    • Jackie, it’s so great to hear from you,.thanks for writing. Many thanks to you and Bob for influencing our decision to fulltime. Like you, we will never regret it!

  3. I know Texans, and you two are not Texans.
    It’s useful to have a “permanent address” though, so go ahead, wear a cowboy hat every once-in-a-while, holler, eat barbeque, and toast your friends with an ice cold Lone Star.

  4. Congrats on becoming a Texan! I grew up in Austin, so I have a strong affinity for the state. However, when it came time for us to pick a domicile, we went with South Dakota for their 3% tax on new vehicles (and we had just purchased a new tow vehicle and trailer that needed registering). At the time, I was actually a Florida resident and Chris was a Californian.

    We get ‘Wow, you must be used to the cold’ a lot. We usually answer ‘Not really, we were only in SD long enough to get our driver’s licenses.’ Which segways nicely into the ‘we live *here*’ answer. If we had TX plates, it could be even more entertaining .. ‘So.. where in Texas are you from?’ Me: “Well.. err.. I grew up in Austin.. err.. but I don’t really live there’ *giggle*

    I do wish there was a national designation for full time travelers however. It would make so many things easier.

    Happy travels, y’all!

  5. I hate, hate, HATE the question, “Where are you from?” You know they are just trying to pigeon-hole you into some pre-conceived (and usually false) notion of that state’s residents. I also can’t resist answering it truthfully which takes too much time. Next time I’m just going to say New Dakota.

    Anyway, glad to have you as fellow SKPs. Pretty cool bunch of folks. Hope you can attend an Escapade, where old people are young are heart 🙂

    • I totally know what you mean about trying to answer that question truthfully in 15 minutes or less.

      But the other day, when we were trying to fill up our water tank at Wallyworld’s garden center before going off to boondock (long story), I noticed that the crabby clerk who we asked permission from, got real friendly once she saw we had TX plates. She was from TX too and when she asked where we were from, I quickly said “Livingston” and changed the subject.

  6. So here’s my Texas story … our sign painting friend, let’s call him Chuck, bought property in TX and was going to make a few improvements so he went down to the local planning office to ask what sort of permits he needed to take out. The guy looked at him funny and asked if he was from outta town !!

    CA has everyone here so indoctrinated to drop their trousers every time a home improvement is made. Yeah, Texas !!!

    • I hope that’s the case when we buy in TX. I know it won’t be in CO.

      A certain Eureka gentleman who owns an old print shop there, told us the best thing to do when it comes to permits is act first, beg forgiveness later. That seems like the way to go in small towns everywhere.

  7. Joel’s dad, Bob, was over for the Rhody Parade in Eureka a few Saturdays back. I enjoyed meeting him for the first time. He was wearing elk boots and I thought he was going to kick my ass.

  8. Now we’re neighbors! We have a different look at having TX license plates – when people ask where we’re from, we have a hard time saying TX since we’ve never lived there. So we have to go through this long explanation about why we have TX plates. Of course it’s easy to explain to another full timer. In fact, when you see another RVer with TX plates you ask them if they’re Escapees.

    Have you had a chance to stay in any of the Escapees parks anywhere besides Livingston? You will find when you do that you feel like you’ve come home. We’ve never gotten such a reception from any other RV park. We are hugged and told welcome and offered any kind of help that we need. There couldn’t be any better organization for full timers.

    • Hey Neighbor!

      We haven’t stayed at any other parks, bu are looking forward to it. When we got to Livingston, we felt so welcomed, it was wonderful!

  9. We have had so many issues over the plates that now if we decide to stay in a place longer we just take the front one off and pull under the 5th wheel!!! Problem solved!! (take trailers off)Some people just have to see that plate in order for them to decide how to treat you!!?? I just don’t get it….And the funny thing is “the plates on the truck” have nothing to do with where we are from!!!!! LOL… I need plates saying “The Moon”

    • “Some people just have to see that plate in order for them to decide how to treat you”

      Yes! Isn’t it weird?

      Before, people looked at our CA plates and assumed we were rich and from a big city, especially when we told them we sold our house to travel. Uh helloo, we’re from rural Humboldt County, not exactly a place where people are loaded. Well, with money, that is.

      And now, I’m betting they’ll assume we’re trailer park rednecks. Well, maybe a little.

      I like to keep ’em guessing. You find out who the really cool people are that way.

  10. What fun to discover your blog this morning! We are more than ready to hit the road full time in our RV – just waiting for the Universe to open the door and we’ll jump! It’s been our dream that has kept us focused and motivated! We’re even considering moving into a tent for the summer as the last step before hitting the road – we keep downsizing!

    Yeah, some people think we’re crazy. But this is the life we choose and can’t wait to live! Hope we’ll meet on the road!

    Trisha

  11. We just got back from a RV trip to AZ and I also go the feeling that there are too many California License plates around and people tend to look at us differently.

    As a native Californian I am not sure how it would be to give up the state I was borne in and have have lived in for 63 years except for a few years out of state and the country curtsy of Uncle Sam.

    • We had mixed feelings about changing states as well, my entire family is there and most of Jim’s is too.

      I lived in AZ once but refused to become an Arizonian. There are so many things I love about CA, and so many things that drive me crazy too. I am worried for the future of it though, things are not looking good in the cities.

      Where you are though, well, that’s God’s Country, for sure. You are so lucky!

    • Oh, where’d you go in AZ, Henry?

      • Went to Sedona for a few days. I did not like it the scenery was beautiful but it was a tourist trap. We than went to the Grand Canyon there were not too many people there and it was enjoyable. On the way back we drove one of the longest remaining sections of Route 66 about 80 miles. That was nice. It was been 45 to 50 years since I traveled it in the back seat of my parents car.

        We than spent some time on the east side of the Sierra from Lone Pine to Bridgeport. We stayed at a campground at Bridgeport owned and run by a couple I would guess that are the same age as you two. They knew how to run a business.

        • I feel the same way about Sedona. We like Jerome much better.

          You picked a good time of year to hit those spots. Sounds like a fun time. I just read a Route 66 Travel Guide by the author of Road Trip USA. Stay tuned for a review. Over the last 2 years we’ve followed a lot of 66 from Az, all the way to Tucumcari. Neat stuff to see.

          Bridgeport is a GREAT town, we like it up in that area. Hope you had the heater cranked up, I’m guessing it was cold?

  12. Congrats on the whole shebang! Btw…was that a three-legged armadillo I saw up above?

  13. Welcome to the club! Are you going to the Escapade in Missouri in a couple weeks? If so, I hope I see you there.

    • Hi Diana. We aren’t going to that one, but eventually we’ll make it to a get together. What a fun bunch! We look forward to seeing you on the road.

  14. YAY! Congrats on becoming Texans! Even though we lived in Texas for two years before we went full time… it still is a long story when someone asks – “so you are from Texas?” But, people do seem to have some what of a friendly impression of Texas~ 😀 I like to tell people that I am a “red neck Asian…”

  15. I can relate to the license plate issue. I’ve driven all over the country, but with preference for rural areas, sporting New Jersey plates. It usually at least gets a chuckle out of the locals. In the Confederate South, though, it engenders actual, frightening hostility. I sometimes wish license plates didn’t have to say which state issued them.

    I’m still traveling by car, my evil RV plans having been thwarted for a bit by financial reality, but I’ve learned to ignore the folks who think that only old people should be doing it. Why wait?

    • I just finished Travels With Charley, where Steinbeck writes about the hostility to Northerners he got in Louisiana for having New York plates. I guess there are still plenty of places where not much has changed in 50 years, or in the 50 years before that.

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