Visiting the Escapees park in Livingston when we joined the club was a worthwhile 250 mile detour from the Hill Country. Escapees has built a number of parks that anyone can stay at, in various points throughout the nation. Members get a generous discount on stays, activities and more.
The Livingston park feels less like a fulltimer retirement community and more like a college campus. Sure, most of the people are over 65, but they defy their ages. There are clubhouses and activity halls, and the calendar was so packed with activities every day, I couldn’t keep up.
One day I went over to join a yoga class, snickering to myself that it was probably going to be chair-yoga or something like that, but nope, it turned out to be a pretty good workout that even left me a little sore the next day!
One of the highlights of our visit was attending their daily social hour. OK, so there were no cocktails (oops, we showed up with some!) and sure, the meeting started out with obituary announcements, but still, after that sad business was over with, we got to hear the founders of Escapees, Joe and Kay Peterson, give the weekly talk. Joe and Kay have been RVing since 1970, when they sold their stuff and hit the road in their early 40s!
Joe and Kay are a kick! I hope Jim and I are as active and happy as they are when we hit old-timer status. They’ve lived an amazing life, truly something to aspire to. And the group they created is truly a testament to how people with a common identity and purpose can create a tight-knit community that’s as close to utopia as possible. I wish more towns across America were like this.
9 thoughts on “Keeping Up with Escapees in Livingston”
I think this may be the first such website I’ve ever looked at. I guess I’m too old-fashioned. I do write and answer regular e-mails but blogs and “facebook” and “twitter” and strange words like those seem to be for a youunger generation. However I did enjoy reading this website and about your view on us “older folks.”
I,m glad you joined Escapees and hope you’ll comeback to Rainbow’s End soon. We settled here when we could no longer travel (for health reasons) and believe it is as close to Paradise as we can come–in spite of the days when it rains and rains and rains. Heat is quite tolorable once you figure our when to go outside and when to live with an air-conditioner and fans.
Thank you so much for the comment Kay! We are honored to be part of the magic you started there at Rainbow’s end.
Wow, Kay, we are so honored you came to visit, thanks. We really admire the life you and Joe have led, and the incredible community you’ve created. Thank you for all you do, and making life on the open road such a great time!
Just received this email from Joe and Kay. They are truly inspiring:
“Joe and I were RV pioneers in the ‘70s when there were very few RVs on the road, no books on the subject of full-timing, no Escapees Club with its network of support for full-timers, and none of the modern communication systems we all enjoy today. Like many of you, we were afraid of what the future might hold. Our 26-foot trailer was paid for, but we had only a thousand dollars in the bank. What if . . . .
Fifteen years later, we were still enjoying the full-time life, in spite of the fact that a few of the “what ifs . . . ” stalled our travels once or twice. But we never even thought of giving up. We found, for every problem there is an answer, and quite often you get that answer from a fellow RVer. It is no different today. The costs of fuel, groceries, and campgrounds are a problem, but ask your fellow RVers. Many of them have already found the answers you seek. That’s the beauty of being part of a group of dedicated people.
It is so easy to settle for years of mediocre living while we wait for a special event to happen or our finances to change. We forget how precious time can be. It’s so easy to confuse principle with money and to confuse perception with reality. Think about all those chunks of precious time we steal from ourselves, doing things we don’t enjoy because we fear the unknown.
Joe and I have settled down now due to health reasons. But we had 15 wonderful years as full-time RVers and another 10 as part-time RVers. We wish everyone could experience the sense of freedom we felt during those years, and we congratulate you for not letting the influence of family, friends, or society stop you from living your travel dream.
Kay and Joe Peterson
Founders of the Escapees Club”
You’re enjoying the aging process, eh? Ok, maybe it’s different for men, but it’s an uphill battle for women. At some point we surrender a little but I’m not there yet.
I do agree though, that a lot of young people can be unnecessarily uptight. Wish there were more hippies in the world.
Having been in Livingston, I know that we felt very welcome there. Everyone is so friendly. But I do have to say that I felt so young there. You two must have felt like youngsters! Some of the other Escapee parks have younger people in them.
I love the elderly and have designs on becoming elderly one day (if I’m lucky). That’s what everyone over 75 deserves a handshake and a congratulations for having made it as far as they have.
Here where we live my hunny bunny and I are some of the youngest people (I’m 48 and Juli is 44), the average age where we live is deceased (hahahaha, love that one). Truth be told where we live it’s old people and their parents, no joke. We had dinner one night at our community center here on the island and I was joking with this guy next to me about, well, old people and their parents when he told me he was 85 and that his mother – who lives down the street from us – is 105. Turns out she just lost her license at 104 as the DMV hadn’t been monitoring her age all that closely. Talk about sticking it to the man, jeeze that’s a whole lot of years behind the wheel.
105 years on this planet or any planet for that matter is nothing short of amazing. My grandmother died at 89 and my grandfather at 92. He smoked, drank, argued with everybody in sight, ate pork fat and had a shot of schnapps before going to bed each and every night of his life. He was from Prussia, that’s how old he was as he referred to his heritage as being Prussian. He spoke Polish, Russian, and German of course and didn’t particularly enjoy fighting and losing World War II, not that he wanted win the war either cause he well knew that Hitler was a kook/monster from the beginning as he didn’t trust his brutish politics.
I’m personally enjoying the aging process. I play in blues band, sing, tell jokes between sets, and have made some really wonderful friends, but even larger than that is my perspective is loosening up as the edges are getting softer in my character. I smell BS faster as well. But when I get around folks 75 and older I find most have a great sense of humor, have traveled much, and like to talk about some of the people they had sex with when they were in their teens cause most were married by their early twenties.
For some of these folks it was less about the sex but rather about the personal qualities of someone they fell in love with, in many instances they almost married that person but fate played it’s hand and other people came along. Some of the people I’ve spoken to here tell of marrying their childhood sweethearts of some 50 years back well after their partner has past on. There is no shortage true anecdotes regarding this theme cause as I’ve learned that if you wanna get the early days talk going from a senior here in Newport, just give ’em a shot of Jameson and watch their eyes get big and their tongues wag, it’s quite the show.
A good friend of mine named Dorothy Miller is now 91. She tells these amazing stories about having sex with a variety of men who were on their way to fight in the South Pacific (she has six children to date and if she could calve today would have more I’m told). She doesn’t pull any punches and is by no means a prude as she once stated to me that the best thing that ever happened in her life was when she discovered the orgasm. Dorothy can deliver knee slappers all night long to say the least.
Sometimes, but not always, I find most young people to be a bit uptight for my tastes as their fervency borders on angry militancy about how things should be? How should things be I always ask? Was there a Golden Age? Will their be one and what would it look like? A golf course? A bowling alley? A blues club?
There have been alleged simpler times but as I remind folks they weren’t so fair to everyone culturally speaking especially if you weren’t white and middle class, I get this and understand it as well. But many want to save the world without getting their own personal house in order first. I’m not sure if you can save anyone or anything until you’ve saved yourself from yourself. I’m not talking religion here but rather personal politics, place that mask on your face then everyone else. Not a bad formula cause everyone gets to live.
The paradoxes are many and I wish the young well cause the good old days seem to be each and every day we see the Sun rise.
Enrico strikes again!!!