Easy Living, Lasting Friendships at Myrtle Beach

It was simple luck that put Roger and Darlene Schluensen in a ROUTE 66 RV Network showroom – an open house they’d decided to attend at the last minute.

But it was there that an encounter with another RVing couple- Leland and Joanne Hurley – would forge a fast friendship, opening the door to years of travel adventures together.

When the couples discovered that they owned the same make of motorhome, they struck up a conversation that turned into an invitation to attend an RV Rally. Though the Schluensen’s hadn’t had time to do much traveling yet, they decided to give it a go. And life, they say, has never been the same.

Today, the Schluensens and the Hurleys are bona fide travel partners, hitting the road together at least three times a year, and exploring parts of the country they probably never would have traveled alone.

One of their favorite joint adventures was a cross-country trip together to attend a rally at Ocean Lakes Family Campground, a massive seaside resort in Myrtle Beach, S.C., where they enjoyed the laid-back pleasures of sun and sand, collecting seashells and the tranquil hum of the surf.

Darlene Schluensen:We’ve only been RVers for about six years. We bought a Class C from a family friend and fell in love with the adventure of it, but found out right away that we wanted more space, so we went to a Class A.

“A year later, we were at the ROUTE 66 RV dealership where we’d purchased our Class A and ran into another couple who had the exact same model. They asked if we belonged to a RV club, said they were going to a rally in about six weeks in Texarkana, and invited us to come along.

“We exchanged phone numbers and addresses, and found they didn’t live too far away. The timing was perfect. We had taken delivery of our motorhome that winter, and it just sat there – like a new kitchen that you couldn’t go in and use. It just bugged us.

“So we looked at our calendar and decided that a rally sounded like a good time and a good way to take a trip in our new motorhome.

“We wound up going to Texarkana, got along beautifully and became best friends. Since then, we’ve traveled all over with them. In fact, we don’t even like to travel by ourselves; we like the idea of having someone out there ahead of us or behind us.

“We decided to join a local chapter (RV club) and have met many other Class A owners. It was a chance meeting that really turned into something wonderful.

“And the places we have gone! I tell you, we would have never ventured there by ourselves. But when you’re with another couple, it’s ‘Well, gee, I’d like to go’ and ‘if you go, I’ll go.’ Truly, we’ve put more miles on our motorhome being with someone else.

“Often, we’ll attend rallies, which are usually held at a campground or a fairground. Our favorite was when we went to a rally over a year ago at Ocean Lakes Family Campground at Myrtle Beach.

“The four of us were able to park our motorhomes within a three-minute walk to the beach. We had so much fun!

“We took our tow car and drove around town, but spent most of our time at the rally, where there were structured things to do all day.

“Leland and I are early risers, so we would go down to the beach before sunrise with flashlights looking for shells. Then Joanne and Roger would come down. We both have dogs – they have a little Schnauzer, Dolly, and we have a miniature Dachshund. It was great having the dogs there.

“When you have your own motorhome, you still have your privacy – your own little house, which is the great thing about RVing. At night, the guys usually make a campfire, so we can get together and yak away.

“It was fall, so the way back we decided to take the long way home through the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was just beautiful. We both have these walkie-talkie radios and Joanne and I are constantly saying, ‘Oh, look at that! Or ‘Wait until you get around this corner!’

“It’s great to be able to share that kind of stuff. The oohing and ahhhing, sitting in your own motorhome sharing a ringside view with friends – that’s life, that’s the ideal.

“We’d never been out East before, and I don’t think we would have tried it if not for the rally. I guess there is courage in numbers!

“We have to plan our trips around what happens at home. My husband is a farmer, so we take off in between planting and harvesting. We spent January in Florida, but had to be home by February 1 because we raise purebred sheep and that’s when lambing starts.

“Leland is retired, but works part time for a local school district. So we still have our ties at home. But we mark our calendars, and if nothing conflicts, we just go.

“We’ll plot our route out, but we never know quite how far we’ll go in one day. Sometimes we’ll call ahead for a campground about three hours out. But we’re pretty spontaneous.

“It’s worked out great. We love out motorhome, and meeting the Hurleys was just icing on the cake. And we love the RVing lifestyle. It’s that lack of stress, the freedom, the feeling of no pressure. You do what you want when you want.

“It’s funny, but sometimes we’ll look at each other and say, ‘What day is this?’ And that’s what I like. At home, there is a calendar full of appointments, stuff that needs to be done.

“We get in that motorhome and we’re down the road and 10 minutes later it’s as if a weight has lifted from your shoulders. Here we come world!

“I call it running away. Running from the stress, the hassles, the telephones and appointments – gaining some strength to come back and do it all over again.”

 

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