In the last blog, Lynn and I had just arrived at Jekyll Island Campgrounds (Georgia) for an Xscapers Convergence. This organization is a community within the larger Escapees RV Club created for working-aged RVers. Taken from their website , “Xscapers members often fit into a group that seeks to escape the traditional life pattern of a career, house and accumulation of possessions in favor of a more minimalistic and nomadic lifestyle focused on collecting experiences instead of things.”
So, like a forty three foot shiny turtle carrying all of its worldly possessions on their back, we arrived…not knowing exactly what to expect nor how well we’d fit in to this group. Fifty three people attended this meet up (convergence, in Xscapers-speak), comprising twenty four vehicles. All types of recreational vehicles were represented, including motorhomes, conversion vans, fifth wheels and travel trailers. Model years spanned from current back to 1973 (Hi Carole, Scott and Ripley). Some Xscapers were solo travelers, while others were couples. There were around five families with ten-ish kids too.
After five months of a somewhat nomadic / quiet life, this event immediately cranked the socialization dial to ten. While Xscapers events intentionally leave traditional working hours unscheduled so that members may “work”, they make up for it in the evening and nighttime hours. While I’m clearly the social butterfly of this rig, twice Lynn stayed out hours after I had tapped out for the evening.
The second night featured an Xscapers member named Mark who did an instructional class on mead-making. Having been to a meadery only once and frankly not being that impressed, we were very surprised by the taste and quality of Mark’s mead and perhaps had seconds, thirds…or more that evening. While Lynn and I both prefer our IPA’s and Stouts to mead, we gained a real appreciation for this beverage and how simple it is to make…even in an RV.
There were pot luck dinners (we turned the group onto our favorite local pimento cheese), a sunset boat ride where we saw dolphins chasing fish and each other (mating). We followed up on the pot luck theme with a “beer luck” event another evening. Here, each person brought a beer or two and everyone got to sample the ones of interest. One night featured rig tours where people that wanted to open up their vehicles allowed others to stop by, socialize and take a look. I played tour guide for Julie, while Lynn wandered the campground visiting other rigs. Another night they held a Low Country Boil with Georgia shrimp, sausage, potatoes and corn on the cob. Finally, another night many in the group went out to a local restaurant where Lynn and I both had some world-class flounder. All throughout Jekyll Island we encountered the local deer population – thankfully for the deer, most of the island speed limits are 25 MPH. Oh, I almost forgot the evening bagpipe serenade, competitive corn hole tournament. Finally, the hosts set up the Magic Beer Fridge where, akin to the Borrow A Book theme, thirsty folks could always find a cold beer and then replace one later.
One morning, Scott organized a far-too-early after a far-too-late night bike ride to watch the sunset. We slept in, but I’m told that it was nice!
Most nights featured campfires, s’mores, cocktails and other smoky treats. Larry, an Xscaper from Michigan, expertly entertained the campfire attendees with solo guitar and vocals. Living up to that legendary mid-west charm, he even shucked all of the corn that week. Attendees shared personal stories including the much enjoyed “I’ve done stupider things than you” RV horror stories.
Speaking of stupid things, we also got to see the Golden Ray, which is the six hundred and sixty foot cargo ship which overturned a month ago off the coast of Jekyll Island. It was carrying over four thousand new automobiles from South Korea and after a fire broke out, now lies half submerged on its side. Unfortunately, it is leaking oil, which caused us to cancel our plans for an afternoon of crabbing.
We met four or five solo travelers / couples / families that we bonded with and with whom we will definitely keep in touch with and see in the future. Said plainly…..Lynn and I feel that we connect with the ethos of Xscapers and we want more. Many of their events are in the Western United States as well….there’s more wide open spaces out there… so, West we will go. Also, many in this group enjoy boondocking, which is camping off the grid without electricity, water or sewer hook ups. We hope to gain a better appreciation and understanding of this at future events.
All in all….we had our most fun in the five months since we’ve been RV’ing. The hosts Scott and Carole did an amazing job scheduling an excellent blend of activities and free time and we can’t wait to see / camp / party with them again soon.
Lynn’s 2 cents – Yup, we drank the Xscapers Kool Aid. We are all in with this group of nomads. We are even considering cancelling our plans to go to Alaska next summer so we can attend more events around the country. One of which is an Alaska cruise. So we will still get our AK fix. Time will tell, but meeting this group of like minded people has certainly enhanced our life on the road.