Our RV Doors Are Always Open

With Warren and Robin Baxter
Robin, Warren and their family play outside of their Keystone Fuzion toy hauler RV.

The Million Dollar Question

What should we do once we retire? That was the million-dollar question Warren and I found ourselves facing in 2016. Our working careers were coming to an end and our two boys were off starting families of their own. Being employed and being parents—two things that had defined us for decades—were changing. Retirement not only meant redefining ourselves but also having the freedom to do things for ourselves.

You Don't Have To Choose

Warren and I have always loved to travel. It’s been an important part of who we are as individuals and in our relationship. When it came time to retire, we knew that traveling would play a big role in how we spent our time. However, we also knew there was something even more important to us than traveling. And that was family. Pursuing our lifelong dreams and passions while also being attentive parents and grandparents might sound like a choice, but it doesn’t have to be either/or. Warren and I knew we could be and do both. And RVing has allowed us to do exactly that.

Welcome to Our “Retirement RV”

When we decided that we wanted to spend our retirement traveling in an RV, our family remained at the heart of this decision. We wanted to incorporate our family while simultaneously pursuing our newfound freedom. We knew this meant getting an RV that could house plenty of children and grandchildren. Over the years, our family has owned a variety of different travel trailers and towables, most of which have helped facilitate local camping trips. But this “retirement RV” needed to be different. Like our house in California, this RV needed to be comfortable and spacious—with room for play and for privacy. Lucky for us, the 2020 Keystone Fuzion fifth wheel toy hauler was exactly what we needed. It can sleep up to seven people, has two bathrooms, four TVs, and an open kitchen layout that’s perfect for entertaining.

Let Your Family in on the Travel Plans

Once we had the RV, the next step was figuring out a way to construct our travel plans that kept both our own interests and our family in mind. Warren and I love warm weather and being close to water, so one of our first trips in the Fuzion was along the California coast. As we made reservations and mapped out the route, we kept our sons updated on the latest plans. That way, if there was a particular place or area they wanted to see, it was easy for them to make arrangements and join us. Letting our family have a say in our travels has really helped us stay connected. With family in mind, we’re able to take requests for places that they’d like to see, and we’re able to travel there or get as close as possible.

Our youngest son met us at a beautiful park in Oceanside, California, because he wanted to enjoy a relaxing vacation by the beach. Our oldest son was able to join us for a few days as we drove from Northern California up into Oregon—a region he had never seen before but always wanted to. As he was leaving to head back home, he looked at us and said, “I’m so happy you two are living your dream.”

The Best of Both Worlds

Warren and I truly do feel like we’re getting the best of both worlds by being dedicated RVers. We get to travel, explore, and connect with distant friends all across the country. We also get to expose our children and grandchildren to the transformative nature of travel and share incredible experiences with them. After taking numerous RV trips to the ocean and various lakes, Warren and I (much to our delight) are slowly seeing our grandchildren turn into “water babies.” It’s incredible to know that where we choose to travel is actually shaping their interests. Our hope is that we’re building long-lasting memories—memories our family can always reflect back on and remember fondly. Despite not being stationary in one place, we still feel extremely connected. We are strengthening old bonds, and forming new ones.

Sharing The Adventure

It’s important that our two boys and their children see that their grandparents are still following their dreams and doing what they love. Getting older doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your own dreams and desires. We want our family to witness first-hand that no matter what stage of life you’re in, you can still do things for yourself. We are living proof that you can be an active and engaged presence in your family’s life, and also feed a deeper urge to explore and travel. You can identify yourself as an avid explorer and as a loving grandmother. The key is simple: Bring your family with you. We constantly tell our friends and family that our RV doors are always open. Pack your bags and come explore with us.

Here are some things that helped us realize this was a life we truly wanted:

  1. Determine how you want to use your RV. Do you want to travel long-term or are you just thinking about taking weekend trips? If you want to do weekend trips, then make sure you have a place to store your RV when you’re not using it. And if you want to take extended trips, you’ll need to figure out what to do with your house and your belongings (storage or selling). Remember this isn’t just about buying a new RV and hitting the road; there are some big decisions that go along with it.

  2. Determine whether you want a travel trailer or a motorized RV. We knew we wanted a truck, so we kept our RV search to travel trailers, toy haulers and fifth wheels. We actually ended up purchasing our Keystone Fuzion prior to having a tow vehicle, which worked in our favor because we didn’t realize how much horsepower the Fuzion needed. This issue can be common among first-time RV buyers—the towable RV and the tow vehicle end up being incompatible. If you already have a car or truck, and you know you want to pull a trailer behind you, make sure you know your vehicle’s towing and payload capacities.

  3. Determine who will be joining you. If you plan to travel extensively, it’s helpful to think about who will be visiting you on your travels and how your visitors may change over the years. We knew that our two boys would visit us, but we also knew that they were just beginning to start families of their own. We made a point to get an RV that not only had space for us and our boys but also could accommodate plenty of future grandchildren.

  4. Determine your travel style. Warren and I are the first to admit that we both like nice things. And we wanted this “retirement RV” to be no different. It really helped us to visit RV shows and different dealers so we could actually see the various models. Then, we started compiling a list of our top priorities. Layouts and interiors have come such a long way, and we never felt like we had to compromise on comfort, style, or even luxury—all things that were important to us for long-term RV travel.

Toy Haulers

Many people think of toy haulers as the wild-child of the RV world.  Sometimes that’s true. While the toy hauler originated as a mobile man-cave complete with diamond plate walls, this popular RV type has evolved into much more. Today you might want to think of toy haulers as open-concept living spaces with multi-purpose utility.


Warren and Robin travel in a 2020 Keystone Fuzion 427 Fifth Wheel Toy Hauler.

Featured location: Mountain View Retreat Hipcamp in New River, Arizona.

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