Saturday, May 24, 2014

Fulltime solo RVer Joyce Caudell volunteers for National Park Service in Oregon

Editor's note: We received an email from fulltime RVer Joyce Caudell who is returning this summer to volunteer at Oregon's Wallowa Lake State Park for the Nez Perce National Historic Park Service. We thought this would be a good time to update a profile on her that was first published in 2011.

Joyce Caudell, retired registered nurse in health education, teaching and management.

Started fulltime RVing: In February 2007. Sold her house in April that year.

How did you decided on the RV lifestyle: "It was always a dream for me and my husband to retire and explore the remote places of the USA," said Joyce.

"Then when I was alone, I kept looking for a new dream and couldn't find one I liked better. So I took this one on as a possibility with vigor and commitment to learning to do a good job as a single woman with curiosity and a spirit of adventure."

Joyce did extensive research, joined RV online groups, took classes, and talked to anyone and everyone she could.  "I made files, spreadsheets and learned as much as I could for a year before I finally took the plunge, bought the RV and sold the house," she said. "I didn't have the money to keep up a nice house and yard and do the extensive RV travel too, so I said, 'Who needs this house anyway.'

"I knew I had to make my life happen."

Joyce Caudell's 2013 Northstar popup camper
Type of RV: Travels in her 2013 Northstar TC650 popup camper on her Chevy Silverado 2500 3/4 ton pickup with extended cab and short bed. "I especially like the 6 wrap around windows on the pop-up for ventilation, view,and privacy," said Joyce.

Her homebase: Escapees Park of the Sierras in California where she parks her 2011 27 ft. Outdoors Timber Ridge 260RLS travel trailer.

How do you spend your time? "I remember one of my daughters-in-law sitting in my new RV and asking, 'But what do you DO all day?'

"I'm still not sure how to answer that. I'm definitely not bored. I have lots of interests, hobbies, friends, family and sport activities--like walking, hiking, biking and kayaking. I spend a lot of time planning adventures and travels.

Solo RVer Joyce Caudell
"I enjoy boondocking with like-minded friends in the beautiful desert, parked randomly on undeveloped BLM lands using solar power."

Volunteering: A few years back a friend suggested Joyce get into volunteering and since then she has done stints for state parks, the National Park Service and the Army Corps of Engineering.

In 2010, Joyce was asked to serve at Oregon's Wallowa Lake State Park for the Nez Perce National Historic Park Service doing demonstrations and campground presentations about Nez Perce Nation cultural items. She returns for another summer this year.

Would you choose this lifestyle again?
"In a heartbeat," she said. "Just thinking about settling down gives me claustrophobia. I've never been to a locale I didn't want to come back to and do more exploring. The RVing community is awesome. The friends I've made on the road are treasures that will last my lifetime. "

Photo: Volunteer RVer Joyce Caudell shows a young visitor a buffalo horn at Wallowa Lake State Park. "The Nez Perce would clean them up, polish, and sometimes decorate them to make them into useful personal items such as drinking cups," said Joyce. (Courtesy of Joyce Caudell)

Read more RV lifestyle articles by Julianne G Crane at


  1. I totally admire you. I am a fulltime RVer, travelling with my husband in our fifth wheel. He already knows if I ever have to do this alone, I'll sell the entire rig and buy a small class c motorhome and a toad. It is wonderful to read about the spirit of adventure and travel from a BOF. Keep it up, you are an inspiration. Lois

  2. You sound tarrifichere. I just bought my first
    rv a hybred travel trailer last spring. It has three queen size pull down beds and a slide out. It is wonderful to go on trips with my family. I am single and have three grown children with families of their own and a single daughter who loves to camp. One of my problems is I can not put the beds down myself they are to heavy and I do want to go off by myself.

  3. you are inspiring and bring hope to dreams. I would love to pick your brain. Thanks!