RV lifestyle

The Gibbons Simplify their Full-Time RVing Lifestyle in Their Airstream

This week we introduce you to Steve and Bonnie Gibbons, full-time business people and full-time RVers. So how do they manage to combine their love of RVing, kayaking, and travel into a dream lifestyle?

Steve Gibbons: Bonnie and I met about 13 years ago and we started Scappoose Bay Kayaking about 12 years ago. We happened to come into this area to go kayaking into the beautiful bay, recognized that we really liked it, and thought it would be a perfect place to open up a kayaking shop. So we found the people that had this building available for rent, contacted them, and within a month or so, had rented the building, went out and bought some kayaks and away we went. And we found out that the kayaking rental was such a good business that we quit our other jobs and we’ve been doing it practically every day for the last 12 years.

What happened was, this is when we first rented our first six boats, the customers that rented came in and said, “Boy, we really like those boats. Do you sell ’em?” And I said, “Well, I don’t today, but I will tomorrow.” And what we did is we contacted the manufacturers of the boats that we were renting and became dealers for them. And you can’t really just sell a kayak, you also have to have a paddle and a lifejacket and one thing led to the other where it almost not only taught us but forced us into getting into the kayaking business greater and greater and greater because of the demand for having kayaks.

Bonnie Gibbons: We are a full-service kayak shop. We do sales, rentals, instruction, tours, and just about anything else people want and desire. We also do stand-up paddleboards. We originally, about six or seven years ago, just started traveling south in the winter because we close the kayak shop down, and finally we decided we needed and wanted
to buy some sort of RV to travel in, you know, so we could camp out and stay in remote places and we decided on the Airstream because we’ve always been kind of old school and liked the Airstream, the way they looked, and also the fact that they are probably one of the best RVs to travel in, great on mileage, easy to haul. They’re just awesome.

Steve: I think we’ve always been outdoor people and tenters, originally. And through the kayaking, we’d throw kayaks on our truck and go camping somewhere as well, but the convenience of being able to have a nice RV in tow instead of necessarily tenting anymore certainly made us feel a little bit better and we found ourselves traveling more and more that way with the comforts of the Airstream as well.

Bonnie: We decided to get what we wanted. We wanted to select and not settle, so we purchased the Airstream first. And from then on, we’ve owned three Airstreams since the first one. Originally, we purchased a 23-footer and traveled around in it for a winter and decided that we needed something a little larger. We got 5-foot-itis and so we purchased a 28-footer that we now live in. We’ve lived in it for three years. We’re full-timers. In the summer we stay here at the kayak shop and then, come September, we’ll leave and travel to all the national parks, the national monuments throughout the Southwest, Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, California.

Steve: We’ve been averaging about 25 to 30,000 miles each year in our Airstream, traveling. We left the 1st of October of last year and just came back to the kayak shop to help get it up and running again for the summer and we had done 27,000 miles. And all in the Airstream. And out of that, probably, I would say maybe 200 miles was on expressways; the rest was all back roads, country roads. My wife is the map reader and navigator. I’m the driver. With the help of a GPS, we found some of the most remote, most beautiful places, met the most wonderful people, and she’s very good at being able to find old ghost towns or cliff dwellings or off-the-road kind of places that are fun to travel to.

One of the things that’s important for us is that we do stay in touch with our business here while we’re gone, so obviously everybody has cell phones, of which we use a lot, but we’ve also got what we call the jetpack program through a local- Verizon, actually, is what it is and it allows our printers and our laptops to be connected to it so that we can go online and get all of our emails. We can research different places that we might wanna go, either while we’re driving down the road or while we’re sitting someplace in the country itself. And what’s nice about that is that we can turn ’em off iif we want to and have the seclusion and the stars, but if we did wanna get up the next morning and try to figure out what we were gonna do next or needed to communicate with our business or other people, we can do that as well. Being a little older, we’re not as smart at it as maybe some of the younger guys are, but we’re getting pretty good at it.

So when we’re here at Scappoose Bay Kayaking, we built this little deck and we can just back right in here, back our Airstream in here, and it’s real nice ’cause the step is even with the deck and I have my little Buddha statues and all of my flowers that I still love to take care of, and it’s nice and homey that way. And then if you come on into my little house, this is my little house right in here. And so, Steve and I live in here. We’re full-timers and we’ve redone a few things. We took the old grandma fabric off of the valences and there’s nothing wrong with grandmas, I am one. But I just didn’t like the old-fashioned kind of stuff that was going on. So we put leather and leather on all the valences. We used to own an art gallery so we put some of our art from our art gallery up here and had a new bedspread made that was a little nicer than the one that they had on there. So yeah, this is our–this is our little crib, so to speak. And we love living in here and it’s very comfortable and homey and we’ve simplified our lives by moving into an RV