Winnies Flying Solo: A Winnebago Owner Group for Solo RVers
Learn about this group and their most recent meetup.

By: Sue Ann Jaffarian

Traveling alone is easier than ever, especially now that GPS has taken over the role of co-pilot and map reader. It’s like having sole control over the TV remote: you can decide where you want to go and what you want to see without consulting anyone. But does traveling alone get lonely?

In early 2020, three Winnebago Travato owners started a Facebook group called Winnies Flying Solo (WFS). The idea for it came up while Stacy Smith, Joy Harrington, and I were dry camping in a casino parking lot in Parker, Arizona. While there, several other campers joined us in a loosey-goosey meet-up. They found us because we had posted our whereabouts in one of the Winnebago Travato groups online. 

That got us thinking that maybe there was a need for solo travelers to have a way to connect while on the road. We set up a Facebook group and got the word out. Membership popped immediately. A few months later, COVID hit and things flatlined. But in the last few years this group started growing again and now has just under six hundred members. Since its inception, Joy has resigned as an admin and Graham Smith, a Winnebago EKKO owner, stepped up to fill the slot.

About the Winnies Flying Solo Winnebago Owner Group

So, what exactly is Winnies Flying Solo? WFS is not an official club of Winnebago and there are no dues. In order to join the group, a prospective member must own a Winnebago product. It can be a trailer, camper van, Class C, or Class A. The second membership requirement is that the person must travel primarily solo. This doesn’t mean they must be single. WFS is not a singles group; the solo portion of the name means that most members travel alone. 

While the majority of the group’s members are single, we do have some who are married or with partners but who still travel mostly alone. Then again, if a member does find a partner in their travels, we won’t kick them out. Travel, like life, is fluid. As is the group. It is not rigid in its rules or members beyond the two membership requirements. It doesn’t matter if you are a long-term traveler, weekend warrior, or somewhere in between. 

The main purpose of WFS is for members to feel comfortable within the group to say where they are and invite others to join them. Some members like to find others for caravan-style travel. Others like to meet up for a night or two of company. We also share great camping locations. 

Drone photo by: Sue Watters

I have often had other members show up at campgrounds or on BLM land after posting my whereabouts. I know others have, too. We like to refer to these as “organic meetups,” as opposed to organized meetups with planned activities. Most of our members seem to enjoy this casual approach, and if they want to attend something more structured, there are many Winnebago clubs that offer such events. It’s having the best of both worlds.

Winnies Flying Solo Quartzite Meetup

At the end of January 2024, WFS did have its first planned meetup in Quartzsite, Arizona. Sue Watters, one of the group’s founding members, asked if anyone would be interested and there was a very good response. So, we set up a casual meetup open to all members and guests who wished to join us, with Sue and me as co-hosts. We had around eighteen RVs in attendance. While most of the RVs were Winnebago Travatos, we also had a Winnebago Solis, Winnebago Boldt, and a Winnebago View. 

Along with campers, there were many dogs and even a couple of cats in attendance. The dogs were so much fun. All were friendly and loved the attention they received. Elton the cat roamed on his leash, while my Moxie visited the gathering one day in her carrier.

Activities were largely spur of the moment. There were cards and other games. Susan was the queen of gathering items from various other attendees and blending them into fun meals. One night, Wendy and Wayne bought pizza for everyone from Silly Al’s. In the morning, we would gather around with our coffee. 

Several of us needed help with some things on our RVs and others helped get them done. It was such a congenial group. 

Sue and I brought the makings for s’mores, but it got cold in the evening and we all dispersed to our rigs. So, one morning we had s’mores for breakfast. You may be tempted to laugh, but those sweet treats go really well with coffee!

Winnebago pitched in on the fun and sent us some great swag to hand out. We gave everyone free raffle tickets and if their number was called, they could pick whatever they wanted. When several people had their numbers picked more than once, they handed the winning ticket to someone else. Everyone went home with a gift.

The meetup flowed easily. Throughout the week, people came and went with various errands or sightseeing. Some took day or overnight trips and returned to camp later. Some people were new to the group, and many were founding members. We even had a few friends who passed through for a night just to say hello. 

Eventually, I was the last one standing, but I remained because I had work to do, and the connectivity was great. Except for a few days I spent up by Bullhead, I stayed in our spot until mid-March. I hated to leave because it was so quiet and pleasant. But, eventually, even I had places to go.

Why Travel Solo in an RV?

One morning of the meetup, I met with many of the attendees over coffee to talk about why they like traveling solo. The overall theme was that they loved the freedom. The ability to come and go as they pleased, without needing to consult with anyone else, was a huge draw. Yet, if they wanted to travel with others, it was an option. None of them talked about being lonely. 

It was agreed amongst us that security could be an issue but wasn’t if we remained diligent and aware of our surroundings. But this is also true of people traveling with others. Not a single person said they were afraid of traveling alone.

Traveling solo isn’t for everyone, just as RV travel isn’t for everyone. But if you enjoy it, it can mean miles and miles of satisfaction, especially if you know there are like-minded people out there just a post or text away.

See more meetups and Winnebago GoLife Community groups here.


 

In Memoriam: Just a few weeks after the WFS meetup in Quartzsite, my co-host Sue Watters passed away from complications from a stroke. I had known Sue for several years, and others met her for the first time at the meetup. She was 83 years old, owned a Winnebago View, and was a true lover of travel and RVing. 

During the meetup, she and I had a long talk about travel. Sue felt it was time for her to leave the road behind, at least when it came to full-time RVing, and was on her way back to her home base in Florida. Fortunately, she did arrive home before her stroke and was near friends and family. 

Sue embodied the spirit of being a nomad – adventurous and inspirational. She will be greatly missed.

Comments

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User commented on March 26, 2024 9:34 PM
Loved this article!!! Learned a lot and opened my eyes about this amazing group of travelers!!!!
User commented on March 27, 2024 2:12 PM
Thank you!
User commented on March 26, 2024 9:36 PM
I loved this article!!! So inspiring!! I learned a lot about this amazing group of travelers!!! Keep on rolling!!
User commented on March 27, 2024 2:13 PM
Thank you!
User commented on March 26, 2024 10:26 PM
How wnderful that Sue got to spend this time with you Sue Ann, and with this group. Thank you for your help and support to all of us Solos.
User commented on March 27, 2024 2:14 PM
Thank you for your sweet comment.
User commented on March 26, 2024 10:35 PM
Thanks for the great article! Keep writing and keep on rollin’! Special thanks for Sue Waters’ Memorial. I never met her on the road, but I’m sure she inspired many and her inspirational spirit lives on.
User commented on March 27, 2024 2:15 PM
Thank you. Sue Watters was a remarkable person.
User commented on March 27, 2024 9:26 PM
I'm putting s'more on my new camping breakfast menu. Thanks!!
User commented on March 28, 2024 11:19 PM
😋
User commented on March 28, 2024 3:31 PM
Thank you, Sue Ann, for the very nice article about the group. I am a new member and will begin posting my travels.
User commented on March 28, 2024 11:20 PM
Welcome to the group!
User commented on March 28, 2024 9:13 PM
Condolences re Sue Watters and Congrats on another wonderful article 🤗
User commented on March 28, 2024 11:20 PM
Thank you!
User commented on April 1, 2024 5:29 PM
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User commented on April 2, 2024 6:43 PM
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User commented on April 2, 2024 7:13 PM
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User commented on April 2, 2024 7:26 PM
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User commented on April 2, 2024 7:29 PM
Cool!