Solo RVer Pam Petrin

Driving the Dream: A Solo RVer’s Story

By Carly Peters

A good day for driving is a great day for Pam Petrin. She’s preparing to leave Edmonton with a 22-foot trailer in tow. Her best friends, Ron and Donna, are waiting with their own fifth wheel outside of Calgary, where the small convoy will meet up before heading down to Arizona for a two-month stay.

Then it’ll be back on the road again. Since retiring and selling her home in 2017, Pam hasn’t stayed in any one place for too long.

She’s logged more than 35,000 kilometres driving through Canada and parts of the States— all as a solo RVer. The open road and the great outdoors have always enticed the 61-year-old AMA member. She has fond memories of everything from pitching a canvas tent as a kid to breathing the crisp air of the high Arctic to parking a summer trailer lakeside with her late husband,
Doug. But it’s hardly a solitary lifestyle; Pam has constantly found herself pulled toward different destinations and communities.

Let the good times roll with AMA’s camper-approved playlist

“I love seeing new people and new places—and reconnecting with my many friends who now live far and wide,” Pam says. “Staying in campsites rather than hotels also allows me to meet other people, because we’re all living outside and in fairly close quarters.”

While she considers herself to be a fiercely independent person, Pam believes that any woman who wants to travel solo has the skills to do it. “So many women have expressed to me that as much as they love the RV lifestyle, they don’t think they could do it alone because of having to worry about all of the things that need to be done to the RV. I say to them, you sure could do it; it’s not rocket science. You just need to be methodical, and have systems of checks and balances so that nothing gets missed.”

Over the years (and many, many kilometres), Pam has become an expert at unhooking and setting up her trailer in just 15 minutes. She’s also undertaken a variety of minor mechanical repairs, and has honed her trailer parking skills, especially at back-in-only campsites. “I’m pretty good at it,” she laughs.

This AMA member is a senior driving superstar

But Pam’s not averse to accepting help—particularly from her GPS. After all, there’s a lot more road ahead—though she happily says that, with her trailer hitched up, “Everything I’ll ever need is behind me.”

Pam Petrin’s on-the-road favourites

Tech: “My friends and I use WhatsApp and its location-tracking system so we know exactly where each of us is on the road or where we’ve stopped.”

Highway: “The Inuvik–Tuktoyaktuk Highway is spectacular. It rolls along the top of the Caribou Hills, past lakes and through tundra to the Arctic Ocean.”

Snack: “I always have sunflower seeds when I’m driving long-distance. Cracking the shells helps to keep me alert.”

Assistance: “I have an AMA Plus RV membership, which gives me the security of knowing that if I have a problem, help is just a phone call away.”

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