Wednesday, August 20, 2014

RV road race

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We just bought a travel trailer. My husband and I have always wanted to travel around the United States. I was always thinking to do this it would only take a couple months. I had no idea he was thinking a whole year. I can’t imagine being away from home for an entire year. Do you think he is exaggerating? It has been a constant argument since we discovered our individual concepts of the time it would take to see the country in our new abode on the road. Please help us sort this out.
--Sixty Day Tripper in Delaware

Dear Sixty:
I think you are both way off the mark. So far it has taken me sixty years. Everyone has a different slant on the definition of “seeing the country.” Two months will possibly just whet your appetite. It will be a snapshot, not a full-length movie. If you want to jump on the super slab and see the whole country at 70 m.p.h. you can probably do the miles in a couple months. If you want to travel the Blue Highways, stop and smell the roses, it may take years. My suggestion would be to pick a section of the country you would both like to explore and not try to paint on such a broad canvas. Exploring the country is like eating an elephant, “one bite at a time.” Even sectioning off a piece of the geography will not solve your time dilemma. You will have to decide what you want to explore--the big cities, parks, natural areas, museums, historical sites, eateries, rural communities, or a combination of these and more. If you have the luxury of not setting a time limit, just begin at the beginning and let the trip unfold before you. My wife and I decided to travel for a year when we were 25--we didn’t come back for a decade. The journey will be what you make it. Setting limits and boundaries can hamper the experience of letting the trip take you, instead of you taking the trip.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Couple disagree, really? Sounds caveman, crew work hard, team play goober. What next, AN historic?

MarvThom said...

Couldn't have said it better. Whizzing along an interstate highway is seeing the US. Each part of the country has its "Must See" sights locals will tell you about. Home will still be there and there is so much to see across this land.

Anonymous said...

The summer after we got married, my wife and I took a cross country (east to west) “national parks” trip. We wanted to do a quick 2 month sampler of places that appealed to us. Back in the day (1982) we camped in our backpacking tent. Since that time, we have traveled yearly to our favorite parks to explore in depth and redo our most loved hikes. When our son came along, 5 years after our first trip, he got the same bug, and now he, his wife and son, join us yearly for summer adventures. The only difference in our retired years is the fact that we now “glamp” in our Airstream. Guess we’ve gotten soft. (PS - we just returned from a 7200 mile trip from VT, thru NY, PA, OH, IN, IL, WI, MN, SD, WY, MT and a prolonged stay in Banff, Canada.)

Bob Wexler said...

I have been traveling across America since I was 15.
We have owned a variety of RVs over the years. The most recent a 38' diesel pusher. We spent the first five years of ownership traveling about six fun this a year. The next five full time. We have been to 49 states in that RV and a half dozen Canadian provinces. We are still nowhere near seeing the entire US. In 2 months you have a shot at New England, or Florida or California or Utah, but only one such area not all of them.
An idea might be to draw arcs on a map with Delaware at the center. Then pick a hundred miles wide swath and visit that area for two months. Come home and plan your next trip, two months in a different crescent. As you move further west you will need to divide the crescent into two or three pieces of two months each, or extend your travel time to four or six months per outing.
Try it, you may like it.

Too Many Cats said...

Perhaps this lady should peruse a US road map and calculate some distances.

Anonymous said...

Really liked the second and third response. Good ideas. Next summer we are planning on hitting the road again and traveling to different areas of the country each time. Not sure yet where we will head except West and mountains but we have all winter to plan our trips. For us shorter times away from home works best. 3 to 4 weeks at a time is our goal. Enjoy the ride whatever you decide.

Sue and Brian said...

Started coast to coast RVing in 1971. Then 10 years 48 state trucker. Now 8.5 years full time RVers. We travel - rarely stay in one place even a month - usually a week. We haven't scratched the surface yet. If you really want to see this country - and all of North America - it will take a lifetime. You cannot set limits. Just go and you either love it or you don't.

Gary F. said...

Quite a few years ago I rented an RV so we (the Fam) could see some of the sights in the Western US and Canada. Well, with only a two week rental, time ran out to see all of the attractions. So, we just drove by many attractions and took some quick pics from the RV. The kids called it "Drive-By" RV sightseeing.

Anonymous said...

The usual problem (mostly for women!)woth longer term RVing is the children and grandchildren thing...as in just can't stand being 'away'from them too long. Ask the 'children' and they will probably say 'stay away LONGER'....! Ha ha.....!

Ellen said...

Great suggestions! I'd add that we found traveling via RV to be much slower than in a car on a daily basis, for a lot of reasons. Our first RV trip was to the East Coast from MI -- a trip we normally drove in one long day in our car. With a truck towing a 38' fifth wheel, the same trip took us 2 days -- and that was with one 13-hour day. If your rig is larger than a camper van or truck camper, even stopping at a rest area will take a little longer -- parking is often a little farther away, negotiating into and out of traffic a take a little more time...

We learned quickly not to be quick, but to appreciate the journey instead.

Jerry X Shea said...

When did they stop teaching "geography" in school? Been full timing for 8 years. Took 7 years before we had driven to, and stopped to see, all 49 states. I would suggest picking 6 states, all connected, and see then over a 6 -8 month period. Then go back home, relax, see the grandkids and plan your next years trip.