Exploring the country in an RV is not a “road race”

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RV Shrink

Dear RV Shrink:
My husband and I have always wanted to travel around the United States. We just bought a travel trailer. I was always thinking to do this it would only take a couple of months. I had no idea he was thinking it would take 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 Troy

Dear Sixty:
I think you are both way off the mark. So far it has taken us 60+ years and we still haven’t seen everything we want to see.

Everyone has a different slant on the definition of “seeing the country.” Two months will probably 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 mph 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, i.e., “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’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

RV ShrinkCan’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his e-books, including the brand-new Book 2 in his two-book seriesDr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.

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Lauren Baker
Lauren Baker

This past summer we took 3 months to drive the Trans-Canada Hwy (not NFLD) from BC and back. We felt that 3 months was way too fast. We have known people who think this trip can be done in 6 weeks. There are more roads and places to see in the USA so judging by our experience 1 year would be a fast trip.

Kamwick
Kamwick

Sounds like seeing the entire continent in 2 months would involve nothing but constant travel. We own a travel trailer and having to constantly be “on the go” in one would become very tiring after the second week. If you both have no work commitments, why not pick a small area to explore and relax in fully? Then simply take everything as it comes and don’t limit yourself time wise. Who knows? You may discover that you have everything you need in your little home on wheels 😉 Best wishes on your journeys, no matter how they take shape.

Don and Connie Peterson

The biggest issue we have on our trips is being sure that we can find suitable places to stay. This requires reservations, sometimes months to a year in advance. We spent four months exploring Wyoming and western Montana (Big Horn, Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Tetons) last year. We spend about 5-6 months a year on the road.

Darrel
Darrel

It took my wife and I 8 months to RV from mid Oregon to Key West this past year. Stop and smell the roses.

T
T

As we live in Wisconsin what we usually do is to pick a “warm” state like Florida, Texas, or Arizona, get info from State tourism bureaus, AAA Tour books, or brochures. Mark what we want to see, then highlight a map with the locations. Pick a central point with a 50-mile radius [roughly an hour’s drive], and keep the RV in one spot and travel to various attractions. Be sure to stop at the Welcome Centers in states and browse brochures. Add things to your list. Plan on taking a day “off” here and there to just relax. Also allow… Read more »

Tommy Molnar
Tommy Molnar

A “Truck GPS” is designed for units bigger than RV’s, so that shouldn’t be a problem. But, nothing replaces a paper map for getting the “big” picture and finding alternate routes. We buy Gazetteers for every state we intend to travel in. We use our TomTom GPS primarily to mark places we’d like to be able to find again (usually the great boondocking sites we find along the way).

Tom Gutzke
Tom Gutzke

It’s a Chevy Silverado 2500 pickup truck, not a semi-tractor, so the GPS is for a vehicle only, not towing anything. That’s what I mean by “Truck” as opposed to an Automobile GPS