Families with RVs take to open road

Published 11:29 am Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Visit Jenny Ellison’s blog, www.lastofthegreat48.blogspot.com, and you’ll be greeted by images of a buffalo charging straight for the Ellisons’ truck as they drive down a busy two-lane road near Yellowstone National Park. The huge animal stomps so close to the vehicle you can see his nostrils ––– one of hundreds of unique sights Ellison and her husband David experienced as they traveled through the 48 continental states with their RV this summer.

“The distance he covered in those shots was two seconds,” Jenny said.

Even the charging buffalo couldn’t top the image of Antelope Canyon or Crater Lake in Oregon — two of Jenny’s favorite stops along the way to California and Washington State.

“At Crater Lake it was only 26 degrees and most of the roads were closed because of the snow. It was absolutely magnificent — I had never seen anything like it,” she said. “(Antelope Canyon) looks like something out of Indiana Jones.”

The couple covered 9,660 miles and 21 states over the course of three weeks this summer. They did it all with a traditional, bullet-silver Airstream pulled behind their truck.

Bob and Janet Clark of Inverness took six weeks out of their summer to trek up the East coast, across Tennessee, on to Oklahoma and Texas, and finally to the Gulf Coast.

“We saw so many places and so many different landscapes from camping along the Mississippi River to being in the bottom of a deep canyon,” Janet said. “We felt like we were all over the map and we were.”

Clark also mentioned that the joy of RVing lies in that you can take home along with you.

“When we’re in our motor home we aren’t tied to anybody’s schedule,” she said. “Everyone has their own reasons, but I like the feeling of sleeping in my own bed, and Bob would probably tell you that he loves being able to take our dogs with us.”

The Clarks configured their route by taking into account family events, like a wedding in Virginia, and places they longed to see, like the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina. They also thought about mileage. With a large RV, 250 miles seems like a lot. So, they would pick unique things to see about that distance away from each other and build in free time to just stay a week somewhere if it caught their fancy.

The Ellisons began their obsession with traveling the country in 1999.

“I looked at my husband one day and said, ‘You know, I think I would like to go camping,’” Ellison said. “He didn’t believe it because I’ve always been a hotel kind of person. But I have a queen-sized bed, a DVD player and a personal chef. Roughing it is no cable.”

Ellison suggests that anyone interested in taking a long-term trip rent a motor home first.