Wednesday, June 09, 2010

RVing: a 100 year old tradition

Celebrating 100 years on the open road
Trailers, motor homes change drastically since 1910
Planning on traveling this summer in an RV? Historically-speaking, you’ll be in very good company.

In 1931, Mae West’s Paramount Studios contract included a chauffeur-driven “house car” for the star to relax in while filming movies. In the early 1940s, aviation pioneers Charles Lindbergh and his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, needed someplace quiet where they could write, so Henry Ford let them use a 1935 house trailer he owned that was equipped with electricity, a stove, an icebox, a bathroom and other “modern” amenities. And in the ’60s and ’70s, TV reporter Charles Kuralt famously criss-crossed the country in a motor home while filming his popular “On the Road” features for CBS News.

Today, West’s 1931 Chevrolet is just one of the unusual, iconic or prototypical vehicles on display at the Recreational Vehicle/Manufactured Home Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart, Ind. The 1935 Stage Coach Trailer Henry Ford loaned to the Lindberghs is parked at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Mich., as is Kuralt’s 1975 Motorcoach.

And if you think it might be a good idea to take a drive to see one or both of these collections, now would be an especially appropriate time. Starting today (June 7), the RV industry is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

A century of RV progress
Drivers began making camping adaptations to cars not long after automobiles were invented. But according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), 1910 was when mass-produced vehicles designed specifically for camping first hit the market. [...]

Read the whole thing for some good pics, history and embedded links.
(H.T. Born Again Redneck)

Michelle Malkin recently posted about her RV Road Trip:

The Great American Road Trip: Reflections, RV tips & Rushmore-to-Yellowstone pics
[...] Over the past seven days, we’ve hit Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse memorial, Cody WY, and Yellowstone. The scenery is cinematic; the frontier history is larger-than-life. And the RV community is full of friendly, independent, and amazingly resourceful people.

If you ever need your faith in our country’s resilience and beauty renewed, a Great American Road Trip does a body and soul good.

RV’ing is also a budget-friendly way to travel. Yes, fuel costs are hefty. But you can save a lot on meals by planning ahead and cooking on the road. We rented a 31-foot RV with a stove top, oven, microwave, and ample freezer/fridge with a small crisper for veggies and enough room for a gallon of milk, a dozen eggs, and several days’ worth of drinks and other perishables. Added bonus: No airline headaches, no TSA intrusions, no cramped seating, no crappy plane food!


RV’ing is not everyone’s cup of tea, of course. If you’re high maintenance and need a hot bath every day, forget about it. If you can’t bear to be unplugged from the world, don’t bother. And if you are unwilling to jump feet first into the great unknown, go ahead and make boring, conventional flight and hotel reservations instead. Yes, the prospect of barreling across the highway in gusty winds and on wet treacherous mountain roads in a 10,000-pound home on wheels left me a little queasy. But if you make sure to pack some RV must-haves — sense of humor, spirit of adventure, industrial-strength rubber gloves, duct tape, extension cords, wrench, multi-tool, Petzl headlamps, tarp, S’mores ingredients, marshmallow roasting sticks, walkie-talkies, and Dramamine — you can live the RV dream. Experienced friends recommended we watch the movie “RV” before we started our trip. Aside from a few p.c. tirades against big corporations, it’s definitely good prep viewing.

RV rule of thumb: Things will go wrong. We tried to use the RV generator while off-site and somehow ended up setting off the propane gas detector, causing significant newbie panic. Also: One of the holding tank hoses got stuck during our first attempt to de-camp (which taught us the hard way to have a wrench at the ready). But as I said, RVers are immensely friendly and willing to lend a hand, tool, or tip. Attention to detail is key. Getting into a checklist routine before departing and upon arrival at your RV site will save a lot of grief. [...]

Follow the link for pics, embedded links and more.

No comments: