Author Brad Herzog and his wife, Amy, stopped at Rock Island’s KOA campground in Illinois Wednesday (July 11) in the midst of their 13th six-week summer trip across America in an RV, without kids for the first time since 2000.
“It’s like our second honeymoon,” said Herzog, 43, a California-based writer who’s penned three travel books based on his family’s adventures. “We’ve been able to go out to dinner in Las Vegas; we did some more hikes that would have been more difficult for them (kids) — Bryce Canyon (Utah), for example. We’re moving along a little faster. And we’re also doing these video blogs we’re filming along the way.”
The Moline Dispatch reported that the Herzogs’ sons — Luke, 11, and Jesse, 10, — are at camp in northern Wisconsin and will be picked up today for the rest of the trip. The couple started June 13 in Chicago where their parents live.
They drive a different model RV each year loaned by Winnebago in exchange for Herzog blogging at blog.gorving.com and promoting RV travel. He has been blogging since 2008.
“It’s a great gig,” he said.
In 1996, they did a 10-month, 48-state trip, which was the basis of his first travel book, “States of Mind.”
Because of their experience traveling by RV — more than 100,000 miles — the Herzogs have been designated the “National Explore America Family” by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
The current trip is taking them to 16 states over six weeks. In keeping with a new trend in RVing, they are driving a sleek, fuel-efficient motor home — a 25-foot 2013 Winnebago Via with a Mercedes-Benz chassis and turbo-diesel engine.
It gets up to 18 miles per gallon of gas and has a full kitchen and two flat-screen TVs. Herzog said they save money by avoiding the high cost of hotels and restaurants.
“Even though we feel like we’ve been everywhere, that’s not possible because there’s always something new to see,” he said, adding that new sights this summer included the memorial for victims of the Oklahoma City bombing, Sedona, Ariz., and Beale Street in Memphis.
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Winnebago Industries Inc. provided the industry’s first hybrid RV, a 2009 Winnebago Adventurer, to Brad and Amy Herzog for their summer travel tour.
The Herzogs, spokespersons for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), will be traveling in this concept hybrid RV this summer as they promote the benefits of RV travel, according to a news release.
Winnebago Industries is on the cutting edge of RV hybrid technology with this concept vehicle that explores the viability of advanced hybrid systems in motorhome applications. The Winnebago Adventurer hybrid rides on a Freightliner Custom Chassis’ ecoFRED chassis, the motorhome industry’s first hybrid-electric chassis featuring Eaton hybrid power components.
This is a full hybrid system in that it utilizes two independent power sources (a diesel engine and an electric motor) that work in conjunction to optimally power the vehicle. The Adventurer hybrid also features regenerative braking for less brake wear. With regenerative braking, the hybrid electric motor uses electricity to create torque, while also being able to reverse the process to use torque to create electricity. By reversing its electric engine to become a generator, electricity is fed back into the battery resulting in energy savings.
“We are excited to be the first RV manufacturer to begin active testing of this hybrid technology,” said Roger Martin, Winnebago vice president of sales and marketing. “This hybrid concept can bring many benefits including improved fuel efficiency in select driving environments, reduced noise and emissions, improved acceleration and reduced maintenance. We are proud to provide this hybrid concept vehicle to the Herzogs this summer for their tour as we continue to test the viability of hybrid technology in the RV industry.”
Introduced in 2009, the triple slide 35Z offers three slideout rooms for added spaciousness when parked. One of the highlights of this model is the rear wardrobe that can be turned into bunk beds. Attractive doors open fully to reveal the beds that fold down when not in use.
The bunkbeds feature 8.5-inch flip down video screens with integrated DVD players and headphones. In the rear, there is a king bed nestled in the slideout room. The living area features two slideout rooms that create ample social space. A fully equipped galley, including a four door refrigerator/freezer, is also featured, as well as a 32-inch LCD TV and home theater sound system.
Brad Herzog is a best selling author of such travelogues as “States of Mind” and “Small World.” He has also authored over a dozen children’s books, including the most recent S is for Save the Planet: A How-to-be Green Alphabet.
“I’m thrilled to be driving this concept hybrid RV from Winnebago Industries,” said Herzog. “There are many ways in which RVing teaches earth-friendly lessons — just by doing things like visiting natural wonders, shopping at farmers’ markets and reducing consumption and home energy use. But the Adventurer hybrid is an exciting step forward in the industry’s green initiatives. I’ve always reduced the RV vacation advantage to four Fs — fun, family, flexibility and financial savings. But now I can add a fifth — facing the future.”