For the 14th straight year, Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) spokespersons Brad and Amy Herzog will hit the road in June to “put a friendly face on the the RV lifestyle” in local media markets. According to a press release, this year’s two-month media tour has the Herzogs traveling to cities in the Midwest and Southeast.
The RV industry’s “Explore America Family” will be traveling in a motorhome provided by Winnebago Industries Inc. featuring the type of amenities that appeal to consumers and are fueling the growth in motorhome sales.
The Herzogs provide an accessible example of an RVing family. At each stop, they deliver messages of family togetherness, health and wellness benefits of RV travel, and the freedom, fun and flexibility offered by RV travel. They emphasize that RVing is a convenient way to travel, and that it’s a great option for young families with children.
The 60-day tour launches June 19 in Terre Haute, Ind., and includes stops in Nashville, Tenn.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Savannah, Ga.; Charleston, S.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; Norfolk, Va.; Richmond, Va.; Washington, D.C.; Louisville, Ky.; Indianapolis; and Milwaukee, Wis.
RVIA helped kick off the 59th Annual California RV Show in Pomona with more than a dozen media interviews conducted via satellite with local network affiliates and national outlets from around the country. The satellite media tour featured RVIA spokesman and Go RVing blogger Brad Herzog, who recently completed his 12th RV media tour this summer.
RVIA produced the media tour to encourage consumers to visit RV shows this fall and winter and to promote key RV industry messages about affordability, quality family time and the array of options available to RV buyers.
In a dozen interviews, Herzog delivered these messages and put a friendly, accessible face on RVing for audiences around the country. Herzog appeared via satellite in an array of media markets, including Atlanta, Portland, Ore., Sacramento, Calif.,, Las Vegas, Baltimore, Md., and Harrisburg, Pa. National news distribution outlets NBC Newschannel and News Watch (which provides content to 200 Ion stations nationwide) also interviewed Herzog.
“There are smaller RVs for smaller families, and larger RVs for larger families,” Herzog told a Sacramento morning show. “The best way to sample all the options is to go to an RV show.”
Herzog said consumers could find a show near them by visiting GoRVing.com.
“The reason there are 8.9 million families that now own an RV is because it’s an affordable way to travel,” Herzog said. “There’s an RV for every budget and family, from a $6,000 folding camping trailer to a $600,000 luxury motorhome, and everything in between.”
To see an accompanying video of the following story about the Herzog family’s travels click here. Brad Herzog is a long-time spokesman for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
They’re called the “Explore America Family.” For the past 12 years, this family of four has spent two months every summer in an RV traveling the country.
As reported by KAAL TV, Austin, Minn., the journey started 15 years ago when the couple decided to spend a year touring the country.
“We’d never set foot in an RV. We had never been to a national park. We just got married and we sort of felt like we wanted to sample life’s options before settling down,” author Brad Herzog said.
Since then, two kids came along, 10-year-old Luke and 9-year-old Jesse. For 12 summers, the family has traveled the country writing about their experiences.
Herzog noted, “We feel like an Indy pit crew. We all have our own things. We don’t have to talk. We just do our jobs. I supervise. I watch everybody.
Since their journey began, many things in the RV world have changed.
“Gas prices have fluctuated a lot over 12 years and they’re going down right now actually, but I don’t sweat gas prices, because the money we save by not having to pay for hotel rooms and restaurants,” Herzog said.
The family says every night they save between $50-$150 by staying at an RV park which normally runs between $25 to $40 a day.
“There’s literally a new adventure around every corner when you’re taking this grand RV experience. It’s that anticipation that keeps you going and I think that really brings you together as a family,” Herzog explained.
For the family, it’s their first time stopping in Rochester, Minn. It’s just one of a handful of places the family has never been to.
“Where haven’t we been to? Glacier National Park, Alaska, Hawaii. We could drive there,” son Luke joked.
Hawaii may be the only state the family won’t ever get to in an RV, but wherever there’s a road, the family says they’re bound and determined to one day drive on it.
We asked the family how their travel plans were effected by the state government shutdown.
They said they noticed a few rest stops were closed, but they typically don’t stop at them, because they like to stop and rest in small American towns.
Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) spokesman Brad Herzog and family are on the road promoting the RV lifestyle in local media markets for a 12th straight year. This year’s two-month itinerary routes the family through media markets in the Northwest.
Halfway through the tour, the Herzogs have appeared on the news in more than 10 markets, including Sacramento, Colorado Springs, Denver and Spokane.
Brad continues to promote the RV lifestyle as affordable despite high prices at the pump, telling viewers in Colorado Springs, “My favorite thing about the RV experience is the freedom and flexibility you have, you are traveling on your own terms, if you want to save money and not go the extra 200 miles.”
The Herzogs — Brad, wife Amy, and sons Luke (10) and Jesse (9) provide an accessible example of an RVing family. At each stop, they deliver messages of family togetherness, health and wellness benefits of RV travel, and educational opportunities kids get when they travel by RV — all significant purchase motivators, according to RVIA’s latest communications planning study.
“My kids are pretty sedentary at home,” Brad told viewers in Sacramento. “But on the road we’re doing a lot of hikes.”
The 45-day tour concludes July 12 in Minneapolis.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) “National Explore America Family” – author Brad and Amy Herzog and their two young sons – are on the road for their 11th consecutive summer as RV travel spokespeople, celebrating the Centennial year of this family-friendly industry.
Interviewed in every market they’ve visited for RVIA since the media tour began June 4, the Herzogs’ RV travels have made television news in Detroit, Buffalo, N.Y., Rochester, N.Y., Syracuse, N.Y., Providence, R.I., Springfield, Mass., and Hartford, Conn., so far. Newspaper coverage has appeared in additional markets including Boston and Pittsburgh, the RVIA reported.
Winnebago provided a Vista Class A motorhome for the tour, which will take the family to 13 states in total.
“The Herzogs’ special appeal to young families, combined with their knowledgeable advice on taking economical, convenient RV road trips, make their media tours extremely effective,” said RVIA Vice President and Chief Marketing Office Gary LaBella. “For 100 years, American families have been enjoying this kind of vacation. The Herzogs give the media compelling evidence of why RVing’s appeal never fades.”
Since their first RV trip, Brad and Amy have logged more than 110,000 miles, visiting all 48 contiguous states. Their sons, Luke, 9, and Jesse, 8, will be visiting their 46th, 47th and 48th states this summer.
“It was a life changing experience,” Brad Herzog told the Providence Journal, describing his year-long RV travels with his wife as newlyweds in 1996. “We had just thought of it as a way to get from A to B,” he said. “But driving with this big windshield, the movie of America is playing in front of you. And you can stop the film anytime you want and enter the picture.”
In addition to serving as an RVIA media spokesperson, Herzog also writes a popular on-the-road blog for GoRVing.com about his family’s RV journeys. Read recent accounts of their adventures at http://www.gorving.org/blog/.
Inspired by his RV experiences, Brad Herzog has received critical and commercial acclaim for his travel memoirs – States of Mind and Small World – published by Simon Schuster. His new book, Turn Left at the Trojan Horse, is helping to garner media attention for the tour.
Pleasant smells wafted from the little kitchen inside Brett and April Denson’s Open Range recreation vehicle parked in the Cozy Acres Campground in Virginia’s Powhatan County.
Brett, a boilermaker by trade, had come in for the evening from his job on a crew building a storage tank for a Virginia client of Fisher Tank Co., his Lexington, S.C.-based employer.
April was preparing dinner while he relaxed and played with their dogs. They had been in Virginia for 2 ½ months, and his job was nearly done.
A couple of days later, having received his next job assignment from the foreman at Fisher Tank, the Densons battened down their belongings, dismantled the satellite dish, hitched the RV to their truck and headed off to Lawrence, Kan., according to the Richmond (Va.) Times Dispatch.
Brett Denson, 43, has been traveling around the country building storage tanks since he was 19, part of the time alone, other times with his wife, also 43, and their three children.
Their children are now adults — and living in the family home in Kentucky — so the Densons travel fulltime together.
“I guess it’s because it pays good,” explained Brett Denson about his career, while noting that using the RV beats staying at motels. “I don’t know how to do anything else. I took spells where I wanted to get a job at home, but I got over it.”
While some people use their RVs to chase work while seeing America, others simply live in their RVs and commute to their regular job. Some travel from place to place trading their work for a free campsite. But how many there are is anyone’s guess.
Anywhere from 25,000 to 250,000 working Americans travel around in RVs, motoring from state to state and job to job to earn a paycheck, according to Arkansas-based Workamper News, a website that caters to RV migrants.
“We definitely know that work camping is alive, well and growing in numbers,” Workamper News owner Steve Anderson said. “I know that because our subscriber base continues to grow.”
The biggest national RV trade organization, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) in Reston, Va., does not keep statistics on RV owners who travel from job to job. Spokesman Kevin Broom estimated that 400,000-800,000 people live full time on the road in an RV. “Many are also working,” he said.
Jean Daniels, who owns Cozy Acres with her husband, Larry, said RV workers are frequent residents there.
“They stay here until the job is completed and then they move on to the next job,” she said. “We had somebody building a Joseph A Bank Clothier store and one of the guys here is doing something with that American Family Fitness facility. . . . When they built [state] Route 288, a lot of the foremen on that job stayed here.
“There’s always people working in the area,” she said. “They don’t want to stay in a hotel. They have figured out that they can buy an RV and have the comfort of their own place, fix their meals and watch TV.”
Sonny Allen, manager of Americamps KOA Richmond, which is near Ashland, said about 30% of the campground’s tenants are workers traveling from job to job. They have included a computer analyst who sets up computer systems for companies, a nurse working under contract to a local hospital and an employee of a tobacco company transferred here from another state.
“The people we have in here right now — some of them are pavers,” Allen said. “They go around to different places and do paving projects” such as fast-food or grocery-store parking lots.
Erik Bjorklund, a 54-year-old carpenter, lives in a 26-foot Airstream RV at Americamps. He said he is kept busy by a small clientele of doctors, lawyers and other professionals. One job performed in 1993 for a urologist led to all the work he can handle.
“I’ve never had to look for work, and I’ve never been out of work,” he said. “I hardly have a day off.”
Bjorklund decided to live in, and work from, his RV after divorcing from his wife, who got their house in Richmond. “I’ve been here since October,” he said.
Brad Herzog of California has researched and written three books based on his RV travels.
For two months every summer, Herzog travels with his wife and sons, ages 8 and 9. He blogs and researches books.
“Fifteen years ago, we didn’t have a cell phone, no e-mail, no wireless Internet,” he said. “Now, when you hit the road, you can be as connected as you want to be. I think that’s why more and more people have found that it’s pretty easy to work from the road from an RV.”
Herzog also noted the money saved by not staying in hotels, not buying restaurant meals, not renting cars and not booking flights “makes up for what we spend in gas.”
Americamps charges $33 to $53 a day for a site with water, sewer and electricity, or a weekly rate of $275. Cozy Acres has daily rates starting at $37 and monthly rates starting at $475 plus electricity. Many campgrounds offer a variety of discount plans.
The Densons note that RV living is not for everyone, and life on the road can be tough.
A lot of the reason that some jobs pay so much is because people don’t want to be gone all the time, Brett Denson said. “Some do it for a little while and quit.”
Also, “you’re away from your extended family,” April Denson said, and “you really have to not mind being in close quarters.”
But the lifestyle offers a lot of variety. It has taken the Densons to more than 40 states.
“We really like going to different places,” she said. “We always have a good time.”
“It’s better doing it when you can take your family with you, especially your wife,” Brett Denson said. “It’s more like a regular life.”
The year’s first issue of Go RVing’s e-newsletter will be delivered to more than 250,000 subscribers this month, just as RVers across the country are gearing up to hit the open road for the most popular RV travel months, according to a story in the current issue of RVIA Today Express.
Now in its sixth year of publication, the e-newsletter has delivered tips, information, trends and recipes to the in-boxes of current and prospective RVers in an easy-to-read format.
Long-time Go RVing columnist Brad Herzog, who spends each summer traveling with his family in an RV as an RVIA media spokesperson, will celebrate the RV industry centennial in each of his “From the Road” columns this year. Herzog’s first column will include a list of the “Top 100 Small Town Slogans,” designed to entice the reader to experience the off-the-beaten path destinations RVers enjoy. More “Top 100” lists including road songs, RV movies and more will appear in all six issues of the e-newsletter.
To subscribe to the Go RVing e-newsletter or to read Brad Herzog’s columns and archived issues of the e-newsletter online, visit www.GoRVing.com.
Since 2005, writer and RVer Brad Herzog has been the author of the popular “On the Road” destination travel column for the Go RVing e-newsletter. As of this month, travel writer and RVer Christopher Jackson will join Herzog as a regular contributor, penning three columns this spring and summer for the “Ready, Set, Go!” section of the e-newsletter, according to a news release.
Living his dream, Jackson is a full-time RVer who travels the country while working as a freelance automotive columnist for African Americans on Wheels, among other publications. Born and raised in the Motor City, Detroit, he has a lifelong love of things that go, so a home with wheels has always been his destiny. He’s currently the RV editor for OnWheels Media, and his automotive review column appears in print and on the web nationwide.
Jackson will write timely articles for the 208,000 Go RVing e-newsletter subscribers about reasons to buy an RV now, how to finance an RV purchase in the current tough economy, the affordability of RV travel and how-to tips for maximizing RV travel enjoyment.
Visit GoRving to subscribe.