Safeco Insurance announced the redesign of LiveLifeLocal.com, a website designed to inspire RV enthusiasts with thousands of ideas for places to go and things to do with their favorite vehicles.
“Nobody buys an RV to simply keep it in the driveway,” said Matt Nickerson, president of Safeco Insurance, in a press release. “RVs are the gateway to a lifestyle that allows people to get out and do the things they love. LiveLifeLocal connects people who are passionate about their vehicle and the life it provides with the activities, resources and network to get the most out of them.”
The site features a new photography-heavy format and enhanced content that encourage users to explore everything they can do with their RV. LiveLifeLocal has also partnered with several experts to showcase their insider knowledge of the RV lifestyle, including Brad Herzog, author of Turn Left at the Trojan Horse and Small World: A Microcosmic Journey.
Other features include:
• Personalized experience: Visitors to the site can sort content by vehicle type and keyword, giving them highly tailored content, images and more.
• National perspective: Whether looking to travel thousands of miles or planning to stay close to home, users can instantly view activities that are relevant to any geographic location, plus suggestions for activities that are nearby.
• Social connections: Users can now like and comment on individual posts to connect with users who share similar lifestyles and interests. The site also features easy ways to share content across several social networks.
“The ability to drill down to a specific lifestyle based on your vehicle, plus easy ways to share and connect through social media, make Safeco’s LiveLifeLocal a one-of-a kind resource,” added Nickerson.
To become a part of this new community and for more information, visit www.livelifelocal.com.
Bob Wheeler, Airstream Inc. president and CEO, has been selected to serve as co-chairman of the Go RVing Coalition, the RV industry’s national advertising and market expansion initiative. According to a press release, Wheeler joins RV dealer Tom Stinnett of Tom Stinnett Derby City RV as co-chair of the industrywide coalition, replacing Bob Olson, who retired from Winnebago Industries Inc. in 2012.
The officers of Go RVing, Inc. – Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) President Richard Coon and Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) President Phil Ingrassia – released a joint statement praising Wheeler as an excellent choice to serve as co-chairman: “Bob is a proven industry leader who understands the importance of branding and strategic promotion. He brings valuable experience, insight and influence to the Go RVing Coalition, and partnered with Tom, they will make a strong team to help guide Go RVing forward as we seek to build on the growth of the past few years.”
Wheeler, 46, began his professional career as a manufacturing engineer at General Motors Co. He became president and CEO of Airstream in 2005 after serving in several other positions with Thor Industries Inc., Airstream’s parent company.
“The Go RVing program plays a vital role in our industry’s effort to raise consumer awareness about the benefits of RVing and the RV lifestyle,” said Wheeler. “I’m honored to work with the talented members of the Go RVing Coalition, who have for years helped position RVs as a fun and affordable way to build lasting memories. As we look to furthering industry growth and expansion, I’m excited to be part of the team’s move towards more creative, impactful and innovative campaign executions.”
Stinnett, who has been involved in Go RVing since it began in 1994 and has served as a co-chair since 2004, will continue to play a leadership role as a key consensus-builder among dealers and manufacturers. “With his experience with Thor and Airstream, and his passion for the RV lifestyle, Bob Wheeler will be a great addition as Go RVing co-chair,” Stinnett said. “I look forward to working with him as the 2013 ad campaign gets underway.”
Wheeler is a resident of Sidney, Ohio, where he lives with his wife, Kelly, and their three boys, Grant, Harvey and Finn.
The Go RVing campaign is widely credited for boosting the image and popularity of RV travel and helping to maintain RV awareness and demand through the recent economic downturn. The Go RVing Coalition consists of RV manufacturers, component suppliers, dealers and campgrounds that work to provide the public and media with information about the benefits of RV travel and to foster satisfaction with the RV experience through its Committee on Excellence. For more information, visit www.GoRVing.com.
Go RVing reached a major milestone in mid-March when it exceeded 100,000 active followers of its Facebook page. According to a press release, the ever-growing community is a mix of both current and prospective owners who have actively chosen to follow the messaging provided daily by the brand.
Since the page was launched in 2008, the style and content of the daily postings have been remixed to increase engagement with followers. In the past 18 months, the page’s reach has grown dramatically through messaging that regularly resonates with consumers who are decidedly interested in the Go RVing message.
Over the years, numerous analytical sequencers have been created to track the interactions on social media and quantify the organic and viral reach of a brand’s messaging across numerous social media platforms. Go RVing utilizes several different metrics programs to obtain a well-rounded overview of its campaign’s reach, according to the release. In recent weeks, some individual Go RVing posts have been seen by over 168,000 Facebook users through organic and viral sharing.
“Effective use of social media rarely ‘just happens,’” said James Ashurst, RVIA vice president of advertising and public relations, “but when strategically developed and executed, social media can be a powerful and direct link between brands and their intended market.”
He added, “Whether on Facebook, Twitter, or more recently on Instagram and Pinterest, all of Go RVing’s activities are part of an overall digital strategy developed jointly by both our staff and the team at The Richards Group. Everything we do is designed to support and work cohesively with other aspects of our marketing and advertising campaigns each day. Perhaps the greatest advantage of social media is that we can tweak our messaging as we go – we can react in minutes if needed and we can change our content on the fly. Done correctly, social media is one of the most cost-effective ways to maintain a high level of engaged interaction with our audience.”
To recognize the Facebook milestone, Go RVing ran a weeklong “100,000 and Counting Fan Appreciation Giveaway” that attracted just shy of 9,000 entrants for a prize package of RV-camping essentials. The top prize included a $100 debit gift card, Go RVing window decals, koozies, lanyards, glow sticks, and four collapsible campfire roasting forks and the essentials for making s’mores all packed into a heavy galvanized bucket which can be used at the campfire. Several runners-up were also awarded prizes, with each winner being selected randomly by computer.
Go RVing has launched the industry’s national advertising and promotion campaign in magazines, search engines, websites and on TV. According to a press release, dealer subscribers to the Go RVing Leads-Plus program will be “reaping the benefits” as the media campaign reaches consumers.
Go RVing Dealer Leads-Plus accounts for subscribers are now active, allowing dealers to receive weekly notifications of leads availability by e-mail. Dealers just log in to retrieve leads while also having the ability to adjust the lead notification timing.
In addition, all Leads-Plus subscribers will be receiving five free reusable window clings to promote the campaign in the dealership and on units. New for 2013, the 18.75-inch by 7-inch clings feature the Go RVing logo in green and are ideal for placement on units’ windows and windshields, or on windows inside or outside the dealership. They adhere with a little water and can be peeled off and used over and over. The window clings will be arriving in dealerships this month.
An extensive study of past leads helped Go RVing identify the primary factors that distinguish information seekers from RV buyers – average retail spending, income-producing assets, net worth and type of RV being considered. The Leads-Plus system is based on consumers’ answers to demographic and lifestyle questions asked by Go RVing at the time they become a lead, plus additional data confidentially collected from Epsilon Data Management (formerly Equifax). Using these findings, Go RVing created a mathematical prioritization model to process all leads generated by the national advertising campaign.
A computer program examines the profiling factors for each individual who contacts Go RVing and places the resulting lead into one of four categories: Highly likely to purchase; likely to purchase; moderately likely; interested in purchasing.
The Leads Database is just one of the marketing tools available to dealers in the industry-only section of GoRVing.com. There, participating dealers can also access photos and logos to use in marketing materials; the latest Go RVing media plan; and research reports detailing consumer attitudes toward travel and perceptions of RVs and RVing.
Officially getting the green flag, Go RVing Coalition’s 2013 media buy launched on Feb. 18 with SPEED Channel airing custom vignettes featuring trackside personality Rutledge Wood during the network’s pre-Daytona 500 programming, according to a news release.
In Woods’ third series of vignettes for Go RVing, the popular NASCAR personality interviews RVers at Texas Motor Speedway about why RVs are great for family travel and are ideal for tailgating at NASCAR races. The spots will air over 500 times on SPEED throughout the racing season along with Go RVing’s television commercials.
Kicking into high gear today (March 1), Go RVing’s $11.8 million campaign features a strong mix of proven media buys mixed with several exciting sponsorships with strong media partners. In the coming weeks and months, the remainder of Go RVing’s television buy and custom programming will roll out on national cable channels including: Destination America, Travel Channel, National Geographic Channel, National Geographic Wild and Outdoor Channel.
From March through September, the TV plan also includes direct response advertising on 40 more popular cable networks.
New digital ads are now appearing on dozens of websites and search engines through September enabling consumers to link directly to GoRVing.com. The 2013 print campaign includes 15 popular titles with a solid editorial mix across a variety of new and proven genres. The magazines hit newsstands in March and continue through October.
Go RVing’s 2013 media buy will be enhanced by special partnerships with Country Living and Garden & Gun magazines’ event sponsorships, Outdoor Channel’s national sweepstakes with an RV grand prize, and Travel Channel with the Trip Flip episode featuring an RV vacation integration and an online sweepstakes.
The Go RVing campaign is expanding its outreach effort to include consumer events, for the first time. As part of its ad buys with Garden & Gun and Country Living magazines, Go RVing will display RVs at major events attended by consumers in the ad campaign’s target demographic, according to a press release.
“We’re excited about this new way of reaching consumers who share characteristics with RV owners,” said Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) Vice President of Advertising and Public Relations James Ashurst. “This will give families an opportunity to see RVs for themselves and learn how RVing is a fun, flexible and affordable way for families to spend quality time in the outdoors.”
The first event is the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition (SEWE), taking place Feb. 15-17 in Charleston, S.C. Now in its 30th year, SEWE draws more than 500 artists and exhibitors from around the globe, presenting their products to more than 40,000 attendees.
Go RVing’s on-site exhibit, situated just inside the entrance to the event, will feature a Winnebago Aspect Class C motorhome and a Forest River V-Cross Vibe travel trailer. Both units were selected in lottery among members offering to provide vehicles. The SEWE exhibit is part of Go RVing’s media buy with Garden & Gun magazine, which is a sponsor of the event.
As part of its media buy with Country Living, Go RVing is sponsoring the “Sisters on the Fly” seminar, which will be held at each of the Country Living Fairs — June 7-9 in Rhinebeck, N.Y.; Sept. 13-15 in Columbus, Ohio; and Oct. 25-27 in Atlanta. Total attendance at the three events is expected to exceed 63,000.
“Sisters on the Fly” is a group of 2,400 women who travel the country in RVs. They conduct seminars designed to educate consumers on the RV lifestyle, and how easily the RV experience can be customized. In addition, Go RVing will have space to display an RV at each of the three fairs.
Expanding upon major media partnerships, Go RVing has joined forces with The Travel Channel to feature a family RV vacation in a fully-integrated episode of one of its most popular series, “Trip Flip.” The show will follow “professional fun-seeker” and travel expert Bert Kreischer and one family on a three-day, action-packed RV vacation.
Entering its third season, the show is unscripted as Kreischer spontaneously selects a family and surprises them with an on-the-spot vacation offer. The show will travel to the Flagstaff/Grand Canyon area where the RV integration will allow the family to enjoy a fantastic vacation filled activities in scenic locations while experiencing hassle-free travel with all the comforts of home. The episode will feature scenes both inside and out of the RV.
Responding to Go RVing’s request for vehicles, a lottery was held in early December where a Holiday Rambler Vacationer motorhome offered by Navistar RV was randomly chosen as the vehicle for the on-camera family to enjoy and explore in. The show will be shot in mid-March and will air as one episode of the Trip Flip 2013 season.
Additionally, Go RVing is sponsoring a Travel Channel national sweepstakes that will be promoted on-air and online with the grand prize being a family vacation in an RV rental.
Through the winter months, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) work with reporters and producers has produced a steady stream of positive media coverage. According to a press release, coverage included stories about the industry’s continuing recovery from the economic downturn, positives about the RV lifestyle, and cable TV specials about what’s new in RVs.
A few of the highlights:
• A Nov. 27 Associated Press story from the Louisville show reported on the industry’s accelerating recovery from the recession. This story appeared in media markets nationwide, including Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Columbus, San Diego, Chicago, St. Louis, and New York. The story also was published on major online outlets, including Yahoo! Finance and Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
• On Nov.30, BudgetTravel.com published a story offering tips for renting and traveling by RV. The story mentioned rising RV shipments, and presented RVs as an accessible and fun way to travel.
• A Dec. 10 story in The Wall Street Journal reported that RV sales are expected to rise in 2013. Growth was predicted to be strongest in lower-cost models, with travel trailers and fifth wheels expected to be in highest demand.
• On Dec. 20, Winnebago CEO Randy Potts appeared on FOX Business where he talked about the positive outlook for the RV industry. The segment also featured a Winnebago Tour outside FOX’s New York studio.
• On Dec. 21, AnimalFair.com suggested that readers should consider an RV for traveling with pets. The tip pointed out that no boarding, no cargo holds and built-in pet stations could make traveling with pets more convenient and more fun. More than half of RVers travel with pets, according to RVIA research.
• On Jan. 1, HGTV broadcasted RV2013, this year’s version of the annual RV special. The show featured three families touring the RV show in Hershey and presented the latest trends and newest models. RVIA works with producers throughout the production, and the show continues to be HGTV’s highest-rated special.
Like most wide-eyed, wishful Americans, Dennis Soukup daydreams of someday hitting the lottery. Riches beyond compare. Genie-in-a-lamp possibilities.
Well … not quite.
According to a report in the Las Vegas Review Journal, the 59-year-old chairman of the applied technology department at the College of Southern Nevada simply wants to hold the key to a new Tiffin Zephyr motorhome.
Forty-five feet long, 8 feet 4 inches wide, 12 feet 10 inches tall, 500-horsepower engine, 150-gallon gas tank, six aluminum wheels plus two steel inner wheels, two-stage compression air brake, six air bags. And that doesn’t include the interior creature comforts, highlighted by a home theater system with Surround Sound.
“Yes, that’s my dream,” Soukup says of the luxurious home-away-from-home with a sticker price of approximately $500,000. “If I hit the lottery, I’m buying a Zephyr. I want to retire full time into one of them.”
Retire, that is, into a senior lifestyle that is remarkably safe, according to a report from the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, which showed that over a 10-year period from 1999 through 2008 there were only 97 RV fatalities nationally.
Special driving classes are not mandatory for RVers in Nevada. But owners of motorhomes with a minimum 26,000-pound gross rating or tow trailers with a minimum gross rating of 10,000 pounds are required to have a special license endorsement, which comes by passing a Department of Motor Vehicles driving test.
Fourteen other U.S. states, including California, require some form of special license endorsement, according to the website changingears.com.
Soukup and his wife, Linda, are one of 8.9 million U.S. households that owns some form of RV, which includes everything from truck campers and pull trailers to fifth-wheels and those shiny, rock-star-rich motor homes. Soukup currently owns a 2006 Tiffin Phaeton, the kid brother to the Zephyr at an approximate price of $250,000.
To read the complete story click here.
The following is an article from the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer profiling several people that have adopted the RV lifestyle. To read the entire story click here.
Living the RV lifestyle – taking to the open road in a motor home – may not be for everyone.
But it’s a trend that’s growing, thanks to large numbers of people looking to untether themselves from their homes and seek adventures. And it’s a lifestyle that’s not just for retirees. The typical RV owner is 48 years old, with the largest gains in ownership falling to those ages 35 to 54, according to a 2011 report about RV usage from the University of Michigan.
“I mean, really, once your kids are grown and gone, do you really use all those rooms?” said Kitty Hornung, 64, who has been living the RV lifestyle for 16 years with her husband, Bill. “Besides, people are downsizing today, anyway.”
Last year, the number of recreational vehicle-owning households numbered 8.9 million, a jump of 1 million from 2005, the survey said. About 8.5% of U.S. households own RVs.
The statistics don’t surprise Tom Dreyer, who manages the Fayetteville KOA RV campsite at the Wade exit of Interstate 95.
“More and more, folks just like to get away from it all,” Dreyer said. “They’re looking for a life change, a new adventure.”
The following RV owners at the Fayetteville KOA have abandoned a life of stationary living in exchange for a more transient existence. Their reasons for the change are varied, but they all agree their new lifestyle took quite an adjustment.
For James “Jimmie” Schalla Jr., 56, and his wife, Cindy, 55, the biggest adjustment was getting used to not looking at a calendar.
“We really don’t know what day it is because we don’t look at a calendar very much anymore,” Jimmie Schalla said.
To read the entire article click here.
A plan to ease the strained finances in Wildwood, N.J., by allowing RV campers on a patch of beach in this Jersey Shore town – one of the few that don’t charge for beach access – has oceanfront-property owners irate that their “lawn” could take on a “trailer park atmosphere.”
“We plan to do whatever we have to do to make sure this doesn’t happen. The beach is about flying kites, playing volleyball, enjoying the environment of the beach. . . . RVs are not part of the beach,” said Robert Grandinetti, president of the Wildwood Ocean Towers Condominium Association, which has mounted an aggressive effort to prevent RV camping, which could begin next week.
Allowing RVs to set up on the beach for a fee – an accepted practice in Florida and California, according to RV enthusiasts – would create an unsightly, noisy appearance and could pollute the waterfront, say opponents. The area could “turn into one continuous tailgate party,” Grandinetti told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The association, which obtained a court order to stage a recent Boardwalk protest, will take additional legal action if needed, he said.
At least one more demonstration is likely before Aug. 18, when campers are expected to arrive as part of a beach festival near the site, just south of the Wildwoods Convention Center, Grandinetti said.
Mayor Ernie Troiano and the three-member City Commission in July awarded a five-year contract to a California company, Point Break Group Management L.L.C., to operate the RV campground for up to 78 vehicles between Taylor and Hand Avenues. The company will rent 60- and 30-foot-wide slots for $120 to $150 a night.
Vehicles will enter the beach at Cresse Avenue, where the Boardwalk ends, and travel a three-block path on hard-packed sand to the camping area, according to officials.
Revenue eventually could funnel $200,000 a year into the municipal coffers, the city has said.
Wildwood faced a $3 million budget shortfall this year, the city’s worst financial bind in 30 years, City Commissioner Pete Byron said last week.
To continue paying for beach upkeep without a tax increase, the city has looked to the beach itself as a revenue generator and has come up with creative ideas, Byron said.
The “comprehensive beach plan” does not rule out a beach-tag fee, officials have said.
Wildwood began selling permits for horseback riding on the beach last winter. And it has leased about 100 “beach boxes,” wooden storage units, for $400 a season so regulars can leave gear near the water’s edge.
For Kirk Wong of southwest Washington, there’s only one way to travel: He loads up his 37-foot motor home with two kids, four bikes, two dogs and a tortoise, and he and his wife Andrea take off for some much-needed, uninterrupted family time.
“In our house we’re always scattered and our schedules have us running,” Wong said in an article for MSNBC. “But in the RV, this time is invaluable. The boys take turns sitting next to me when I drive, we talk. For me, it’s never about the destination; it really is about the journey.”
Suzi and Jason Jewett of Forest Grove, Ore., hail the benefits of traveling with their 29-foot pull-behind trailer this way: “It drives family time,” she said. “We actually sit down together and we can play board games for hours.”
More than 30 million Americans travel by RV. Despite high fuel prices, this number seems to be on the rise, with more families realizing a surefire way to spend time together and enjoy nature in a comfy home on wheels.
Brent Peterson, author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to RVing” (the third edition was just published), cites another reason for the rise.
“Air travel is becoming uncomfortable and expensive enough that it’s pushing more people into RVing,” he said. “RVing has grown through hard economic times, and if done right, it can be economical.”
MSNBC reported that many young families, he said, start by pulling a pop-up trailer and then move up to bigger RVs as their needs grow. By seeking out $30 campgrounds, fixing your own meals, and traveling at times of lower fuel prices, families can enjoy cheaper trips than had they flown, stayed in hotels and eaten out every meal.
“I don’t have the ability to save money when I’m traveling without my RV because I have to stay in a hotel, buy meals and pay for every little thing,” Peterson said. “Traveling by RV gives you choices.”
And it is the choice that appeals to the Wong and Jewett families, too. The Wongs, who this summer plan to take weekend trips to the Oregon coast and a bigger trek to Yosemite National Park in August, like that they don’t need a travel agenda.
To read the entire article click here.
After slumping during the recession, sales of recreational vehicles are on the rise as U.S. consumers give in to the lure of the open road — with amenities — and are once again able to get credit to buy what many consider an affordable second home, the Baltimore Sun reported.
Sales of RVs, which include travel trailers and motorhomes, have been rising since 2010, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Today, RV owners number nearly 9 million in the United States — a record.
The increase comes thanks to more available credit, growing interest in RV travel, and a push by RV makers to load up the vacation homes on wheels with high-tech extras, the Reston, Va.-based association said. And many people are just fed up with traditional travel hassles.
“We’re seeing a lot of first-time buyers who have traveled other ways and are tired of the air travel or questionable accommodations when they get where they’re going,” said Greg Merkel, owner and president of Leo’s Vacation Center in Gambrills.
When Pat Barton first set eyes on a Winnebago motorhome at Leo’s, she knew it was for her.
“It was like, ‘This is it,’” said the 65-year-old retired elementary school principal from Anne Arundel County, who had never before owned a recreational vehicle. “I just decided to take the plunge. I loved all the amenities.”
But at 30 feet long, the vehicle was intimidating.
“It was scary at first,” Barton said. “I’ve never driven a truck.”
Barton got driving pointers from the dealership’s salespeople, and by the time she bought the RV in January, was comfortable behind the wheel.
Since buying the Winnebago, Barton has traveled to Harpers Ferry, W.Va., and to local campgrounds, where she likes to hike, swim and relax by a campfire at night.
“It’s a great way to get back to some of our roots, going out and building a fire and toasting marshmallows,” Barton said. “When you go to the campgrounds, you meet people with similar interests from all over the country, and everyone has a story to tell. I think [RV ownership] is something the Baby Boomers are going to jump into big-time.”
Added Barton: “We’re retiring, and we can.”
To read the entire article in the Baltimore Sun click here.
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.
To read the entire article click here.
A California couple who travel across the country in an RV will be stopping by Hannibal, Mo., this weekend.
Author Brad Herzog and his wife, Amy, have traversed the country for 13 consecutive years, and he has written three memoirs from these travels.
Herzog spoke to The Quincy (Ill.) Herald-Whig earlier this week from the parking lot of the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Ark., as the couple makes their way to the area. Other locations the couple has traveled to this summer included the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado, the Grand Canyon and the Oklahoma City National Memorial.
“It’s like a big-screen movie of America is playing in front of you, and anytime you want, you can stop the film and enter the picture,” he said. “That’s a really cool feeling.”
The Herzogs should arrive in Hannibal this weekend just in time for the national fence painting contests on Sunday (July 8) at the National Tom Sawyer Days.
Herzog said he is expects to spend a lot of time in Hannibal, which excites him because it was home to Mark Twain.
“As a traveling author, it’s inevitable that I would be a Mark Twain fan,” he said. “So we’re going to take a riverboat on the river, visit the museum and (Twain’s) boyhood home and that sort of thing.”
Herzog boasts the benefits of traveling in an RV, instead of air travel.
“With an RV trip, you’re not going from point A to point Z,” Herzog said. “You’re hitting all the points in between, and it helps immerse you in a sense of place. It makes the destination that much satisfying.”
A RV vacation also could save families money when planning vacations.
A study prepared for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) found that RV travel is 23% to 59% less expensive than other types of vacations for a family of four.
“The money that we save not having to pay for hotel rooms, by not having to eat three meals a day in a restaurant, by not having to deal with airlines and all the lack of control you have there, it really adds to the whole experience,” Herzog said. “The affordability is one part, and there is the flexibility. I love the fact that in an RV, you’re in control. You’re traveling at your own pace and on your own terms, and to me that is how a vacation should feel.”
The family sees many different towns and locations along the way to their destination. The treks last usually last six to eight weeks every summer, and most times they travel with their two sons. However, they are both at summer camp.
“It started in the summer of 2000,” he said. “The first summer it was my wife Amy and I, and she was pregnant with our first child.”
The Herzogs have since logged more than 100,000 miles crossing the 48 states in the continental U.S.
Herzog’s latest book, “Turn Left at the Trojan Horse: A Would-be Hero’s American Odyssey,” explores classically named towns throughout America. He focuses on small towns in America in his writing.
“Hannibal and Quincy are humongous compared to what I write about,” he said. “I pick the tiniest dots on the map, and I sort of develop a theme for an overarching concept I would like to explore in each book. Then I craft an itinerary that’s going to take me through tiny little towns with names that match that theme.”