RV Family — The Hale Family

More great answers to “20 Questions for RV Families”. To have your family featured, please read the questions and e-mail your answers (along with a family photo) to info at wright on time books dot com.

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Wright on Time Books: Tell me a bit about your family.

Chantee: We’re a family of 3. My husband and myself are in our 30’s and we have a 4 year old daughter. There’s also a 17 year old (step) daughter who lives with her mom, so doesn’t get to travel with us. About three years ago we got to a spot where we were done. We owned a house near the Skyline Drive, which we loved, and a hobby games store. I worked in a costume department and all should have been well. Which is to say, we had everything we wanted but time together – time for our family and we didn’t really feel fulfilled by the ‘status quo’. So we quit. We sold it all, bought an RV and left. It took almost two years from realizing that’s what we wanted and needed to do to the day we pulled it off, but we walked out.

Hale RV Family 01

Hale RV Family 02

Wright on Time Books: How long has your family (or did your family) live in an RV?

Chantee: We’ve been on the road for a little over a year now, and are re-evaluating our set-up. What was enough space for a two year old is nothing for a four year old. When we were initially setting up we thought of us spending a lot of time outdoors – but forgot about rainy or too hot days – and also wanted something small enough to boondock in easily but didn’t think about playspace. Those are oversights we’ll have to remedy now, with some ‘down time’ off the road, but it’s not really a big deal. One real advantage about being a ‘road family’ is that you can just take it as it comes. Not being trapped in one place – in a mortgage and bills – gives you a lot of freedom. The problem becomes narrowing your choices so you can make one instead of finding a way to make it work!

Wright on Time Books: What states/countries has your family traveled to?

Chantee: From Maryland down the entire south coast and in a month we’ll be headed out westward through Texas.

Wright on Time Books: Are you homeschoolers? Do you call yourselves roadschoolers? What type of homeschoolers are you (or do you prefer to not give your family a label)?

Chantee: Technically, my daughter’s not old enough for school. That being said she reads at a second grade level (Teach Your Child to Read In 100 Easy Lessons) and she does basic math in her head. We call it pre-school and have already looked into accredited options for her schooling. We’re not very religious and I’m a second gen homeschooler so I’m very picky. I don’t want the Bob Jones stuff I was raised on and I do want her to have less of the hassles I had (being ‘religiously exempt’ or unschooled) when I reached professional and college levels.

Wright on Time Books: How well does homeschooling work while living on the road? How do you get new resources (DVDs, books, audio books, etc.)? Are you able to use local libraries, or do you have to buy everything?

Chantee: I think homeschooling works great. We work around our schedule, keeping it going most of the year and taking breaks when we’re driving or just need it. I usually buy what I want, or get it online. Most things you can find there – except maybe really good reading supplies. I don’t think I’ve spent more than 100$ on her schooling this year. Libraries, which I love, are a bit of a loss once you’re on the road. You get it in one sitting because they often don’t allow ‘non-local’ users to check out material. I like things I can use again and again and for that I’m fond of Amazon’s buy it used feature.

Wright on Time Books: Do you have a “home base”? This is especially important for legal homeschooling, isn’t it? Did you sell all of your possessions, or keep things in storage?

Chantee: Well… a home base. I’ve been on the road before and my Mother is a queen among women, so she is mostly our home base. We’ve just picked up a Good Sam membership and mail service to try and take some of that responsibility off of her. I do all of our billing online and auto draft/deposit, which makes the lack of home base easier. As for schooling it’s a headache. If you want the local school system – which is absurd – you’ll have to be back for SOL’s and do all the paperwork. My answer to accreditation was K12. Also, if your kids are young like ours is they won’t even be in the system. Technically Jade doesn’t exist as far as the school processing goes. She’s never been and never will be part of the local census. My Mother is also kind enough to keep some of our stuff that we couldn’t part with (like my husband’s comic collection) at her place, otherwise we’d have a small storage unit. Everything that was truly worth something we sold – the house, the business, the vehicles. Everything else from the tv to the furniture we threw out. It’s not worth your time to sell it, believe me.

Wright on Time Books: What resources did you use both before you began your adventure and/or while you were on the road? Any particular books or websites that you couldn’t have lived without?

Chantee: We tried a couple of RV introductory books, we’d travelled before by car and converted van and had even lived in that van, when we were young for several years. I used RVT.com to help us find an inexpensive RV. We looked at a lot of floorplans and the style of life we thought we’d be living to help make that choice. I guess I was looking six months before I knew exactly what I wanted. We walked through a lot of used RV’s we saw on Craigslist or in the local paper. I refused to walk through new ones because I didn’t – and don’t – want something I can’t afford to own outright. Making payments that are unnecessary (outside of your insurance and phone bill for instance) will limit your life and your options. We didn’t want that. In the end, we still didn’t get it perfect, but life is a fluid thing, eh? We also got our RV about a year before we left our jobs, and lived in it while we stuck around, dry testing the idea.

Wright on Time Books: How hard is it to deal with the maintenance of the RV? What are the most difficult aspects? Who handles what?

Chantee: RV maintenance is… an issue… for us. My husband is not very technical so he can’t often do things around the house – auto maintenance and repair, and anything electrical outside of the lightbulbs being changed goes to a shop. We call around and price stuff. We are Camping World ‘members’ but that’s because we like their neat stuff for the house. Probably the two worst things that happened to us – because we’re in a class c (overhead bunk) we’ve had two mishaps. The first one was due to an altitude choke on the engine. Happens in Ford models, as we now know. Getting a tow truck into Allegheny National Forest in PA was difficult at best. The next time our alternator died. We were lucky enough to make it to a Wal-Mart parking lot but had to wait till Monday (two days) to get a tow to a garage. It always happens on Saturday afternoon. Just take it easy. We found joy in the Chick-Fil-A across the street and walking Wal-Mart for nothing better to do until we could get on the road again. Problems aren’t so bad as long as no-one feels it’s a ‘must’ to be going and everyone can just kick back and enjoy the day.

Wright on Time Books: How large is your RV? What is it like? We want to know where everything goes and where everyone sleeps. In an ideal world, would you have wanted a bigger RV, smaller RV, or something the same size but with a different configuration?

Chantee: We’ve a 27 ft. class C. Our daughter sleeps – and sometimes plays – in her own bedroom, which is the bunk/loft. Then we have our own bedroom in the back. I wouldn’t put a family in less space. Everyone needs their privacy now and then. Now I would do a travel trailer or a fifth wheel. I’d have a slide. Because two foot of walking/playing space makes a rainy day a chore. The vehicle would be nice too. It’s a pain to always pack up your house to go do something. It wasn’t too much of a problem at first but then we added a dog. There’s a lot you can’t do with a dog – like leave it in your car or RV, unless it’s back at the campground with the AC on.

Wright on Time Books: How often do you move to a new location? Do gas prices and campground costs affect this? Where do you usually stay the night? Do you have a regular route that you repeat, or do you continually seek out new places to visit?

Chantee: We move about every 4-6 months, and usually 800 or more miles at a go. Now, we take it slowly, only about 4 hours of driving – at most – a night and always about the kiddo’s bedtime. It’s easier on us and our vehicles that way, plus it gives us time to explore the town we stop in every night.
I’m a bit of a nomad. I don’t like repeats, and my family is pretty accommodating about that. With the exception of visiting family or friends I try to never go the same way, or do the same stops, twice. There are those rare occasions where we loved something so much, or the same road is just necessary, though. For driving days we usually stay at Wal-Mart parking lots, Flying J’s or other larger truck stops, or the occasional highway rest stop. We dreamed we’d boondock the national forests, but getting a 27 footer in and out of those fire service roads turned out to be a bigger chore than it’s worth. Plus the gas to go that far ‘out of the way’ on hopes of finding a good spot is excruciating. When we’re settled we’re usually volunteering in exchange for a site at a State or National Forest park. Some are great, some aren’t, it’s kind of hit-or-miss there. I refuse to work more than 30 hours a week (total for the family) in exchange for a site, though. After that it’s just not worth it, if you look at it as paying for something in cash with what you could have earned.

Wright on Time Books: Who does the driving? Do you ever have issues driving such a large vehicle? Do you avoid cities or curvy/narrow roads up mountains, or do you take them in stride?

Chantee: Usually my husband drives and I navigate because I’m better with the maps but I’m just as comfortable on the open road. We do avoid downtown areas – hitting a one way or tight turn on a car-lined street just stinks in an RV. We also like to take it easy on our engine, and the altitude choke is a problem still so we avoid certain altitudes and try to take it extra slow on curvy and hilly roads. That really depends on your rig, though, and how long you want your engine to last.

Wright on Time Books: How long have you been on the road/plan to be on the road? Has this worked out to your liking?

Chantee: We’re pretty happy so far, at one year travelling, plus. We’re coming off the road for a couple of years for some extra cash – a new rig’s in the works for us and my husband wants to start a business venture. My daughter thinks it stinks to have to meet and leave so many people behind but she’s getting to be great with pen-pals. As far as meeting our needs for more family time it’s been exceptional. We’ve been able to stop working on meeting the bills and start putting our family first.

Wright on Time Books: How do you handle privacy issues while living in close quarters?

Chantee: We generally have the ‘Say what you need’ policy. If someone needs space they say so, and then they retire to their room to get it. Or go outside. I haven’t found it to be a problem, except for the kiddo’s desire to be in the bathroom with me, which doesn’t work.

Wright on Time Books: How do you keep in touch with friends and family? Do you visit them? Do they visit you? Phone, e-mail, etc.? What about holidays and birthdays?

Chantee: We visit family and friends when we come by, sometimes going a couple of hundred miles out of our way to do so. We’ve been blessed with visits from some family too. If they know where we are in advance some of our friends and family will manage to take a vacation and camp out with us. I use Facebook to keep up with everyone, my husband uses MySpace, and then I usually send out mass emails every few months to keep in touch. We have a family plan so we call people a lot and we ended up with an air card too. WiFi was just too spotty, or too pricey as a lot of places want you to pay for the use. My daughter draws pictures and mails them along with the letters she writes her friends. She prefers to get ‘real’ correspondence but for the rest of us the phone and email seem to be working fine. My Mother and I are, obviously, very, very close so I was worried about that at first. Sometimes the distance makes me sad but a long chat on the phone will cure that, and she’s the best about taking a vacation to see us.

Wright on Time Books: Does anyone ever get homesick for your old life? How do you deal with that?

Chantee: Jade gets homesick the most. She misses her cousin, my brother’s daughter, who’s just 2 weeks apart from her, her sister, and her Grandmama. We do a lot of letters and phone calls and I even made her a travel map with pictures of all the amazing things she’s done. It doubles as a geography lesson and a memory book. She knows most kids don’t get what she does in terms of experiences, so it’s a mixed bag for her. A day at the playground will often cure those ‘missed friends’ blues. My husband is also very social, but he’s learning how to keep in touch long distance and that means a lot in terms of re-connecting with dear old friends he was barely in touch with before, plus he gets to add new people he meets to that list. I try to be sensitive to his needs and make sure that if he wants to go ‘out’ to be around others he can. As for myself I sometimes get homesick, and then I just start thinking of that large list of reasons I wanted out so bad. Keeping that list around is handy for those ‘blue’ days. Nathan and I do a lot of propping each other up when we question our choices. We try to stay real about the pros and the cons and evaluate it honestly, so when one is too far on one side of the fence we serve as good reminders for the other. I’m blessed, though, with a great relationship. My husband and I have always enjoyed each other’s company for inspiration and socialization.

Wright on Time Books: How do you pay for your living expenses? How do you make money while on the road? Do you work full-time/part-time? Do you work certain times of the year and travel other times? Have any of your children had paying jobs?

Chantee: We have a small amount of savings, which dwindles with every trip. My husband is an excellent Barista, so he works part to full time to pay the few bills we have and put food on the table. I work the rest of the time in the campground, helping in visitor centers and cleaning toilets and ‘organically trashed’ campsites. We prefer to work hard, save up, then travel as we want to, but it’s not for everyone.

Wright on Time Books: Do you have a towed vehicle? Bicycles? Mopeds? Etc.?

Chantee: We own a motorcycle, something we picked up after the Allegheny incident, for extra transport. It’s good for an emergency, and for Nathan’s drive to work. Now that we have a dog we’ve found that it’s absolutely necessary to have a second vehicle. We have to drive separately due to towing the Motorcycle already. We’re usually about 20+ miles to town so bicycles aren’t the easiest mode of transport but we do have them as well for fun.

Wright on Time Books: Do you have any pets that travel with your family? How do they like living on the road?

Chantee: We have a dog. He was a tester dog from my sister in law. He’s good for the family, although not too bright and doesn’t much care what’s done to him (including being my daughter’s playground play mate) as long as he’s fed and loved. He’s also a very small dog (14 lbs). I couldn’t deal with bigger in the space we have.

Wright on Time Books: Where is the best place you’ve been according to each member of your family?

Chantee: If we’d found perfect we might not be on the road anymore!
All together we agree on Assateague Island State Park on the Maryland coast. Hobe Sound, FL was a great place to stay the winter and learn to Kayak. Savannah, GA was a wonderful city to drive through, but we found we didn’t like staying there as much. And our daughter loved Myrtle Beach for it’s MagiQuest game.

Wright on Time Books: How can we find out more about you and your family? Website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter, etc.? Please tell us also what the next great adventure for your family is!

Chantee: Nathan and I are, separately, on Facebook and MySpace. We don’t blog or carry our own website although I do make them for friends on occassion, we’re kind of quiet in that respect. As for our next adventure we’re at the point where we’re enjoying turning our hobbies into our lives. My husband is finishing up a book he’s dreamed of writing for 14 years, and he’s decided that after that he’s going to turn his other passion – movies – into his job by starting a production company. I’m working on a novel and have several other things written. Writing has always been a passion for me, but before life always got in the way. One nice thing about stepping away from everyone and everything you knew is that you get to focus on what’s important. And that leaves a lot of time for self discovery.

RV Family — The North Family (currently in SD)

Wright on Time Books: Tell me a bit about your family. How long has your family lived in an RV? What states/countries has your family traveled to?

Kelly: We are a family with one 3 year old and two 90 lb dogs living full time in a 36′ motorhome. My husband is a helicopter pilot which takes him across the country to seasonal positions so we decided to sell it all and travel along with him to keep the family together. We’ve been on the road since last Oct. and we are currently in the Black Hills, SD and he is flying Mt. Rushmore/Badlands tours and this Fall we will be taking a month or so to travel and then be in the Smoky Mountains in TN for another touring job.

North RV Family

Wright on Time Books: Are you homeschoolers? Do you call yourselves roadschoolers? What type of homeschoolers are you (or do you prefer to not give your family a label)?
Wright on Time Books: Do you have a “home base”? This is especially important for legal homeschooling, isn’t it? Did you sell all of your possessions, or keep things in storage?

Kelly: We don’t homeschool yet but we do lots of outside activities and take advantage of what each location has to offer (parks, museums, zoos). Our home address is my parents’ address in TN where we get our mail and our cars are registered. We had a 5 bedroom home in Atlanta and we liquidated all but keepsakes and those are in storage and the Mother In Law’s home. We have an article on our blog about liquidating that was featured in Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper.

Wright on Time Books: What resources did you use both before you began your adventure and/or while you were on the road? Any particular books or websites that you couldn’t have lived without?

Kelly: We read about RV life on the internet, RV Forum, Families on the Road and then just did it and learned by experience. We knew there were going to be several years of moving around for his career and we knew we wanted to be together. With two very large dogs apartments weren’t an option and some of his jobs may be two weeks on/two weeks off so an RV was the most feasible option for us.

Wright on Time Books: How hard is it to deal with the maintenance of the RV? What are the most difficult aspects? Who handles what?

Kelly: Once we hit the road we ran into some problems that mostly revolved around leaks…our home is an 01 so some seals and caulking were dried and cracked. We also did quite a bit of remodel on it over the year. We took out a lounge chair, installed a ceiling mounted curtain and put in a toddler bed for Caleb to sleep. He loves his “room” and we put underbed boxes under his bed for toys. We also got a storage ottoman to make the couch area more comfortable and it also stores toys. We took out the carpet and installed Pergo (much cleaner with the dogs and kid and looks great). We reupholstered the furniture for a more modern look, installed flat screen TVs, put vinyl sticky tiles on the kitchen backsplash and painted the whole place to get rid of the heinous wallpaper. We also removed the window boxes and added fabric valences. One of our favorite updates was laminating an antique map onto our kitchen table.

Wright on Time Books: How large is your RV? What is it like? We want to know where everything goes and where everyone sleeps. In an ideal world, would you have wanted a bigger RV, smaller RV, or something the same size but with a different configuration?

Kelly: Our home is 36′ with two slides. If we had to do it over again we might get one that has two slides in the rear bedroom because our dogs sleep on the floor back there and the floor gets pretty crowded. There is a door between the main living area and the back bathroom/bedroom and that provides privacy since our son sleeps in the front area. Also provides privacy if one of us wants to be alone in the back. Our office area is in the back also.

Wright on Time Books: Who does the driving? Do you ever have issues driving such a large vehicle? Do you avoid cities or curvy/narrow roads up mountains, or do you take them in stride?

Kelly: Brian usually does the driving but I’ve done it some on the highways. Brian is an excellent driver and has little intimidation about driving cities as long as we take it slow. We do, however, try to avoid very small towns and small gas stations that may put us in a bind. We tow an Xterra with a bike rack behind that so it’s intimidating for me to pull in and out of gas stations.

If we are headed to a destination we stay in roadside/commercial campgrounds or Walmart/Flying J parking lots. We also enjoy State Parks and campgrounds that are kid friendly if we are staying a couple of days. Right now we are staying in the parking lot of where Brian works. When we aren’t stationary with a job we try to make our route around cities we haven’t seen, friends around the country and natural areas we’ve heard would be cool. We love being on the road and we get a little cranky after being stationary for too long. Our son loves the travel also and we tell him we are going to go find a new “yard”. He calls it our BigTruckNewHouse named by him when we first bought it and the name just stuck. The dogs don’t like the driving down the road part but they are getting accustomed. When we are in small campgrounds their life is a bit tougher because they are always leashed. Sometimes in the more rustic campgrounds we can find a field to let them run.

Wright on Time Books: How do you keep in touch with friends and family? Do you visit them? Do they visit you? Phone, e-mail, etc.? What about holidays and birthdays?

Kelly: We try to go “home” to TN every few months to visit the Grandpeople but this Fall we’ll be living in that area for a number of months. We use Verizon aircard for internet and Direct TV. Our mail comes to my Mom and she faxes it to me (www.myfax.com is an excellent resource for this). We have few bills but things like insurance and bank statements we get online. Health insurance is a bit of a problem because it is independent insurance with little to no coverage out of state. Knock on wood…we haven’t had health problems but would most likely use a walk-in clinic if needed. The dog vaccinations we can get at places like Petco as a walk-in.

Grocery stores are always an interesting part of our travel. We don’t use coupons like we used to but I can look up the local grocery store sale ad and still shop sales for food. We eat out only about once a week (three year olds don’t love sitting in restaurants!). We often park in a rest area and make a sandwich or even if we hit McDonald’s we’ll eat in the house.

Wright on Time Books: Does anyone ever get homesick for your old life? How do you deal with that?

Kelly: I miss my big kitchen in the old life, Brian misses his big TV. I miss having a zillion toys for Caleb and a large yard for a sandbox and pool. I did take a plastic storage tub and fill with playsand and we take that along with us for his sandbox. We also miss babysitters!! But the things we miss are minor compared to the life we have. We are blessed to have each other in such a close way and we get to experience the various cultures and beautiful land across the country that so many people don’t even know about. I often say…I hope Caleb remembers even just a little bit of this experience. And I reccomend liquidation to everyone!

Wright on Time Books: How can we find out more about you and your family? Website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter, etc.? Please tell us also what the next great adventure for your family is!

Kelly: You can read more about how we started and a little about our day to day life at www.bigtrucknewhouse.blogspot.com and I have a small blog that I’ve shared some things like traveling with toddlers and dogs and housekeeping/cooking in an RV at www.kellynorth.blogspot.com. I hope you can read a little and laugh with us.

RV Family — The Taylor Family from TN, USA

Welcome to the first “20 Questions for RV Families” post. To have your family featured, please read the questions and e-mail me your answers (along with a family photo).

This week’s guest was a classmate of mine from high school. She’s been on quite a trip with her husband and two adorable sons, and has an even bigger adventure coming up. Read on to find out more!

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Wright on Time Books: Tell me a bit about your family.

Jennifer: We are an adventure-loving family of 4 – Dan, Jennifer, Mason (9), and Griffin (8). We spent 2008 on a year-long tour of the United States in an RV studying American history.

taylor1

Wright on Time Books: How long did your family live in an RV?

Jennifer: About 15 months

Wright on Time Books: What states/countries has your family traveled to?

Jennifer: Every state except DE, WV, AK, HI, ND, WI, MI, IA, NE

Wright on Time Books: Are you homeschoolers? Do you call yourselves roadschoolers? What type of homeschoolers are you (or do you prefer to not give your family a label)?

Jennifer: We are homeschoolers, always have been. While we were on the road we did refer to ourselves as roadschoolers, or as one newspaper article put it, road scholars. We don’t adhere to any one schooling philosophy, but rather a conglomerate of learning theories. We explore and learn as much as possible in a hands-on fashion, which explains why we would want to travel to study American history. We loved the idea of being able to run up Little Round Top or ride our bicycles where Paul Revere rode his horse.

Wright on Time Books: How well does homeschooling work while living on the road?

Jennifer: We found that our homeschool routine relaxed a bit on the road, mostly due to the extraordinary number of field trips we were taking. What we used to do in the morning might get done in the evening or while driving. We also found that our children read a lot more on the road than they had previously at home.

Wright on Time Books: Do you have a “home base”? This is especially important for legal homeschooling, isn’t it? Did you sell all of your possessions, or keep things in storage?

Jennifer: Every fulltimer (as we’re called) must set up a state of residence. It is important to take into account the state’s homeschool laws, tax laws, etc before making a choice. We remained TN residents during our trip because we kept our home and rented it out. All of our belongings were put into storage. This is a more expensive route than selling everything, but if you don’t intend to stay on the road long-term, it’s a good option. We expected to come back home after about a year.

Wright on Time Books: What resources did you use both before you began your adventure and/or while you were on the road? Any particular books or websites that you couldn’t have lived without?

Jennifer: rv.net, familiesontheroad.com, rvparkreviews.com, googlemaps, GPS, Next Exit, National Parks Services

Wright on Time Books: How hard is it to deal with the maintenance of the RV? What are the most difficult aspects? Who handles what?

Jennifer: We were very fortunate that my husband could handle many of the minor repairs, like fixing leaks, repairing the fridge, fixing lights/fuses, etc. We did almost have a blow-out once, and that was tricky. Finding a reputable mechanic is very difficult. And… the repairs are very costly (we had a motorhome).

Wright on Time Books: How large is your RV? What is it like? We want to know where everything goes and where everyone sleeps. In an ideal world, would you have wanted a bigger RV, smaller RV, or something the same size but with a different configuration?

Jennifer: We had a 40 foot long Holiday Rambler Ambassador PLQ. It originally had an office in the very back of the coach, but we had the office furniture removed and put bunkbeds in its place. So, we all slept in the bedroom in the rear of the coach, the bathroom was in the middle, and the living room/kitchen/dining area were in the front. We loved it. The kids kept their clothes in 3 cabinets above the master bed. My husband and I kept our clothes in the closet cabinets opposite the bed. Toys were stored under the bottom bunk in bins. Off season items, extras and things we used infrequently were stored under the master bed. Towels were rolled and tucked into the space between the shower and the wall. There was a medicine cabinet and a cabinet over the toilet that held spare toilet paper and some other supplies. We kept our food in a small pantry cabinet and in 3 cabinets above the table. School supplies were kept over the sofa. Baking supplies went over the computer area. (we removed the smaller sofa to make way for a small desk which held the computer, monitor, printer, office supplies like stamps and pens, and our Wii) Cleaning supplies went under the sink. Most of the rest of what we brought was stored in big, plastic containers in the underbelly or “basement”.

Wright on Time Books: How often do you move to a new location? Do gas prices and campground costs affect this? Where do you usually stay the night? Do you have a regular route that you repeat, or do you continually seek out new places to visit?

Jennifer: We moved about once a week, sometimes more often than that. We were on the road when gas prices were at their peak in 2008, so although the gas prices didn’t determine when we moved, we often didn’t go as far as we had planned. We couldn’t afford the extra gas. Campground fees were higher than we anticipated. We averaged about $30/night for full hook-ups (that includes water, sewer, and electricity). Some places, near big cities, were much higher, and some places were much lower. That’s an average. We had a route planned before we left and we stuck to it pretty closely.

Wright on Time Books: Who does the driving? Do you ever have issues driving such a large vehicle? Do you avoid cities or curvy/narrow roads up mountains, or do you take them in stride?

Jennifer: My husband did all the driving (thank God), but I got pretty good at pulling the rig up when we were in line to register at a campground:) In addition to the 40 ft. motorhome, we towed a van. We had trouble once getting into a place that looked big enough for us to turn around, but really wasn’t. After several attempts to get out of that tight squeeze, we realized that our tow dolly was chewing up the front fenders of our van! We had to take the van off the dolly and then we were able to get out. We didn’t avoid mountainous terrain, although we were very careful going down long, steep inclines. As long as the roads were big enough for us and we knew there’d be a way to turn around we’d go just about anywhere.

Wright on Time Books: How long have you been on the road/plan to be on the road? Has this worked out to your liking?

Jennifer: We were on the road for about a year. In retrospect, I think the kids would have gotten more out of it from an academic standpoint, if we had been on the road longer – maybe 2 or 3 years. We all really enjoyed being on the road, but every 4 months or so we’d find that we needed a break. It was usually during those times that we’d roll into a town where we had friends and we’d spend lots of time at their houses, away from the RV. Just a few days in a different environment was enough to renew our spirits.

Wright on Time Books: How do you handle privacy issues while living in close quarters?

Jennifer: The bedroom had a door. The bathroom had a sliding door. If you wanted to be alone you could go to the bedroom and close the door or go outside. We put the kids to bed fairly early, around 9:00, and then Dan and I could stay up in the front of the coach alone for a few hours. Plus…the rule…always, always, KNOCK.

Wright on Time Books: How do you keep in touch with friends and family? Do you visit them? Do they visit you? Phone, e-mail, etc.? What about holidays and birthdays?

Jennifer: Email, cell phones. We visited several friends around the country that we hadn’t seen for a long time. Some of our family came to visit us in St. Louis when Griffin was in a play there. We stopped by my hometown and visited relatives. We met up with some friends that were also traveling in a motorhome on 2 different occasions. We spent Thanksgiving on our own, one of our kids celebrated his birthday with family, one of our kids celebrated his birthday with friends. We came home for Christmas…hung our stockings with suction cups on the inside of the windshield and had a 2 ft. fiber optic Christmas tree. It was great..

Wright on Time Books: Does anyone ever get homesick for your old life? How do you deal with that?

Jennifer: Our kids were homesick for about 3 weeks when we first set out. They missed their friends and their routine. We used that desire to connect as motivation to learn to type. They each learned to touch-type in about 3 weeks and began emailing their friends. That helped. Plus, they met lots of kids along the trip, and as always, they had each other. My husband and I didn’t get homesick. We were too busy planning for the next stop.

Wright on Time Books: How do you pay for your living expenses? How do you make money while on the road? Do you work full-time/part-time? Do you work certain times of the year and travel other times? Have any of your children had paying jobs?

Jennifer: I had recently retired from my job as an Air Traffic Controller and we used my medical pension, along with our savings, to pay for our trip. My father also helped with the motorhome. We did not work. The kids set up a lemonade stand in Boise and earned about $16.

Wright on Time Books: Do you have a towed vehicle? Bicycles? Mopeds? Etc.?

Jennifer: Our “toad” was a van on a dolly. We also brought 4 bikes.

Wright on Time Books: Do you have any pets that travel with your family? How do they like living on the road?

Jennifer: We brought our dog, Priscilla, with us. She was a miniature schnauzer. She did pretty well on the road, but she was almost 14 and got sick and had to be put to sleep while we were in California. It was really difficult.

Wright on Time Books: Where is the best place you’ve been according to each member of your family?

Jennifer: The boys say Legoland in Carlsbad or the City Museum in St. Louis was their favorite, but that’s only until you remind them of something else, like “What about the tide pools in Oregon?” and then they’d say “Oh yeah. That was one of my favorites too.” It was all amazing. I loved the Redwoods. Dan loved Jackson Hole, WY and the Tetons.

Wright on Time Books: How can we find out more about you and your family? Website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter, etc.? Please tell us also what the next great adventure for your family is!

Jennifer: You can read about our journey around the U.S. in more detail (and see pictures) at www.driventoeducate.com. There you’ll see that, after being home for about 6 months, we’ve decided to join a missionary organization and work in Africa for a year. I’ll be teaching missionary kids and my husband will be providing IT support to a branch that is translating the Bible into 10 different languages. Our boys will get to learn about a new culture, learn Swahili, and develop a bigger world view. Can’t wait!

Real Life RV Families

The Wright family is not based on a real life RV family, but there are traits of all kinds of people in each of the characters, and I’ve read about and talked to many families who live that lifestyle while I did research for these books.

Living and homeschooling in an RV is a lifestyle that many people find quite rewarding and the rest of us find intriguing. I’m actively seeking out RV families (past, present, future, full-time, and part-time) to interview on this site! Please contact me for more information or check out my “20 Questions for RV Families” !  I would love to spotlight your family and my readers would love to hear your answers!

Thanks!

20 Questions for RV Families

Are you part of an RV family or are you making plans to be?  If so, I would love to spotlight you and your family on this website!  I’ve compiled a list of 20 questions that my readers are the most interested in knowing the answers to.  Feel free to answer any or all of the following in as much or as little detail as you would like.

Don’t like the questions, but still want to tell about your family? That’s fine, too!  Just contact me with what you would like to talk about and I’m sure to be able to accommodate you if you are an RV family (or bicycle family, backpacking family, boating family, etc.) or have information that RV families would be interested in.  My goal is to spotlight one family per week indefinitely!  🙂

[Don’t worry about formatting — I’ll take care of that on my end.]

Here are my “20 Questions for RV Families”:

(1) Tell me a bit about your family. [Please enclose a family photo if you desire.]

(2) How long has your family (or did your family) live in an RV?

(3) What states/countries has your family traveled to?

(4) Are you homeschoolers? Do you call yourselves roadschoolers? What type of homeschoolers are you (or do you prefer to not give your family a label)?

(5) How well does homeschooling work while living on the road? How do you get new resources (DVDs, books, audio books, etc.)? Are you able to use local libraries, or do you have to buy everything?

(6) Do you have a “home base”? This is especially important for legal homeschooling, isn’t it? Did you sell all of your possessions, or keep things in storage?

(7) What resources did you use both before you began your adventure and/or while you were on the road?  Any particular books or websites that you couldn’t have lived without?

(8) How hard is it to deal with the maintenance of the RV?  What are the most difficult aspects?  Who handles what?

(9) How large is your RV? What is it like? We want to know where everything goes and where everyone sleeps. In an ideal world, would you have wanted a bigger RV, smaller RV, or something the same size but with a different configuration?

(10) How often do you move to a new location? Do gas prices and campground costs affect this? Where do you usually stay the night? Do you have a regular route that you repeat, or do you continually seek out new places to visit?

(11) Who does the driving? Do you ever have issues driving such a large vehicle?  Do you avoid cities or curvy/narrow roads up mountains, or do you take them in stride?

(12) How long have you been on the road/plan to be on the road?  Has this worked out to your liking?

(13) How do you handle privacy issues while living in close quarters?

(14) How do you keep in touch with friends and family?  Do you visit them?  Do they visit you?  Phone, e-mail, etc.? What about holidays and birthdays?

(15) Does anyone ever get homesick for your old life? How do you deal with that?

(16) How do you pay for your living expenses? How do you make money while on the road?  Do you work full-time/part-time?  Do you work certain times of the year and travel other times?  Have any of your children had paying jobs?

(17) Do you have a towed vehicle? Bicycles? Mopeds? Etc.?

(18) Do you have any pets that travel with your family? How do they like living on the road?

(19) Where is the best place you’ve been according to each member of your family?

(20) How can we find out more about you and your family? Website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter, etc.?  Please tell us also what the next great adventure for your family is!

Thank you very much!  Feel free to add details that I haven’t asked about!