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starting March 6.)
It was hard to choose just five of Dick’s answers for the magazine, so I’m putting
all of them here. You can read
even more about Dick’s peripatetic life from his RV blog.
Q. How long have you wanted to tour the country in an RV?
A. More or less forever. I don’t remember when the idea first occurred to me,
although I know it was many years ago. I have traveled extensively for business and
for personal vacations most of my life. The “vagabond lifestyle” appeals to me. Now,
for the first time, I am a homeless person and am enjoying it.
Q. Are RVs hard to drive?
A. Not really. Physically, motor homes are very easy to drive. They have automatic
transmissions, power steering, and power brakes. The physical effort involved is about
the same as driving an automobile.
However, the driver does have to remember that the motor home is wider and taller
than an automobile and it doesn’t stop as quickly. In other words, it doesn’t stop
on a dime. Anyone driving a motor home soon learns to leave a lot of space between
the motor home and the vehicle in front of them. You also have to keep an eye open
for low bridges and overpasses.
Q. Where are you most looking forward to visiting in the RV?
A. Anyplace I have never visited before. While I have been fortunate enough
to visit many well-known tourist attractions, I have missed hundreds of smaller “gems”
and I hope to change that. I want to go to the balloon
festival in Albuquerque, the huge airshow
in Oshkosh, Wis., and drive the winding
road in Deals Gap, NC and Tenn., which is supposedly the most winding road in
North America, an attraction for anyone who owns sports cars. It has 318 curves in
11 miles. I hope to drive it in a sports car, not in the motor home. (I tow a car
behind the motor home.)
Q. If 1 is someone who wakes up in the morning and decides on a whim where
he’ll park the RV that night, and 10 is someone who plans out every detail of his
itinerary months in advance, what number are you?
A. Probably a 2 or 3. I deliberately do not plan very much. I prefer to be
surprised. Occasionally, it backfires, but most of the time it works well.
Q. Have you ever gotten lost in the RV? (While driving it, not inside it.)
A. No. Never. Of course, I do carry four GPSs, a road atlas, a thick book of
all campgrounds in the United States, a cell phone, and two two-way radios. It is
difficult to be lost.
Q. What do you consider the most essential item for the RV-ing genealogist
A. Patience. The second most important thing is a good toolkit: pliers, screwdrivers,
and things like that. Unlike your home, everything in a motor home shakes when you
are driving down the road. The appliances in a motor home suffer a lot more vibration
than home appliances will ever encounter. Wires under the dash shake loose, pictures
fall off the wall (I had this happen), and other strange things happen. I am almost
always performing some minor repair of an unforeseen problem.
Q. If you had to pick, which one of these bumper stickers would you put
on your RV?: “This is how I roll” or “Genealogy is TREE-rific!”?
A. Genealogy is TREE-rific!
Q. If you could choose anyone from history as your RV copilot, who would it be?
A. OK, I have to give you two answers: Lewis and Clark. Those two adventurers
set off to see things they had never seen before.
I would give honorable mention to several Arctic and Antarctic explorers, except that
they spent much of their time in very cold weather. I have already done that. I was
born in Maine, lived in northern Vermont, lived in northern New HampshIre, and spent
two winters in the Canadian subarctic amongst the Eskimos in in Labrador. I’ve seen
my share of cold weather! Now I am seeking sunshine.