RoadTrip America

Routes, Planning, & Inspiration for Your North American Road Trip

RVing with Alice and Jaimie

Alice Zyetz & Jaimie Hall Alice Zyetz and Jaimie Hall-Bruzenak have been RVing fulltime with their husbands for more than ten years each. Together they have published two books on the RV Lifestyle: RV Traveling Tales and The Woman's Guide to Solo RVing. In addition, Jaimie's popular Support Your RV Lifestyle! is an invaluable resource for those who want to make a living on the road, and Alice's You Shoulda Listened to Your Mother offers secrets of success for working women. In this monthly column, Alice and Jaimie explore facets of RV life, lifestyle products, and a variety of RV issues, joys, and challenges.

RVing With Alice & Jaimie: The Columns


Alaska!Ready for Alaska (6/19/09)
George and Jaimie Bruzenak are heading to Alaska this summer, looking forward to breathtaking scenery and wildlife sightings in both Canada and Alaska. It's their first trip to Alaska together, but they are experienced RVers, and they know that preparation is key to a safe and enjoyable trip. [Read the article]

RV on fireAre You Fire-Safe on the Road? by Jaimie Hall-Bruzenak (4/3/09)
According to the latest national statistics, there were, on average, 3,100 RV fires each year from 2002 through 2005. These fires caused seven deaths, 62 injuries and approximately $41 million in damages in each of those years. These statistics should give all RVers pause. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak interviews RV fire safety educator Mac McCoy, better known as "Mac the Fire Guy," to find out what RVers should know to stay fire-safe on the road. [Read the article]

Roadside PharmacyHealth Insurance on the Road by Jaimie Hall-Bruzenak (5/9/08)
"Let's retire early and hit the road in our RV!" Sounds appealing, doesn't it? But what do you do about health insurance-especially if you are not yet old enough for Medicare? And how do you find medical care while you're on the road? Jaimie Hall Bruzenak tackles the subject with this look at obtaining health insurance. [Read the article]

Alaska Bound!Here's a Savvy RV Secret: Work While You Travel by Jaimie Hall-Bruzenak (3/14/08)
Are high fuel prices curbing your RV travels? There's a way to enjoy all the benefits of RVing -- and help pay for your travels. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak tells you how. [Read the article]

 Escapees CARE, Inc.Miss Kay's Dream: Stop Traveling, but Keep Your Keys by Alice Zyetz (2/8/08)
What happens to longtime RVers when it's time to give up the keys? Some veteran road-trippers find the idea of "house living" unacceptable -- not to mention assisted living. Independent for so many years, they dream of a place where they can settle down, yet still share in the RV lifestyle. Alice Zyetz presents one solution. [Read the article]

Sonoma County WineriesExploring Sonoma County Wine Country by RV by Jaimie Hall-Bruzenak (1/18/08)
On a recent trip to visit family in northern California, Jaimie Hall-Bruzenak took a day to explore two wineries in the famed Sonoma County wine country. One has a hospitality center that is patterned on an Italian villa and surrounded by formal French gardens. The other has its tasting room in a barn, raises organic vegetables in a side garden, and runs it tractors on used fryer oil. Jaimie contemplates the differences and ends the day with a mud bath. [Read the article]

Retire to an RV!Top 10 Reasons to Retire to an RV by Alice Zyetz (1/11/08)
Yes, it's that time of year again-2008 New Year's resolutions. Eat less. Exercise more. Get organized. Looks a lot like 2007, doesn't it? This year, try something new. Plan to retire to an RV. Alice Zyetz, one of RoadTrip America's RV lifestyles columnists, gives you the 10 top reasons to retire to an RV. [Read the article]

Fire! Major Disaster: NOW is the Time to Plan! by Alice Zyetz (11/16/07)
When wildfires broke out recently near her RV park in Southern California, our RV columnist, Alice Zyetz, discovered just how unprepared she was for that disaster. What would you remember to take if you had to evacuate rapidly in an emergency? [Read the article]

RV Times Shares & Fractional Ownership Update: RV Time Shares and Fractional Ownership by Jaimie Hall-Bruzenak (10/14/07)
Question: How can you go road tripping in an upscale RV without having to shell out half a million dollars to buy one? Answer: Buy a time share or fractional ownership. These ownership options have lots of potential for the recreational traveler, but they also have some pitfalls. Jaimie Hall-Bruzenak gives an update. [Read the article]

Charles M. Schulz Good Grief, Charlie Brown! You Have a Museum, by Alice Zyetz (9/16/07)
Some road trips require emotional support. Maybe a tire goes flat, or a traveling companion suddenly gets on your nerves. If you ever find yourself needing a security blanket, or a doghouse to climb into, or some advice from a bossy, know-it-all kid, then head straight for the Charles M. Schulz Museum, in Santa Rosa, Calif., where the "Peanuts" comic strip always sets life right. Alice Zyetz took a tour of the museum and came away smiling. [Read the article]

RV/MH Hall of Fame RV/MH Hall of Fame by Jaimie Hall-Bruzenak (7/29/07)
I've just visited the RV capital of the world! That's Elkhart, Indiana, for those who don't know. More than fifty percent of recreational vehicles produced come from this area. Fully one out of every four jobs in Elkhart is tied to manufacturing RVs or component parts and services directly connected to the RV industry. Is it any wonder that the RV/MH (Recreational Vehicle & Manufactured Housing) Hall of Fame would be located here? Actually, the Hall of Fame recently moved from downtown to its new facility close to Exit 96 off Interstates 80/90. It is still under construction, but several areas are open to the public...[More]

RV Rentals RV Rentals: A Vacationer's Guide, reviewed by Alice Zyetz (7/1/07)
With RV Rentals: A Vacationer's Guide, anybody can rent an RV successfully just by following each chapter in this easy-to-use resource. No prior experience is necessary. Authors Dave and Kay Corby expand upon the general overview of RV rentals I described in a previous column to prepare the RV novice for the complete experience. A practical book, the authors talk directly to the reader and explain the entire process literally from start to finish in a clear, well-organized format. An added bonus is a series of checklists to use for each step. They have also sprinkled forty money-saving suggestions throughout the book...[More]

New Horizon Fifth Wheel Rving: The Long & the Short of It by Jaimie Hall-Bruzenak (6/3/07)
Traveling in our 33-foot New Horizon 5th wheel this summer is much more comfortable than last, but sometimes I long for the small size of the Lance camper we used last summer. What is the perfect size? How do you decide what length RV to purchase? I posed these questions at a YahooGroup bulletin board. The answers ranged from an 11-foot T@B trailer to a 41-foot 5th wheel with an overall rig length of 65 feet! [More]

All American Ballpark It's Déjà Vu All Over Again! by Alice Zyetz (5/6/07)
Yogi Berra was right. Another baseball season is upon us. Eighty-nine-year-old man sells part of his collection of baseball cards for $1.6 million! A mint-condition Mickey Mantle rookie card sells for $186,000. "Casey at the Bat" even now intrigues us almost 120 years later. Some say the game is slow and boring, there are too many commercials in between pitches, and tickets are too expensive, but we are still devoted fans... [More]

Boondocking in Quartzsite Boondocking Etiquette by Jaimie Hall-Bruzenak (4/1/07)
"Boondocking" means camping in your RV with no hookups. There are two types of boondocking. One type is parking in more out-of-the-way places, usually for several days or even an extended period of time. Public lands offer many opportunities for boondocking. The other type of boondocking is often referred to as "blacktop boondocking," that is when you camp overnight on a Wal-Mart or shopping center parking lot or in a truck stop...[More]

Devils Postpile Visiting America's National Monuments by Alice Zyetz (2/18/07)
When people think about traveling throughout the United States either by renting or purchasing an RV, one major goal is to see as many national parks as possible. Unfortunately, during the heavy tourist season, the parks are jammed. This month's column introduces you to the joys of visiting the74 U.S. National Monuments...[More]

Lance camperBuying a New RV -- or Not! by Jaimie Hall (1/7/07)
When George and I met, we each had an RV. His was a 2001 30-foot New Horizon fifth wheel, pulled by a GMC Duramax. After eight years of full-time RVing in a 32-foot Pace Arrow, I now had a home base and a Lance camper with slideout on a 350 Ford with 4-wheel drive...[More]

Aerial view of QuartzsiteThe Glory That is Q by Alice Zyetz (12/3/06)
When I first started RVing thirteen years ago, I had heard insiders refer to Quartzsite, Arizona, as "Q," the place in the desert "not to be missed." Driving east on Interstate 10 in mid-July that first year, I saw a sign heralding Quartzsite. "We have to get off here," I told my husband. "Everybody says you have to stop in Q at least once." So we did...[More]

Colorado Springs Fire Department Fire Stations & RV Fire Safety by Jaimie Hall (10/29/06)
If George's son Ian had not gotten married in Colorado in September, we would not have visited the Colorado Springs fire station where he is employed as a firefighter. Ian gave us the full tour, and did I get an education! Did you know that a fire department somewhere in the U.S. responds to a fire every 20 seconds? [More]

San Onofre Military Campgrounds by Alice Zyetz (10/8/06)
Located on military bases, military campgrounds provide an option for many people who want to camp in beautiful areas, but prefer not to pay the prices asked for by private facilities. Military campgrounds are restricted to career and retired military, disabled veterans, Department of Defense workers, and various others connected to active service and their guests... [More]

Kayaking in Deschutes National Forest Fun and Fascinating Jobs for RVers by Jaimie Hall (9/10/06)
Would you wear a silly crab hat or dress like a clown? Can you imagine getting paid to kayak? How would you like to be right down with the cars on a race track? Working on the road, known as Workamping, is more than just campground hosting - it encompasses a wide range of ways to earn money. Some are downright fun...[More]

1957 JewelVintage RVs & Trailers by Alice Zyetz (8/4/06)
What is an RV? Is it the mammoth 45-foot million-dollar motorhome or the 40-foot fifth wheel trailer hauled by a medium duty truck? As you know from reading our columns, RVs range in size and price down to the little Class C motorhome that looks like a truck with a cab over the front. This month we'll look at another class of RVs-vintage trailers from the '30s, '40s and '50s. Once relegated to the junk heaps, they have become popular with "Boomers," helping them relive their childhood camping experiences...[More]

RV fishing trip RV Trips Around the Globe by Jaimie Hall (7/3/06)
RVers have so much to see in United States and Canada. Adventuresome RVers travel into Mexico, and some venture all the way to Panama. But even with all these places to see in North America, some RVers' wanderlust takes them to overseas destinations. Rather than pay for a hotel or a rental, an RV exchange is one way to reduce expenses. Plus, you can more easily tap into local knowledge... [More]

Sold!RVs: Still Popular Despite High Fuel Prices by Alice Zyetz (6/4/06)
"Won't the high fuel prices affect the RV lifestyle?" is the question we are asked frequently. I spend a good part of the year at an RV resort in the high desert of Southern California. Usually most people are traveling to cooler climates by Memorial Day and don't return until October. This year the campground is as deserted as it was last year. The difference is that they are not traveling as far and are staying in one location longer, doing their sightseeing locally. What I have experienced is substantiated by recent research...[More]

National Parks PassportPassing on a Legacy by Jaimie Hall (5/7/06)
Though both Bill and I enjoyed nature, we did not discover the wonders of our great natural national parks until we began full-time RV travel. Most of our experience had been limited to national battlefield parks like Gettysburg. However when we hit the road, we worked; our first job was at Grand Teton National Park. Over the next ten years, we worked in seven national parks. We were amazed at the beauty and diversity. Being in a natural park was calming yet exhilarating...[More]

Biodiesel! On the Road Again with Biodiesel by Alice Zyetz (4/9/06)
Recently you may have seen ads featuring Willie Nelson, songwriter of "On the Road Again" fame and many other classics, fueling his Prevost motor home with his BioWillie biodiesel fuel. Archer Daniels Midland Company is also advertising heavily that they are building a 50-million gallon biodiesel facility. Thanks to Willie and ADM, the concept of biodiesel fuel is no longer in the shadows...[More]

Chinati Hot SpringsRoad Trips to Hot Springs by Jaimie Hall (3/5/06)
There's nothing quite like a relaxing soak in hot, hot water after a long day's drive or sitting in hot water up to your neck in the cold night air, watching satellites and comets shoot across the dark night sky. Any wonder why we love hot springs? This winter we added two more hot springs to our life list, only fueling our desire to experience more. As we travel, we check to see if there are any hot springs along our route. They are both refreshing and relaxing. In fact, it is easy to get hooked and make hot springs not only part of the journey but even at times the destination... [More]

Ann & Carl Erickson Bird-watching on the Road by Alice Zyetz (1/29/06)
Another pleasurable byproduct of RV travel is the ability to go anywhere to view birds you don't ordinarily see at home. And you don't have to be an expert to enjoy the experience. All you need is a good book, a pair of binoculars, and the ability to get up early. My husband and I did fine on the first two, but struggled with the third. We are the type of RVers who get going at "the crack of noon..." [More]

Big Bend National ParkBig Bend National Park by Jaimie Hall (1/1/06)
Driving into Big Bend National Park for the first time, down the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive to Castolon, I was struck by the diversity of terrain. The Chisos Mountains, volcanic rock carved by erosion, loomed to the east, Burro Mesa rose to the west. As I dropped in elevation, alluvial slopes covered by a sea of creosote bush stretched before me. Later, hiking across the Chihuahuan desert floor would reveal many species which could stab, prick or grab, including ocotillo, mesquite, wicked lechuguilla, green and purple prickly pear cacti, and many...[More]

Day of the Dead RV Road Trip: Tucson by Alice Zyetz
The popular concept of RVing is traveling down the long, lonesome highway, stopping by a faraway desert cactus to spend the night in splendid isolation. Which we did last month, except we were fifteen minutes away from urban Tucson, a city of more than half a million people, full of art galleries, museums, live theater, concerts, and multiple activities. As a former resident of New York City and Los Angeles, I love the Recreational Vehicle lifestyle, but I miss the energy of a city. It was a delight to find both in Tucson...[More]

Fractional Ownership: Time Share RVing by Jaimie Hall
Out of the 30 million RV enthusiasts, only a few million are full-time RVers. Most have a house and use their RVs for trips or for travel during part of the year. Their RV may sit unused most of the time. So, why not rent an RV when you need one? For some, renting does not meet their needs. RV rentals are typically low-end coaches. For the person seeking an upscale luxury coach, the only choice has been to purchase it -- until recently. Now several companies are offering the opportunity to have the use of a high-end coach for a set number of weeks per year at a big savings off the price of buying one outright...[More]

Fall in New HampshireLeaf-Peeping Road Trips by Alice Zyetz
Visiting the fall foliage is a rich experience for any traveler. RVers have the added bonus that we can camp amidst the color. Many of the spectacular drives are in national forest lands with primitive campgrounds sprinkled throughout the area. One of my favorite New England drives is on the Kancamagus Highway, located in the White Mountains National Forest in New Hampshire...[More]

Big Cities By RV by Jaimie Hall
Last week a friend and I ventured into downtown Los Angeles to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) to see the traveling King Tut exhibit, Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of Pharaohs. Gilded statuettes, exquisite jewelry, and a dagger hidden in his mummy wrappings are among the more than 130 treasurers on display. Later they will move to Ft. Lauderdale, Chicago, and then Philadelphia. Many RVers shudder at the thought of driving in downtown Los Angeles or other large cities...[More]

How to Rent an RV by Alice Zyetz
Each month Jaimie Hall or I write about the joys of the RV lifestyle. But what if you don't own an RV? How will you ever know what it's like? The solution is to rent one. This month we'll look at a variety of ways to temporarily acquire an RV (including partial ownership) for specific vacations, what you need to know, some advice to prevent problems, and how to locate the companies...[More]

Jersey cowWatch How Things Are Made! by Jaimie Hall
Big brown eyes stared as our small group walked down the aisle. Jersey cows looked at us from the right with Holstein and Brown Swiss cows on our left. My daughter, three grandchildren, and I were at Hope Acres, a totally robotic dairy -- the first of two factory tours we took on my recent visit to Pennsylvania...[More]

RV Resort

How to Find an RV Campsite, by Alice Zyetz
Memorial Day is past -- it's time to think about your trips this summer. You've decided where you want to go, but where will you park? How do you start looking for a campground? What does it cost? Will it accommodate your size RV? Do you need reservations? What activities are there for your kids? There are many types of public and private campgrounds throughout the United States and Canada...[More]

Take Your RV to Europe Take Your RV to Europe, reviewed by Jaimie Hall
If you have thought about an extended RV trip in Europe, Take Your RV to Europe: The Low-Cost Route to Long-Term Touring is a must-have for planning and budgeting for your trip. Authors Adelle and Ron Milavsky relate their decision-making process for taking their motorhome to Europe rather than renting one there. Surprisingly, the cost isn't that much more when compared to what you'd spend if you stayed home...[More]

Life on Wheels conference RV School Days, by Alice Zyetz
How DO they know how to maneuver those giant RVs down the road? The truth is most people aren't born knowing how to drive RVs, how to work with solar panels, propane, or any of the myriad details necessary to live a safe RV life. Some people are taught by their parents, siblings, friends; some people...[More]

Desert wildflowersDesert Wildflower Report, by Jaimie Hall
April showers bring May flowers -- only in the case of the desert, winter rains bring flowers from February through April or May. Unlike wetter areas, each year in the desert brings the question: Will this be a good year for wildflowers? When the desert receives a lot of rain, like this winter, we expect a banner year for wildflowers...[More]

Jew's Harp Festival RVing: More Than Beautiful Scenery, by Alice Zyetz
When people start out on the road, they usually think of the RV lifestyle as an extended two-week vacation that will last for the rest of their lives. They cherish the thought they don't have to restrict their trip to just one national park; now they can visit ALL the national parks. After that is done, they can see ALL the national monuments. Phew. I've met people who say that they couldn't wait to get off the road because it was exhausting-moving every few days, little contact with others, miles and miles and miles of driving...[More]

QuartzsiteWinter in Quartzsite, by Jaimie Hall
Originally little more than a stage stop and way stationon the California-Arizona line, Quartzsite, a small town of 1900 residents, plays host to several hundred thousand visitors in January and February each year. The majority of these part-time residents arrive in hundreds of recreational vehicles of every kind and style. Why do those thousands of RVers come to Quartzsite in the winter? Warm weather and the many shows and swap meets...[More]

TecopaTecopa, California: Off the Beaten Path, by Alice Zyetz
When I lived in Los Angeles, the desert was a place you drove through to get to Las Vegas. But since I've become a full-time RVer, the desert is my home in the winter. One of the joys of RVing is spending time in a place that is NOT on everybody's "Must See" list. Tecopa, California, is just such a place. Next time you are on your way to Death Valley or Las Vegas, give yourself an extra few days to stop in Tecopa, midway between Baker and Death Valley on...[Read more]

Class A MotorhomeComparing Types of RVs: Pros and Cons, by Alice Zyetz
The issue of assessing pros and cons is very individual. What is a bonus for one family is a definite liability for another. For example, a small family that wants to travel easily to many destinations for sightseeing will want a small easy-to-handle rig. A family with off-road vehicles that goes to the desert to spend time with other families in one spot to use their sand buggies will want a rig that provides sleeping and eating space but...[Read more]

Sue Henry Writing on the Road: Novelist Sue Henry, by Jaimie Hall (10/10/04)
It's no surprise that many RVers are would-be writers. While most RV writing consists of how-to or destination pieces, we now have a fiction series whose main character is an RVer. Sue Henry's sixty-something woman RVer isn't the usual protagonist in a murder mystery, but it works. The first whodunit in the series, The Serpents Trail, finds Maxie McNabb and her mini-dachshund Stretch traveling in her Minnie Winnie from Alaska to Grand Junction, Colorado...[Read more]

Wheelchairs on the GoRoadTripping With Physical Challenges, by Alice Zyetz (9/5/04)
Since 1990, we have all become more familiar with results of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): the little blue logo for close-in parking spaces, the accessible toilet stalls, the sloping curbs. As campers, we have seen certain campsites dedicated to the disabled and some sightseeing trails marked as accessible. But in my experience, until we ourselves experience some disabling circumstance, or we take the time to...[Read more]

GeocacheIntroduction to Geocaching, by Jaimie Hall (8/1/04)
My introduction to geocaching was a search for the "Long Tube." At a rally last winter in Quartzsite, Arizona, friends Pam and Steve Ritchie taught a class on Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) devices and introduced us to the adventure of hunting for geocaches...[Read more]

RV ClubsClubs for RVers, by Alice Zyetz (7/11/04)
Ah, the life of the open road: the sense of complete freedom, just meandering down the back roads of our great country, moving from one beautiful scene to the next-no plans, no cares, no responsibilities, no neighbors, nobody to talk to but each other (IF you are traveling with a partner). For some people, the independence is a delightful change from their old life. But for most of us, we begin to miss the networks we built during our "stick house" years. We seek companionship and some structure as we wander. The solution: membership clubs. In addition to providing...[Read more]

How Do They Live Like That?How Do They Live Like That? Book Review by Alice Zyetz (6/13/04)
Most RV books and magazine articles address the how-to issues: how to get your mail, how to select an RV, how to find places to park, how to fix any physical system that will fail, and, of course, where to travel next. After ten years of traveling, I have learned from my experiences and others' that the hardest "system" to fix is the human one. For many people who have lived long and fruitful lives together in a house with a number of rooms and a life with a number of separate activities, being thrust together in one box twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, many months in a row can be a shock. Some books do address these issues, but...[Read more]

Membership Campgrounds & Discount Camping Clubs, by Alice Zyetz (5/16/04)
Second only to "How do you get your mail?" is the question "Where do you park at night?" The answers are as varied as there are RVers. They range from staying in public campgrounds to free and inexpensive parking on government land and in truck stops and from stopping for the night at "Camp Wal-Mart" to staying at posh private campgrounds in resort areas for a two-week vacation. In addition are the KOAs and myriad private campgrounds sprinkled throughout the country for which you can get 10 to 15 percent discounts from camping organizations like Good Sam, Escapees, AAA, and...[Read more]

RVing Route 66, by Jaimie Hall (4/11/04)
Last summer my husband and I had the opportunity to travel one of our most famous historic highways—Route 66. As we traveled in our RVs, we got an insider's look at this historic route, much of which can still be driven. It was a lesson in history on the effects of the Interstate system: entire towns turned to ghosts while nearby towns thrived. We could imagine ourselves motoring along two-lane sections through the countryside when this was the major route between Chicago and Los Angeles. We treasured the abandoned gas stations, motels, and motorcourts. We saw historic establishments still luring...[Read more]

Rolling Solo: Tips for Traveling Alone, by Alice Zyetz (3/8/04)
Safety is an important issue for all RVers. For solo RVers, particularly women, safety is one of the key concerns expressed. Here are some useful tips, adapted from our eBook, The Woman's Guide to Solo RVing...[Read more]