Sometimes, when Roy and Bonnie Matthews take a long break from the road and their 38-foot RV has sat at the end of their University City driveway, Bonnie will go give it a gentle pat and whisper sweet nothings:“You hang in there, dear, we’ll be going in a little bit.”And usually they are, taking a day to pack their “traveling condominium” and heading out to parts unknown.That’s the way it is with RVers. No point on the map is unreachable – at least not for the Matthewses. It takes little to get them going, except for a lot of diesel fuel to fill their 2008 Fleetwood Expedition and a place to park. RV parks are all over the country.“I describe our existence as explorers,” said Roy, who like Bonnie is 72. “We’ve camped since our two sons were young, in a tent or pop-up tent. What that meant was sitting around a campfire all weekend.“But I don’t think that in all the years we’ve been RVing we’ve built one campfire. We’re usually too busy exploring.”Roy, a retired printer, plans the trips and does the driving. Bonnie, a retired teacher, plans and cooks the meals.Along the way, they keep each other entertained, dragging a car (now a new 4-wheel-drive Jeep) behind so when they get there and park, they can take their adventure down any road.And with an RV, they always feel like they’re home.“It’s as nice as any condo,” Roy said. “Sometimes when we’re on the road, we eat out, but it’s got a nice kitchen so Bonnie can fix nice meals, too.“We wouldn’t have to come home if we didn’t want to.”Another RVing couple, church friends, didn’t come home for 13 1/2 years.That wouldn’t happen to Roy and Bonnie, who have grandchildren and great-grandchildren here.“Bonnie wants roots,” Roy said. “She wants to be able to come back home to get her some grandbaby sugar.”“I just like to drive”Eric and Lori Moscowitz and their two teenage daughters always come home to University City, too.Eric’s a Concord dentist, and whenever he’s not filling cavities, he and the family – and their two dogs – are usually on the road in the “Molar Home,” a 34-foot Fleetwood Bounder. Their love for RVing began 12 years ago when Eric and Lori, NASCAR fans, rented an RV for the race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee. The rent for two weeks: $2,500.“We thought it was cheaper to buy,” Eric Moscowitz said. “Now we take it everywhere. I just like to drive and listen to the radio.”The Molar is the Moscowitz’s second motor home; they’ve also owned three towable RVs.Lori cooks. Eric drives, except for spells on interstates when Lori takes over (she’ll only drive on interstates). He’s also responsible for the cleaning inside and out – including the three tanks for fresh water, gray water (from showers) and black water (the toilet).On long trips, if Eric tires, he’ll pull the RV into a Walmart parking lot, buy a few items for breakfast and ask the manager if they can stay overnight.They’ve never been turned away.“It’s a fun way to travel,” Eric said. “The kids can watch TV along the way. Or nap on a queen-size bed in the bedroom.”They’ve driven the RV to the beach, the mountains, Niagara Falls, N.Y., Disney World several times and when they just needed a small fix, to outlet stores in Gaffney, S.C. overnight.“My wife loves to shop those stores there,” Eric said. “The dogs and I stay behind, read a book or newspaper and relax in the motor home.“It’s a nice way to spend a day.”Their “crown jewel trip” came in July 2009, 11 days to the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota.“We made plenty of stops along the way, and took four days to get there,” he said. “We spent three days in South Dakota – and, at nightfall, in the familiar surroundings of the RV it felt like we were home instead of a strange bed in a strange hotel.”Ready to roamRVers are independent sorts, always looking for an excuse to go.They constantly debate the expense of pouring 90 gallons of fuel into the tank of a vehicle that gets seven or eight miles to the gallon, against having to pay for hotels, meals out and plane fares.A survey by the 100-year-old RV industry shows that 82 percent of RV owners report saving 15 to 75 percent by traveling in their motor homes or towables. A recent international study reports that family RV trips are on the average 27 to 61 percent less expensive than other types of vacations.Everything factored in, Roy Matthews guesses the price for fuel is much less than what he pays at the pumps.He and Bonnie took their RV to Oregon in 2007, essentially following the trail that explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark followed to the Pacific coast in the early 1800s. Along the way, the two 21st century explorers just pulled into RV parks at $20 to $40 a night. “Many of them are really nice, with cable for TV and WiFi for computers,” Roy said. “We just pick a place we want to discover and find an RV park.“It’s really the only way to go.”Earlier this year, they’d planned to take their motor home to Arizona and other parts of the southwest. But a son got sick, so they stayed home. So they instead made plans to attend an RV rally.Now Bonnie’s making more frequent walks down the driveway to let their RV know: soon. We’ll be going soon.
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