Announcing Our Next Adventure: 2011 U.S. RV Tour


For the last month, I’ve been alluding to a big “announcement” or a semi-radical life change that was coming up. Today, all is finally ready to be revealed.

We are moving… into an RV!

Starting at the beginning of 2011, Courtney, Milligan, and I will be packing everything into our new (to us) RV and hitting the road for a year-long U.S. tour.

This has been in the works for months and months, but up until recently we weren’t sure what the timing would be. In the last few weeks – thanks to the help of some friends – the final pieces have been placed together.

Why an RV?…

Well, there are several reason we enjoy this concept.

In fact, long-time MvD fans may remember me talking about this as a next possible step even as we were traveling abroad. We’d always had RVing the U.S. towards the top of our future travel list.

However, in late January of this year we made the decision to return home (back to Indiana) from Thailand. I blogged openly about our back and forth between full-time traveling and “settling down”. It was a hard decision, but after 6 months back here in Indiana – it was clear to both Courtney and me that we weren’t done with travel yet.

We knew we still wanted to explore a bit – and although we had done a small amount of overseas travel recently, there was still a huge amount of our own backyard we hadn’t visited. We want to see what our own country has to offer!

In addition, an RV allows us to remain flexible in our location – while still having a resemblance of “home”. We feel like it gives both us and Milligan a bit of stability and eliminates part of the downside of the frequent, budget travel we did last year.

Of course, RV travel comes with its own set of challenges, especially when you consider Courtney and I have a combined ZERO experience living or operating one.

However, I had no experience when I started this site two years ago. We had little to no oversea travel experience when we landed in Australia last year with nothing to our name but two backpacks. It’s not stopped us before, so why now?

But above all, the number one reason why we chose to R.V. is… you.

We’d love to meet you!

My absolute favorite part of this blog (and travel for that matter) is the ability to meet other like-minded readers, bloggers, and families. I love going to “meet ups”, sharing a meal with new friends, attending conferences, and generally just hanging out (a.k.a. playing board/card games).

If you’d like to meet up with us on the road – more on that coming soon!…

What type of RV?…

Once we knew that we wanted to pursue cross-country travel, we still had to decide just how we would get around. For those of you *not* familiar with RVing – there are dozens of options, models, and class combinations to consider.

Having never RV’d in my life before, it was hard for us to grasp all the information in the beginning. Sure, we could read reviews, blogs, websites, and books – but it’s just not the same as being able to feel, touch, and try out some on our own.

Luckily, I have some amazing friends and connections.

Nearly five months ago, when we first thought this adventure could be a realistic possibility – I knew who to call first: Chris and Cherie.

Chris and Cherie run Technomadia and have been full-time RVers for the last several years. Their site has a wealth of information on the topic and they’ve been nice enough to jump on Skype several times for me in the last few months (and patient enough to start from complete scratch with my questions).

Through Chris and Cherie’s advice and the helpful resources they reccommended, we decided that we would get either an older Class A model (these have a flat front and look more bus-like) or an older Class C model (these have a “cab over” the top of either a van or truck chassis). In other words, we ruled out pulling a trailer behind a truck, getting a “fifth wheel”, and some of the other creative modes of transportation that were available.

The next big step for us was to actually visit and see as many RVs as we could in order to get a feel for our preference. Once again, a couple friends help come to our rescue… The Ren Men!

In addition to filming and running the amazingly high-quality Ren Men Web Show, Grant and Alan are serial entrepreneurs. They manage a Midwest Real Estate empire, own a vending machine company, and have recently turned an oversized lot outside their office into a used car business!

Note: These guys actually went to New York to play Hungry-Hungry Hippos with Gary Vaynerchuk and flew to San Fran to interview Tim Ferriss. They also are terrible at frisbee golf.

As part of their automobile business, they frequently attend “dealer only” auctions where licensed dealers in Ohio can browse hundreds upon hundreds of cars before bidding against each other for them. It’s not uncommon for perfectly decent cars to go for 20%-50% (or more) off listed prices. Obviously, the dealerships then clean and repair them (if needed) in order to resell at full list price.

I had let Grant know that we were looking for a specific type of car to pull behind an RV – and to keep his eyes open for a good deal if one popped up. Little did I know that I’d get a call from him the next week, “Hey Bake, guess what?… They are auctioning off over 200 RVs here next week!”

200 RVs in one spot – parked neatly next to each other – open for dealers to walk through.

The holy grail!

I immediately called him back and told him we couldn’t pass the opportunity to look at that many different RVs – let alone the opportunity to potentially purchase one later at auction.

Grant worked his magic to get us access to the RVs, Courtney took a personal day off from teaching, and we made the two hour plus drive to Ohio that next week. Grant, Courtney, and I spent hours browsing the different R.V.’s (and cars) before heading into see some of the cars being auctioned off.

It was nothing like I’ve ever seen before.

The auction floor had 7 lanes of non-stop car auctioning. The cars would come up for bidding just long enough to get one or two bids and then they’d pull them off and pull forward the next car. Bidding would continue – on the car that was no longer present – while people looked over the new car that would be up next. It was fast paced and frantic – like a scene from a weird movie.

The RVs wouldn’t be auctioned off for a few more days (although we could preview them all), but turns out these cars were really going to the highest bidder. I know, because we actually bought one!

In the flurry of action, we snagged a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo (a great vehicle for towing behind an RV) for several hundred dollars under what we were willing to pay for it.  Whoo-hoo!

After our purchase, we continued to browse RVs (in the pouring rain) to get a feel for which may be realistic choices. We took pages of notes, before thanks Grant and Alan and making the drive back over to Indiana. The RV auction was three days away – so if we were going to try and bid on one we’d have to do our price research and homework before going back.

Turns out, we identified five (of the 200+) that we thought would fall in our price range and we’d be willing to take a chance on. Courtney couldn’t take off work again so soon, but we decided that I would make the trip back on Friday solo (to meet up with Grant once again at the auction place).

At 6 a.m. on Friday, I sluggishly rolled into the car and started the drive back over to Ohio – knowing full well that I may make the biggest single life-changing, cash purchase we’ve ever made later that day.

The auction process was more familiar this time and with our research and notes, I was a bit more prepared. I revisited our 5 contenders and was immediately able to rule one out. It had a big sticker “Engine will not start!” This may be a steal of a deal for someone who could easily fix the problem – but that man is not me. I wasn’t willing to buy one with unknown engine problems.

Marking that one off the list, we took our seats (they had seats this time) for the start of what would be a long auction day. The first three on my list came in went in the first few hours. Two of the three were close to our threshold we had set – in two cases they ended just 10-15% more than we wanted to get those particular ones for.

Each time, I felt a bit of a sinking feeling in my gut, but I was able to hold firm and pass when they crossed our mark. When it came time for the final one on our list (probably the nicest of the ones we had selected), I crossed my fingers as bidding started. I decided to bid fast and firm on this one – making it as clear as possible that I was dead serious on making it mine.

The price rose nearer and nearer to our threshold once again, but as I bid just $400 under the top dollar I was willing to pay – a hush fell over the rest of the auction floor.

Going once… going twice… Sold!

I did it!

Our adventure got very *real*… very quickly. We had just bought our first home – with cash!  (Sort of)  🙂

Here’s a quick video tour of what will be our home for the next six months:

This baby will be pulling our new (to us) 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo.

Yes, that’s right we are rolling in our 1998 RV pulling our 1998 Jeep…  We fully plan on playing Linkin Park and Missy Elliot while watching Titanic on the road. 😉

Where we are going!…

The short answer:

We aren’t sure what path we will take quite yet. There are a few factors at play.

First, there is a sign company in Baltimore that is willing to wrap the vehicle in a design for us. This is an unbelievable offer – and would be hard to pass up, despite meaning that we’d be making the trip in freezing weather up to get it done. If everything comes together, Baltimore will likely be our first stop!

After Baltimore (or potentially just straight away), we’ll likely head down the East Coast. We’d like to make stops in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. These are all states and regions we’ve heard so much about, but have not really had the chance to explore much at all.

I have family in Florida (including my brother stationed in the Army) who we’d definitely like to see towards late January and early February.

Next, we’d likely hit New Orleans – another city I’ve heard so much about, but have never visited. Of course, this would put us within reasonable distance of much of the South (for any of you in that region!).

Our first 100% sure stop will be Austin, Texas in mid-March for SxSw. We’ll likely spend several weeks there – a little before and after the Interactive festival.

Next, we’ll head towards Portland for Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit in early June (I hear Chris and the team have a prime spot for us to park at the Summit!).

Luckily, we’ll have several months to make the trip. I imagine this will take us through Arizona and the Grand Canyon, before making the drive up through California.

We’ll definitely be making stops to see friends in L.A., San Francisco, and Davis – but would love to add some stops along the way!

After the awesome stop in Portland, we are considering Alaska (mid-June) and then coming back across Canada/Northern U.S.. If we make it back across the width of the country, we’d really enjoy hitting the Northeast, including New York in the late summer before it gets too cold and nasty.  🙂

While I’m willing to roughly draw out our route, the most important thing for us is… freedom.  Freedom and flexibility. We won’t have a strick schedule, nor we will have many expectations. If we enjoy an area we may stay for several weeks, in some situations we may only stay a few days.

Part of the benefit of traveling is taking advantage of all the exciting and unknown opportunities that can just pop-up. We’ll have a casual plan – with a few definite stops – but most of our trip will be wide open.

Which is where YOU come in…

Request a Stop!…

If you’d like to party like it’s 1998 along side of us, we’d love to meet you!

Obviously, we can’t promise that our path around the U.S. will match up perfectly (or that the timing will work out), but I’d absolutely LOVE to here from you guys.

I’ve set up a simple Google Doc form where you can “request a stop” from us. You can put simple details such as your name, city, and any special details you’d like us to know. It won’t take long at all and will help shape the path we end up taking!

Click Here to Request a Stop!

Seriously, we’d really enjoy being able to say hi!

What does this mean for Man Vs. Debt?…


Man Vs. Debt isn’t going anywhere – it’s only getting better!

First, I’ll obviously be returning to some of the old travel updates that so many of you miss (and that I miss writing!). We’ll be documenting the adventure with video, photos, and funny stories. I’ll be sharing two of these or so a month – every couple of weeks.

Second, I’ve got some excited resources (both premium and free resources) planned for early 2011. We are going to keep spreading the message here as far and as wide as people will allow (and now in person, too!).

Third, some of the “features” that have fallen behind in updates will now be re-activated. Primarily, we’ll be tracking all the expenses of the *travel* side of our spending – meaning you’ll know exactly how much our full-time RV lifestyle costs us.

We’ll also be re-categorizing and tracking everything we own again – a challenge I really enjoyed when we were last traveling.

For me, these were some of the things that really gave MvD it’s core personality. I’m excited to return to travel updates, tracking stuff and finances more, and explosive (and valuable) resources. I hope you are too!

What’s left to do?…

Well… a lot.

If we are truly going to embark on January 1st – we still have a lot to learn. We are scheduling our RV to have a full system check of the gas, water, and electric systems – as well as paying for a walk-through from a couple RV professionals (showing us how to do everything).

We’ve got to finish purging a bit of our belongings (we’ve already been doing this for the last three months), but will have a big wave right before we leave.

We’ll have to buy a dozen or so things *for* the RV, including a tow bar for the Jeep, any minor repairs that need to be done, and a few furnishings to make life easier while on the road.

All while taking some time out to spend the Holiday’s with family!

This is a big deal for us. It’s going to be a lot of work and a little bit of adjusting – but I’m confident we can pull it together in time.

It’s also a big time for Man Vs. Debt, my business, and our community here. I’m so excited at the opportunity to meet more of you in person!

Thursday, I’m going to ask for your help in brainstorming creative challenges, wrapping the RV, and potential sponsorship opportunities. There are a couple moving parts that I think many of you will know a lot more about than me! More details on the side of things later in the week.


What do you think about the RV?

Do you like it?

Have you ever spent extended time traveling via RV?

Have any favorite resources or tips?

I’d love to hear what you guys think!



154 thoughts on “Announcing Our Next Adventure: 2011 U.S. RV Tour”

  1. Give plenty of notice if you can make it to New England/NYC!! RV’s are a little harder to navigate with around here because of the population congestion, but the distances between cities are so small, it’s easy to pop over to wherever you might land. 🙂 With a little advance notice, I can definitely make it to a meetup! 🙂

  2. I KNEW IT!

    When you posted a picture of your desk and on it was a book on RVing…it raised some eye brows from me (two of them, since I can only raise them both and not one at a time, need to practice that).

    This is going to be ONE awesome journey no doubt and wishing you MUCH luck and success. And can’t wait to hear all the stories that will come out of this.

  3. Pretty Cool Baker. Sounds like you guys have a lot planned =). Can’t wait to see how it plays out and read all about it!

    (ps hit New Orleans for sure. It’s all it’s cracked up to be).

  4. Oh WOW!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!! You’re all going to have so much FUN! That’s wonderful … times like a gajillion!

    Can’t wait to see it in action, the RV that is with the design … and notes again from your travels. Don’t forget New England’s famous Autumn foliage. Only 3 places on this entire earth that gets the Fall like we do :)!

    1. A few people have talked about this – it sounds like a definitely must-see for the fall (I think the timing should work for us to be over there!). 🙂

      1. There’s a website that I can find for you that shows how that year’s foliage is progressing. It’s based on temps; weather, etc … generally speaking though, usually the first week in October and thereabouts is peak foliage in Vermont and then it rolls down – southward from here/the Canadian border. If you stop by this way, let me know and I’ll treat you all to a Maple Sugar House tour and some famous VT Maple Syrup! It certainly won’t be Sugaring Season; but it will be apple cider fresh off the press time!

        1. the other 2 places besides New England are China and Chile so if you miss it in your U.S. tour; you’ll just have to get to China and/or Chile … or all 3!

      2. I’m going to have to agree with Emily on this one! This was our first introduction to RVing. We rented one and toured all the way from Connecticut, to the top of Maine and then all the way down the coast touring light houses. Most beautiful place I’ve ever seen is Acadia National Park & Bar Harbor We drove our mini-van from California to Connecticut and rented the RV there and took the trip with my sister-in-law and her family. It inspired me to buy an RV shortly after that trip and plan for our own full time adventure (we plan on making a 2-5 year or maybe a life long road trip).

  5. Good for you guys, Baker!

    We (family of four, two kids 10 and 11) did extended campervan travels in New Zealand (North and South Island) last spring and really loved it. You only have to unpack once and yet can travel and explore to your heart’s desire. The added benefit is that your living space is so small that you are hard-pressed to even want to add to your clutter. Have a wonderful adventure!

    I hear that there is a network of homeschooling RV’ers that set up get togethers in various spots around the country. I wonder, perhaps, if it might be a good way to hook up with some other traveling parents with toddlers.

    I look forward to reading about your adventures!


    1. I feel ya, Brooke! One of the biggest benefits will be the forced minimalism. 🙂 I can’t imagine how cool it would have been to do that on the South Island of New Zealand. We did a two week trip ourselves, but it was simply a rental car!

      We will definitely check out the homeschoolers network – as it is something we are very interested in!

  6. I’ve had my RV for coming up 4 years (’06 Winnebago Aspect). I totally LOVE it and the lifestyle when I’ve traveled but tend to be a very media-unconnected traveler (OTOH, it’s not my day job like it is for you). I’m curious to see how you approach the media thing. Many full-time RV bloggers that I’ve read seem to live very much like they do at home (very TV / computer oriented) which is kind of disheartening.

    Loads of other blogs do the RV lifestyle cost update – generally it ranges around $2 – $2.5k / month for the more frugal people. I can point you in the direction of a few if you’re interested.

    1. Jacq, thanks! I know of many of the RV blogs, but am always looking for a good recommendation.

      We won’t have a television (don’t know at home), however I’ll still be very dependent on the computer – as like you pointed out – it’s my full-time work. We hope that the scenery and people can be the majority of entertainment for us though! 🙂

  7. Excellent choice!
    You’re officially invited for dinner. We’re in Vancouver, BC so if you cross to go up to Alaska via Seattle/Vancouver drop me an email.
    Alaska: my husband was up there for some gigs a few summers ago. Spectacular scenery and people. I’ve been close – Queen Charlottes – and have to agree.

      1. If you’re going to Vancouver from the USA, then you must stop in Bellingham on the way. I’m sure we could roust up a few like minded folks for a day or two of fun.

  8. Aaaaaa i’m so jealous!!!!! This is my dream!!! I can’t wait to read about your adventures this year. Woud love to meet you while you’re in Austin if we haven’t moved yet ourselves.

  9. Wow, exciting news, Baker! I just filled out your request a stop form. Not sure if it’ll work out for you, but I’d be happy to have you here in Lancaster, PA!

    The financial side of me can’t help but ask, how much did the RV cost you? Obviously, you got it a bit cheaper since it was at a dealer auction (great connection there, by the way!), but I’d be interested in knowing. Maybe you’ve got that planned for a future “What It Costs Us” post though?

    Blessings to you and your family as you start this journey! Hope to see you in my neck of the woods. 🙂

    1. Hey, Paul – I’ll go into detail much more later, however we paid right around $20,000 for both the RV and the Jeep. Our initial budget was closer to $15,000, but we increased it because of some recent business success. 🙂

      1. Wow, great deal for a portable home! 🙂

        P.S. You’d be welcome to use my high speed (cable) wifi if you stop in here. Just an extra incentive to bribe you. Oh, and steak…we’ll have our steer back from the butcher soon! 😉

  10. You are living the dream! My wife and I have fantasized about getting an RV and getting away from it all. I look forward to seeing how it works out for you and of course I wish you the best.

  11. It’s like I don’t know a secret anymore 🙂 Chris & Cherie are such a great wealth of information. And you know they get asked all the same questions by us n00bs every day, too.

    Let me know if you need any help with anything, and I hope I get a chance to say hi when you hit Florida.

    Don’t go through any drive-thrus with that thing, mmkay?

  12. I love this. A friend of mine had been planning one of these RV trips across the southern U.S to avoid another Canadian winter. He never ended up going yet. I also think that you’ve officially convinced me to start posting more personal updates on my site.

  13. Jealous!!! Growing up my family’s idea of RVing was renting one and driving it several hours to a hotel. Wishing I will have a *real* experience sometime…
    Have fun, can’t wait to hear more! 🙂

  14. Congrats guys! And *whew* we don’t have to keep the secret anymore 🙂

    We are very incredibly excited for you and your future on the road! We were just contemplating potentially setting intentions for the summer in Alaska after we end our non-RV winter in the US Virgin Islands. Who knows.. technomadic caravan? 😉 We’ll for sure see you at SXSW, where we’re presenting about full time living & working on the road. Let us know if you need any tips on campgrounds in Austin.

    Some resources that you must check out now:

    NuRvers – – It’s where all us younger full timing RVers hang out. You’ll pick up TONS of resources there, and it’s an awesome community of like minds.

    Families on the Road – Great resource for folks raising their kids on the road, primarily in RVs.

    1. Thanks for all your help guys! Hope the warm tropical sun is treating you well!

      An RV caravan sounds amazing, can’t wait to see you in March! 🙂

  15. Congrats Baker! Tremendously exciting news. You will all have the time of your lives. I look forward to hearing about (and perhaps partaking in) some of your epic adventures! 🙂

    Best to all the Bakers,

  16. Baker!

    Great news today – VERY excited for you. I live too close to Portland to miss out so rest assured I will come bearing a handshake at least when you head West for the Summit.

    Keep inspiring us!!

  17. AWESOME!!!!!!!! You guys are going to have a blast! My wife and I recently did the same thing but all in a Nissan Altima and negotiating hotel deals on the road.

    Currently, we’re hanging out in Seattle for the Winter (because it’s so dang gorgeous here) but are anxious to get back on the road. I can tell you from experience, that you’re going to love it.

    I really love the fact that you’re going in an RV. Like you said, it will give you a sense of stability but without the ups and downs of travel. Your home will be with you! This is great. I’m really excited for you guys!

    Best of luck! I hope our families can meet up!

  18. We are off of I-70 in Kansas. It doesn’t look like we are on your “track”. My daughter is in Maryland (outside of DC). I will probably be there this summer. If you end up there- maybe we can meet up.

  19. You are going to love it. I just wrapped up a six month journey across the United States which included both Portland, Maine and Portland, Oregon. Keep your mind open (this won’t be hard for you) and I think you’ll find that the journey impacts you in ways you never expected. For instance, how you view your own country will more than likely be altered possibly significantly. As Americans we are one hell of a fun diverse crowd! Enjoy the adventure and I look forward to reading about your journeys!

    1. Wow, Margie – we’d love to meet your traveling family. I’m not sure we’ll be down to Florida in time for the rally, but we will make one soon for sure!

  20. I am so excited for you! This has actually been on my life list. It will be really great to experience and learn about the different regions, states and people in our culture. Well, until I can make my own trip a reality, I look forward to living vicariously through you:)

  21. Wow, what an adventure y’all are about to embark on. God bless, and safe travels. We’ll try to catch ya when you stop in Austin for SXSW, or if you swing by San Antonio to see the Alamo.

  22. Oh, wonderful news! I love that you shared your doubts with us (last April, but I only read it in the past couple of weeks) and now your new plans.

    I’m about to leave the country and travel the world, but hopefully I can meet ya’ll somewhere before I do.

  23. You guys are so random I LOVE IT!!! I’ll admit it I was half expecting Courtney to be preggers. 😉 I hope you make it up to Canada (i.e. Winnipeg) at some point along your journey it would be cool to meet the three of you and I’m sure our kids would love to hang out 😉

    Best of luck you guys!

  24. What a cool idea. Talk about lifestyle design. “Baker’s Big Adventure!”

    You’ll have to do a meet-up in Indy before you embark on your adventure. By the way, if you stop by the Alamo, don’t forget to check out the basement!


  25. Welcome to the club 🙂 [We’re in a 34′ Georgie Boy Encounter/class A].

    If you encounter any “operating” questions, feel free to ask. During the 2+ years we’ve owned ours, I’ve learned a thing or two and you will too 😉

    Another blog you might want to check out is “Our Take on Freedom”. They recently visited us on their way through San Francisco to SoCal. If you get this way, just stop in.

    1. We’d love to stop by, man. I have a feeling you may get some questions your way – as I’m *not* very good at all at being handy. But – like you – I’m a fast learner (and I’m assuming I’ll HAVE to learn fast). 🙂

  26. 1. Your RV looks awesome. I think it needs a couple of bumper stickers though…
    2. Yes.
    3. No, but I did drive cross country in my Volvo station wagon in 10 days after graduating from college and ate lunch and dinner at a different microbrewery every day.
    4. Check out – she’s a family friend of ours and is pretty much the best resource for RV-ing.
    5. I think when you come to Portland, you should stop by the Adaptu HQ. We can invite Sean Ogle too!

  27. 1. You’re looking for a stop in New Orleans? I’m your man. There is actually an RV park just outside the French Quarter (oddly enough) and I live a 10-min bike ride from it, so would be happy to be among your tour guides. I’ve been following MvD for a few months now, and always take a few minutes to read your posts when they hit my inbox. Your travel hacking tips have been most helpful! Feel free to email me so I can thank you in person.

    2. I have never RV’d, but I’ve road tripped several times in my life. I’ve never gone for more than 2 weeks at a time, but I’m looking to change that in the next few years. HOWEVER:

    3. My awesome niece and her boyfriend spent the summer road tripping around the Western US, and kept a blog about it here: They found some creative ways to get to know the places they visited, including some homestays in which they worked in exchange for food and a bed for the night. I suggest you check it out.

      1. Baker, congrats on the simple life. We live just north of NOLA. The RV park in the quarter is expensive. We looked at staying there when we moved here in our 1975 Airstream. We ended up stay at New Orleans RV Campground ( Another cheeper option is to stay at the state park on the northshore (north of Lake Pontchartrain).

  28. Love it! I’m very interested in following your adventure and will be requesting a stop here in Houston on your way to SXSW. I don’t really have experience RVing, but my inlaws have a big camper that we stay in a lot and it’s not bad. I’m not sure I could handle it full time, myself, but my husband thinks and RV would be an awesome thing to own when we retire. I’m not convinced, but we’ll see. I certainly like the idea of traveling the country and a big adventure while Milligan is still young. It’s a lot harder now that my kids are in school to go anywhere.

  29. If you swing through the Phoenix area, I would love to have you on the Foolish Adventure show. Your story would be inspirational to many in our audience. Have a great trip.

  30. Baker,

    Where will you guys be parking in Portland for the Summit? I was thinking about contacting Chris and asking him where to go because I am actually planning to drive across country myself. I would love to hear your plans for that weekend.


  31. Hi Baker. Good job. I am a mostly full time RV’er. It can be a good life. There is a whole subculture out here. A lot of us mostly retired folks, but some younger. If you haven’t already, check out the forums at RV.Net and Both have subforums on traveling on a budget and fulltiming. A lot of advise and a wealth of knowledge. Also, look at Passport America. They do discount campgrounds. A fifty percent off thing, sometimes with some restrictions. Well worth the cost though.

    It does seem your travel plan is a bit aggressive. Most RV’ers end up slowing down and doing it more easily and “zen like”. There is what some call the rule of two’s. Two hundred miles a day max, Off the road by Two and Stay Two days. I also do some work from the road with an aircard and wireless router. Like your business it is mostly stuff that can be done remotely.

    Perhaps foremost, I would think about heading south almost immediately. RVing in the winter has its own challenges with frozen water pipes and frozen black and gray tanks and the units are usually not set up with good insulation. Based on your picture, I suspect your rig is really “3 season”.

    Let me know if I can help.
    Wandering Mike

    1. Thanks for all the help, Mike!

      We are worried about things going a bit too fast, but we aren’t going to have any expectations about getting to too many places. We’d rather have 4 quality stops than 10 quick ones.

      Our only big dates are mid-march in Texas and early June in Portland. Everything else is up in the air. 🙂

      I, too, am worried about cold weather. Baltimore is a tough offer to pass up (free wrap) – however I’m not sure it’ll work with our setup. We’ll know a lot more when all the systems are checked and de-winterized properly (hopefully).

  32. Baker —

    Congrats to you, Courtney and Milligan. You are in for an exciting time.

    We spent three months on the road in an RV a few years ago. It was a good experience, although we did not choose our RV wisely and we paid the price while we were on the road. I’d like to do it again, but with a more reliable RV.

    While on the road, take advantage of state parks. There are a ton of them out there, they are cheap, and many are absolutely gorgeous. They are also a good option when you want to visit a big city, but don’t want to take the RV into the city. Stay within easy driving distance in a state park and drive the Jeep into town.

    Best of luck and I hope to catch up with you somewhere along your journey.

    1. Thanks, Lou – we definitely plan on crashing in some State Parks along the way. That’s the big advantage of going through the hassle of pulling the Jeep!

  33. Shame that you’ll be hitting up baltimore while it’s cold out because you’ll be missing out on the Maryland blue crabs in late summer/fall!! Maybe you can come back down to maryland after the NE area?

  34. Congratulations Baker. This is awesome.. all the best. I know you are going to buy lot of stuff in the next few days that you will need for and in the RV. I was wondering what are you planning for internet connection and about keeping connected? I know that mobile routers and mi-fi type of solutions work fine and I have used them but they don’t work very well while you are on the road and specially so when there aren’t any large cities close by (at least that was our experience at least when we travelled from Chicago to Rocky Mts to Yellowstone to Glacier MT to SDakota (I agree that route is not signal friendly anyway). Please keep us updated about the connectivity solution(s) that you end up using on your journey. Once again all the best.


    1. Gaurav, it looks like we will be going with either Virgin mi-fi or Verzion mi-fi for a base connection. It won’t work well for intense work, however it’ll provide basic email access and connectivity in many places.

      Many campgrounds and RV parks have some sort of wireless solution – as well – as so many people these days consider it a requirement. I’m hoping to learn how to batch work days into those times when I’ll have a more secure connection. 🙂

      1. You are right. Most campgrounds at least most KOA campgrounds do provide wireless connectivity. Verizon mi-fi works but not very well while you are on the road. Not sure about Virgin. Probably connectivity is better in East and West coast in comparison to Mountain States, where it was rather sporadic on the interstates. We also learned how to manage our dependency on internet by batching up our upload/downloads. It made us work more efficiently and forced us to consume moderate quantities of information (instead of being information hoarders that we are most of the time), which was good in the end. Once again all the best man. Are you planning to pass through Midwest region, Chicago maybe?

        1. In our experience, it’s best to not assume you’re going to get reliable wifi at RV parks. So many are poorly managed, have poor range and it just takes one person in the park running a high bandwidth application (like bit torrent) to take a badly managed wifi network down. In our 4 years on the road, I think we had useable wifi at 3 parks (one of them being a park that asked us to do the install for them.)

          Also, parks that offer wifi don’t tend to be the ones we like to stay out – we prefer pretty and scenic to glorified parking lot with hook-ups.

          Here’s a guide we wrote to connectivity on the road that may come in handy:

          It’s also a good idea to explore cellular options outside of the major carriers and going with a reseller like Millenicom that can get you 2-4 times the bandwidth cap for less money and no contract. Also, if you can swing it.. being on multiple networks is a good idea too.

          Our next iPhone app we’re in development on will help too 🙂

          1. I definitely agree with Cherie — we’ve found that a lot of RV parks don’t have wifi, and when they do the connection often isn’t very good! Millenicom is a great reseller for mobile broadband, and Verizon has worked pretty well for us.

            The other benefit to mobile broadband is that you have an internet connection ALL the time (well, if the signal is decent). My partner and I both work full-time from our RV, so often one of us works on our laptop while the other drives. 🙂

            This article ( provides a pretty good beginner’s overview, and I definitely found Technomadia’s guide helpful when we got started as well. 🙂

            Anyhoo, congrats on your new adventure! I look forward to reading your stories and I’d love to meet up in Austin during SXSW!

  35. Congratulations, Baker and family! I’ve never considered RV’ing before, but you’ve planted the seed in my mind. The point you made about the RV allowing you to be flexible in location, while still maintaining a sense of home really stood out for me. I’ll be looking forward to your updates from the road on the blog!

    (And as a fellow Hoosier, I must say that I’m a teeny bit envious of you being able to take off for the south in January, considering the weather we’re having right now!) 🙂

  36. Please give me a shout or rather announce your stops on your blogs and if you get to NC, I’d LOVE To meet you guys….I love the exciting change, the spirit of adventure, the partnership between you and your wife, the courage it takes to make such decisions (in the midst of winter no less). I am in awe, I am very impressed and wish you guys a SAFE, happy, joyful, and peaceful year….and do sincerely hope to have the chance to meet you….! Congratulations on this new adventure in your life!

  37. Congrats on the RV! How much did you pay for it (if you don’t mind me asking). Also, if you ever pass by Cresline, CA (in the San Bernardino National Forest) please let me know we’d love to say hello.

  38. Hey Baker,

    Sounds like a great adventure! Let me know when you are nearing Austin.

    We didn’t get to meet at last year’s SXSW — so let’s try again!


  39. This got my attention! I’ve been wanting to do the RV thing – or as I originally thought I’d do, get an school bus to convert. Maybe it will happen; you could keep me in mind when/if you feel finished with the RV you just got. The other thing is New Orleans. I don’t Steven (above comment) and I’m not sure which RV park he knows of, but I spent some time in New Orleans. I lived, most of my time there, in a 1989 Ford Bronco II (about the size of your Laredo) when I was there. In the summer of 2005, I thought I’d go down to NOLA. Then Katrina happened. I got there in January ’06 and was a volunteer for six months in nearby St Bernard.

    I can tell you about a place where you can park for a day or couple of days free and have wifi across the street, and walk 2 blocks to the street scene in the Marigny and 1 more block to the French Quarter.

    I worked for a while in the later part of ’06. In 2007 I wrote a short play based on a character/friend I met there. It was produced in 2008.

    More later.

  40. Baker, what an inspiring post. I’ve only recently discovered MvD – if I’d known of you a few years ago I’d have offered to help during your Australian visit.

    A friend of mine took 6 months off to travel around Australia in a 4wd with his family and says it was the best experience of his life, and the best thing for his family. I’d love to be able to take 3-6 months off work and go to the US to travel in an RV – it would be something special for my kids to experience.

    Good luck in your travels.


  41. AWESOME!! I totally thought you were gonna say you were having baby #2, but this is way cool!

    My parents used to take us every couple of years on 2 week RV trips during summers in a Class C and we loved it! Then when they retired early, they sold the house, bought a really nice Class A and toured the country for 2 years looking for their next perm home. They ended up settling in FL and then sold the rig.
    In my 20’s i made plenty of car trips going on Phish tour, that was awesome!

    Oh one tip: to save $ so you’re not always paying for a campground (some of them can be expensive!) all Walmart and Sam’s Club parking lots are open overnight to RV’ers. you can do this every couple of days as you can go at least 2 days on the generator and between dumps. Unfortunately, you prolly won’t find wifi those nights.

    That said, come to DENVER! It’s a beautiful and amazing city any time of year, but especially summer! Plenty to see and do! You can hit me up if you come through this way.

  42. Love it man! That’s a baller RV! You have a Queen bed or what?

    What does Courtney plan to do for teaching, and Milligan for school? Or, will it just be a 1 year haitus?

    At any rate, let me know when you’re dropping by San Francisco! Careful though, you may never want to leave!

    1. School is still a bit off, however we are strongly considering having Courtney homeschool (helps that she’s a great teacher). We are keeping our options open though.

      I’m kind of scared to come to SF for that very reason. So many people I know there – I don’t want to get stuck! 😉

  43. Baker…

    I’m only 16, and have no knowledge of or experience with RVs. But…. gotta say- that video tour makes it look like you’ll be having a heckuva time! Sounds like fun, something like this may make my bucket list 😛

    One question (and I’m sure this is a duh for people who know anything about RVing)….

    …where do you shower? Are there rest stops out there with showers and stuff? hahahaha

  44. Cool stuff Baker. My family did some RVing when I was a kid and it was a great experience. It’s such a great adventure, I’m sure you all will have a blast. I hope you’ll be swinging through Orlando on your trip through Florida, I’d love to meet you and the family.

  45. Congratulations on such a wonderful decision! My sister and I (both over 55 yrs. old) bought a 25′ Class C RV together and had great fun roaming around for a few weeks at a time. Although everyone said plan a short first trip, we went from Oregon to Santa Fe instead, stopping at various spots along the way. Things we learned: keep an eye on the weather and have insulation handy for your water line; change your tires every five years even if you aren’t putting mileage on them because rubber degrades (we learned that the hard way, which brings us to my next tip); have roadside assistance coverage like Good Sam and/or AAA and make sure if you have duel tires that those are included in the coverage. You meet lots of great people traveling in RVs–at least we did.

  46. Long time lurker, first time commenter.

    Just wanted to say congratulations on your new home. I’m looking forward to reading about your adventures.

    My husband and I are preparing for a similar step–we’re planning to travel by sailboat!

  47. Congrats on taking this ‘big leap’ with the family. Since I am tied down, I will be living vicariously through you. Doubt you will be coming to Indy since you trying to run away.

    Really love the sponsorship idea and you can count me in. I saw somebody does this on Route 89 and you could buy a sponsorship – based on miles you wanted to sponsor – and you got a shout out, bumper sticker, etc. for the sponsorship.

    Looking forward to seeing this new adventure.

  48. Oh wow Baker! This is an ultimate dream of mine! Of course I will have to wait until kids are out of the house but yes, hubbie and I will one day take an adventure trip like this! Congrats man, it sounds amazing. I will have to look to see what’s going on in my neck of the woods (North Dallas) during that time. We have all sorts of free festivals during that time since the weather is so nice out. Excited for you!!!

  49. Ahhhh!!! I’m SO HAPPY FOR YOU!!! This is going to be such an exciting, connecting trip for all three of you and everyone that you will meet on the journey!! I’m going to be living through you for the next 6+ months as you drive around the states… I’m hoping this will help motivate me more to do a long cross-country trip of my own in the near future!

    Thanks for giving us a tour of your new RV! It looks amazing.

    Let us know if you ever make it to Chicago! 🙂

  50. This is so cool, and timely, too. I’ve been following you (via my husband’s Twitter acc’t.) on Twitter for a little while and am very interested to follow your experience. We are hitting the road next week for just four months, following The Woodworking Show. I am a former teacher now educating my kids (10 & 13) at home. We are excited to take school on the road. We don’t have an RV, so we will be negotiating hotel stays for much of our trip (where we don’t have friends nearby). We would love to meet your family if our schedules connect at some point. We will be in Baltimore January 6-10, so if you decide to do the wrap, we may be able to meet then. I’ll be watching your itinerary as it develops. I wish you all the best!

    Our basic itinerary is here:

    Our 13 year old son will be keeping our official travel blog:

  51. Yes, Baltimore! I am a midwest transplant living in Baltimore and I will be eagerly awaiting your arrival! I have loved reading your website in the past and I would love the chance to meet you IRL. Keep us updated on the dates and I will be sure to stop by!

  52. This should be a real adventure. Can’t wait to follow you guys and what you have planned as your road trip progresses.

    Dwight Anthony
    Financially Elite Blog dot Com

  53. This is brilliant, but I’m a little concerned about where you guys will sleep when I bring my family to visit?

    – Rock on, amigo. What an adventure!

  54. That is so awesome! Hubby & I bought a VW camper this year and love it. In fact, it was spending 2 weeks in that which got me started down the path of thinking about minimalism – I was like, hang on, we’ve just spent 2 weeks in a tiny space with no tv, no crap, a handful of clothes, and I have had the best time EVER! The VW is fab, but too small for a long trip like yours (no toilet either!) but I think a future adventure for us might be a larger camping vehicle and a long trip. So looking forward to following your adventures! Oh and I really dig the way it goes out at the side to create more space. Super cool.

  55. That is SO awesome Adam! My hubby and I are working toward the same thing although we are at the beginning of our process. We will be in a truck with a slide in camper in the bed. Our kids are almost grown, last one goes off to college next year, so it will just be he and I. He used to travel all over the country for work, but I haven’t seen but a dozen states or so. He wants to show me the country! One day we will also travel outside the country, but for now we are excited about our road trip!
    We won’t be leaving for another year or so, so it will be cool to hear about all your adventures first!

  56. Adam:

    We did this – for 3-1/2 years. You won’t regret it. People looked at us funny at first and often said, “You’re too young to be retired.” (As if living in an RV makes you “retired”.) Then, more and more, we heard, “we wish we could do that.” We went from a 3200 sft house with a 3-car garage to at 37-foot fifth wheel…didn’t miss the “stuff” at all. We’re back in a house now, but there are days (like now, when it’s 12 degrees outside) that I DO miss that freedom. 🙂

    Brenda Dunagan

  57. Baker,
    This is TOTALLY AWESOME! You are actually living MY dream. Traveling around in an RV is something I have really wanted to do. We have so many friends and family all over the US that we hardly ever get to see. My children are in school, so I would love to homeschool, hop on an RV and travel. But, that dream has a lot of obstacles to overcome, namely the fact that we don’t have an RV, and that my husband doesn’t want me to homeschool! 🙂 But, anything is possible, and for now, I’ll live vicariously through you.


    Dr. Laura

  58. If all the notes above are any indication, you are in for a heck of an adventure.

    My wife and I full-timed it for almost 2 years in a 31′ Airstream. We did some basic research on how and what, but found that after a month, it all became noise. We had a blast with the physical communities that we came across. There are some great online groups that help with the maintaince stuff, which is very different than a fixed house. Insurance and road-side assistance will be huge help (you don’t want to be stuck on I-10 with a flat).
    Our searches found a group called Bare Naked Family ( that provided the last bit of insperation that we needed to make the leap to an RV. They were in a simular situation as you guys, but with two kids.
    We moved to outside of New Orleans from Austin, so if you are thinking of places to stay, I will have a few ideas as the time approaches. BTW, if you make it to New Orleans in Febuary-March time frame, Mardi Gras is a great time (even for families) but harder to find camping.

  59. When I was 13, my family of 6 spent 3 months traveling around the country in an RV, and while 13 was probably the WORST age to go on a trip like that (there was NO PRIVACY! Nothing like being a teenager and having no place to escape 3 younger siblings!) it was still one of the best experiences of my life! I’m not much of a world traveler, but I’ve seen more of the US than anybody I know (and in some ways, I think that’s cooler!) I can’t wait to hear about the places you guys go!

  60. Sounds like a hell of an adventure in 2011, Baker. I cannot wait to read the updates and live RV-icariously through you. Sorry, bad joke.

  61. Congratulations!!
    TIp They Don’t Tell You: Strongly consider getting a new mattress in the RV.
    #1. Its already 12 yrs old with previous owners — already sounds like a good reason to get a new mattress, but #2 the factory issued mattresses in RVs are designed for short term camping. People who live on the road FT need a better mattress than that! Invest in your own mattress!

  62. This is awesome. But what is the free wrap? Like those companies that wrap and then pay for you advertising their design/logo/whatever? Or is it just a design for you? The Man vs. Debt mobile.

    Love it.

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  64. You may want to check out:

    A couple and their two very young children traveled in an RV from CA to FL, explored FL for a couple months, then headed up the East Coast. A lot of great info on where they stayed and what they did/saw.

  65. Hi Chris!

    I think what you are doing is wonderful! I am sure you will have an amazing adventure with your family on the road in this wonderful country of ours! Just wondering why you decided to buy such a huge car (Jeep GCL) instead of a smaller, more fuel efficient model? The only reason I ask is because you talk a great deal about savings and costs.

    All the best to you and your family during this holiday season!


  66. I know nothing about RVs, but let me know if you’re in Phoenix! (And if you don’t want to melt, come before June or after mid-October.)

    Also, in case you don’t know (I didn’t), the Grand Canyon gets snow October through April. The north rim is closed those months. (The south rim is where most of the tourists go and where the museum, restaurants, etc. are.) My first trip there was in late April (several years ago) and I got snowed on, much to my surprise and dismay.

  67. I’m so so so excited for you, Courtney & Millie. This will be epic! I, too, have always dreamed of driving xcountry in an RV. Not ready yet – a few things I’m still learning, loving, doing here in Cambodia. But looking forward to reading what ya’ll learn so I can plot for my future trip! xoxo.

  68. An inflatable boat/kayak with easy to assemble oars/paddles and a small air compressor is a great addition that doesn’t take up alot of space or add much weight. Don’t forget the life vests!

  69. RVing is a great life. My wife and I have travelled and lived in various RV’s and will probably do so again sometime. We sold everything and bought a pick up truck and 26 foot 5th with slideouts and travelled southern US. We have also travelled Australia and New Zealand in Camper vans. It is great way to meet people and see the country.

    When we started we had no experience living the lifestyle and certainly no experience hauling around something that big. You will find fellow RVers are always willing to help and show you the ropes.

    Have a great adventure! I look forward to following your journey.

  70. Baker,
    Back in the day (1985) I got laid off from my job. I was about your age (29), had virtually no money, married with a 3 year old daughter (again, kind of like you). We sold everything we had that we didn’t need and left town in a rusted out 1972 Chevy Luv pickup. We headed for Colorado Springs, where someone we knew lived. We stayed there about 3 weeks and decided to head for Texas where someone else we knew lived. Back then we had no cell phones, no laptop, no GPS, and no way to get help if we broke down in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately we did not break down in New Mexico, because back then it was really desolate in some parts. We did break down in Texas, and our friend came and got us. By that, I mean he towed our tiny truck with his car attached by a 10 foot chain with me in the truck steering. We drove like that for 160 harrowing miles at 70 MPH through the night. We stayed in Dallas for 6 months before leaving. So, with your new to you RV, you’ve got it made. If we did that today with the same setup we had then, you’d have people crawling out of the woodwork, saying we were abusing our daughter for taking that kind of risk. You’ll do just fine. Looking back, that was quite an adventure.

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  72. Awesome! I’m actually going on a year long road trip around the United States in my truck, starting in January as well. I’m going to be hitting up all the rad skateparks the USA has to offer along with any sights I’ve wanted to see. I’ll also be hitting up the World Domination Summit. I hope that our paths cross along the way somewhere.

  73. Best of luck on your trip!
    When Maine Governor Angus King left office 8 years ago, he took a cross country RV trip
    and wrote about it at I really enjoyed following his trip. Like you, he had no experience RV’ing. You may find some good ideas/tips.

  74. Sounds like an awesome adventure Baker!

    I have filled out a request for a stop in Los Angeles. In 4 years 14 days 13 hrs and 52 minutes my wife and I are going to transition from working boring jobs and trade Forex fulltime in order to generate our needed minimalist income as we travel Central America for a year and eventually to Egypt and other places. As the founder of the I would be willing to teach you how to trade Forex for free, like we teach other folks who visit our humble site and live chatroom. Would you be interested in learning something new that could potentially assist you in generating additional revenue for your trips and adventures?

    Just a thought.

    Thank you,
    Ken K

  75. That is so cool! I love the RV and for a family that loves travel as much as ya’ll do, I’m sure it will be a fantastic experience! This is truly living life and turning dreams into reality! I am stoked to see what your life is like on the road!

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  78. Wow sounds wonderful and you all are so young. What fun. Hubby and I bought an RV and traveled for a few months but did it all wrong. Bought new with payments, I could not get rid of STUFF and we kept our apartment. No longer have the RV but am getting the urge to get rid of stuff , save cash to buy an RV used at a good deal.
    Word of warning not all Walmarts can you park in.
    Grand Junction Colorado does not like RVers no FREE parking ( there are parks you can pay for if necessary there ).. so we drove through and gave another town our $. Galveston is beautiful but I have heard no Free parking either. We liked Free for a few days then pay for one so we could charge everything up.
    Have fun and I will watch for your postings on the road. Grace

  79. I am looking to take my family of 5 on the road in the near future. We are looking for 5th wheel to purchase, we will be stationary for a number of weeks and working in various places. I am looking to work for a company that will allow us to get sponsorship for our rig and push our lifestyle forward. In the next post you have questions about sponsorship, just start sending letters and emails to everyone and their mother and then something will return… Good luck! If you have any ideas, let me know. We will be launching our website soon – we will keep you posted on the domain and the launch date…

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  82. Baker!

    I’m stoked for you guys! I just caught the RenMen episode featuring yourself an Annie…killer! Especially the part where you put $15k on the line haha

    I hope 2011 is full of fulfilled goals, and maybe we’ll cross paths this year…we’re due for at least that skype interview


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  85. Well I just came across your site, We were going to do the same trip this year but it didn’t work out. You must be well into your trip by not. How is it going? And were are you now?
    We most definitely will be going cross country in 2012 and am looking for tips. We are in CT. you are probably heading in my general direction around now. You have most likely met many new friends along the way. Did you find the 2011 weather to be a problem?

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