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Road Scholars

Seeing America from the front seat of a motorhome — and sharing it with the kids on Facebook, — today’s blog-savvy full-time RVers are riding high as the new smartphone Steinbecks.

Jimmy Magahern | Sep 6, 2012, 1:23 p.m.

“I had seen the Newsweek stories on the Haight-Ashbury kids, and thought it was kind of cool, the free love scene in San Francisco,” Jack admits. “So after I got back from Vietnam, I wanted to go to Mendocino. But afterward, all we did was talk about the trip itself — the going and coming, not so much what we did once we got there.”

“We both agreed,” adds Mary, “that the journey is the destination.”

Mary applies that same philosophy to their marriage, which ended for a period while they each pursued more distant journeys apart. “I went to every country in the world except Antarctica,” says Mary, who became an English teacher after college. “Jack and I both laugh about some of the times that we had — both together and apart — but we both agree that the ‘going to’ where you end up in life is what’s fun.”

Now remarried for the past 16 years, the Lockes are enjoying their retirement onboard a 36-foot motorhome, where they remain on the constant move, pausing only in the winters for an annual extended stay at the Dollbeer Mobile Home Ranch in Mesa.

“You’ve got to really be in love to co-exist in a 36-foot trailer,” says Mary. She says friends envy their freewheeling lifestyle, but cautions most that the 24/7 existence in that long, long trailer is not for everyone.

“Some good friends of ours take occasional trips in their RV, and one day I asked the wife, ‘How come you guys don’t do it full-time?’ She said, ‘Mary, I don’t love my husband that much!’”

She laughs. “That’s really what it takes to be on the road with somebody all the time!”

Travels With Siri

In his last major work, Travels With Charley, the Nobel Prize-winning American writer John Steinbeck described how he felt he needed to reconnect with the landscape he had become so associated with.

“I discovered that I did not know my own country,” Steinbeck wrote in the book’s first chapter. “I, as an American writer, writing about America, was working from memory, and the memory is at best a faulty, warpy reservoir.”

The novelist, traveling only with his standard poodle Charley in a pickup truck modified with a custom-built camper top that he nicknamed “Rocinante” after Don Quixote’s noble steed, set out on a cross-country journey that chronicled real-life America, good and bad, in the early 1960s.

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Kirk and Pam Wood say 4G LTE mobile service makes it easy to give up a “brick and stick” home.

Today, thanks to the sophisticated cell phone technology that most motorists carry with them in their pockets, many full-time RVers are journaling their own versions of the great American novel by simply posting their daily journals to their blogs or Facebook pages.

Jack and Mary Locke aren’t into blogging, and only recently, at the urging of their 24-year-old daughter, got into Facebook. “We’re boring,” laughs Mary, who hasn’t yet grasped the art of posting her daily minutiae for the world’s consumption.

But many other full-time RVers have fully embraced the new technology, which basically allows anyone with a cell phone and an unlimited data plan to keep the world updated on their daily doings.

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