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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.

Kirk and Pam Wood, who keep a blog called “Kirk & Pam’s RV Adventure,” say having newfangled things onboard like 4G LTE mobile ultra-broadband Internet access makes it easier than ever to give up a “brick and stick” home for the mobile lifestyle.

“With the Internet and cell phones, it is now very easy to maintain contact with the folks back home,” writes Kirk in the online forum for the Escapees RV Club, a support network for full-time RVers with 51 chapters across the U.S. and Canada. “With digital pictures, email and cellular service, the ability to talk with an old friend, family member or grandchild is instantly available almost anywhere we travel. In addition, thanks to the Internet, the folks that we meet in the RV community can become lifelong friends who you keep in contact with at all times, and whenever you pass near each other you simply alter route slightly in order to spend a few nights in the same community and campground.” Kirk says he and Pam have made such friends in Arizona that they try to visit on every trip through the state.

Other couples, like Howard and Linda Payne, who maintain a website called RV-Dreams.com, have garnered a big enough following from their online journal they’ve been able to turn talking about full-time RVing into a second act career. By attracting advertisers to their website and leading seminars at major RV gatherings, the Paynes, who each turn 50 next year, have managed to keep enough money coming in to supplement their new lifestyle while waiting on their 401(k) retirement savings to mature.

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The Lockes enjoy a break from the road with some fellow travelers.

“The two of us casually chatted about what we could do to make a living while traveling around enjoying nature and each other,” writes Howard, who retired early from a six-figure management job after the couple enjoyed a two-week trip in the Alaskan wilderness and began wondering if they could stay on the road full time. “For years Linda had talked about running a bed and breakfast, so she started looking into the possibilities of us assisting B&B owners and innkeepers across the country. As for me, I started thinking about the things I enjoy — golf, photography, writing, training, making people laugh. Could I make a living quickly at any of these? I picked up my laptop and started writing the first chapter of a book I had been threatening to write for 10 years.”

Other full-time RVers have already self-published a few books while on the road. “I’m truly comfortable sittin’ around, tellin’ folks stories,” says B.K. Gore, author of a couple e-books on RV “boondocking” — camping off the beaten track, instead of pitching tent in a standard mobile home park. “I can easily tell folks what has worked in my RVing, what has failed; where I’ve been, where I hope to go — and fill in with a few yarns of my cowboying days. But the simple truth is, it takes a certain inflation of your ego to go out and tell total strangers that your words are worth paying good money for.” Nevertheless, Gore, a long-time Arizona cowboy who says he did a “goodly amount of livin’” as a horse rustler, holster maker and “hard drinking hard rock miner,” has recently added a few Western fiction titles to his repertoire, which he now sells through the Amazon Kindle outlet and Barnes and Noble’s Nook Book store.

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