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RVing: 'Education disguised as entertainment'

Category: Herzogs, RV
Source: Rapid City Journal, SD
Publish Date: Monday, July 14, 2008
Summary: "It's not only fun; it's also a fascinating education," Herzog said. "You can't help but learn about history, geography and geology when on the road. That's why I love taking my kids: It's education disguised as entertainment."

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RVing: 'Education disguised as entertainment'
Family takes summer road trip

By Katie Aurand, Journal correspondent Monday, July 14, 2008

The Herzogs, billing themselves as this year's national "Explore America" family, are making their annual trip in a 38-1/2-foot 2009 Winnebago Adventurer.

"It all started 13 years ago, when Amy and I were living in Chicago," Brad Herzog said. "I was a writer, a chronicler of the world -- but my world was very small. So one day, I turned to her and asked her if we could travel in an RV for one year and to try to write a book about it. To my surprise, she said sure."

Before their first RV trip, neither Brad nor Amy had been in an RV or had visited a national park. They spent most of 1996 driving more than 35,000 miles through 48 states.

"We had the greatest year of our lives," Brad Herzog said. "We realized on the way that the RV was the key to the experience. It allowed us to reach the nooks and crannies of the country but still have the comforts of home."

Since that initial trip, the Herzogs have taken a two-month RV trip nearly every year. Herzog said that even with today's gas prices, the money they save by not paying for hotel rooms and eating in restaurants for every meal more than makes up for it. He also said that the financial aspect is not the only advantage to traveling in an RV.

"It's not only fun; it's also a fascinating education," Herzog said. "You can't help but learn about history, geography and geology when on the road. That's why I love taking my kids: It's education disguised as entertainment."

The public can share in the entertainment and education of the Herzogs' experiences by reading Brad's books, columns and a new blog that can be found at GoRVing.com.

"When we're on the road, it's not only our house on wheels; it's my office on wheels," Herzog said.

Herzog's book, "States of Mind," resulting from his and Amy's first trip, describes their search for virtue in America in such places as Faith, S.D., Wisdom, Mont., and Love, Va. In 2004, Brad wrote "Small World," which chronicles encounters along America's highways from Athens, N.Y., to Rome, Ore., and from Moscow, Maine, to Mecca, Calif.

"I can't think of a better way to celebrate independence than to get out on a house on wheels and discover the country," Herzog said.

As Luke and Jesse built Lego castles and a Lego RV with a "W" on the side for Winnebago, the scene looked like it was taking place in a typical American house, even though they were hundred of miles from their California home.

"We live in such a beautiful place, but it's nice to see the mountains, the desert, the rolling hills of Iowa. It's nice to appreciate so much beauty," Amy Herzog said.

Next, the Herzogs will head north to revisit Faith before continuing to Bismarck, N.D.

Tips for traveling with kids from Brad and Amy Herzog

* Include the whole gang in picking your campgrounds.

* Spice up the routine by including scenic routes in your travel plan.

* It's all about being comfortable: Take along your favorite items from home.

* Let the children pick their favorite books, bikes, toys and games to bring along. (RVs come with ample storage space.)

* Take advantage of playgrounds along your route and in campgrounds.

* Pack lots of healthful snacks in your on-board refrigerator. (You'll eat better and save money and time on fast-food stops.)

* Build time into your travel schedule to take short detours for the local celebrations or interesting attractions you will invariably come across.


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