Over the weekend we started planning for an RV trip we are taking later this summer. It’s about 6,000 miles roundtrip. We are on somewhat of a timeline and I wanted an idea on average of how many miles we would travel each day, based on our schedule.

It seems like more often than not we are on a tight schedule, forcing us to put in more miles per day than I would like. I want this trip to be more leisurely when it comes to how many hours you are behind the wheel each day.

Admittedly I am one of those people who likes to do all of the driving myself. I just feel better if I know I am behind the wheel. I know my wife, Dawn, is a competent driver (she even has her CDL) but I still prefer to do the driving. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is extremely important that both individuals are capable of driving or towing the RV. You never know when your wife or husband will need to drive the RV and they should feel comfortable and confident in doing so.

As we were planning the trip it brought back a memory of a past trip we took in the RV. We were stopped in traffic because of an accident, and had sat in the same spot without moving for at least 30 minutes. I told Dawn that I was going to run back and use the bathroom and if traffic started moving to just get behind the wheel and drive. The boys were in the back bedroom playing X Box.

The motorhome started moving about the same time that I came out of the bathroom. Both boys looked up at me with their eyes wide open and my older son said, “If you’re back here with us who’s driving the motorhome?” My youngest son (Dawn’s stepson), who was about 8 at the time leaped up and ran to the front of the motorhome and said, “Dawn just pull over as soon as you can and let dad drive.”

The boys never saw Dawn drive the motorhome and just assumed she couldn’t or shouldn’t be driving it. At that point I made a mental note to myself to one day produce a driving DVD to help teach people who don’t drive the RV how to do it. It took a while but eventually we produced our Drive your Motorhome Like a Pro DVD

Mark Polk

RV Education 101

RV University

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22 comments

  1. Avatar

    Carl Stark

    Mark, we returned last summer from an 11k western US trip over several months. By trips end my wife and I would trade off each 50-minutes, using the other 10-minutes of the trade off to get out and walk a little with our two Weimareiner dogs. It made the touring so much easier on us both. I was always so more rested up at daily end. Give it some thought.

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    richard Gerber

    Mark, we have been RVing for over 30 years and always tried to fit in as much as possible on our vacations. Trophy dashes for 600 miles in one day etc. Now that we are retired and full timers we made a commitment -250 miles a day tops. Smell the roses. tincansailor

  3. Avatar

    Richard Goben

    Mark, I find that my wife enjoys helping with the driving. But she doesn’t like to drive in tight spots or lots of traffic. So we found what works best for us is to have her take over driving at a rest area or on the entrance ramp on an Interstate. When it is time to switch or we need to get off the highway, she pulls over before the exit and lets me take over.
    Like you said, it is important that she knows that she could drive in case of an emergency.

  4. Avatar

    carverant

    Mark I was like you. I drove and rhe wife navagated BUT now we both share and I only wish I had not been so stubborn 20 years earlier. We have a truck camper on a 3/4 ton Dodge Diesel and Marylin has driven it through St. Louis, Atlanta and a bunch of Texas.At first I had “WHITE”

  5. Avatar

    carverant

    I hit some button I didn’t want to hit..but continuing…I had “white” knuckles at first but now I can even catch a nap on many of our trips. We plan to make the West coast this summer to see 3 new Grt Gran kids and other relatives so Marylin will be doing a lot of the driving.We try to stop every night by 5 and we are mostlyKOA campers.John Bedford,Va.

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    Sybil S. Byrnes

    Mark, I’m the driving wife. . Peter usually starts out in the morning and I finish our 250+-mile days. I feel it’s very important that both share the driving because one never knows when/where/what kind of tight spot he/she may encounter. It’s important to have the experience, and believe me, we have both had some experiences in our 21K miles over the past 2 years!

  7. Avatar

    Nancy

    Hi to all of you travelers,
    So glad to hear how all of you handle the daily drive. I am a newbie and will become a fulltimer in Sept., 2010. I am wandering single and will be doing all of the driving. (I drive for a living now and enjoy it besides, my furry friends can’t reach the pedals.)
    As I have heard so many people stress; I will be not stretching my days past 3 to 400 miles a day and no matter what, stop by 3:30 or 4pm to give me time to set up before dark whether dry camping or using hook-ups.
    Mark, what are your general areas of exploration and timetable? Would love to meet you and Dawn along the winding path.
    Nancy

  8. Avatar

    Mike Stoneham

    My wife and I did a 3 month trip last year (April – July) with our 28ft. HiLo. We limited our travel to 250 miles a day when changing locations. My wife also helps with the driving. She mainly does Interstate or major highways. It’s a big help having someone else to share the load.

  9. Avatar

    Gary

    Hey guys – Let ‘er drive. My wife can do everything on the 30 foot 5er – even empty the black tank and back it into a spot. I had a little surgery a while back and if she wanted to go – we did. She probably knows more about the 5th wheel than I ever did because when she does something she does it all the way. She wanted to get a CDL so she got her beginners CDL and talked a friend into allowing her to learn in his school bus. She passed her test with flying colors – the last time we went out, I was driving – she noticed that I run the trailer wheels right along the outside white line. She asked me if I knew what “butt in the rut” means. She says I am doing a lot better. My wife is a great driver and I trust her with my life. You go Girl!!

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    Liz Bard

    My husband used to drive, but since he had a brain tumor removed he has memory problems. He is a good navigator tho, don’t need a GPS. He is supposed to help keep an eye on the time, but gets involved in a computer game, puzzle book or a book and looses track of time. Sometimes, especially if I am alone, I will set my timer on my cell phone. I try not to go more than 300 miles. It was hard when we only had a car to travel in, but the added length on the class A adds to it.

    When we were first married tho, he always liked to do the driving in the car on long trips and the only time we traded off was when we were trying to beat the truckers at the Ohio/Pennsylvania border in 1973 when they planned to stop at the border. That was when it was suggested to do 55 mph and we kept going at 70.

  11. Avatar

    Nancy Gearheart

    The closest my husband and I came to having arguments was when we got our first RV, a 10.5′ chasis-mounted camper in 1970, and he felt like he should do all the driving. We worked things out. I am a much better passenger if I do some of the driving. The last trips we took, I did all the driving because he didn’t feel like it. Now I am alone and limit my daily miles to about 250. The first trip I took alone I expected to cover 300+ miles a day. The third day out, I came to my senses and cut it down. Now much happier and arrive rested. I don’t leave early and stop well before supper time. The dog gets a good walk and I get to visit people in the campground.

  12. Avatar

    Amen. I’m a woman and am just finishing a 2 year tour all over this fine country alone. My sons were not happy about me gong out alone and all that driving but have since changed their minds after seeing me in action. I would love to have another driver in the car to spell me but I do need to drive part as well. There is no reason to waste a second possible driver and I think doing some of the driving really adds to the trip for each person. I agree also with the 250 mile limit. More than that is just too tiring for myself and my cat. I usually leave at whatever checkout time is rather than early and have been known to pull into a rest area for a walk, lunch, or even a nap. Getting in before dark is healthier because it gives you time to walk around for exercise, get familiar with the campground, and just relax.

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    Chris Chisholm

    Hi Folks, We had chance to drive all over Europe last summer with another couple. Rented a Class C (Geist on a Fiat chassis). Toured Ireland, England, Scotland, France, Spain and Switzerland. I could write a book about our experiences ( but not here). Because Allan & Irene are originally from the UK, it was agreed that Allan do most of the driving (Left side of the road (in the UK anyway)). Consider shifting gears with the left hand among other things. Of significance was the fact that I had trouble with Allan’s driving habits (and as it turned out, he, mine). I was also registered as a driver, just in case. This turned out to be a good idea because Allan began to have back problems (we put on over 8300kms). At times it was stressful, but we agreed that I would be chief navigator (which soothed my ego). Some of the roads there are pretty narrow with many doorways just inches from the roadway. In France, Spain & Switzerland, vehicles drive on the right, but our rig was left hand equipped. A bit more challenging judging widths. We found a 2nd qualified driver is a must particularly on long drives.

    Chris, Brantford, Ontario, Canada

    We made it without a scratch (well almost, touched (gently) mirrors with a garbage truck in Vias France, but no damage).

  14. Avatar

    CSM MacKissock

    Goodmorning: My wife and I have been camping for over 45 years and have been through the gambit from tents, slide-ins, pop-ups, tags and now a MH (35 suncruiser) We try to get out a couple of times a year from our home in Stafford, VA to Maine or florida or the west coast. It is not the 6000 miles, it is the number of days you have to travel. Some of our trips have been for ten days-two weeks, others for two months. If we have a specific destination (Destin, Florida) we can get there in two and a half days. Alaska with ten grandchildren is a different story but a good one, we have the “T” shirt. It depends what the trip is about. Just turning wheels along some interstate, of a couple of days in a state park, enjoying the area and what it has to offer before moving on. As for driving, I learned a long time ago that it is not MANLY to think that you have to do all the driving and I also ask for directions. We like three hours in the morning, about an hour for lunch, and three or so in the afternoon depending where we are going to stay for the night. We try to get underway around nine in the morning ( I like my coffee). Remember, it is the journey, not the destination that maters. Keep it between the white lines.

    CSM Mac

  15. Avatar

    CSM MacKissock

    Sorry for the type “O” and the misspelling. I’ve got to slow down on my typing.

    CSM Mac

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    Kellie Pierce

    I am a woman and I travel alone. i rive a 29′ Class C MH and of course do all the hooking and unhooking and dumping and tank maintenance. Things I don’t know anhything about (i.e. mechanical,) I am smart enough to get help. I don’t like heights at all so I paid the RV service place to inspect/seal my roof last fall. Last year I drove from OH to TX – 5012 miles and was “on the Road” 67 days. I don’t like to travel more than 300 or so miles each day bu will stretch that to get to specific place or at specific time. I never drive more than 3 consective days, usually not more than 2 without an additional night sitting. I do not drive in the dark, ever and I try to plan to only do big cities at non-commute times.Love my adventures so far.

  17. Avatar

    Pat Malone

    We bought our first Class A RV 4 yrs. ago. Two days after we bought it (we hadn’t even taken delivery of it yet) my husband totalled his truck and hasn’t driven since. I had never driven anything larger than a Dodge Caravan Minivan – so guess who is driving the RV now. My hubby makes a great co-pilot. I even pull a “toad”! I really enjoy it and since I’m a senior lady (almost 78) – I get some pretty amazing looks from some of the men, especially when I back into a tight spot (without the dingy, of course)!

  18. Avatar

    Francis X. Schilling

    I have to admit to being a bit surprised at the attitude expressed in this article. Definitely not blatant sexism, but pretty danged last century. Unless there is some element of brute physical strength or size involved, competent driving has absolutely nothing to do with the accident of birth that determined one’s gender. Even then, I’ve known women who could find ways around those limits. Incompetence comes in *all* flavors in my experience.

    My wife was as good a driver as I’ve ever seen and in some ways better than me for not taking so much for granted. I’d give anything to have her here to share the driving with me again. I surely do wish this world would grow up someday.

  19. Avatar

    Hi Francis,

    Mark’s comments about driving have NOTHING to do with females not being able to drive. I am sorry you took it that way.

    This was a light hearted story meant for awareness that EVERYONE should have the ability to drive, and drive safely and with confidence whether male or female.

    That is why he produced our driving dvd. Bottom line: It is not a man or woman issue, it is a confidence and safety issue.

    Mark stated in the article that I AM a competent driver, he just likes to drive…nothing wrong with that. To be honest with you, I request to be the co-pilot and Mark knows if a need arises, I am there by his side ready to drive with confidence!
    🙂
    Dawn (Mark’s wife)

  20. Avatar

    Francis X. Schilling

    To be honest with you, I see things like a young kid saying: “Dawn just pull over as soon as you can and let dad drive.” and I see attitudes being perpetuated (however subtly) that I believe we could do without. If that’s not what was intended, hooray, but that’s what’s in print. Ain’t no big thing …

  21. Avatar

    Dan Rambow

    I love driving our Class A RV, I always think of it as a big picture window or movie screen on which the world just goes by. But I have always loved road trips, big or small cars, vans, trucks, across the country many times, Alaska, Canada, its all great.

    And many times, due to scheduling conflicts, I find that we leave about dusk, and arrive in the wee hours of the morning (we try to be extra quiet in getting parked), and find that night travel is pretty nice too.

    That all being said, I have had 100 mile days, up to 900 mile days, and find that 6 hours is about right, with a few breaks and a short layover for a meal. I never really tire of driving, but know my wife needs to practice as well. Even though I have tried to get my wife to drive, but she is pretty reluctant (great car driver though). We have had our current RV for three years, so it is time.

    This year, before we finally set out full timing, I’m going to find a spot out between cities, on the interstate, where she can drive in a straight line for a while, and discover that it is really quite easy. After that, I think she will do fine.

  22. Avatar

    Patricia Arthur

    Hi Mark!

    Just a note to say there are a few good women out there driving just as well, if not better, than the men folks! I’ve been a female loner for 4 years, and my biggest coach was a 42′ with a 5′ rack in back. No problem at all….except for the campground personal who sometimes think they should take over the wheel to park it for me. No, that doesn’t work either, thank you, I’ll park my own coach!

    So never underestimate the women driver’s out there…….. they should be commended for their lifestyle and freedom to choose their path.