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Americans are a restless people. We seem to have a wandering gene plugged into our DNA. After all, we are a nation of immigrants, born of social and political unrest. Even the Native Americans who gingerly welcomed us were, for the most part, nomadic people, content to follow the seasons or the buffalo. We Americans always seem to be looking for greener pastures and wondering what's over the next hill. Even the more sedentary of us find ways to express our wandering spirit. Indeed, inert folks, who seem to be permanently moored in their Barcaloungers, aren't content with a few channels on their televisions. They want dozens or even hundreds. Psychologists tell us to stop and smell the roses. Sure, we tell them, as long as we can be looking up the varieties of roses in our guidebooks while calling our friends on our cell phones to tell them how great they smell.
One of the best places to experience this restless, wandering spirit in action is on the nation's roads where millions (yes, millions) of recreational vehicle (RV) enthusiasts crisscross freeways, state highways, and dusty country roads. The size of their transporters range from diminutive pop-up tent trailers to diesel-belching, lumbering leviathans complete with hot tubs, balconies, and gourmet kitchens. Judging by the number of motorhomes, trailers, truck campers, and private busses on our nation's highways in recent years, especially compared with twenty or thirty years ago, it's easy to think that "RVing" is a relatively recent phenomenon. While it is certainly true that there are more modern-day gypsies than ever before, the phenomenon of hitting the road with a tidy little home on wheels has a long, rich history.
Mobile mansions are, for many, the greatest expression of our right of liberty. This right of liberty, which legal scholars translate as the freedom of movement, is spelled out in the Declaration of Independence. Indeed, the most quoted phrase in that treasured document is, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Most Americans also know Patrick Henry's famous demand, "Give me liberty, or give me death!"
The Romance of the Road
Camp Cars and House Cars
Campers and Vans
Suggestions for Further Reading