Rural Missouri - October 2013 - (Page 22)

Gone R Above: “You better like each other a whole lot,” Greg Gunderson says of the lifestyle he and Karen Dishion live as full-time RVers. Below: RV salesman Bienson Jones shows off amenities such as dishwashers, granite counters, heated tile floors and cherry-wood cabinets in the high-end motorcoaches sold at Byerly RV in Eureka. Above: RV camping is a popular pastime for those wanting to “rough it” in comfort. Pop-up most importantly, air conditioning. Below: Tammy Strebeck visits with a friend at her Louisia by Jim McCarty W hen Phil and Susan Emmons retired from their jobs as teachers for the Steelville School District, they did something uniquely American. They sold or gave away most of their possessions, put the rest in storage, bought an RV and set out to see America. “I wanted to do this a lot longer than she did,” says Phil of their eight years of nomadic life. “She finally said if we are going to do this, we best do it. We had no expectations about how long we would do it, six months or six years. We are still doing it.” The Emmons, camp hosts at Meramec State Park this summer, are part of a growing trend of Americans owning recreational vehicles. Not since the pioneers crossed the nation in covered wagons have so many people hit the road in search of adventure. “We wish there was an RV in every backyard,” says Bill Baker, senior communications director for the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). “We’re not quite there yet, but there are about 9 million RVs on the road today. We’ve been tracking that since about 1980, and this is the highest rate of ownership we’ve seen.” From young couples in pop-up campers to hunters in travel trailers to retirees driving luxury motorhomes, 22 there’s an RV designed for every reason. And most of their owners are having the time of their lives. “We call this the Taj Majal,” says Kathy Schaffer outside the 20-footlong Coachman camper she shared with her husband, Chuck, at Meramec State Park. “We were just talking down at the river. We could handle this when we retire.” The Schaffers, who live in Washington, bought the camper used, and Chuck put it into service at his deer camp in Montgomery County. “So me and my boys sleep in this when we are hunting instead of freezing in a tent,” Chuck says. Camping for them is an exercise in eating well, with Chuck doing most of the cooking on a charcoal grill. Like the Emmons, Greg Gunderson and Karen Dishion are full-time RVers who trade part of their leisure time for campground hookups and a small paycheck. From May to October, the two park their 35-foot-long Sea Breeze motorhome at Compton Ridge Campground in Branson where they tend to the landscaping. “I asked him if he could sell everything and hit the road,” Karen says of her husband. “When he said yes, I knew he was the guy for me.” Karen and Greg have camped across the country, seeing whales off the Oregon coast, glaciers in Alaska and impressive sunsets in Texas. They spend their summers in Branson and winters in Texas serving as guards for an oil field. In between, they travel or visit family and friends. “We are work campers,” says Greg. “It’s a way of life. I think there’s probably 10 of us in this campground and that is what we do. None of us have houses. We love the lifestyle. We are restless vagabonds, RVers.” The two work a few hours each day, then take in the shows or just relax with their dog, Bella, during their off time. They pull a Jeep Liberty behind the motorhome and use it for excursions. Branson is a popular destination for RV enthusiasts. “There are around 3,000 campsites in the greater Branson area,” says Compton Ridge’s Robert Speight. “You can take your pick, whether you want a rustic campsite at the state park or the luxury camping we have here.” An RVer himself, Robert understands why some people would rather camp in an RV than stay in a motel. “Campers are sociable people,” he says. “They enjoy the outdoors. Most of them would rather take two to three days to drive an RV than to have a quick trip and stay in a motel room.” He caters to today’s RV WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP lifestyle by delivering pizzas to the campsite, making sure the Wi-Fi connection is operating and that campers have a clean and comfortable place to stay. He’s also kept up with the trend of larger RVs with multiple slideout sections, one reason his park was named “2013 Large Campground of the Year” by the Missouri Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds. “It used to be if you had a 30-foot- http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - October 2013

Rural Missouri - October 2013
Schooled on sailing
A deer dilemma
Therapy for the heart & soul
Out of the Way Eats
Gone RVing
Charge of the Iron Brigade
Hearth and Home
Underwater fun
Around Missouri

Rural Missouri - October 2013