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Planes, Pains, & Automobiles

Thursday, April 14, 2011

So...the next Cake Wrecks book is just about done.

(I'll pause here for a little "dancing around the office" time.)

Yep, the layout and design are still being tweaked, but soon I'll be able to check "Write a *holiday* goofy cake book" off my life's to-do list.

Now, however, comes the hard part:

PLANNING THE BOOK TOUR.

[blood-curdling scream]

Now, I know I don't talk about CW much over here, so you might be wondering why I'm bringing this up. Well, here's the thing: I'm in a quandary. A conundrum. A fix. John and I have spent the past several days talking it over and puzzling it out and sharing a lot of dramatic, brow-furrowed glances, and yet we *still* can't figure this one out. So maybe you guys can help.

Here's the problem: John and I don't want to fly for this tour; we want to road trip it.

In an RV.

'Cuz we're nuts.


(Ok, maybe not *this* nuts.)

Or that's what most of our friends and all of our family keep telling us, anyway. So, before you jump on board with the "seek professional help" team, let me list for you what *we* see as the positives for a road trip across the U.S. (and perhaps a bit of Canada):

- No airplanes
- No security lines/screening/indignity
- Less hassle: no constant packing/unpacking/rushing to meet flights
- Faster (for shorter trips, of course, and taking into account airline delays & such.)
- Less exposure to sick travelers, plague, ebola virus, etc.
- More tour stops (we'd strive to make no more than 6-hr hops between cities when possible)
- FUN



If that last point seems sarcastic, it's not. John and I love the idea of an extended road trip, and considering that we spent the first two years of our marriage working and living in a 45o square foot condo together, we're used to tight quarters. Plus as a teenager I once lived in a motorhome with my grandparents for a few weeks, and it's one of my all-time favorite memories. I loved it.

However, my list is also in order of importance. I've never been a huge fan of flying, but the recently increased "security" measures (and resulting personal rights violations) have made me swear it off completely wherever possible. I'm not trying to start a debate on politics here; I'm just telling you how I feel, as an anxiety-prone individual with a history of things I don't want to relive while a government employee gropes me, sees me naked, or both.

Still, I know many people have no problem with the nude scanners and pat-downs, and those people tell me, "If you don't like it, don't fly." Well, I'm not flying. Or at least trying not to! However, there are times when people simply don't have a choice in the matter, whether it's for work or family emergencies or what-have-you. And, when it comes to this book tour, I honestly don't know if we'll be able to avoid the less-than-friendly skies.

Here's why:

- The cost
- The risks (one fender-bender could throw the whole tour off, and, no matter how you look at it, flying IS safer.)
- The cost
- Getting around town (would we rent a cab, or drive the RV to the bookstore?)
and, of course:
- The cost.

See, renting an RV is amazingly expensive. I mean, AMAZINGLY expensive. One RV guy told us it's actually cheaper to just buy one and sell it again when you're done with the trip. Um. Yikes? And then there's the gas, which John estimates would cost nearly $4,000 for a round-the-country trip. FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS. Just for gas. Now, our publisher is willing to pick up the tab on quite a lot, but I can't ask them to pay more than they would for regular ol' flights and hotels.

A few more negatives:

- A road trip would take a bit longer, though hopefully not much if we plan the route right. (Also taking into account that, if we flew, we'd allow extra days to rest between stops. I don't want a repeat of our first tour disaster!)

- Since John is the one with experience driving large trucks, he would be the only driver. Meaning if he were to get sick, we'd be up the proverbial creek without a literal driver.

- We also have to consider the physical toll driving and hooking up an RV each night would take on us. Before we usually had a taxi waiting at each airport to take us directly to the store or hotel, meaning we didn't have to worry much about directions and driving and disposing of our own poop. (TMI? Heh. Sorry.)

How cool is this bus?? Can I have one? Please?

The good news is I have the World's Most Amazing Publisher, aka Andrews McMeel. The lovely ladies there are open to just about about any and every crazy idea John and I throw at them. Road trip across the U.S.? Sure! Twenty five stops? Why not? John made a joke about including Australia the other day, and I think they were even on board with *that.* (Now I'm trying to brainstorm ideas just to mess with them, but I have a sneaking suspicion they'd be unflaggingly enthusiastic about a hidden camera show punking bakers with ridiculous cake orders.)

So here's where I'd like some input, if you readers have any to offer: who out there has RV experience? What aspects of this kind of travel am I missing? Are trailer parks hard to find/awful to stay in? Is it a massive amount of work? Do you like it better than flying?




(I wouldn't mind this one, either.)


Our hope would be to find a relatively small RV to save on gas and maximize maneuverability in-town. Our dream would be to find an RV manufacturer willing to rent us one in exchange for some kind of sponsorship deal. I've never done anything like this, of course, and more than likely the motorhome companies won't give us the time of day, but it's worth a shot, right? Especially since you know I'll be posting and tweeting and generally yammering on about the trip when the time comes anyway. Heck, maybe we'll become the new poster-children for the American Road Trip!


Or maybe we'll end up in another Dallas ER.


Who can say?

;)

Right now we're looking at the month of November to hit the road, so we still have a little time to figure out what we're going to do. So, please, chime in with your thoughts! I want any and all advice/ideas you readers have to offer.


*********************

UPDATE: Wow, you guys are bringing up some excellent points and making great suggestions. To save on the comment deluge, let me list the most common issues I'm seeing:

- "November? ARE YOU CRAZY??"

Ok, good point on the snowy road conditions. However, I think we could leave in early October and wrap the tour by mid November, visiting the frozen North first to avoid the worst of the blizzards and such. Plus John was raised in Maine, so he's not unfamiliar with driving in the snow.

- "Why not just take a car and stay in hotels?"

Another good point, and one we're considering. The downsides I see are a) it's a lot less fun, b) you still have to unpack & repack every night, and c) if, God forbid, we get in a wreck, the risk of bodily harm seems much higher in a small car vs a large RV. (As a compromise, we're continuing to research small RVs and/or large vans.)

- "What about trains?"

Good question! Not sure if they go everywhere we need them to, but I'll look into it.

Posted by Jen at 2:20 PM Labels:

248 comments:

  1. I personally think it's a great idea. I don't have anything useful for you though, just my support. :)

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  2. I was with the road trip idea until you said it was going to be in November. Drive around anywhere in the upper portion of the US between November and April and you will probably have to deal with snow, sleet and/or freezing rain at some point.

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  3. There is another option. You could do a road trip in a regular passenger car and stay in hotels. This would eliminate the cost of renting an RV, the gas cost would be drastically reduced, and you could still avoid the dreaded pat-down nudie scan of the airlines.

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  4. Oh, man, I have always wanted to RV! I haven't had any experience, so I'm not much help. But I wonder if you could get an RV company to sponsor. Personally, I think they would be idiots NOT to sponsor you two. Just don't plan on picking up outerspace aliens (like in the movie Paul) and all should be fine! Good luck to you guys!

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  5. Just a couple of thoughts. I've never done a road trip on this scale, but often planned/thought about it!

    First off, the weather. Are you planning to take your tour up north? Are you willing to drive through possible snow and ice up north in November? (I know this doesn't bother some, but since you're in Florida, and FL doesn't get much snow ...)

    Another thing, as long as you plan it right, the tour via car can actually be more relaxing. You can plan rest days - days when you just relax from the road and go sight-seeing (or sleep from exhaustion, lol). You can't do that if you have to catch the next plane.

    As far as getting around, a lot of the larger cities have public transportation. And for the places that don't, I'd bet you could find someone organizing the event who'd be willing to be a driver for you while you're in town if you don't want to do the whole taxi thing. (You could even do a contest - who gets to chauffeur the Cake Wreck writers!)

    Although, it does look like gas prices are just going to keep going up right now. :(

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  6. Last summer my husband and I took a trip to Yellowstone. While we were there, I saw a lot of people driving around in what appeared to be tiny rented RVs. In fact, there were multiple companies represented. I don't actually have any information for you, but the sheer number of those things I saw made me think that it must be at least somewhat affordable.

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  7. I would defnitely suggest figuring out more than one driver. However, I camped across the country once and it is one of my fondest memories. If you plan your route well and leave time to enjoy the travel experience; it would be an amazing opportunity to see a lot of things most people never get to see!
    (And you should totally try and shop for an RV sponsor!)

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  8. I've thought about this, and read an article in ReadyMade or BUST or something about how you can do a one-way RV rental. I always thought it would be fun to road trip from MN to CA and then instead of having to drive back home again you can just fly. Supposedly one way is cheaper, and you can look into doing an RV delivery to cut costs.

    We just did a train ride from St. Paul to Milwaukee and it was awesome. A little longer and Amtrak doesn't always go everywhere or is on time, but I highly recommend it...plus plenty of time for working on another book! :-D

    Thanks for all the awesomeness--you two are great!

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  9. Yay! Sounds like fun. RV'ing definitely gives you more flexibility. Why not do a combo marathon type thing? First leg train up the east coast (relatively inexpensive if you book in advance and you SLEEP ON BOARD AND MEALS ARE INCLUDED OMGORSH!) and there are no scanners/security breach-thing-a-ma-jigs, then FLY across a large stint, rent and pick up an RV out on the West Coast or something, then fly back or drive back to home sweet home! The best of both worlds!!!! Well, it does get complicated, but for only two people (haha, I know, it's a lot harder when you have kids in tow!) you might be surprised how breaking the travel into different modes (RV/train/plane) over the trip helps your sanity! Just one idea...congrats on the new book!!!!

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  10. I'm with you; I've sworn off flying until the TSA figures out no one wants cancer from their machines or TSA agents getting paid to molest 6-year-olds. If there's something awesome that comes up that we'd need to travel for before the TSA changes its rules, we're planning to take a train if it's an option.

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  11. I'm with you; I've sworn off flying until the TSA figures out no one wants cancer from their machines or TSA agents getting paid to molest 6-year-olds. If there's something awesome that comes up that we'd need to travel for before the TSA changes its rules, we're planning to take a train if it's an option.

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  12. My 2 cents (really wish my keyboard had a cent symbol) My husband and I enjoy road trips, however when it comes time to sleeping and pooping I don't want having to dump a sewage tank to be part of it. I'd take a mini van and sleep at hotels.

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  13. November = snow in many parts of the US. I can't imagine trying to drive an RV in a snowstorm!

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  14. PLEASE come to Greenville, SC!!!!! We have triplet leopard cubs at our zoo :D and it's an awesome city. Mainly because I live here but it's pretty awesome all around. http://www.greenvillesc.gov/

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  15. I live in AZ, my parents live in ID. I have only flown up to visit them once. Every time I drive, (16-18 hours) and I love it. I now have 5 kids, and plan to drive up this summer with all 5 of them. (Yes, I plan to arrive in ID with all 5, too!!) The sights you're able to see, the fun of just getting to know each other ('cause you're hostage for hours at a stretch), and making your own schedule is really a bonus for us. Good luck!

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  16. I was nodding my head until you said November. Unless you're sticking to the winterless southern states, you might want to rethink RVing. Maybe a nice four wheel drive truck (with a topper and a mattress in the back for camping at night) would be safer on snowy and icy roads, and save some on gas too.

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  17. Look into a ONE WAY rental. Especially in spring, RV companies have great deals on one way rentals, bringing RV's from the south north. Plan your trip from FL to some far flung destination (say Portland or Seatle) hitting all of your stops on the way, (as long as one of them is MILWAUKEE!) (just sayin!) and then fly home.

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  18. I have done little flying and no RVing but can you come to Baltimore please? which ever form a travel you choose.. pretty please?

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  19. Congrats on your next book!!

    Is there any reason you don't want to just do the road trip in a regular car? The gas cost would be way less, and really, you'll probably want to stop every couple of hours anyway to stretch your legs for a few - so why not skip having to deal with your pee after it's already left your body? You could get really good deals on hotels, and then you don't have to worry about hooking anything up at the end of a long day of driving.

    My hubby & I have done two road trips in cars - one cross country, one up the west coast into Canada - and we loved it. The cost wasn't too bad at all. We've thought about the RV thing before, but the perceived hassle & cost just lead us to stick to a car (and the second trip we even rented a car for the whole thing to save on the wear & tear to our own vehicle). Even the ability to just be unpacked all the time wasn't appealing enough to lure us to an RV.

    Either way, road trips rock and I'm sure you'll love it if you decide to do it. :) Happy trails!

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  20. I think the rv idea is great. Most rv parks have restrooms and showers and you can always stop while driving at a truck stop to use the bathroom. I don't think I would like to dispose of the poo...

    What stops are you planning? Because I would love it if you could make it down to Hattiesburg, Mississippi!

    Jen

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  21. The though makes me shiver, but I hate driving. Also, remember that you will be driving around the country in winter in parts of the country where it snows and also if you are doing signings in cities, it will be very hard to maneuver an RV or find a place to park an RV in any busy city.

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  22. Maybe faithful followers could pick you up at your RV and take you around town?!? I'd be willing to do it but that would mean a trip to Tulsa for you. (Please come here!!) I may even let you borrow my car while you're here. :)

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  23. I am with you--I hate flying as well. I always have. I hate being in cramped quarters with so many other people and I get motion sickness VERY easily. I hate that I can easily catch an illness (just watched Outbreak again, so I had to laugh when you mentioned ebola) and I hate the unruly passengers and crowded, confusing airports. The older I get the worse it's getting. And this is all very ironic since my father is a retired fighter jet pilot in the USAF and he currently is a Captain with SWA.

    I think my question would be to the publishers: what are you willing to pay for? Are they willing to rent the RV for you? Will they pay for gas and parks? I think that's a big question that I would have because then you could determine what you need to provide out of pocket and whether or not that's doable.

    Honestly, I find that RVing it is easy, and I've done it with horses. It's easy to find RV parks, and I'm sure you could park in parking lots at bookstores. Or you could let the bookstore know you're coming in advance with an RV and perhaps they can give you the best choices for parking. Maybe an employee would be willing to come pick you up at a park if your RV won't fit in the lot...?

    Also, is there an RV supply store in your area? I'm sure you can find guides that give you information on where RV parks are. Maybe they have lessons for people on how to drive RVs so you could learn how to do it too. I also found this website: http://www.newrver.com/ And before you leave, I would look into getting AAA for your trip so you always have someone to call if something goes wrong.

    I remember as a kid us piling in my grandpa's van and driving across the country to go to various National Parks and Disney World. It was wonderful and I have such great memories of it. I prefer seeing America from the road and experiencing small diners, meeting people at RV/horse parks, and enjoying the amazing scenery America has to offer. So I say go for it!

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  24. Depending on the type of vehicle you drive (and if you want the wear and tear on your vehicle) you might be able to just get one of those little pull behind trailers like a Tab. And if you are lucky, you can find an RV park that has showers and bathrooms pretty easily. Or you can park at Wal-Mart for free and use their toilets (although good luck with showering there). Lots of truck stops also have shower facilities you can use too. Good luck and don't get sick this time!

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  25. I don't have any RV experience, but I drove from Chicago to Boise in a VW Bug one summer and it was awesome! So much more fun than flying. Have you considered driving a car and staying in hotels? That way you would avoid the flying, but both of you could drive, the gas should be a lot less, and you wouldn't have to rent/buy an RV. The publisher should pick up the hotel costs, since those would be the same as if you flew.

    One thing you should consider if you're going to the Midwest or Canada is that you could encounter snow in November. It shouldn't be much, but if you're not comfortable driving in snow that could be an issue.

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  26. Have you considered perhaps taking trains? They can be super nice and might prove a happy medium. You still have luggage and schedules to deal with, sure, but no invasive security!

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  27. Oh I want to go too! I would LOVE to take an extended road trip accross the country, Australia too. however I have no RVing experience. Growing up we always tent camped when we traveled. Now I have a husband who doesn't care for camping and two little kids, so probably no travel in my near future. Will you be comeing to East Tennessee? Pretty Please? With sugar on it?
    -Rachel

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  28. I had a nice long response to your question, but yeah... nice. You can go class A (bus - like the one with the car you posted) like we had when I was a kid. Handling is a bitch and you're fairly limited where you can go.

    BUT - for you, I'd recommend a CLASS A motorhome. It's great for maneuvering as it is basically just a u-haul with stuff inside.

    You can park at Walmarts for free (and they are well known for allowing it) if you can't find a campground, but you'll definitely need an on board generator. I have LOTS of info from my days "camping" in our hotel on wheels. :)

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  29. Hi Jen! We have been RV'ing for six years and we love it. MSG me if you want to talk further. We started with a small Aliner and graduated to a larger Trailmanor-the "transformer" of RV trailers. We tow with a Safari Van. It is a little more work in some ways, but in other ways (packing/unpacking once!) it is SO much easier. With bedbugs and peep cameras and wierdness in hotels we would much rather RV than Hotel these days. We started RV'ing because, as you've realized, renting an RV for a two week trip would have been half the cost of a trailer. The mileage charges were killers. I think you would love RV'ing; who knows you may decided to start holidaying in the RV after the book tour! We call ours "The Beach House" because our favorite campsite is on the beach.

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  30. The only tip I can think of is consider the weather. November is starting to get into snow season up north.

    If you do make it up to Canada, SW Ontario has pretty high density and you might be able to do multiple stops in a day (St.Catharines, Hamilton, Kitchener/Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, Mississauga, and Toronto are all <1.5h drive from the farthest points), and are <2h from the Buffalo border crossing (again, to the farthest points). London and Windsor (and Guelph, and KW/C) are easy stops heading back towards Detroit. Back to the seasonality though, I'm not sure if any of the trailer parks around here are open in November.

    Maybe do 2 tours? A southern tour in the late fall, and a late spring tour (April/Mayish) up north?

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  31. I've gone on a few trips as an adult with my parents in their 5th wheel. Living 3 weeks in it with various numbers of adult/child combos. I love it. Everything is right there. As long as you know your driving limits I think it is doable.

    The only thing I can think that would hinder you is the camp grounds we've stayed in that were in town have been kind of run down, so I would want to do a lot of research on campgrounds in cities.

    I think it sounds like fun.

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  32. November??? not a fun time of year to be driving a large vehicle long miles in the northern states. If the tour were going the snow bird route only, then it would likely be feasible, but it you're getting anywhere north of say, the arkansas/missouri/oklahoma/kansas line could get gnarly.
    However, you have HOW many follower on Twitter/Facebook/the blogs? I can't believe the RV industry wouldn't want to 'get on board' with you two with prolific material on the experience - maybe even classes for Jen to learn? I know video has not been a big thing with you, but film of you learning how to do everything would likely be a good thing to offer.

    WF: rutbo - Rutbo, Raggy! Ren and Ron rant to RRRRRV!!!

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  33. Hi Jen! I know nothing about RVs, but I do know that Adam Baker over at http://manvsdebt.com/ this year took his show on the road- literally- and moved with his family into an RV full time. I bet he'd be happy to share his newfound expertise on the topic!

    ps- come to Ohio!

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  34. You should find a teardrop trailer, and paint it up with a Cake Wrecks theme. Granted, it's no RV, but it'd be a heck of a lot cheaper to haul around!

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  35. Well I don’t have RV experience, but I’ve always wanted to road trip across the US. And although I’m not afraid of flying, I’m a daughter of a retired FAA inspector and I don’t care for flying anymore. So I hope I can live vicariously through you as you road trip it. Good luck!

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  36. Does it have to be a full on RV, or would you be okay with a pop-up or mini trailer that would tow behind a car and/or truck? They are cheaper and it would allow you to drive as well, and if you're comfortable with togetherness it's not a bad deal.

    Finding campgrounds isn't too hard depending on where you go. If you're not leaving until November, you may rule out a lot of the northern states *cough* like Minnesnowta *cough* which you may have missed on the first tour.

    WV:Schickerv (not kidding- how weird is that) That is one shickerv.

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  37. Okay, so on February 2, 2011: My best friend, my 2 dogs and I drove from NC to OR (permanent move). It was the absolute best thing I've ever done. Everything was AWESOME until Nevada. I hate Nevada. Never drive through Nevada. Besides Reno and Las Vegas, there is literally nothing out there. We'd go 100 miles without seeing another living thing. It was the scariest, most desolate, most isolated place I've ever been. It's beautiful, but when you're trucking through there and you start thinking about breaking down, shit gets really scary.

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  38. I don't have any RV experience but did grow up camping, and I would think it would be a fantastic idea. I *would* think making you both at least capable of driving it would be a requirement, though.

    That said, book a stop in Tuscaloosa, AL! (just not during football season--those crazy bakers hold nothing on the football fanatics around here!

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  39. I think if you are heading out in November you really need to take weather into consideration too. A delayed flight is one thing, but driving through a snowstorm or finding an RV park that is open in the winter may be difficult in some parts of the country. I fully understand your desire to not fly. What about driving in a normal car but staying at hotels? This could accomplish a similar goal of no flying and more flexibility but also allow you to have 2 drivers and an easier time finding places to stay. That all being said, I have never really done the RV thing so I don't know if the parks close or not. I feel like around where I live (Boston), they are only open in the better months and you would be hard pressed to find one near the city itself.
    However I fully understand all your reservations about flying right now. I always prefer to drive if I can when I go somewhere. I like knowing I can throw whatever I want in the car & bring it with me without the strictures of a suitcase. Good luck, can't wait to hear what you decide. Hope you make it up this way!

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  40. oh Jen, this sounds like such an awesome idea! I've never driven an RV, but if you could find a small one, this could be really great. I did tour some recently and if you've ever driven a uhaul, there are some of a comparable size.

    So...i was with you up until you said November. I'd add the weather as a major risk if you'd like to go north of Florida in December-February.

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  41. I think the idea of getting an RV manufacturer to sponsor the road trip is brilliant.With the free advertising and publicity they will get, they just might be willing to do it.

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  42. I hate to risk turning this into an Epcot situation by pointing out what I feel like is obvious, but I'm gonna risk it. Why not drive in your car and stay in hotels? Or you could even rent a small SUV or something so you'd have more space for souvenirs. Gas would be cheaper, you could get around easier, and you'd have 2 solid drivers, until you get to Dallas that is and you have to wait out the plague, but after that you'd still both be set to drive! Provided the plague leaves both of your arms, eyes, and legs in tact, that is.

    I'll volunteer my house for laundry too! Although, I happen to live in Dallas, so maybe getting out as little as possible while you're here (you are coming again, right?) would be best. Either way, I love the idea of road-trippin' it! There are risks with any form of travel, so why not have fun and do what works best for you? My husband and I would totally road trip it if we were in your shoes. Happy deciding!

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  43. ROAD TRIP!!!!!!

    OMG that would be SO COOL!!!!!

    Have you seen "RV" with Robin Williams? Tee hee. But seriously, I think an RV book tour would be the bomb. I remember the agony of last book tour.

    And I don't think you're out in left field to think that an RV company might sponsor your book tour! Getting some neat Cake Wrecks vinyls slapped on the side of an RV would be GREAT publicity as you rolled down the road.

    Heck, you might even be able to sell books at the gas station when you pull in for a fillup because I'm pretty sure people will follow you around.

    Have you thought about hooking up with KOA campgrounds and possible doing book signings there? Maybe get free stays in return for publicity?

    http://koa.com/

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  44. I don't know if this is too outdoorsy for your style, but my friend just took a road trip across the US and had a blast without spending too much money. Instead of renting an RV, they took their own car and a tent and just rented campsites from KOA (Kampgrounds of America) which are about $30 a night for a tent spot. They also have cabins but those are a little bit more expensive at about $50 a night.

    They only stayed at the KOAs with running water, bathrooms, electricity, kitchens, and free wifi, so it wasn't like they had to bathe in rivers! They saved a lot of money on gas and lodging and met some great people along the way. I don't know how the costs would compare to renting an RV, but it might be worth taking a look:

    http://koa.com/

    PS - they also have a membership card that I think is around $25 that gets you discounts and rewards.

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  45. If you like road trips, you should def. get an RV. My dad had one and it is how we travelled when I was growing up (no way we could afford to fly a family of 6 anywhere).

    Here's the thing...
    DON'T poop.
    It's gross. It's smelly. You don't want to deal with it.
    If you rent one w/ a lav, just #1 in it. If you have to #2, the RV parks usually have facilities, walk over, deposit, walk back, no poop to deal with.

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  46. Marian Call just did a road-trip tour. No RV, but I'm sure she could give you some good pointers on making it work.

    http://mariancall.com/

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  47. My family and I did a lot of RVing while I was growing up, and I love it as well. Finding RV parks never seemed to be a problem. There are a lot out there, especially along the interstate highways. Where you might have problems is finding inter city ones. But if you can park the RV and get rides in to your signing locations, you shouldn't have any problems. I would pick this over flying, especially for a tour like yours, any day of the week (and tice on sondaze) LOL. And if you do come to Canada, can it be Halifax, please? There's a really nice RV park right in the city and it's very close to the Chapters book store. I'll even come pick you up and take you to the signing (she said with big, pleading, bambi-eyes).

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  48. Totally look into sponsorship! Even if they don't pick up the whole thing, they'll knock off a lot of the price for the advertising. Your publicist should be able to work out something.

    Camp grounds are easy in and easy out. Hook ups are simple. Map out your trip with well known camp grounds like KOA in mind. AAA trip tickets also plot out camp grounds with RV hook ups.

    We lived in a motorhome for a year when my sister and I were wee things. Loved it. And we're looking into a trip this summer because my own children have to have that experience!

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  49. Wow, you guys don't do anything in half measures, do you? That's quite an ambitious undertaking.

    The only thing I'd want you to be aware of (and it might not even apply, depending on which states you'd be hitting) is that RVs are high profile vehicles...so anytime you're going through mountains/higher elevations, you need to be aware of wind advisories. (My mom bought an RV/camper when she lived in SoCal, but never used it b/c everyplace she wanted to go camping was through a mountain pass...and there were a lot of high wind days.)

    I hope your travel plans work out (no matter what vehicles you use).

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  50. Have you considered working with your publisher to get some sort of discount from the RV people? If they could work out some kind of endorsement/ Ad program, the RV types might be willing to give you a break. After all, with your readership it would be a good PR event for them. Also, have you thought of taking the train? Sleeper cars! Spies! Jewel thieves!
    (well, maybe not the last two.)

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  51. What an awesome idea :) Depending on where you go, RV parks can be very plentiful. And in cases where they're not, why don't you tap your fans? I'd love to have you parked in my yard/driveway for the night! Or check into the local Walmart parking lot...my RVing grandparents swear they do this on the way to Florida and have never been hasseled. I love a road trip, so good luck!

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  52. I have done a cross-country trip twice: once in an RV and once in one of these vans with more open space in the back, a TV, tiny table, and bench seat that folded down into a full-sized bed. However, I was 8 and 14 years old at the time, so my perspective on the trips may not be particularly helpful.

    I thought they were lots of fun, though tiring and boring at times. If you're only doing 6 hr jumps, then I can see it being do-able. My parents would switch off driving for the longer legs (12-16 hrs) and that was the only way it worked out.

    I remember liking most of the RV parks we stopped at. It didn't seem like it was a big deal to hook up everything. When we did the trip with the van, we would stop at camp grounds and us kids got put in a tent while mom and dad got the bed in the van.

    However, both of those vehicles were GAS GUZZLERS! With prices pushing $4, that's quite expensive of a trip... I guess it all just comes down to who you would rather your money go to: "evil" airlines who let you get abused in one way or another before getting on the planes or "evil" gas companies who...uh, out of witty comments for now...?

    I hope my linking worked!

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  53. I've been a long-time reader of both CW and Epbot and I love hearing about your guys' adventures!

    I've been on a couple of road trips, once for spring break in college to Florida and once last year for Blizzcon in California (both trips made from Missouri). We're planning on attending Blizzcon again this year, but I think we're going to fly instead. For last year's, we rented a mini-van and the cost of gas was RIDICULOUS, even split between four people (me, the boyfriemd, the boyfriend's brother, and another friend). The drive there was great, we left at night and made it from Missouri to New Mexico by the next morning. We made some pit stops along the way for bathrooms and gas and of course sight-seeing. But I was really ready to get out of that damn van by the time we got to Cali (I hate being cooped up). We stayed in a hotel not too far from the convention center and most things were within walking distance food-wise. But we did make a drive out to the beach, so it was nice to have the van for that. We had fun, however, I was never so glad to be home after the ride back, even swapping between four drivers. That much driving is. so. tiring.

    Both our road trips (both of them included four people each time) were fun, but tiring and expensive even splitting costs and driving duty between us all. And they were both only for a week each! I can't imagine on an extended trip like what you've got in mind. It sounds fun, but also tiring and the gas prices... *whimper*. The other thing with driving is considering where you'll be heading at that time of year (November) and keep in mind pesky winter weather which may slow you guys down.

    Whichever way you guys decide on, I can't wait to hear about it!

    P.S. Sorry for the walk of text!

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  54. you should totally get that bottom one. all the sleeping/living/pooping space of an RV, with a sports car to arrive in style at bookstores!! ;) ok, i admit it, i have no idea about anything to do with RV's, and airports/planes are my favorite part of any trip, but good luck on the tour and PLEASE COME TO NEW HAMPSHIRE???

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  55. I would RV across the country in a heartbeat. Think of all the landscapes, people, and beauty of America you'd miss if you flew?

    I would do it just for the adventure. It sounds like such a blast. Plus, since hearing of your tendency for sickness, it sounds healthier for you guys. :)

    And since I've given you all this awesome advice, you must stop in Oklahoma now. Mmkay!?!

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  56. Could your publisher contact an RV company that might "sponsor" the trip (RV for free)? I've seen RVs with amazing vinyl wrap artwork. They could put the book tour logo on the RV and you would be a rolling advert for both the book & the RV.

    My parents are avid RVrs and have done cross country trips. Some of the newer RVs will be more luxurious than any hotel you might stay in.

    Happy Trails!

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  57. have you considered a pop-up (tent) trailer? much less expensive, even to buy, much lighter weight for hauling and set up. better gas mileage, more flexibility about camp sites etc . they even have some with showers and toilets included... of course most campgrounds have those too. i love my tent trailer... best vacations ever! just stay far far away from KOA Kampgrounds. far far away.

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  58. My family always favored camping over flying and staying in hotels. My parents have never had a motor home, but they do have a 30 foot travel trailer. It's nice.

    As far as local transportation is concerned, I've seen a lot of motor homes that hitch a small car to the back and tow it. That way they can drive that to the grocery store or sight-seeing.

    With an RV, you'll want to avoid National and some State Parks. Not because they're not nice, but because they don't usually have the necessary water and electric hookups. Definitely research campgrounds in the area and make reservations in advance to make sure the campground has what you need. Good Sam is a great resource for that (they have an excellent rating system, too).

    Now, here's a downside that it wasn't apparent that you've thought of. In November, it gets cold when you start getting above the Mason-Dixon line area. Sometimes it snows. There are a lot of private campgrounds that close for the winter months. This is another good reason reservations are a good idea. Also, water lines in RVs are more susceptible to freezing than in a house.

    Overall, I think this is an excellent idea! I just don't know how feasable it will be in late fall/early winter. I'm just trying to keep it real here. Sounds like a most excellent adventure to plan. :-D

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  59. Congratulations on your new book! How exciting!

    For your road tour, have you considered, or even heard of, a sportmobile? http://www.sportsmobile.com/

    My mom and her husband have one of these that they bought used and they love it! It would solve your mobility problem and it gets much better gas mileage than a traditional RV. It fits in a standard parking spot too.

    Good luck!

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  60. RV campsites are all over the place in Kentucky and Tennessee, I know. My in-laws travel all the time in theirs and never have trouble finding a place to park and hook up. It's a little cumbersome, yes, but you do get the hang of it. Get one with a nice bed and you're set. Good luck with the possible sponsorship, that would be awesome!

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  61. MckMama is doing an RV trip right now... she might have some pointers for you. I think they borrowed a neighbors RV, maybe that could work out for you.

    Sounds like lots of fun to me!

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  62. Well I'm only thirteen, but I *have* been in a RV multiple times because our family is obsessed with camping :D. We normally do tents, but we RV'd up to a family Christmas when I was seven and RV'd to a cousin's wedding when I was eight, and that trip took two weeks. Trailer parks can actually be fun- some of the ones we stopped at had playgrounds, treehouses, sick biking trails, and were often near tourist destinations. We spent fourth of July in a park, and joined in on one big communal BBQ with people we didn't even know. So my vouch is for RV's. Go for it!

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  63. Julie G. from IowaApril 14, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    Rather than an all-in-one type rv, how 'bout a truck or suv to pull a camper? That way you could detach it after you've parked at the rv place and have a vehicle of your own to drive around town. Not sure where your tour will take you but you may want to stay south - winter up here in the north could make for a hairy drive with a big heavy rv!
    Much success on your new book!

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  64. I absolutely hate driving places and hop on a plane at every available opportunity, but you've managed to make road-tripping sound fun!

    The biggest thing that jumped out at me is the November part. If you're visiting any northern or mountainous states, winter weather could come into play. Of course, that's a risk even with flying, but definitely more with driving. Arkansas, however, is not wintery at all in November. Hint, hint.

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  65. I think a road trip is a great idea for a book tour, especially considering the reasons you've posted!

    An old high-school friend who now lives in Jacksonville had a work convention in San Fransico a couple years ago. She and her husband decided to buy an old Airstream, fix it up, and go cross-country with their 3 kids. They blogged it all at

    http://mappingthemitchells.blogspot.com/

    and it's still up. She mentions a lot of the ups and downs to be considered but if they can do it with 3 little ones, I'm sure you two could do it!

    Another option, of course, is to drive a regular car with maybe a tow-behind or pop-up that you could maybe leave at the RV park while taking your car to the stores?

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  66. watch The Long Long Trailer and then see what you think?
    that aside, I'm all for it as a concept. more than one person, making several stops across the US, that always seems like an argument for driving.
    check with the RV places - you may find a fan that is totally willing to front you the rental, or at least give you a deal.

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  67. What about a bus? It's not exactly the same, but if you spin it right, you might be able to have McMeel invest in bus like those used by bands. You just have to make them see that they can use it again, for other tours, ultimately saving them money and making them more accessible to their customers. Whether or not any of that is true, I don't really know. But that's how you have to sell it.

    Alternately, you guys could buy a trailer camper. That way, you could hook it up to a truck and parking would be a little easier. At night or while on gigs, you can park them in overnight lots (same as you would use for an RV). Same benefits as an RV, only more portable. Although, you do run the small risk that someone could drive off with it if you leave it unattended. I don't know how a person avoids that.

    Finally, an RV might sound fun, but it might just be better to rent a car or use your own. The company is already willing to foot the cost of your hotel and the price of gas should be comparable to airfare.

    Ooooh...what about renting from a private party? It's not as safe, you definitely run some risks with liability, but you might be able to find something small that won't eat up as much gas, and for a bargain. Put an ad up on Craigslist! See what happens! :)

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  68. Who says you have to do a full size RV, do a camper van. Did that with my husband from Twin Cities to New Orleans. Driving on cobblestone roads, and tight streets down there was not the best, but we did park it downtown no prob! Plus we could both drive.

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  69. Lapsed PastafarianApril 14, 2011 at 3:29 PM

    If your trip starts in November are you doing only southern cities. Does John have experience driving in snow and ice? Considering what a pain in the a$$ flying has become a road trip sounds great.

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  70. Aren't there RVs that are large enough to tow a car behind? You could just bring your car with you and then drive it when you get to your destination.

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  71. Is it just me or does anyone think that they should get an RV, steampunk it to awesome levels and find some channel like TLC, or Discovery or ScyFy to foot the bill. Because I would pay to watch a reality show of that tour + steampunked RV

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  72. That does sound neat in a lot of ways, but unless you are planning to avoid entirely the Northeast, Midwest, and Plains, six weeks starting sometime in November does mean chances of icy roads, snowstorms, and all that fun stuff, which would still impact plane travel but if you've only got one driver you do have a big worry about fatigue. There's a good reason the prototypical road trip is in the summer, and not just because it's usually taken by college kids with no jobs--it's because driving in snow sucks SO HARD.

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  73. Wow, this does sound like an amazing idea...but I'm with the other readers who are mentioning that your trip starts in November. Whether you fly or drive, if you're anywhere North of like...Oklahoma, the weather could play with your plans.

    However...other readers are suggesting just driving in a regular car--such traditional road trips are also completely EPIC and OH-SO much fun! It'd be TONS easier for you to drive and there are often situations where planes can't get out (because the one coming in is grounded somewhere in snow) and/or large vehicles have a hard time but a car would be fine.

    Do you HAVE to do the whole trip one way or the other? Could you plan a road trip loop in the areas closer to home (where weather won't be such an issue) and then fly out to a wider radius?

    Just a thought.

    May the Force be with you! It's too much to hope that you'll stop by State College, PA (which is a ridiculously small town about halfway in between Pittsburgh and Philly) but I look forward to hearing alllll about it!

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  74. Love the idea...some ideas for you...all your negatives are true and so are your positives..so it's a matter of what you are willing to deal with...suggestion about the RV..call food network..they love crazy ideas...but beyond that you just might find someone crazy enough out there that will rent you there's cheaper than a rental company...you never know. Also you have the truck with camper vs. RV that might work better on the driver situation. Good luck with your scheming!

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  75. My Grandparents always had a motorhome and my parents and I would use it during the summer to go to Mammoth Lakes (CA) for fishing and horse back riding...best summers of my life! =)
    My parents have their own motorhome now and actually just planned a trip in June to the Grand Canyon and Zion...I'm jealous! LOL
    RVing is so much fun, as long as you plan everything out. Lots of the parks require reservations (the good ones with hookups-which are a must in November!)
    And when needing to do your 'business' it is best to use the facilities at the parks and only use the potty and shower in the RV as little as possible...dumping grey and black water is smelly and annoying!! =)
    If you are back in the San Diego area again I will so take you guys out to dinner!!
    LOVE YA =)

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  76. I love doing stuff like this. My in-laws actually too their sons across country in an RV for 3 weeks when the boys were younger. My biggest suggest would be to check out KOA as if you are members they usually offer pretty good discounts on sites and may even have discounts on the rentals.
    Good luck and if you can make it to Vermont we'd love it ! :)

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  77. I'm echoing the concerns of others saying that driving an RV around up north if you're not used to driving on snow and ice is probably not a good idea.

    I've done lots of long distance car trips (Edmonton to LA for example), week-long motorcoach trips, and lots of flights. I used to fly every 2 weeks. There are definitely advantages and disadvantes to each thing. It's nice having a bathroom you can use on the road, but the thought of cleaning it is just gross. If the cities are close enough then it can be faster to drive than to fly.

    We'd love to have you up here in Canada (coming to Winnipeg?), just be careful with the driving if you're coming in the winter.

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  78. Have you thought about a travel trailer? Light ones like the Tab or others are adorable AND can be hauled by small cars. I bet you could get the people who make the Tab to sponsor against the cost. There's a blog about a couple who did...somewhere.

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  79. I really have no experience in this matter.. nor do I have a RV that I would lend totally lend to you if I did.
    Im just dropping in to beg you to come to NH. Or New England. Or anywhere remotely not excessively far away from me. PLEASE.
    or else Im just going to figure out how to road trip to you myself. Ill have my license by then.
    Be careful of snow. :D

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  80. Please, Please, Please come to Minneapolis!!
    That being said, I wouldn't recommend driving an RV around Minnesota anytime from Thanksgiving to St. Patrick's Day.
    But what if you got your publisher to spring for an extra driver? Maybe pay a friend to drive you around, that way John could have a break too.

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  81. It sounds like the RV trip could easily become a book of its own. And then maybe the cost could be retroatively reimbursed? But I am in total agreement: if you want to do a road trip in an RV, November is a bad time to do it. (Same with December, January, February, March, and the first two or three weeks of April.)

    Here's a crrazy thought: Have you considered couchsurfing? I doubt you would have any trouble at all finding fans willing to put you up wherever you go - and you could always grab a hotel wherever things don't work out.

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  82. I don't think it's necessarily a terrible or even bad idea, but having road tripped as one of only two drivers and as the only driver, I would suggest not doing it unless you get another driver. Not just in case John gets sick, but after a while, it's just not even that safe to have the same person still driving.

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  83. November? So you are leaving those of us in the northern states out? If you plan on driving, the trip'll have to be earlier or later, otherwise plan on possible blizzards, sleet storms, ice storms, etc.

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  84. I am so mega jealous, I love the idea of a long road trip with my honey. Have you considered a train? Trains are cool and go all over. They have awesome sleeper cars too.

    Another suggestion I had was springing for a bigger RV/mini van and offering a couple of your friends to come on the tour with you, hopefully another driver friend.

    There are RV spots all freaking over, and even wal-mart works in a pinch or if you need an extended driving break. If I had the funds I'd totally buy a RV and just keep it for easy quick camping and other road trips. Imagine how many Con parties you could have in your own steampunk'd RV :)

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  85. You have asked for a LOT Jen, but let me just say this. My wife and I spent 5 1/2 years living in an RV just traveling the country. We did temp jobs to make enough money to get us to the next location. The only reason we stopped is our Motorhome broke down and we didn't have the funds to fix it. We absolutely LOVE the life and can't wait until we can get back to it.

    My recommendation is to rent an RV. If you are worried about transportation, rent a travel trailer instead. Pull it with a pickup.

    BTW - There is a fantastic campground in Ocala called Lake in the Forrest. The people there are wonderful and you can get all the advice about traveling you could ever want. You should consider renting a cabin there for a weekend to see what it is like. If you do, tell them I sent you :-)

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  86. You mint want to contact Adam Baker of man versus debt. He and hia family are in the middle of an RV road trip. They bought the RV and then had it wrapped with a sponsor's logo to defray costs

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  87. I love the idea, and I have made many road trips (in cars and staying in hotels or sleeping in a tent at campgrounds). And I would say go for it, except you said November. Weather could easily cause more problems for you than anything.

    What about doing both? Have them fly you west (for example) you do a signing in Portland (or something) then you rent an RV and drive south, doing other book signings on the way, then maybe ending in Phoenix (or something) and flying back. Similar trips could be taken in other states that don't get as much winter weather.

    You could then just plan a few smaller road trips with fewer flights, and hopefully avoid being snowed in in your RV between cities somewhere.

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  88. I live near a National Park and I always seen a ton of little RVs that are, as someone else described them, like little UHauls but with stuff inside. That might be a good travel option and would be cheaper. I think a road trip sounds like a blast. Someone's idea of a combined train and RV trip also seems like a good one. You should totally do it, and just build in a little extra time, if you can, so that if winter doth rear its ugly head you can just stay off the road for a day or two as needed.

    And please come to Denver again! We were so nice to you last time and Jon didn't even have to go to the hospital or anything!

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  89. A few years ago my boyfriend's godparents went on a roadtrip around Europe (we're from Portugal). They didn't have a lot of money and wanted to avoid hotels as much as possible, so here's what they did: they got a Renault Kangoo and built a platform for the back that held two mattresses at night, and that during the day folded upwards to make room for the motorcycle they used to get around the places they visited. At night they parked in camping parks and used their facilities (bathroom, kitchen, etc.). They say it was one of the best experiences of their lifes!

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  90. I'm seeing lots of comments about a car trip and I think that's the way to go. I think RV trip would just be too much of a hassle if you're trying to travel up north in November with all that snow... brrrr....

    Any thoughts on where you'll stop? The Loveliest Village, aka Auburn, AL, has some college kids that would love to meet you and John and I'm sure there are some locals here that'd like to see you too. Have you ever considered making a university stop? I bet the cupcake replicas would be hilarious! I'd be there for sure. Please stop by!

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  91. My family and I drove from St. Paul MN to Tampa/Fort Myers Florida. Thats about 23 hours. We stopped only for 2 nights. We didn't rent an R.V but I have stayed in one and they are for sure better than staying in a cheap hotel.
    Sounds like a great idea!
    Where are you road tripping to?

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  92. What about a -small- RV? Enough people have already suggested a regular-car trip, and I do agree that you don't want to be driving one of those massive behemoths through the Midwest if a snowstorm hits; but the smaller RVs aren't much bigger than a large van. That way, you could both drive, it won't be as stressful dealing with road conditions, and it should hopefully cut back on gas costs a little.

    Otherwise, yeah. I don't think you really want to take the weather risks in a giant RV. D:

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  93. Instead of road tripping in an RV, just do it in your car. It's the same amount of stops, the same fun, and slightly less expensive (if you rent REALLY cheap motel rooms while driving, since driving some places may require twenty-four-hour+ drives). Good luck!

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  94. If you used a pop-up camper, or a hybrid popup pull behind, which has air conditioning, heat, water and electricity capabilities, you could probably rv it because you would have your car, cutting out the need for rentals. Also, popups are around 12000 to buy, the most expensive. Hybrids are around 20000 and have full bathrooms.

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  95. If your publisher would normally pay for flights and hotels, why not just do a car and hotel road trip? Saves a ton on gas, you could take turns driving, and you wouldn't have to dispose of your poo yourself! If you are coming up to the northwest in the winter and don't do well in snow, you should definitely have chains or studded tires. But I think road trips are great fun! I'd just skip the RV and hotel hop!! Good luck with the planning!

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  96. Have you actually sat down and total the cost of all the flights, hotels, and taxis?

    The RV could be cheaper. Flights are getting mighty expensive

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  97. I LOVE your idea! I'm trying to talk my hubby into it for our expected trip to Michigan to see our niece get married. But he says he doesn't mind the extra expense of flying because he doesn't want to spend all that time on the boring roads. I'm not looking forward to getting up close and personal with the TSA. :-/

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  98. PLEASE COME TO AUSTRALIA!!!! I know you can`t drive to here but we Aussie fan`s would like to see you!

    *excited bounce*

    If me, who has a terrible fear of flying, gets concerned when unable to move free, and who dislikes crowds of people, can fly to Canada in what became an epic 40 hour trip thanks to lost bags etc etc, then surely you can come here!

    (Does the guilt thig work on you?) :-)

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  99. I say GO FOR IT! :] It sounds like so much fun. Yeah, there are drawbacks, but I think the fun factor outweighs all the cons. And dumping the black water (sewage) isn't that bad...keep some handsoap nearby to wash your hands right afterwards, because it is really stinky and gross. Good luck with the sponsorship thing--that would be awesome!

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  100. "And perhaps a bit of Canada."

    YES PLEASE!!!!!!

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  101. Jen and John... I'm a bookseller, and I've had a couple of long-distance visits from authors - one had an RV, one used her own minivan to travel. But in both cases, the publisher had the vehicle "shrink-wrapped" with advertisements for the book, and were able to write off the road expenses under the advertising column. And it was very cool to have that shiny-wrapped vehicle parked out in our parking lot for the signing - drew lots of extra readers/buyers. As someone suggested, how about a travel-bus like bands use, with a professional driver (thus allowing easier passage through the possible-snowbelt states like Mass.)? Even those can be shrink-wrapped. If you came here, I'd have to rent a hall to hold all the fans - but I would, I would; it would be worth it! IF you want more details, feel free to contact me at anniesbookstop at yahoo dot com.

    Merry at Annie's Book Stop/Sharon, MA

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  102. I think the trip is wonderful. But I agree with some of the others: think about driving and getting hotel rooms. That way you both *could* drive if necessary. And you get to avoid flying.

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  103. Shoot...my 1st post got "lost" :(

    I love your idea of a road trip in an RV!

    My husband is in the Army and we've driven across the US several times by car and also by RV. It's a great way to see our great nation!

    We own a big truck (ford F250) and a pull behind trailer (28 feet long.) We've also owned a class C RV (one that you drive) We got rid of the Class C RV because we couldn't drive in the city. The cool thing with the pull behind is that we can drop the trailer anywhere and drive the truck into the city or even a book store parking lot! :) My family loves traveling in the RV...it's so much fun!

    You do save a lot of money by making your own meals and not eating in restaurants. Gas (and disel) is expensive, though. However, it still is cheaper to travel by RV rather than staying in decent hotels and eating out every single meal. RV parks can add up, too. A decent RV park can run from $45-60 depending on utilities (water, electric, sewer, cable, WiFi.)

    Hooking up and unhooking everyday is pretty easy. The first few times it takes a little longer, but it's pretty easy and simple. As for the poop...it's easy to take care of and not that big of a deal. Once in a while you might have an "accident" (sorry...couldn't resist) but it's nothing a little water won't take care of! And trust me, after that "accident" with the black tank, you'll never do it again!

    One thing to think about is travel time. It does take a little longer in an RV. Cars can drive a whole lot faster. Wind can cut down your time, too. Since you'll be traveling during Nov and Apr, there is still bad weather. There are RV groups around on the internet...find one and talk to them about traveling in bad weather...I know a lot of them do it.

    You might want to take a short trip before you start on a big trip. Go for a week, see if you like it and see if it's for you. A friend of ours did that before buying one and discovered it wasn't for him. Saved him a big chunk of change!

    Good luck on deciding! I love RVing...it's so fun... and hopefully you'll stop somewhere in central kansas on your trip! :)

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  104. All's I can say is PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE COME TO INDIANAPOLIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    WV: lattle: We ladled out lattes for everyone using our brand new expensive lattle.

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  105. Do it!!! The hubby and I moved in a 30 ft Class C RV...twice! Once up to Alaska from Georgia and back down from Alaska 3 years later...in March...in -58 degree weather...with 3 dogs! It was a blast, a challenge, and an overall wonderful experience! Why do you think we did it a second time? It was great to see the country, we had great conversations, he did the driving, I did the cooking, and it strengthened our already wonderful marriage. Don't worry too much about the cold, ice and snow; it's a challenge but not difficult to overcome with some forethought. Feel free to hit me up if you have any questions.

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  106. I have friends who retired to live in an RV. They loved it, but I observed this: when they were in town we often had to close down a party early because the RV park LOCKED UP at 11:00 and if they were out later than that, they couldn't get back to their RV. Be sure to check the open/closed hours of any park you use!

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  107. You might like this for not having to unpack every day -it could go in the back of a decent sized car (though not cheap): Wardrobe Trunk
    or Diagonal Trunk

    The other option: Swiss Room Box

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  108. I can understand not wanting to fly but there is another option that you might consider.

    Maybe plan a train trip? Trains are romantic.

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  109. Have you and John considered a train trip? It's not as bad as it sounds, really. I tripped from NC to AZ in high school, and it was lots of fun. Easier than a plan, more flexible thana car.

    Also, I agree with Katie's comment about the North part. Snow=yuck

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  110. I'm not sure about other parts of the us. But in NC and TN some of the rv sites are a bit off the road. And they can be pricey if you want electricity at your site. I'd go with the car/hotel idea. But that's just me. And please stop in Nashville or Knoxville, TN. Pretty please!!!

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  111. I agree with Diana Watson about the third option. It avoids all of the airline problems, plus you could stay at some really great B&Bs with the money you save on gas :)

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  112. I was going to suggest trains/busses, too. You might not be able to get *everywhere* on them, but you can probably do a lot of your travel that way and at least minimize the flying. The hubby and I are travelling to the East coast soon, and while we're flying there we're then training from Atlanta to DC getting a sleeper car for the overnight trip. Yay adventure! :-D And I totally agree with your desire to minimize flying given the ridiculous new safety (theatre) measures. That is WHY we're taking the train whenever possible.

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  113. Way too lazy to read through the comments, sorry, but just throwing out the fact that trains tend to be expensive and slow, and if you're taking shorter trips, they might not have sleeper cars. And the food tends to be not too great.

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  114. We have an '84 VW van with a pop-top. Would you like to borrow it? Automatic transmission, so you can both drive; not bad on gas; you get to pretend you're a hippie... Of course, it is an '84. There is the chance that it would break down. And I'm in Ontario, Canada, so you would have to come visit me to get it!
    I just love your idea. I know this is hard to believe, but I have never been on a plane. I don't ever want to! I can't really understand the appeal.
    I have never traveled in a large RV, but I have driven behind them often enough. If you are planning on not more than 6 hours between stops, you might need to plan those stops about 50 miles apart! Those honkers are slow!
    Whatever you decide to do, have a great time!

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  115. D.B. Echo had it. I was going to suggest Couchsurfing.org. There's plenty of people like *me* who would have a place for you to park your RV, and you can save on the hooking-up aspect (you can have the advantage of not unpacking, you can sleep in your own area and you can use their electricity and shower and fridge and stove (and many of us will cook you dinner and give you good info for your days "off"... Some of us will even let you borrow our car for local trips! You can do it with or without the RV - your options abound!

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  116. With great risk comes great reward.....

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  117. John and Jen,
    What about towing a hi-lo trailer so that you have a SUV type vehicle to tour after setting up the trailer in a campground? Hi-lo lowers to pull to heighth like the old pop-ups and would use less gas because of less drag.
    Jeanine from South Orlando

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  118. A friend of mine did a cross country trip with his girlfriend in a tiny RV/van.

    They LOVED it, though they told me if they were to do it again they'd schedule a hotel stay once a week or so. They said mentally it would have helped to break up all of the traveling since they felt like they spent A LOT of time in the vehicle.

    Also you should make stops along the way like to see landmarks around the US, or even things like the Jelly Belly factory or Hershey Park.

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  119. I would kill to road trip across the U.S.! Okay maybe not kill, but man I would love to be able to do that!

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  120. I think one cool positive of the Road Trip vs. planes, whether in RV or car, is that you could in theory make pit stops along the way to see some really neat sites. It would take some research, but you could make this into a cross between a vacation and a work trip.

    Plus if you get stuck in a Dallas hospital, that's where I live, so I could TOTALLY help you guys out. I'm sure SEVERAL fans would offer. :)

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  121. Why not Australia? We are hanging out for you to come to Australia! You wouldn't have any snow problems here!!!!!

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  122. Pull a small car behind the motorhome. And by all means, get a driver. That way you 2 can sleep while the driver drives. I think it sounds like a great idea. You could also maybe have someone sponsor ads and put them on the motorhome. You know, like some people sell space on their cars.

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  123. Have you looked into the Sprinter Van?

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  124. I totally think you should do it, but why don't you get a sponsor? Like Dairy Queen - and use their truck! Think of all the free ice cream cake you could get - all in the name of research! :)

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  125. I don't know if someone suggested this already, but why not road trip for part of the trip (maybe some cities are closer together?) then fly to a farther destination and continue road tripping from there? Or perhaps some other mix of flying/road trip.

    And yes, please come to Canada! Particularly Vancouver. It'll be wet, but there's a minimal chance of snow and ice. Plus, there are some beautiful views near RV parks around here!

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  126. Oh please, please, please do come to Australia!!

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  127. I'm not going to read all the comments before me so apologies in advance if I'm repetitious . . . but all I have to say is: ROAD TRIP IT!! XD Driving across country is the most fun I have ever had. I grew up doing it, and I've taken two California-to-Ohio road trips with my best friend, and nothing beats seeing this country from the open highway. I don't understand why people look askance over car travel--it's great. Good luck to you both!! And maybe stop in and say hi to exotic Indiana while you're at it ;)

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  128. Hey Jen & John,

    I read all your blogs and I just love you guys. I am from Australia and would love if you came here so maybe push on with that idea ;)

    My Fiance and I met while doing a Contiki tour of the USA and Cananda for two months and we just loved it! By road is the only way to really experience your great country!!! We loved everything about it!

    I have also RV'd (?) around New Zealand and driven from one side of Australia to the other for holidays. It is frankly the best way to travel anywhere and I cannot recommend it enough!!

    In terms of sponsorship, there are many car companies in Australia who loan out brand new cars etc to bloggers who blog about parenting, food, travel etc. So it doesn't even really relate to the car. If they talk about the car then they get it for free for like a month or two months. Surely your publishers can work something like that out?

    Just some thoughts, I know you and John would have the best time road tripping!!

    Love Kelly xoxo

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  129. Jen as I read over your blog it sounds like an RV road trip is what you want. And if it is something you want then go for it craziness and all. Just make sure you have AAA (or some other insurance that can help you if you're stranded) and make an adventure out of it. It will probably be all of the good and some of the bad but it will definitely live in the history books for you and John. What better thing to spend your money on then a month traveling with your hubs. You only live once. I'm no help with any of the details, so like Heidi D I'm just supportive

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  130. How about renting a pull behind camper? You could probably rent a truck with a trailor hitch and would still have the camping experience. That way you would unhook the truck to drive to the book store. :)

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  131. (Note: I haven't read through the comments; sorry if I duplicate others)
    I have RV'ed exactly twice, both times in and around New England in summer. I recommend getting your hands on a Rialta, Winnebago built on a VW chassis. It's small enough to maneuver in town, yet roomy enough for 3 kids and 3 adults (if you include a tent for overflow sleeping space!)...

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  132. 1) I love the way you two think out-of-the-box.
    2) I dunno what your regular wheels are, but a pop-up trailer seems like a good idea. Park it at your site for the day, and drive your vehicle around town. Benefits of this are that you'd never have to pack/unpack it, and you would have a maneuverable car for daytime use.
    3) PLEASE come to Southern California!! Our weather is pretty good all year long, and I'd even bring you a Jamba Juice with an immunity boost!

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  133. camper trailer. cheaper to buy you unhitch to drive around when you're camped, better mileage.you KNOW you want a steam punk trailer, don't you?

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  134. Awwwwwwwww! I have to wait until OCTOBER?!?!?!

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  135. I've totally got it!

    Start watching the local paper for a used RV, 'cause, really, all you need is the engine and the shell to be good.

    Spend the time between now and the book release pimping....ummm... crafting and personalizing... it up as CakeWrecks: RV edition. Then at the end of the trip, auction it off -- everything above cost going to charity? I don't know how much RV's go for, so I don't know if that's actually possible, but it might be fun.

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  136. Kudos on considering the RV idea! As an avid RV kid, this is a fantastic opportunity that you will love. Yes, gas is terribly expensive, but with the right support structure it is a great alternative that will save you hours of stress.

    First, join Good Sams or get AAA for your RV. It will save you in the long run. The bonus with AAA is in the event a fender bender occurs they will help get you back on the road on the double. Plus, with the number of certified parks out there that offer discounts to those two groups will help reduce costs from the gas increase. Much cheaper than driving and staying in hotels in the long run, plus you always have your own bed and bathroom with you (a HUGE plus on a long road trip).

    Second, there is a great bonus to buying versus renting. The trick is to find a great dealer who will help get you set up and teach you how to set up and break down quickly. If you get a travel trailer (towed behind an SUV) or 5th wheel (towed with a big truck) then you can get an economical price and have a car to use. Many have a lot of automatic options for leveling and other functions, meaning less time setting up and breaking down. The other option is to tow your car and get a motor home. You can find a used high class motor home for great prices (mainly because of high gas prices and the down economy) and those are comfortable and a great option.

    My parents recently invested in a 10 year old motor home that is fantastic to stay in. The floor plan is awesome and roomy even without a slide-out.

    As for the seasonal issue: you just need to plan accordingly. Start up north in the October/November time frame and you should be fine, just make sure that you hit the west coast and southern area by mid-late November and travel the rest of the time in the southern states.

    I've been witness to 2 side-swipes in motor homes, plus horrid weather conditions and a host of other travel nightmares and still love it. The key is to be as prepared as possible and make friends with your more experienced neighbors on the road. They are the best resource you can have on the road and RV'ers will do anything to help a fellow RV'er during a trip. :-)

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  137. I see you've already had over 100 comments, but there was just a big article about RVing in the Disney Family Fun magazine that had links and advice and stuff: http://familyfun.go.com/vacations/are-you-ready-to-rv-860036/ (When I looked that up I found another advicey one: http://familyfun.go.com/vacations/rv-there-yet-713695/)

    So good luck and happy travels!

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  138. Plan out the route (with weather in mind) and all of the other details - get a sponser - and have a GREAT time! Sure home you come thru Phoenix!

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  139. My husband & I have done a road trip from central FL to the Grand Canyon with a 3 and a 5 year old. We camped, but it was June. KOAs are very nice, and rather plentiful - we really didn't drive more than 6 hrs a day (8 if we were ambitious). However, the tent thing was not fun, and we switched to staying in the KOA Kabins where we could. Fairly cheap - maybe $30/night, although you do have to walk to the bathroom. Still way cheaper than a train, though. We had a ton of fun.

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  140. I RVed with my fam from California to Mississippi. It is not hard to find RV campsites - they're pretty much everywhere. Gas (esp. disel) is quite expensive, and it can be a pain to prep the RV to arrive/depart so frequently (stabilizing it, hooking up, etc.) However, we had an absolute blast. You really get to see a different side of the U.S. - the real, more quirky side.

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  141. Carrot Jockie Tue wearing Dave!April 14, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    TOUR BUS! Like a Rockstar!

    I didn't take the time to read through all the posts, but have you thought about renting a tour bus with driver? They are basically giant RV's(with much nicer interiors) You get a driver or 2 for the whole trip. The driver then does all the tricky stuff in different weathers, makes sure and gets you to your destination on time and can do all the crap work(I.e. driving across Kansas)

    The busses usually have mobile sat TV and internet. Last Bus I worked on had granite floors, a star lit ceiling, 5 flat panel TV's, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths and a huge living room.

    Just a thought.

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  142. Jen, you rock! Roadtrips are the best, especially with the one you love/bff. Do you have an agent to work out the deals for you? They could whip out sponsorships and all sorts of swag that could make your trip even easier. Talk to your publisher about it more, I'm sure they will have just the staff to work out the kinks for you. At any rate, I hope it works out just as you would like and that it is super fun and safe!

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  143. I would think that a smaller RV would be easier to deal with...especially on dicey roads, rather then a vehicle and trailer.

    Maybe there's a way to rent one from someone who's not using it over the winter months?

    You might also want to look at vacation home rentals if you want a break from the monotony of hotels?

    You'll also want to check what's covered by your car insurance...this would probably be considered more then the standard commuter traffic covered by most personal plans and if something happens they might put the liability on the business.

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  144. We have an older class C RV. I love it. The class C is on a van chassis so they are not to difficult to maneuver. I would imagine that within city limits you will need to be aware of height restrictions. Biggest problem is those pesky pole things some parking lots put across the entrances. As a family of four we are a snug fit in our RV but hubby and I have had many conversations how we would have plenty of room if the kids were at grandma's. As others have said the biggest pit fall is the black water tank. I love the fact that hubby takes care of that all I do is tell him when to stop so he can make the dump. Yeah hubby! As far as road worries there are companies like Coachnet, Good Sam Club and AAA that can help you with mechanical problems, navigational and concierge services.

    My vote is to go for it and enjoy the experience. This will beat dealing with TSA hands down.

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  145. I think it sounds like fun! :) On a side note.. PLEASE tell me you are coming to either Kentucky, Ohio or Illinois so I can come!! I REALLY want to come to one of your tours. :)

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  146. I am TOTALLY with you on the not flying thing (with invasion of privacy, not to mention anxiety!). For years now, we have driven 10 hours each way to visit my parents in Montana, a few times a year. We do it in a mini-van, a Toyota Corolla (not recommended with two kids and four dogs), and a honking Suburban. Then, we surf their couch for a few days before we drive back. mmmm....there's VACATION!

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  147. If you want to have something a little easier to drive and eliminate the need to have a cab or alternate transport when you break for the night... get a tag-along (towable) camper and a large truck to tow it! You can buy a small, used towable for next to nothing! We got ours from eBay motors. $600!!
    Hope it goes well!

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  148. I think this is a wonderful idea, and could be a lot of fun, but as a Wyoming resident, I feel I must add to these warnings of the region in December. I know you said John is from Maine, and has dealt with the snow, but I'm not sure that is enough. We're not just talking snow here, we are talking snow and ice and 40 mph winds with 60 mph gusts, and you in a big, high profile RV. It is likely if you are on I-80 that the road will be closed, and you will be held for a day.

    That being said, it could also be lovely, lovely weather and go off without a hitch. I can't wait to hear what you decide for this tour.

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  149. I'd like to second the comment about hotels and bedbugs. They're a growing epidemic. Heck, even the library in Denver had issues because some yahoo was checking out books and returning them infested! So, my opinion? Do the smaller RV so you can be more manuveable in towns and such. But if you do decide to do hotels (shudder), check them out online to see if any cootie reports have been posted.

    Hope you get all the details worked out and can come back to Colorado!

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  150. I wonder if a ecologically friendly RV company wouldn't lend you some support if you were willing to trade promotional time etc.

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  151. I think its a fab idea! However, I think you should fly to the Alaska leg of your tour. (hint hint....)

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  152. Guys, you need a Westfalia. No, I take that back. You need a Eurovan, which is, I believe, the modern equivalent of a Westie. Other than that, I think it's a fabulous idea. As a road trip veteran (innumerable trips from SoCal to the Montana/Canada border plus an unforgettable cross-country Route 66 + East Coast jaunt), all I can say is: GO FOR IT!

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  153. OOOH! COME TO AUSTRALIA!!!!!!!

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  154. But, if you are road-tripping, how are you going to make it to Alaska and keep it in your time frame?? :)

    That aside, hubby and I took a road trip from Los Angeles to Boston a few years back, and it was the most amazing trip we've ever done. We did the rent a car and stay in hotels way. I highly recommend road trips!

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  155. I love a road trip. Get a small RV/van-based camper and go for it! I'm sure you can get the thing sponsored, at least partially. You are right in the demographic for the majority of women who make the decision to buy an RV, esp smaller ones. I want to do more road trips with our growing kids, and you could test drive everything I'm thinking about!

    Why are you planning to rush around so quickly? 25 cities in only 6 weeks is madness, and if you don't stop and do fun stuff, both of your blogs will suffer, instead of thriving. Driving 2-4 hours, with stops for lunch at wonderful diners, is much more fun. I'd love to hear about you stopping by bakeries, seeing the sights, shopping for quirky stuff, posting about cakewrecks inspired by such sites (um, the Sunsphere in Knoxville, TN!?!?!), and meeting geeky girls and boys along the way for geeky fun.

    Why not start with a slower paced tour by road of the south, since you need to drive later in the year? Lots of antique malls down there, you know!?!

    What the heck would keep you from driving the thing and enjoying driving the thing? I LOVED learning to drive a 15 person passenger van (you could find one of these converted to a camper) in college for work - the power, the POWER!

    If you go with a smaller RV or camper or converted van, then you simply 1) use the camp's toilets and shower with flipflops 2) carry a coleman stove or electric hotplate and little microwave. As teens, my sister and I and our mom went across the US in a pop up trailer towed by our family car. Thing took about 1.5 minutes to be "set up", though it wasn't 100% rainproof so get something with a better roof over your heads. You don't actually have to hook up if you aren't driving around a toilet. Extension cords are a must!

    And you can ALWAYS check into a hotel if you need a break and some cable TV. There is the laundry issue, but when you drive into town and do laundry, you automatically meet great folks and explore the area while you wait for your loads. Towns have wifi everywhere, and another great excuse to meet locals as you compute.
    .....

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  156. .....
    I can't say enough for two twin aero beds. Quick to set up, so comfy, if the transport has room for them.

    I'll bet you can find some cakewreck fans or epbot fans who would LOVE to give you tips about the camps in their towns, OR their favorite camper destinations near their favorite sites. You are lucky to have heaps of folks willing to check stuff out for you.

    When you arrive in your chosen towns, you'll need to park the beast. That's why a trial run in the south (land of mega parking lots) is a good idea. Of getting a converted van or tiny RV or towable trailer is a good idea. Drop trailer at camping site, drive car into town for groceries and book events.

    Also, why not try all this and see if you like it at all? Take a couple of weekends, rent different styles of vehicles and go a short distance (2-3 hours) to something fun.

    Safety is an interesting point. Guess since RVs don't come with angled struts and I beams, or crumple zones, and are hard to maneuver - I never think of them as safer than cars. Plus, won't you be tempted to move around inside without your seat belt on? ;)

    Sadly, based on the experience of our foreign friends who try American trains, I can't get behind that idea. Over long distances, there are breakdowns, in and out service and food, emergency rides on busses, luggage issues - and they often don't go where you want to. Plus car issues at either end.

    You could always go in stealth mode and try to photo your own cakewrecks at the walmarts you stay at.

    And you could consider allowing cakewreck fans and epbot fans to follow your progress on a map on the sites.

    It is hard NOT to picture you with a powerful sedan or light truck towing one of the new darling Airstream trailers!!! Grab your apron and let's go, Betty!

    Hope you find your way to the Bay Area Maker Faire this year - would love to meet you out here! Here's my vote for the Bay Area (but you do have to cross some big, beautiful empties to get here.)

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  157. TULSA! Come to Tulsa! But don't try to take the train or you will either be 5 hours to the east or 2 hours to the southwest. There are no passenger trains in Tulsa. :(

    You should seriously rent a small RV or bus and do "Cake Wrecks: The Route 66 Highway Journey Across America Tour". :D

    You would see such awesome sites as The Round Barn of Arcadia (better than it sounds), The Blue Whale in Catoosa (sadly, pretty much like it sounds, but it's cheesy fun), and Pop's diner and soda emporium (over 2,000 kinds of soda pop -no lie!). Not to mention - but I will - you could visit The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Catoosa. (An unexpected location to be sure, since Catoosa is a very small suburb of Tulsa. But, the Cherokee Nation actually owns the property, so you could throw in some Native American history along the trail, too, so to speak. And all that is just in Oklahoma!! (Sorry, I am sadly underversed as to Route 66 stops outside of my home state. BUT... just think of the Disney/Pixar movie "Cars" and you will get the general idea.

    What great geeky and cheesy stories you would have for your blogs!! Just do it!!

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  158. Hey there,

    I think it is a brilliant idea! I have a suggestion for you tho. I've heard of some people that have actually travelled round the entire world doing this... so round the USA should be no problem.

    USE TWITTER!

    They were getting people to make offers to take them places and just went from there. They didn't have to arrange any accomodation as it was all offered by twitter followers, didn't have to pay for food... or travel. Everything was entirely free.

    I'm sure that with your huge following you should easily be able to sort something similar out. It would save a load of time... and you would get to meet loads of really cool people.

    And if you are worried about getting to the stores on time, I think there was a musician that did this for his tour the other year, and he always got to his gigs.

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  159. I think it sounds like FUN!
    I just learned from friend's parents who RV that stores like Walmart let RV's park in their lots over night. In fact they encourage it and even have maps/atlases w/listings of the lots that allow this. GL

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  160. Trains?! Someone really suggested you take the train? Let me tell you, I took the train from Halifax, Ns to Winnipeg, Mb. A trip that takes only 3 lovely days in the car...and it took 5. Long, sleepless, delayed every single stop trip. I cried when I had to get on the train to come home.
    Pure evil.

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  161. I'm all for it!! When hubby and I got married 5 years ago, we put everything we owned into storage and took a 3-month road trip across the country. We went to all 48 contiguous states and Canada, and we saw every major baseball and football stadium in the country. While we didn't have an RV (we took my PT Cruiser), it was perfect - we kept camping gear in the back and stayed at camp sites, hotels, and with family along the way. The majority of our wedding gifts were gas gift cards; we stopped at each state line information center for the Travel Discount Guide (full of great hotel coupons); and we kept a thermoelectric cooler full of grocery items to save on food. It's totally doable, and you won't regret it. Have a blast!!

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  162. Jen dear I was right with you on the whole RV thing..... until you said John would be the only driver. Uh..... no. Nope. Don't go there. You (together, separatly) have gotten sick every trip you have taken, am I right? All other considerations aside, having John be the sole driver is the weak part of your plan and why I think it would be a disaster. The choice is yours, and we are all along for the ride (what's for dinner?) so we'll support whatever you decide.

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  163. I think taking an RV is an awesome idea, I've always wanted to take a road trip in an RV.

    Also, YAY for maybe coming to Canada!! Maybe Toronto??!! :D

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  164. Wouldn't the bonus of more stops and more book sales offset the higher cost of the RV? If Kim Kardashian can get paid thousands to tweet that she just glanced at a product, then I would think you could get some sort of sponsorship deal because, heck, who is lining up to sponsor RVs?

    We'd love to have you come to Chattanooga--it's probably somewhere that would be missed if you only flew, but would be easy by RV (it's on the way to Atlanta).

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  165. My husband and I (and our family of young children) love road trips so I wholly support your thoughts. We're in fact just about ready to go on a 10-day excursion from Utah to Nashville next week, and a couple of years ago we drove up the coast from LA to Washington. One of our best family memories!

    I know you're looking for not much work, so this might not work for you. But we have a pop-up trailer that we pull behind our SUV (also, this might not work because then you'd need an SUV or something you might otherwise pull with). But it also solves some of the problems you're concerned about. What we lose in gas mileage we make up for in being small enough to camp at state parks--they can cost between 10-30 bucks a night, making it very inexpensive to stay. It does mean some "roughing it," but our particular pop-up has everything we could want (shower, toilet, etc.). (However, even many state parks have showers and flush toilets) Even KOA campgrounds (the best brand of campground) have showers/toilets that you can use, and they run between 30-100 bucks a night. Also, we then disconnect it and can drive around to wherever we want to go, making it easy for us to take side trips. Additionally, since you're not driving a big behemoth, your gas costs are less and you, Jen, may be more comfortable driving.

    You also might consider some other kinds of very small trailers--like a Scamper (no setting up, like with a pop-up, especially nice since you also only need to sleep 2, and pop-ups work best when you sleep lots of people) (disclaimer: I have no idea if a Scamper is a reliable travel trailer, I just did a quick search for "small travel trailer") or a truck camper. These you could probably rent for significantly less money than a larger motorhome.

    Whoo hoo! Here's to a good road trip! Best way to see the States, in my humble opinion.

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  166. I think RVing would be fun, as long as you're not driving in the pouring snow. Have you considered doing the book tour earlier? As far as RV's go, you could always get the smaller ones that hook to a truck, then you can unhook and you have your car for getting places around town. My mother-in-law and her husband do it frequently and they love it. Also, I've been told that ALL Wal-Marts allow RV's overnight in their parking lots. While this doesn't help as far as power is concerned (there aren't any water or electricity hookups) it does at least give you a legal place to sleep the night. Plus, as long as its a 24 hour Wal-Mart you can go in to the bathroom.

    My mother-in-law does some of the driving as well, as long as she isn't having to back up (mostly interstate travel) but I figure if she can, you can too Jen! Of course, if you're not willing, then find a friend or family member you can stand living with for that long to go along and help drive.

    The other option, is to do the train thing, then rent something to go to places the trains won't go. Like another reader stated, mixing it up keeps it from getting boring!

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  167. Yeah, driving around in the snow, even if you're used to it can still be a headache. However, if you plan for hitting the northern states first, you might be alright. I'm in Minnesota and for the last few years we haven't had considerable snow fall until January.

    I second the train idea though. I would have thought you would jump at that idea, you Steampunk enthusiast. Even though most trains are electric and bear no resemblance to a steam engine, but it's the idea right?

    I wonder if you could find some loyal readers that would be able/willing to drive you around when you get to their area? But I watch Criminal Minds and wouldn't entertain that idea for one second! hee hee!

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  168. Great, but challenging, idea.

    I would recommend an RV large enough to tow a car behind. That alleviates the getting around town problem. Another option would be a small travel trailer that you towed behind your car (depending on how big the car is)

    I suspect costs are going to go up dramatically this summer so if you think it could cost $4000, I would plan for $5000. I hope you work out some type of sponsorship deal as I would love to be reading about your travels.

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  169. joking about australia? that is complelty the wrong perspective, you shoud seriously consider and commit to it. especially should come to brisbane, because this is where i live.
    didn't you see the oprah special on australia? isn't that enough to make you want to come here?

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  170. Buy the RV and get it sponsored by as many corporations as possible. For the low low price of only $100 per square foot subway can put an ad on your vehicle. There are a lot of square feet on an RV I bet you could fund the cost of Gas and maybe a bit more from advertising.

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  171. I think the sponsorship idea is a good one, but not a RV sponsorship (your readership is probably not their target demographic, so there's not much in it for them), rather, a tour sponsorship/s. Get your publisher on board with partnering with retail cake supply companies like Wilton and Charm City Cakes to help defray the cost, and give away product at all your stops, maybe as prizes in the Wreck-Off contests or as door prizes, to advertise.

    Or go even bigger, and propose a television show to Food Network "Cake Wrecks: The Tour". Let them provide the RV and film crew to follow you to your book signings, sneak into bakeries/grocery stores looking for wrecks, and even work in "Sunday Sweets" segments where you visit your favorite bakers like Duff, Mike, Bronwen, Collette, etc. The cake shows are SO popular, they might just go for this!

    Alternatively, you could propose a deal with one or more of the TV shows that have featured Cake Wrecks before (Ellen, Graham Norton) to sponsor you in exchange for you providing short video clips from around the country as the tour progresses.

    I know you're not a fan of video, but I can assure you that at least when I saw you both in Austin, you were well-spoken, entertaining, funny, and quite frankly, adorable! And that was after your death virus in Dallas! You are made for TV!

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  172. What if you stopped by grocery stores and local cake shops on your tour to look at cakes? Your next book could be a roadtrip of cakes and highlight the good and bad in each town you traveled through. Then you could at least write off part of the trip as research.

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  173. DO IT!!! We do nearly all our vacations via road trip (though never with an RV), and its great! For the most part. There are some boring parts of the country. But we've done TWO separate 3-1/2 week car vacations... most recently a few summers ago from Seattle to Florida (for DisneyWorld, woo!) to Maine and then back home to Seattle.

    So don't be using a road trip to get out of coming to Seattle, is what I'm saying. :) The fall colors are *AMAZING* and there's (usually) not snow in November!

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  174. KOA is the way to go. They are a good, clean chain who speicalizes in RV travel. Also USE AAA for maps and camp sites. $70 yearly membership for them to map out your route? Sweet Deal!

    Coming to Conn?

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  175. Hey! Look at that. :) I got first comment. :)) Cool.

    I still support the RV option. I think it would be awesome. You don't need to find RV parks to camp over night. Sometimes hotels will let you park in their parking lots over night. My husband worked in hotels and it happens all the time.

    If you're good at driving through different weather situations, or just get chains, I say go for it. They do have RV rental places.

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  176. I also wanted to add that after resently watching Top Gear's episode on carvanning, I'm leery of the whole idea. It is a cationary tale of dog vomit and fire hazzards. You may want to watch it before your final decision.

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  177. Seriously take trains! Much more scenic, much more fun, better for the environment, relaxing, lots of space... You'd be crazy not to.

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  178. The RV would be fun!!!!! And you should buy one, paint a big baby riding a carrot on the side. Then give the RV away in a contest and write-off the expense of buying the RV as a business expense!!!!

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  179. My 15 year old son is a ballet dancer, now going to high school out of state. He also has summer intensives every summer.

    Like you, we don't fly (and haven't in YEARS) - so we're now driving between 20,000 and 30,000 miles every year just for his ballet. (though we usually drive 12+ hours at a time)

    I have come to really love our road trips. Its a wonderful bonding time for my husband and me. We listen to PBS podcasts, TED talks, favorite music and more. We talk about things at length we don't have time for otherwise.

    The biggest issue we're facing this year is gas price. Be aware that the forecasts predict $5/gallon gas this summer. (and probably more in the hot spots) It may not go down much come October unless the US dollar strengthens considerably.

    I've never used an RV, but were I in your shoes, I would look for other RV forums that rate campsites and share general advice. I bet you could plan your itinerary that way with the best possible results.

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  180. There now are 177 comments and I'm not reading through all of them so if this is a duplicate, I apologize. But it ain't MY blog. :)

    1. Rent an RV for a long weekend before you do this. You'll figure out rather quickly whether or not you're suited to it.

    2. Drive a truck and pull a trailer instead of getting a motorhome. Bonus points are that you can park the trailer and drive the truck to dinner; also fixing a truck engine is vastly easier than a motorhome engine.

    3. Sign up for AAA. They have all sorts of great information. Bring your smart phone so you can log in anywhere on the road.

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  181. I know you have twenty gazillion comments here, all saying pretty much the same thing..but that sort of supports what I am going to say. How about we all kick in a dollar, if you are going to go the RV direction. That way you can buy a really nice unit, use it for the tour, then sell it and donate the proceeds to charity.
    RVing is fun! No bedbugs, no having to wait in line at the airport, no noisy neighbors at night (unless you choose that sort of thing), no small suitcases, no awful restaurant food....
    If you do run into weather so bad it is hard to drive in, simply stop and spend the night in a hotel. If the weather is THAT bad, then the airports would be shut down as well.
    Best of luck!

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  182. tinypurpleelephantApril 15, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    Come to Toronto!

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  183. I have no idea about traveling in one but my husband and I live in one he renovated. No, were not vagabond wanderers. I have PhD and, He's in the coast guard. We just prefer the simpler life style it allows. No morgage or property tax and no horrific apartment living. Plus all our neighbors are old and retired or they change every 6 weeks. What's not to love?

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  184. I have read most of the comments and a lot has been thrown out there. One thing I don't remember seeing is a season rating. I wouldn't go with anything towed unless you get a 4-season camper. Also, up here in the midwest, come Oct 31st, campgrounds close for the season. There are a few that will keep one or two sites weatherized for winter campers. I would also suggest taking a practice run - camp for a week so you can see what you like or don't about camping. You could do with a C-class with just the two of you. I wouldn't want to tow in winter weather at all.

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  185. I would do it in a heartbeat-my husband and I love road trips. I used to love flying but would find it hard to bear now with the increased security measures.

    One suggestion if you go the hotel route - my cousin and aunt took an extended trip last year and packed each day's clothes in separate zip-lock bags so they only had to carry that plus a toiletry bag into the hotel.

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  186. I must admit to not reading all the comments here, but I know you guys live in Florida. I have heard that Florida has an excess of RVs (due to all the retirees) that you can buy them cheaply and take them up north and sell them for a profit (to another retiree that will eventually land in Florida).

    We drove down to Atlanta to see you on your last tour. Would love to see you in Chattanooga TN this time around!

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  187. Lots of good suggestions, but going the RV route, any time about mid October you will find problems trying to find a place to park as the campgrounds close for the winter. Also, been RV'ing much? A broken sewer pipe or water pipe can put a pretty big damper on the whole thing. Plus, you would need something where you could tow you car. Nothing worse than trying to drive that Winnebago through town let alone find a place to park it. You will want to put it in the campground and go....so you will need to tow something. Be it the RV itself or a car behind the rig.
    If flying is out, I would drive a car and stay in hotels.

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  188. I've never gone anywhere in an RV but I love trains. None of the swearing at other cars and trucks on the road, and less hassle than planes. I always love waving at the drivers we pass and think "suckers."

    You can walk around, go to the snack bar or the lounge car, and the food is awesome. You can also get a sleeper room, and sleep on the train. You can read a book, relax and watch the scenerary. We always took a trip from Toledo to Chicago, and then a sleeper room from Chicago to Flagstaff, or Salt Lake city when I was a kid depending on if we were going to the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone. Then we would rent a car when we got there.

    It goes most places, with the only drawback being odd arrival times. Cleveland at 4 in the morning? Why not a reasonable hour?

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  189. It sounds like a blast to me - and I know when I used to do RV weekend trips with my grandparents, you could stay quite cheaply in smaller, less fancy places!

    Please tell me you've read "Queen of the Road" by Doreen Orion - best (and most hysterical) book on RVing adventure ever!

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  190. My husband and I did our honeymoon somewhat like this. We took a train out west, then drove all around the west for a couple of weeks.

    He was stressed.
    I was stressed.
    We both enjoyed ourselves but swore never to do it again and here's why:

    Every fucking day was about driving. We could never just BE somewhere. The longest we stayed in one place was 2 days. Now, I know a book tour is a whirlwind, and you are simply jumping from place to exhausting place. SO I think you won't be able to escape that.

    Do NOT take Amtrak except on the east coast. Sorry folks, they couldn't run on time if National Security depended on it. For all that planes get a bad rep for delays etc., I have never waited as long for one of those as I did for the trains we took.

    I would suggest a driving flying combo. Pick a central city and find an RV place willing to sponsor the tour for that region. (It is more likely that an RV place will be willing to sponsor you at a regional level, as you're more likely to generate them business that way). Get your publisher to research that option. For a 25 city tour, fly maybe five times. Then, rent your RV and branch out to the neighboring areas with it. That way, you'll never be far from rescue should you need it, and you can still take cabs around towns if you need to. (Just park the behemouth on the outskirts).

    Now if a CAR dealership would get onboard at each town WITH the RV dealership, you'd be really cooking. You could get an RV that would tow a car behind it.

    AND, my fantasy self just required that I tell you that SHE envisions your publisher buying you an RV of mammoth proportions, you and Jon hooking your own car up behind it, getting a custom Cakewrecks paintjob, and driving from town to town.

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  191. Someone you might want to consider talking/emailing with is Jill Connor Browne. She writes the Sweet Potato Queen books. I know she and her hubby have done a book tour in an RV.

    Her website is sweetpotatoqueens.com

    I think they had a few trouble but enjoyed the experience.

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  192. OK, a couple of things: first, I have driven across the country three times in a sleeper van. You know, the grandpa kind with a back seat that folds into a bed. I ended up spending more than 18 months in a five year period living in a van, and it was totally awesome! I would highly recommend that.
    Also, you guys should totally come to Asheville, NC. You could probably speak at Malaprop's bookstore.
    And, you should totally bring Number1 to Asheville! Full disclosure: Jen and I lived together in college, and I would love to see her again! So buy a van, drive to Asheville, and bring Jen Dorsman. That is all.

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  193. Not gonna give you any practical advice. Although if I did, it might be: Borrow a tour bus from a rock star who's currently off tour. But here's what I really want to say the most:
    COME TO COLUMBUS, OHIO!!!

    That's right, COLUMBUS, OHIO. There's nearly 2 million people in the metro area and they all eat cake. Really, we do. Also, we have bookstores.
    So you see, it's perfect. Cake and bookstores. Come to Columbus.

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  194. So we have a teardrop trailer. It's basically a bed/camp kitchen on wheels. Can be pulled with car, truck or motorcycle(the smallest trailer). No bathroom so you'd have to stay at camps with facilities. You can even ger a heater/air conditioner for a couple hundred bucks more. Cross between RVing and camping. Bonus is you can park it anywhere and maneuver it into place by unhooking and moving by hand. Here's where we got our "little guy" http://www.golittleguy.com/teardrops/

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  195. OMG - I was just about to say that the NC mountains are *beautiful* in November, so maybe consider Asheville, then I saw the last comment (which at the time I'm writing this, was sugarbombbakeryblog's), saying "Come to Asheville!" - obviously, you're fated for Asheville. Though I live in Charlotte, which is also a lovely place to visit! You could speak at Amelie's bakery; here's Pioneer Woman's opinion on Amelie's:
    http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/05/the-best-pastries-ive-ever-had/ Oh, and I don't get any compensation from them... I just LOVE Amelie's! And Cake Wrecks! Um, and Asheville... so either one would be wonderful.

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  196. I have no experience RVing, but I'd be happy to throw in laundry facilities, home-baked brownies (seriously, do you think I'm going to make a cake for you? I don't want it to appear on CW!), and local transportation. The only catch is you have to come to Syracuse. Please, please, please, please, please!

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  197. Rather than an RV, perhaps a better idea for your needs would be a "Trans Van." Slightly bigger than a full size passenger van with all the ammenities of a camper. They were popular back in the late 70s to early 80s. You could make the tour in retro style! :D

    And I believe the red & white bus in the third picture posted is the Gornicki's home in the movie RV.

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  198. As someone who has driven across the country I can attest to the fact that the delays on the road can be just as long as the delays in the airport. BUT you will never see The Swan Lake Ballerina Country Club and Trailer Park, like I did, from a plane. :)
    Every plan has it’s high and low points, I know you guys will find the fun in any plan you choose.

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  199. "The Long, Long Trailer" starring Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball may be a valuable guide. Watch the movie. Take copious notes.

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  200. I totally support it!! "Road trip!!!" Always gets my blood pumping.

    But don't rent an RV. Just buy a used one and resell it when done. Way cheaper than renting at $300+/day.

    Keep us posted!

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