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The Great RVLifestyle Family Vacation is about to start!

| Updated Nov 6, 2021

Who says small motorhomes are only made for small vacations?

In an effort to prove that the small motorhome lifestyle is very conductive to large family vacations, I'll be turning a summer road trip into an RV caravan that my family and I are calling the “Great Roadtreking Family Vacation of 2013”

It’s set to kick off Saturday, August 3, 2013. The road trip will consist of six adults, two kids and three dogs and we will travel through Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona.

Our new 2014 Gulf Stream AmeriLite Super Lite

What will be a first on this RV trip for me and Jennifer, is that they we will use our 2012 Roadtrek eTrek to tow a 21-foot long 2014 Gulf Stream AmeriLite Super Lite travel trailer we just purchased from American RV in Grand Rapids, MI. A real advantage to the Roadtrek is that it is small enough to travel to remote destinations, but it is also powerful enough to pull behind a trailer for a larger family vacation.

Our daughter, Wendy Bowyer, son-in-law Dan Bowyer and two granddaughters, Hua Hua, 10, and Rachel, 7 will be calling the Gulf Stream trailer home for the nest three weeks

Following behind in a 2010 Roadtrek we borrowed from Roadtrek friends will be our son, Jeff and his wife Aimee. Jeff is a website developer and helps to manage this Roadtreking blog. He'll be assisting in posting videos, photos and daily accounts of the trip for blog readers and social media sites.

“There are a lot of people who travel in Roadtreks who wish they could take their whole family,” says American RV General Manager Chad Neff, of Grand Raids, MI, who sold us the travel trailer. “But they forget that a Roadtrek , can tow a full-fledged travel trailer. They can easily pull 5,000 pounds. That means Roadtrek owners can take another family with them.”

The idea of pulling a travel trailer came about when Jim Hammill, Roadtrek's president, told me that if I wanted to show the country to family, I should tow a travel trailer.

I never thought I'd be buying a travel trailer. Originally, I planned to rent one. But when I called American RV, they offered me such a good deal on a brand new one that I couldn't resist.  Besides my two granddaughters, I have four grandsons down in Georgia. I can take them along on other trips. As I checked around, I was amazed how today's travel trailers are so amazingly lightweight. The unit we bought weighs just 2,800 pounds and will sleep up to five people.

I just hook up and go. Our Roadtrek is perfect for my wife and I and the dog but we always wished we could take the family. Now we can.

Some of the specific destinations the Roadtreking vacation tour will include are Colorado Springs, Mesa Verde National Park, Telluride, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado River State park and the Rocky Mountain National Park. We're also keeping a few days open for any sites that they learn about on the way or from recommendations from the readers of the this blog.

Our travel trailer purchase coincides with a huge boom in RV sales across North America as retiring baby boomers and young families discover the freedom of recreational vehicle travel. Through the midway point of 2013, RV wholesale shipments tracked by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association climbed to 174,871 units – a 12.8 percent increase from the same point in 2012.

Shipments in motorhomes jumped from 14,576 units in June 2012 to 19,425 units in June 2013. Even towable trailers grew from 140,412 units to 155,446 units, a 10.7 percent bump.

I'll have a video later this week that shows off the travel trailer. And daily reports from The Great Roadtreking Family Vacation of 2013 will start Friday.


Mike Wendland

Published on 2013-07-29

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

22 Responses to “The Great RVLifestyle Family Vacation is about to start!”

August 08, 2013at12:38 pm, Gary Hennes said:

How did they hook up that brake controller? If it’s the traditional way, by tapping into the brake light circuit in back, you may have a “Check Engine” light problem. The Mercedes electronics may register too much resistance (Ohms) on the line. Then you need a separate mechanical switch on the brake pedal arm to actuate the trailer brakes.

August 06, 2013at8:25 pm, Harry Salit said:

Hi Mike and Jen,
I am enjoying reading about your new adventure with the trailer.
You say you are 30′ long but I think you are closer to 45′ long. I think you will find it easier to fuel at truck stops using the RV island. The hoses at the truck island are too large to fit the Sprinter filler. It can be done but you have hand hold the hose the entire time.

August 05, 2013at12:12 pm, David said:

We just got back from a two week, 4500 mile vacation travelling from PA to Yellowstone, down to Leadville CO and back to PA. My wife and I traveled with our three boys ages 9, 6 & 2 and we brought along three of their cousins, ages 13, 12 & 10. We pulled a 15′ VRV all aluminum toyhauler that has a pop out tent bed and a field down dinette/bed. It has a smalled pump handle sink and a small room where we put a porta-potty. It weighs around 2300 lbs empty. Our 2013 RS Adventurous pulls it amazingly well. You never realize its back there! We were above 7000′ in elevation most of the time and got above 11,000′ and had no problems. Can easily maintain 65mph on ‘almost’ every pass. Only twice did we slow to around 55mph due to the elevation and hauling. We averaged around 13 mpg and got anywhere between 15 to 11 mpg. Roadtrek, in my opinion should start marketing younger families. As well, they should think about a desperate division that markets and sells trailers, cargo boxes, and other ‘accessories’ that are Roadtrek specific. Perhaps a partnership with another manufacturer that would work well with the Roadtreks. Livinlite all aluminum, where my VRV is manufactured, in my opinion, would be a perfect match! Not affiliated, just love their products as much as Road treks!

August 06, 2013at8:16 pm, Harry Salit said:

I am curious where did you seat 8 people with seatbelts?

August 12, 2013at11:47 pm, David said:

A fourth lap belt can be added to the rear bench bolted at the factory locations.

August 02, 2013at8:23 pm, shari groendyk said:

WooHoo, let the good times roll! Really looking forward to your reports on this one, Mike. We love to travel with our 2 kids and spouses and 4 gkids too. We’ll be watching and learning along with the rest. Remember now, the good and the bad, okay? 😉

July 30, 2013at3:38 pm, Arvel said:

I posted this earlier but had too many links and said was “awaiting moderation.”

July 30, 2013at10:30 am, Maureen said:

What memories you are gifting to your grandchildren… it! My kids have a new Jayco Featherlite with a rear slideout master bed. It can actually sleep 8 comfortably. We would love to do a family trip down the West Coast and end up in Disneyland, stopping along the way in Tahoe to visit relatives. Never thought about my RV pulling their trailer…….wonderful idea and I still have my own bedroom/bath. Thanks Mike & Jennifer.

July 30, 2013at8:03 am, Heather Amature said:

What is involved in towing a trailer with a Roadtrek? Do you have to get any extra equipment?

July 30, 2013at8:08 am, Mike Wendland said:

Heather… the main thing I needed was a brake controller. It’s a little black box that mounts on the dash of the Roadtrek and connects, via a plug at the hitch, to the travel trailer. It syncs the brakes between the Roadtrek and trailer and also allows me to add more braking and adjust it just so for differing conditions. That’s a $260 expense. I pick the trailer up today and will do a video on what is involved.

July 30, 2013at1:43 am, Susan Adame said:

Have a great trip, Mike and family. I will look forward to following you virtually.

July 30, 2013at12:20 am, Campskunk said:

hmm… if i towed a trailer, the two of us could stay n the Roadtrek until the water and groveries were gone, and then just move into the trailer and get a whole new fresh supply. i could stay out for weeks…

July 29, 2013at9:18 pm, Cheryl said:

How exciting! I can’t wait to hear about all of your fun and adventures. This will be such wonderful memories for all involved.

July 29, 2013at8:40 pm, Chuck Pina said:

Welcome to the club Mike. We bought our trailer in March and have been out 5 times since. We really love the flexibility it provides. We are planning a long trip in April of 2014 with our trailer being pulled by our Roadtrek. It will be from the West coast to East coast about 7000 miles. Enjoy your trip, family time, new trailer and all the wonderful memories for your grandkids. Safe travels.

July 29, 2013at8:09 pm, kim said:

This is so cool! I am looking forward to reading your blog!

July 29, 2013at7:43 pm, Dawn said:

My husband and I will be following your trip very closely, We have always dreamed of a Roadtrek “someday” but because we still have children at home, we figured that day was a long way off. We do not want a large motorhome or a fifth wheel. We tried a popup and did not like it. So maybe this Roadtrek/travel trailer combo would work. Our family loves the outdoors and camping. We follow you and your wife’s adventures on the blog everyday and wish we were following in your tire tracks. Please tell all about the experience of pulling a trailer in the Roadtrek…the good and the bad. Oh yes, have fun too!

July 29, 2013at7:36 pm, Steve and Maggie Fournier said:

It’s hard to believe a Class B motorhome can pull a travel trailer.

July 29, 2013at7:34 pm, Charlie Vander said:

How much did your trailer cost? What’s it like to pull with your coach? How hard is it to back up? What’s the interior like?

July 29, 2013at6:18 pm, Lisa said:

I remembwr you talking about this. Sounds like a lot of fun!

July 29, 2013at6:05 pm, Nancy said:

Great idea! We still have kids too young to leave at home (10 and 13). We want a Roadtrek but it’s too small for a family vacation. Did I mention we have two German Shepherds, too? Pulling a travel trailer would be a great solution. The best of all worlds.

July 29, 2013at6:03 pm, Fred Marton said:

This opens up a while bunch of possibilities for us. Don’t know why we didn’t thin of towing a trailer. We just retired and want to get a Roadtreker because of its convenient “go anywhere” size. But, alas, we have two adorable grandchildren who, with their recently divorced Mom (our daughter), would be left at home. Especially for the next couple of years as they adjust to their new life, we want to bring them with us. We want a motorhome but have balked at those monster-sized units. This pulling a trailer would solve everything. We will closely be watching your travels to see how it all works out.

July 29, 2013at5:51 pm, Laura HughesPostema said:

I LOVE this idea! I can’t wait to read and watch your travels. How fun! Your grandchildren are lucky to have you and Jennifer as grandparents. Safe travels!

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