For the past few months, I've been following the RV road adventures of "Girls Gone Moto" -- three amazing young women, Kathryn Lejeune, Natalie Vartanian and Sally Hope (along wih their guard puppy Coach) -- who are traveling the USA in an almost-vintage motorhome (Bess) doing random acts of kindness, having the time of their lives and encouraging others to live the life of their dreams.
Background: The avowed mission of Girls Gone Moto is to spread the simple message that it is everyone’s right to pursue their own happiness and that everyone deserves kindness. They hope "to inspire people to dream and encourage them to take action … with attitude."
The "farthest point we plan to go is to the east coast, literally," said Natalie in an update from Asheville, NC. "When we hit South Carolina we will swoop down into Savannah and return to California via the southern states."
Where are your favorite places to camp? "Actually we mostly 'camp' on city streets and at rest stops," said Natalie. "We have only been at a campground once, and parked at a Wal-Mart lot once. However we plan to do more Wal-Mart lots since it was convenient and felt safe. Gotta love on the Wal-Mart since they are super RV friendly."
How do three women and a Great Dane negotiate space in a 34-foot RV? "We are pretty good about communicating to each other when we need some time and space. Whether we use various areas of the RV (like one of us will be in the bedroom while another is in the living room) or we go for a walk/run to have alone time outside of the RV, we find ways to balance the togetherness and separateness. You just get creative about it."
"Coach actually is the most flexible big dog you will ever see," said Natalie. "He contorts into a ball and sits with us up front at the foot of the passenger seat. And, he is excellent protection."
What has been the biggest challenge with your rig? "Since it is an older RV there are things that are naturally needing to be maintained. At various times there was always something to look into such as: the water pump not working, radiator fluid leaking, hydraulic jack not lowering, refrigerator not working, tires needing to be changed (or replaced)."
"Driving the RV is a lot easier than we thought it would be. Your first reaction is 'That thing is huge. There is no way I am going to be able to navigate that thing, park that thing, yada yada yada.' However once you get behind the wheel and go around the block a couple of times you realize how it is, in fact, really manageable and even fun. We take turns driving and are eager to get behind the wheel when the other wants to switch off."
Would you encourage other young women to take this type of adventure? "Most definitely. It seriously changed our lives. It is the best thing we have ever done up to this point. You learn and grow so much on a trip like this. You also realize you are a lot more capable than you give yourself credit for. You have all of your essentials with you, are sleeping in the same bed every night, and get to see somewhere beautiful every day if you so choose. What's not to love about it?"
YouTube Channel: The group is documenting their journey and posting weekly webisodes. Follow them on the http://www.youtube.com/user/girlsgonemoto
To view their first week on the road when Bess, their trusty RV, was starting to show her age a little -- click on the following YouTube video:
Photos: Top: Kathryn Lejeune, Natalie Vartanian and Sally Hope along with guard puppy Coach. Sally driving the motorhome and Natalie checking the oil. Courtesy of Girls Gone Moto.
Read more by Julianne Crane at RVWheelLife.com