When the open road started calling Henry and Gloria Jannenga, they answered.
“We started in January of last year,” said Gloria Jannenga. “We bought the RV in December 2011. We went to the beach and literally stayed at the beach for about a month. It’s just a fun way to live.”
The Jannengas have put their 2009 Georgia Boy Pursuit, a 36-foot Class A motorhome, to good use since. The trip to Hunting Island, S.C., was a test to see how much they’d like it. They’ve made trips to several parts of the country since then, including putting 12,000 miles on it about 12 months ago when they visited Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico.
The Jannengas are among a growing number of Americans who are taking to the open road and purchasing RVs to get the most out of the experience, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association.
“The RV market continued to gain ground in the first quarter of 2013, with total RV wholesale shipments reaching 79,422 units through March, an increase of 11.2 percent over the 71,444 units shipped during the same time frame in 2012,” according to RVIA’s March 2013 survey of manufacturers, www.rvia.org.
The organization expected a record number of RVers to be on the roads over the recent Memorial Day weekend and forecasts that trend will continue throughout the summer. According to an RVIA survey of RV users, 71 percent expected to use their vehicles more than they did in 2012.
“RVing is becoming more and more popular because it’s a convenient, comfortable and affordable way for families to spend quality time together and build memories that will last a lifetime,” said RVIA president Richard Coon in a news release from the RVIA. “RVs provide families with the ability to take whatever kind of vacation they want, and it won’t break the bank.”
Comfort, convenience and affordability are among the main reasons Steve and Michaela Gooding, of Hephzibah, purchased their 39-foot Cedar Creek Fifth Wheel.
“We’ve got everything in this. We even have a fireplace and a full kitchen,” said Michaela Gooding.
Because they aren’t retired yet, the Goodings tend to take trips closer to home, and they’ve found a lot of spots within a few hours that they really enjoy.
“We’ve been to Cleveland, Ga., Cherokee, N.C., and Jekyll Island,” she said.
They like to stay at Yogi campgrounds because of the amenities.
“They are all monitored for security with cameras. I don’t have to worry about Toni (the couple’s 9-year-old daughter),” she said.
Many have playgrounds, arcades and offer classes such as ceramics, she said.
However, there’s more to the RV experience than just traveling, according to the Jannengas and Goodings. What makes the experience for them are the people they’ve met along the way.
The Jannengas have associated with a group called Roving Volunteers in Christ’s Service (RVICS) and do volunteer service on the road.
“Teams of up to six couples provide a wide variety of maintenance, service and construction assistance to needy nonprofit Christian children’s homes, schools, colleges, camps, conference centers and churches. Each work project is 3 1/2 to four weeks long, scheduled in warmer climates during the winter months, and cooler locations the remainder of the year,” according to the RVISC Web site, www.rvics.com.
Through RVICS, the Jannengas have met a lot of people from different parts of the country and made many friends along the way.
“I think we’ve played more board games in the last year than in all my life,” she said.
The Goodings have also met other RVers and tend to travel to the same locations together.
“We’ve met some awesome friends,” she said.