Not All Memories from the Road Have to be ‘Instagram-friendly’
On The Road
By Bruce Hampson
Not All Memories from the Road Have to be ‘Instagram-friendly’

’ve been around recreational vehicles for much of my life, starting with a truck camper my father acquired when I was just a wee lad and was used to transport our family — including my mom and two brothers — across country for bi-annual visits to our East Coast-based brethren.

The memories of those trips are cherished, as are recollections of one amazing summer I spent cruising across the country behind the wheel of a partially restored/modified ’78 Winnebago Brave with my then-6-year-old son, Jeremy, and our Siberian Husky. I’m sure more than a few of my friends’ neighbors didn’t care for that big “eyebrow” Winnebago parked streetside for a week or two at a time as we visited, but local regulations were a lot more lenient at the time.

Just as entertaining, though, are the recollections of “us boys” keeping ourselves occupied when my dad wrenched on his pickup truck at various times during our trips. Ditto my escapades in that old Winnebago, including the time I was forced to search for a couple of aluminum soda cans, cut them open and, using worm hose clamps, cinch them around a broken header pipe on the RV’s big V8 until I could find a decent welding shop to close the hole. Yea, I’m a baling-wire kind of guy.

Those kinds of memories surface, too, when I think of my time as a car magazine editor. Sure, the editor of Popular Hot Rodding and I (then editor of a magazine titled Super Chevy) collected plenty of memories as we spent much of one summer driving around the country in a legendary 1957 Chevy project car known as Project X (you may know the car as Tony Danza’s ride in the movie “Hollywood Knights”). But I also remember when the brakes on the big yellow 210 post model went south in a hurry and were parked in a highway median somewhere in southern Ohio while Gary Anderson, the late founder of Soff Seal, chased replacement parts for us by persuading his friends to open their auto parts store in the dead of night.

And then there was the time when the late Kevin Boales and I, then staff editors at Car Craft magazine, were part of different crews driving a supercharged 1970 Camaro around the country for a series of stories intended to show the durability of a “blown” street machine. Except, it wasn’t the engine that let us down, it was the transmission — and Kevin and I whiled away the days poolside at a Washington state motel, taking our meals at a local eatery that had more than a passing resemblance to Mel’s Diner from the old TV show “Alice” until another transmission was built and shipped to us. That month’s story focused as much on the restaurant’s biscuits and gravy as it did cruising the region’s hot rod hot spots.

The point to all this? It isn’t always the high points of your travels that make the best memories. Oftentimes it’s when the unexpected happens and a wrench gets thrown in the works that truly entertaining stories develop. Why? Because people can relate. Everybody, at one time or another, has encountered travel and vehicle problems.

Truck pulling RV on a mountain road
That’s the concept behind “Voices from the Road,” a new storytelling project from Roadtrippers. The popular road-trip planning tool launched the project as a way to showcase underrepresented voices in the outdoor and travel space and focuses on every aspect of roadtripping — not just the Instagram-friendly version. As Roadtrippers staffers note, road trips are often depicted with familiar views from picture-perfect locations — but they often don’t tell the full story of road travel: vehicles break down, travelers get “hangry” and lost and the weather doesn’t always cooperate. And it’s often when difficult situations arise that the real memories are made.

The first published stories cover a lot of ground — from escaping Oregon wildfires to moving across country in a vintage RV — but there are more to come. “Last year, Roadtrippers users planned more than 3 million road trips spanning 2 billion total miles,” said Sanna Boman, Roadtrippers editor-in-chief. “That is 3 million potential stories about the ups, downs, joys, frustrations, adventures and unexpected experiences that any road trip brings — and we want to hear those stories.”

To read these stories and more — or to join the group — visit or download the app through the Google play store or the Apple app store.

By the way: we’d like to hear your best stories, as well. RV Enthusiast is, as you can tell when navigating our pages through your computer, laptop or mobile devices, designed to be user-friendly — and we’re also reader-friendly. That includes sharing ideas our readers have developed to solve problems on the road. We truly do want to hear from you, whether it’s comments on an issue, what you’d like to see us cover or you have a technical question. Send your feedback to: [email protected].

And we all can appreciate a great story. Just write to us, at [email protected]. You don’t have to be a professional scribe; if we select your tale, we’ll call you for more details and help compose it. And then, we’ll share it in these pages. Just know that we’re not laughing at you, we’re laughing with you — because, at one time or another, we’ve probably all been there.