Drive a motor home across the country

Drive a motor home across the country

Decades ago, I had an encounter that I still vividly remember. I was at the gas station, and as I stood there waiting for my tank to fill, a truly enormous motorhome pulled up to the other side of the pump. It was the size of a tour bus, and when the driver hopped out, I assaulted him with questions. Actually I think I might have just said "WOW."

This was back in the late 90s, when the internet was still evolving. I was blown away, therefore, to learn that he was a telecommuter. He pointed to the satellite dish on the top of his motorhome and explained that it provided a satellite uplink for his email and web surfing. He received his paychecks via direct deposit, and spent his life driving around the country, with a new office location every day.

Some 15 years later, I still remember that dude, and I feel a twinge of jealousy. Last night I watched the first episode of "Stephen Fry In America" on Netflix Streaming, and it revived my old fantasy: to drive to every state in the continental United States. (A list that includes Alaska, but not Hawaii.)
 
The bottom has really fallen out of the motorhome market in the last few years. Motorhomes are the quintessential luxury item. And when financial times are tough, the first thing people sell is their motorhome. Plus the rising price of gas has made motorhomes increasingly less attractive as a vacation option. 
 
This means that these days, you can pick up a real land schooner for a pretty good deal. I found a used 31-foot motorhome on Cragislist for about $50,000. Which isn't that much money, given the price of a new car, and the fact that it literally has three times as much square footage as my cottage home!
 
I did some rough calculations and figured that it would be a minimum of 8,000 miles of driving to visit all 49 states. Your average motorhome gets about 10 miles to the gallon, which (at $3.50 per gallon) means that the trip would cost about $2800 in gas money. That starts to seem downright affordable, compared to rent or mortgage payments!
 
Realistically these numbers would end up higher, because you would probably do a certain amount of back-tracking. And it might take longer than a year just due to logistics: you would not want to be in the South during summer (so hot at night!) and you would not want to be in the Rockies or the Plains states in winter. And you would probably want to return to home base once or twice to see your family for holidays and such. But what an adventure it would be!