Steve and Robin Rudy have some pretty good views in their life. From the patio off their master bedroom just up the hill from the Pacific Coast Highway their vista is a commanding arc of the Pacific from Dana Point to Laguna Beach. Or from the timbered deck of their home outside of Vail, that overlooks the Singletree golf course and, just across the valley, the ski slopes of Arrowhead and Beaver Creek. Then there’s the ever-changing scenic panoramas through the expansive windshield of their 2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD .
Born in Canada and raised in California, Robin set off for adventure after nursing school and picked Boston on a whim. There she met a local Harvard student, Steve, working his way through medical school. With med school behind him, Steve and Robin journeyed back to California to start a family where he built a successful urology practice. Steve’s successful medical career also led him to the business side of medicine where he developed a company of surgery centers.
“We got interested in RVing when the kids were young,” recalls Steve. “We used to rent a Class C in the 70’s and 80’s and must have made five or six trips up through California and Oregon.” As their son and daughter grew up and began their own careers, Steve and Robin increased their international travel. Europe, Africa, China, South America, and Antarctica were all adventure travel destinations, many of which Robin has documented with fascinating digital photo books.
“When some friends of ours purchased a motorhome we started coming back to the idea of getting one for ourselves,” explains Robin. “Just like our international adventures, RVing puts us close to the culture and history of the US and Canada — and we can take our home with us, including the dogs.”
Though their passports are up-to-date, with 14,000 miles on their Tour over the last two years, it’s clear they’ve been rebalancing their travel priorities. “There’s a lot of turmoil in the world today and there’s plenty of places for us to explore throughout North America,” says Steve.
The Rudy’s trajectory of RV ownership is a common story of starting out with kids and family vacations and returning to RV ownership on the cusp of retirement. “Buying a motorhome before you retire may not always be the wisest idea,” explains Steve. “We had some friends who bought a coach while they were still working. Over a period of four years they barely used it and were thinking about getting rid of it. Then, they joined a local motorhome club and found that they enjoyed driving to shorter destinations and making club friends.”
“But that isn’t us,” quickly adds Robin. “We’re comfortable traveling on our own and have made new motorhome friends at various destinations who we still stay in touch with.”
Over the years Robin and Steve had made it a point to visit various RV shows (which they do even now). But it wasn’t until a neighbor rolled into the cul-de-sac near their Colorado home that their simmering interest turned into decisive action. That driveway epiphany was realized with a Monaco Knight. But after four years of travel, and more trips to RV shows, the wish list to trade up to a bigger coach began to fill in. Specifically, Robin wanted a fireplace and Steve wanted a dishwasher. Almost apologetically, Steve says, “I guess it’s the doctor in me that wants to see dishes really cleaned with high heat.”
It’s obvious that Steve’s professional success has afforded both he and Robin great opportunities and freedom to travel. However, when you meet them there is a complete lack of pretentiousness and, in Robin’s words, “we’re pretty frugal.” They rank quality and value at the top of their economic evaluation list and, after a lot of research, they set their sights on Winnebago’s top of the line coach. Sure, other higher priced coaches were in their price range, but as the Rudy’s see it, their Winnebago Tour offered them all the features, design and quality they could ask for in a high end motorhome
And what a difference stepping up from the Monaco Knight! “It’s as easy to drive as a car,” says Steve. And Robin jumps in immediately, “The smart wheel design is so much safer having all the controls at your fingertips.”
The conversation takes a different turn with the discussion of what their non-RV friends think of their road lifestyle. Robin believes there’s a general perception that motorhome travel is often looked at as a downscale travel option. And she clearly points a finger at the many campgrounds that have poorly improved facilities. “On the other hand,” she says, “we’ve stayed at some beautiful campgrounds and resorts.” Putting his business hat on Steve recognizes that, “at an average of $45 dollars a night, it’s hard to see how many parks have the money to reinvest in their properties.” Nonetheless, whether parked overnight at a truck stop or on a luxury motorcoach resort pad, when you lock the door for the night, you’d be hard pressed to find a more comfortable and well-appointed condominium.
And for anyone who thinks that motorhome travel is only for the budget minded, they only need to hear Robin’s words, “Every time we get in it we get excited all over again. Even though you have everything you need, it’s like being on vacation. It’s glamorous camping.” And sure enough the new vanity license plate on their Tour reads: GLAMPING.