At Your Own Pace—RV Travel Series
by Bernice Beard
Reviewed by Robin Respaut
Bernice Beard provides an enticing portrait of what it is to travel via recreational vehicle across Northern America in her four book series: Alaska at Your Own Pace: Traveling at Your Own Pace; Colorado at Your Own Pace: Traveling by Motorhome with Friends (At Your own Pace); 301 Ways to Make RV Travel Safer, Easier, and More Fun;and At You Own Pace: Traveling Your Way in Your Motorhome. Beard gives her readers the opportunity to sample the adventures that come while riding both solo and by caravan in RVs, for her books include a general tour and the personal experience of Bernice and her husband, Paul, traveling across the United States and Canada, with special in-depth portraits of Colorado and Alaska. In addition to her travelers’ logs, Beard has published an enriching guide on how to make RV travel safer, easier, and more enjoyable for elder couples eager to regain the traveling opportunities of their youth.
Beard’s dialogue typically begins by offering information on the many unknown factors that retired couples face when deciding how to see the world without leaving behind the comforts of their own homes. She illustrates her books with intricate details describing how Beard and her husband went about planning their RV trips with both tour groups and family friends. Using meticulous notes from the voyages, Beard allows her readers to feel as though they are sitting in the passenger seat, enjoying the roaming lifestyle and passing scenery. Beard provides the answers to typical burning questions that RV travel may provoke, and she offers candid feedback into her own initial timidity and growing excitement. The observations and reflections that she puts into writing are detailed, sincere, and impeccably thorough.
The books are organized by region and separated by different legs of the journey. Beard provides the routes they take, the sites where they stop, the unique conversations in which they participate, and the people with whom they interact. She notes the humor and exhilaration she feels during a crazy t-shirt contest and the awe and wonder in discovering Alaska’s glacier waters. She supplies information for membership benefit cards, access to parks, and helpful traveler checklists. Yet Beard’s dialogue is keyed toward the older mindset. Her journal-style notes provide few resources for the younger crowd or for families traveling with children.
With Beard’s series, readers are able to join Bernice and Paul on their voyages in a 34-foot Holiday Rambler motor home and the discoveries they find in their exploration. Beard introduces us to the other couples with whom she travels, including the interesting cast of characters involved in motor-home caravans such as the Wagonmasters and the Tailgunners, along with the ordinary men and women of America that they come across at gas stations, restaurants, and, of course, during Beard’s weekly hair appointment. To travel along with her is to discover not only the intricacies of motor homing but also the freedom of the open road and the beauty of America’s sights and scenes.