I’m the General’s Driver – Understanding Single Women Roadtrekers

I have been spending a large amount of time in the last few years in the company of many single and married traveling women who buy Roadtreks!   (it’s not like it sounds…….:))

Some are single, some have someone at home who doesn’t have the same passion to go so they travel single.

These ladies are a terrific group. They are passionate, courageous, and they are tough. They adapt and learn quickly. They communicate well. They run hospitals, and businesses, and law firms, and are doctors, and photographers, and pharmacies, and are accountants, and bankers, and yet…..

Roadtreking initially presents a challenge to them. Why? Well it’s wrong, but…..

Our society traditionally puts women in roles as PASSENGERS. Even in some of my friends’ families where the wife is the primary wage earner, the man still drives.  And as such, most women don’t get as comfortable in trucks and bigger vehicles, or trailers. (Don’t get mad at me if you are a lady who loves driving, a farmer, or into horses, I know you ladies are better than I am at driving).

My lovely bride has made it clear to me that she will drive when she wants. But to a certain degree Michelle expects me to drive. Now, I consider it like being a General’s Driver – Generals don’t drive themselves since they have important stuff to think about. But seriously, we need to break societal barriers and walls down so more women feel good about Roadtreking.

Well that’s pretty obvious, right?

Yes, and NO. There is a large segment of society involving single women, who are getting past this cultural and ridiculous assertion that men need to control driving.

The societal barriers can be enormous. When I call the doctor’s office for an appointment, I usually get one that day. When Michelle calls, she gets put off until tomorrow. Why?

Well, because she is more empathetic. And she listens to the person at the other end and tries to compromise. When I call, I say, I need to see a doctor today. I don’t care so much. It is my maleness, my alpha dog mentality.  And it’s the female empathy that makes it more difficult to deal in an RV sales environment that males dominate with dickering over price. In some cases, the male selling the unit is a total arsehole to be honest.

Shopping for big ticket items – like a Roadtrek

Women are generally better with money. Single women shoppers almost always have decent to great credit. They budget! They are prudent and practical.

But when a single woman goes to an RV dealership, they almost always are instantly avoided by MOST salesman. In fact, some sales people call single shoppers “one-leggers.” The insinuation is that they can’t make the leap because their spouse is not present (the other leg).

Some 25-30 percent of any given month’s Roadtrek sales are to single women. So it’s a big mistake for salespeople to brush them off. These women are powerful, they have the money, and by the time they reach the decision to buy, they have educated themselves well.

A smart salesperson cultivates a relationship. He doesn’t say, “Ummm…where’s your husband?”  Dealers and salespeople that treat women coming on the RV lot poorly are fools.

So what’s the issue, Jim?

Well I have several things that really bother me.

  1. The perception that women are PASSENGERS in life. Shoot, I’m the passenger in our family. I get told how things will be and I occasionally am consulted on things. I am tasked regularly by Michelle and I do what I am told. She is the family leader. No doubt. I get involved in most things when more Alpha dog is needed. (Only when I’m told to, or expected to.) I do my dad thing and I fix the cars and the house and I carry what I am told to and I boss the boys around to meet her needs. But it’s women that stabilize us. They control society. They set standards. Most single guys would just throw a carpet in the back of a van and travel. Now if a lady wants to come with them, it’s a Roadtrek.
  2. I want more women to DEFEAT the natural fear of driving. Our vehicles are drivable. Most have lane assists and parking sensors and backup cameras and many sundry items. You have to drive to LIVE well on this continent, where distances are measured in hours, not miles.
  3. Salespeople that treat women as SECOND CLASS. They need to remove their heads firmly from their butts.   Women make 85 percent of all consumer product decisions in society, or are the major shareholder in those big decisions. When Michelle wants something, I only get involved if it’s impractical, like it doesn’t FIT down the stairs……..OR if she wants to get rid of or move my Lazy Boy).  In my life, even if it looks like I made the decision, I spent most of my time making sure she was happy. Trrrrrust me.

So here’s my thing….

I WANT TO KNOW IF YOU ARE A FEMALE/WOMAN/LADY who has any concerns about Roadtreking. I want to help alleviate those concerns.

I DON’T CARE what you buy. I don’t care if you buy a competitor’s product. I don’t care if you buy used. I don’t care if you wait. I don’t care if you decide I am wrong.  I want you to feel comfortable in the lifestyle.

What are the top concerns of women who are thinking about buying a unit?

Safety on the road

Well, this is a pretty safe way to travel, as you can control your own destiny as to where you go. You aren’t stuck in a place where you can’t control things. You have belongings. You have communication that can’t be cut. (Cells have no wires). You have the Roadtreking community. You have the RV community. It’s safe, and we try to make it safer every day.

Drivability

Our units come in a variety of sizes and configuration, and with all the safety features, there is no need to fear it. I spent a day with a fantastic lady here last summer who said, “I bought this and I am scared to drive it.” I took her to a parking lot with another lady and within an hour we had her comfortably cornering and parking. When I drove a big pickup truck for the first time it was the same for me. It’s not gender related fear. It’s human.

Service and Support and the learning curve

It takes some learning to address how to use a unit. But much of that has been buffered and reduced extremely by the group known as Roadtrekers. All you have to do to gain access to all sorts of help, from owners, from manufacturers, techs, me, is join our Facebook group. Life is easy for those who do. It’s not that hard, and when you have hundreds and thousands of people ready to help or connect you with help, life is really, really stress free.

Maintenance

Look, we have a five or six year warranty, depending on the products. Everybody has some warranty. AND you have to perform a small amount of maintenance to keep a Roadtrek in tip top shape. And we help you with detailed owner’s manuals and online support. Once again, Roadtreking is invaluable, regardless of what you buy.

Is it complicated?

What my wife does in a day far exceeds my capabilities. The ability to work, run a household, a family, provide supervision to me, and still have time to shop endlessly (HA!) is incredible.

We are just talking about an electrical system and a plumbing system. Once you know it, you know it. When I went away for long periods with the army, the house still ran and got fixed. I became superfluous.

Making the LEAP – WHY WAIT?

Let’s be clear here.

  • YOU WANT TO TRAVEL (YOU KNOW YOU DO)
  • ROADTREKING GIVES YOU CONTROL OF WHERE AND WHEN YOU DO THINGS.
  • YOU CAN HAVE YOUR STUFF WITH YOU (My wife loves this part)
  • YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS WANT YOU TO DO THINGS (If they don’t, they should)
  • YOU CANNOT WAIT FOR OTHERS (if you do…you will regret it)

YOU ARE NOT A PASSENGER IN YOUR OWN LIFE. Do not be intimidated by society and PEOPLE who can’t figure that out.

Ladies? You aren’t comfortable driving one of these units? Take delivery here at the factory and we will bring a driving instructor in and teach you for a couple days and make it easy.   And I mean that. And stay here for a few days. We will get you totally familiar with the units! We want you to know!

Watch these videos and see these three REAL ladies who all can show you how life as a Roadtreker can be incredible and fulfilling. They aren’t being asked staged questions folks. These are their own words.

Ginny – Life’s Too Short

Alice In a New York Minute

Laura – The Wanderer




Click to see all of our Roadtreking RV videos!


  • Diane

    I am a solo Roadtrekker. I find it very sad when I see married couples
    in their “traditional” roles — the husband takes care of everything on
    the outside (vehicle maintenance, setting up camp, driving), while the
    wife takes care of everything on the inside (cooking, making the bed,
    cleaning). Too many times I’ve asked the wife if she drives and she
    says, “No.” Not only do they not drive, they also have no idea how to
    set up camp (plug in electric, level van) or use the macerator/dumping
    system. Ladies, I know you don’t want to face this fact, but what if???
    What if your husband becomes ill (or worse) while you’re on the road? At the very least, become familiar with driving your van in case an emergency comes up. Being prepared is never a bad thing.

  • Lynne Ellen Kaiser

    I travel alone in my older RoadTrek, but so far always for under a week (hoping to change that as soon as time allows). My fears have little to do with the RoadTrek itself, but more to do with my environment. I like to camp off season, and seek out places where I have solitude. However, that can make you vulnerable, too. I have left several times due to a minor bad experience, or simply a bad vibe about a place. But most of the time… it’s simply awesome.

    RoadTrek-wise, I do not know my systems well yet, never having had an RV. That’s my biggest intimidation. My first step in addressing that is finally having the entire thing gone over by RoadTrek service center (it’s there now). I wish I could find someone camp with who would help me with the down and dirty of the vehicle – how (and how often?) to dump grey and black systems, how to winterize, how to UNwinterize…. things like that. But when you meet a fellow RoadTreker, they are friendly and we socialize. I do not, however, feel like I can pull them over and ask them to look at my dumping set up, lol!! RoadTrek is an amazing company, but my 1994 is a tad out of warranty. So, I don’t have the option of buying new and getting the full demo and training (but I think it’s fantastic that you do that.) I have put in a back up camera, though, and make good use of that. That has made me a lot more comfortable in tight spots when backing up.

    Last note… The most negative response I get when I say I drive and travel alone has been consistently from – women. Many are simply incredulous that I do this…. You drive that?! ALONE?! And then the most surprising question: Why? I can’t believe anyone would ask why, but they do. Given the choice, I would usually travel with a companion because I like to share experiences, but NOT because there is ANYthing to be intimidated by in driving that RoadTrek. It’s just like driving a van. I absolutely love it. Learning to drive a pull-behind can be intimidating (I had a pop up camper), and the huge trailers are even more intimidating. But my RoadTrek 190? Ha – it’s a second vehicle.

    Get a back up camera if you don’t have one. Get a good RV Roadside Assistance program. Get a cell phone with really good coverage. Get an internet hotspot. Buy some extra fuses. Have a tool box with the basics (including that funky screwdriver head that only RVs seem to have.) Make sure your RoadTrek is in good working order (and don’t be ashamed to admit that you can’t figure it out and need some help from a pro!). Check your tires. Fill your tank. HIT THE ROAD.

    Ladies — JUST DO IT. It’s awesome.

    • Diane

      Lynn. Don’t feel ashamed to ask any camper for help in learning your Roadtrek or dumping or anything. Most RV’ers would be glad to help you. It doesn’t have to be a Roadtrek owner as nearly all operations of a Roadtrek are common in every camper. Join the SoloTrekkers or Roadtrek Int’l. Go to a rally or two and meet other Trekkers. Join as many solo traveling groups as you can. You’ll not only learn your Roadtrek quicker, you’ll also discover you’re not really alone on the road anymore, either.

  • Lisa Gruner

    Thanks for this wonderful article, Jim! I’m newly retired and will be hitting the road alone soon while the hubby stays home. Looking forward to it!

  • Karen Blaine

    I have long been a solo traveler, most recently driving a full sized truck and a vintage trailer. Severe spinal issues have made it difficult to continue traveling the way I want to. I figure I need to abandon my dream or adapt. So, this month I purchased a 1996 Roadtrek 200. It is up to me to make my dreams happen. Thanks for the great article. It is a great encouragement to solo women who are afraid to make the leap.

  • Donna

    My Husband and I purchased our 2004 210 Popular in late August 2012. It needed some work which we completed over the winter and were ready to hit the road in spring of 2013. After only two short “shakedown” trips my life changed forever. My Partner of 42 years died suddenly in May 2013. My first thought was to sell it because it was a constant reminder of what I had lost. I couldn’t bear to see it sitting in the driveway so decided to go it alone before making any decisions about it. I was not afraid to go alone – in fact I was no longer afraid of anything. The worst thing that could ever happen to me had already happened – nothing could ever hurt me more. I was confident that I could handle the driving. John made sure I could drive it, back it up, park it, and operate all the on board systems. I even managed to winterize it myself! I have a mechanic I trust, CAA, a good cell phone, and I live very close to the factory if I need help. I went out on a few solo trips last summer and I did just fine, except for the loneliness, something he never could have prepared me for. As I travel down the road I like to think he is somehow with me in the co-pilots seat. So sad he never got to enjoy it with me.

  • Deb

    Great information, thank you. Question: If you were to purchase another Roadtrek Class B after traveling in the one you currently have, what size would you choose? Would you go gas or diesel? What would you recommend to a newbee?

  • Wanda Pepin

    I’m a single woman who traveled the last 5 months (snowbirding and working) in my Roadtrek. What amazed me while I was out there was the amount of people who were concerned with my safety. Complete strangers noticing I was alone. I was constantly warned to be safe and are “you sure you want to be traveling alone?” I find it appalling that a woman can’t travel alone without fears and concerns that men don’t seem to have. I yearn for a world that women travel alone and it is the norm and completely SAFE!!! That said. . . I am safe and take necessary precautions, like NOT boondocking by myself.

  • Angelique Montgomery Goodnough

    I have been single for 15 years and most of that time I had a travel trailer. Hitching and unhitching was getting to me and I DREAMED of a Roadtrek. Last July I got my 2006 Adventurous (named Stevie Ray Van) and its a blast! So easy to drive and set up whether on the beach boondocking or an RV resort. I never really feel alone because everyone wants to see my RT. I’m not yet retired so the RT is perfect for long weekends. This May I’m taking a bucket list trip to Yosemite with a friend. She keeps asking where we are going to stay and I keep telling her “wherever we want to”!

  • Lynne

    Hey Jim, terrific article! Maybe setting up a weekend get together for women, solo or otherwise is the next step. Having a Tech do a seminar, exchange information between the different rigs, that sort of thing. What do you think? Information is power and peacefulness!