On the Open Road

Hello, Barry and Therese Bentley here, with the story of our “Grand Expedition”. For a while, we have been thinking about taking a trip across the country to see more of the grand USA while we’re still young (enough) and healthy. Therese refuses to allow me to reveal her actual age, but suffice it to say that there’s a ‘6’ involved and neither of us is getting any younger. So we decided that now is the time. Therese is a city girl, so tent camping was out. We tapped the expertise of several experienced RVer’s and decided on a diesel “pusher” motorhome. After some research, we settled on a 2017 Newmar Dutch Star 4018. It’s a pretty big vehicle for a first RV, but we are too ‘mature’ to start small and work our way up, so we’ll make the best of it.

Picking up DS4018 at North Trails RV

Newmar, like many RV manufacturers has our demographic group – baby boomers travelling with just two – right in their crosshairs, so the Dutch Star seems “just right” to us. It’s 40 foot long, quite comfortable, and has lots of conveniences – inductive cooktop, small dishwasher, convection/microwave oven, washer and dryer, king-size bed, two TVs, A/C, a generator, and a spacious floor plan. We ordered it from North Trails RV in Fort Myers, Florida, in November of 2016, and picked it up in early January, 2017. The driving lesson was about 20 minutes long. It has an automatic transmission, great visibility out the front, and it turns pretty sharply. You have to remember that the rear wheels track ‘inside’ the front tires, so swing wide and turn late when you are making a turn. It’s a little like driving a truck with a trailer in that regard.

Inside the Dutch Star with slides out


Like many RVers, we are towing a car (referred to as a ‘dinghy’ or ‘toad’) so we can explore without having to do it in the rather unwieldy motorhome. Our toad is a Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Our plan is to drive across the US. We’ll be starting from Naples, FL, and driving west on a southern route for the month of May, 2017. Then we are going to leave the Dutch Star at a storage facility in southern California, and fly home to Pennsylvania. In September, we’ll fly back and continue our adventure via a northern route, ending in Elverson, Pennsylvania. That plan has not yet been “battle tested”, but that’s our story and we’re sticking to it.

We’ll publish some updates and pictures along the way – look in the “Recent Posts” section to the right.