When Dave Dudley lost his plum job as a vice president of a software company, he knew it wouldn’t be long before his house mortgage became unmanageable. So he changed his address — to Anywhere, U.S.A.
Dudley gathered up his wife, Joleen, and children, Justice, Adriane and Jayden, and hit the highway. But it’s far from a Jack Kerouac “On the Road”-style life; the Dudleys live a pleasant, relatively roomy life in their 41-foot Heartland Cyclone trailer, towed by a beefy GMC Topkick truck.
As they travel, they’re likely to pass similar families along the way. According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, some 400,000 Americans live full time on the road. And while some of them are retirees seeing their golden years through a windshield, the stubborn recession has made what seems like a vacation life a necessary, full-time proposition for many. Kimberly Goza, a 20-year veteran of the nomad life who runs a Web site for on-the-road families with her husband, says they have recently seen their traffic increase tenfold.
Home, home on the road
TODAY profiled the trend of families pulling up stakes in a tough economy on Wednesday, telling the story through the eyes of the Dudley family and their search for adventure — as well as a cheaper lifestyle.