Back Issues | Family Motor Coaching magazine
Traveling by motorhome strengthens this family’s already tight bonds.
By John Johnston, Associate Editor
Can two people with decidedly different backgrounds find bliss and harmony in a 36-foot motorhome? Miri and Ryan Rossitto, F434901, are proof positive.
Miri grew up in Beverly Hills, California, the daughter of a TV game-show director. Her family’s idea of a vacation was to hop a jet to Paris or London. Ryan, meanwhile, was raised by parents who scraped to make ends meet. The family’s only real vacation — a road trip to the Grand Canyon — came after his father won some lottery money.
They met when Miri started working at a BMW dealership where Ryan was a mechanic. They soon discovered they had a few things in common. For one, both had grandparents who were Winnebago owners. “That was a huge influence on me when I was growing up,” Miri said, who dreamed of one day traveling the United States. Ryan, meanwhile, remembers stepping into his grandparents’ motorhome and thinking, “This is so cool!”
When Ryan and Miri married in 2002, the couple also shared one clearly set priority. “Family was really important to us,” Miri said. “We really wanted a close family unit. A big reason we started RVing is because we wanted to do things as a family, and learn together as a family.”
After a couple of years of camping in a trailer, in late 2012 they bought a Type A, gas-powered motorhome, a Forest River Georgetown 351 DS. These days, the Rossittos, who are both 38, travel with their daughters, 9-year-old Vivian and 7-year-old Cora, and sometimes with their two German shepherd rescues. Collectively, they are known as the Roadzies.
The Rossittos, who live in Los Angeles, have discussed the possibility of becoming full-time motorhomers. The key, they say, will be the ability to make a living on the road. Ryan is now a Web developer. Miri recently left her job with a company that writes business plans and started her own business development firm. She expects it will take a couple of years to get the business where it needs to be.
But even though they’re not yet full-timing, they are “roadschooling.” Every opportunity they get, the Rossittos take their home-schooled children on new travel adventures.
“The impetus for us to roadschool was so the kids could experience things firsthand,” Miri said. “They learn more from touching, experiencing, and seeing things as opposed to just staring at them in a book.”
As the girls’ learning coach, Ryan guides them through a curriculum, most of which is available online. “If we’re doing a lot of traveling in one day, they’ll spend a fair amount of time on the curriculum, because it gives them something to do on the road,” he said. “If we are someplace interesting, they don’t have to spend the day behind a desk or the RV table pounding away on math problems.”
And there is no shortage of interesting places. A highlight of last summer was a stop at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota. Visiting what Miri calls “the all-American vacation spot” presented the opportunity for some serious learning about the four U.S. presidents whose faces are carved into granite.
Two years ago the family traveled to Tennessee to spend Thanksgiving with Miri’s brother and his family. Driving the famed Route 66 part of the way, they found themselves standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, but that wasn’t the only fine sight to see. They enjoyed a stop at the Grand Canyon. And in Tennessee, they visited the Hermitage, the plantation that was owned by Andrew Jackson, the seventh U.S. president.
They have toured NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is only a half hour from their home. “Our kids absolutely loved it,” Ryan said. They now want to visit space centers in Texas and Florida. And their list of other possible destinations keeps growing — New Orleans, Maine, Disney World, Alaska, and Canada.
It all sounds so . . . perfect. The reality, Ryan and Miri say, is that long days on the road can sometimes be challenging. They have been caught in awful weather and have endured their share of illness. But when they look back at some of the uncomfortable situations they’ve been in, more often than not, they chuckle.
Such as the time they rejoiced when Miri was able to snag a last-minute reservation at a campground in Big Sur. “What I didn’t take into account was, driving (California) Highway 1 in a 36-foot RV wasn’t necessarily the best idea,” Ryan said. “But we did it.”
At the campground, theirs was the only RV; everyone else was in tents. The Rossittos pulled into their designated spot — a 40-foot stretch of prime riverfront. “After we parked and settled in, we realized we blocked off the river (view) for about 25 other campers,” Ryan said.
“We felt soooo bad,” Miri added. Bad enough that they offered wine to other campers and invited them to sit in front of their coach. Bad enough that the Roadzies departed at 5:00 a.m. the next morning. Before they left, Miri recalled, “People kept asking us, ‘Are you rock stars? Are you movie stars?’”
They’re not, of course. But if a movie were made of their life, both Miri and Ryan say it would be a romantic comedy.
“I love Ryan so much,” Miri said. “My dream was to have a really tight-knit family, and that we would be able to travel the United States. He made my dreams come true.”
Others can follow their adventures through the Roadzies blog on FMCA.com; their website, www.roadzies.com; Facebook; and Twitter, @Roadzies. On one such site, they posted this adage: “Twenty years from now, you’ll be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did.”
“That,” Miri said, “is exactly how we see it.”