For Dave and Audrey Watkins, RVing has always been about the ride at the end of the road. From their early days tooling around Pennsylvania towing a tent camper to their latest excursions cruising up and down the Atlantic coast in their 34-foot Monaco Windsor, the Watkins have found their fair share of favorite places. For them, RVing is not about where they may be, but, instead, where they may go after they have unstrapped their kayaks or unhooked their bicycles.
Dave & Audrey Watkins
Dave Watkins’ passion for cycling began when he was athletic director at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. Eventually, he began to compete. And when Dave trained, his 9-year-old daughter, Cindy, would hop on her banana-seat bike and follow dad on his 30-mile rides. Soon, the entire family was riding together. Dave, the lifelong athlete, beams as he recalls, “Two of our daughters ended up marathoners, and Cindy became a world-class triathlete.”
Eventually, competitive cycling began to encroach too much on family time, so Dave scaled back. But he and Audrey never slowed down. “We are both active people, and RVing has given us the freedom to go where the trails are and stay as long as we want.”
Audrey adds, “We may not know where we’re going to wake up tomorrow; but, in the RV, no matter where we are, it’s home.”
In addition to cycling, Dave and Audrey enjoy kayaking and golf. And Dave, the retired college professor, is still doing some teaching, offering seminars at Lazydays on the uses and benefits of Apple® products. Dave loves keeping his extended RV family up to date on the latest Mac® magic. “Every time I come to Lazydays, I know I’m going to talk to people who have become my friends. Then I’m going into a seminar, and all of a sudden I have another group of new friends. It’s awesome — just fantastic!”
Another blessing of the RV lifestyle? The opportunity to experience familiar places in new ways. Dave and Audrey recount trips back home to Pennsylvania, encountering new wonders less than an hour’s drive from their childhood homes. And they have experienced the same thing in the Carolinas and in Florida, revisiting places and making new discoveries every time. While their RV takes them to great destinations, the bikes and kayaks bring them closer to nature. “You can ride one day and paddle the next … see things from a different angle, a totally different perspective.”
RVing has allowed Dave and Audrey to discover riding spots all over the eastern United States, from Pennsylvania to Florida. But that was not always the plan. “Initially, we thought we would travel more out west, see the sights. But, for right now, we aren’t thinking about a bucket list of places to visit. We’re too busy having fun — visiting our daughters, riding whenever we can. We’re doing our own thing — and we love it!”
Recently, Dave and Audrey began riding tri-wheeled recumbent bicycles. And whether they are on the road, along the trail or in the water, they are still always on the go — teaching and learning, and making new friends along the way. So, whether you see them out on the trail or at Lazydays, introduce yourself. Dave and Audrey would love to meet you. And they would be elated to share their favorite trails … if you can keep up.
Dave & Audrey’s Family Cycling Tips
Dave and Audrey know better than most that even if you do everything right while riding, accidents can happen. But they have one message for anyone curious about family cycling: Just do it.
- Start now. Cycling is good exercise, and it’s great for learning the rules of the road.
- Riding should be fun.
- For recreational riders, comfort and function are most important. “Cool-looking” but uncomfortable bikes often end up gathering dust in the garage.
- Size matters. Be sure each rider can get on and off his or her bike safely.
- You will buy several bikes for your kids as they grow, so buy one that fits them today.
- Ride single-file, giving other vehicles room to pass.
- Follow basic safety precautions: Ride on the right. Pay attention. Wear a helmet. Reflectors and lights should not be “options,” but essential equipment.