When Joe and Vicki Kieva, authors of the “Life on the Road” column, called to let me know they were going to hang up their keyboards, it was time for reflection. Where did all the years go? At first I was surprised. As admitted RV junkies who love to help others, I couldn’t imagine that they were actually going to take their lives private again. For more than 23 years, the Kievas have disseminated information to fellow RVers, based on their RV adventures that started in 1961.
Johnny Cash’s song, “I’ve Been Everywhere, Man,” sums it up best. Joe retired for the first time in 1989 to pursue a new career in the RV lifestyle sector and he and Vicki never looked back.
Seminars were their calling; they were good at it. A loving couple with permanent smiles on their faces, the Kievas really knew how to conduct seminars. They always packed in big crowds excited to hear what they had to say. Their stuff was always valuable and genuine, backed by real-life motorhome travel experiences.
I really got to know Joe and Vicki while working together at the Life on Wheels conferences in the mid 1990s. Former MotorHome columnist Gaylord Maxwell had a dream that a school of RV could be just the ticket for enthusiasts looking to enhance the lifestyle — and bring in new people at the same time. The Kievas and I were the first to sign on as instructors and our friendship grew from there. Maxwell’s vision was realized. RVers absorbed information like a sponge and the Kievas continued on that teaching path until recently when they decided to really retire. That’s quite a contrast to the 20 seminars they presented each year while racking up more than 20,000 miles on their motorhome odometer to get to the venues.
It was a no-brainer to invite the Kievas to present seminars at our rallies. Their lifestyle seminars were extremely popular. They focused on subjects ranging from how to make life on the road easier to the secrets of extended travel — and still like each other after living in a coach for long periods of time. Their RVing Alaska seminars were also big hits. Attendees left with their arms stacked with books the Kievas wrote over the years.
The Kievas started publishing articles in 1993 (their first RV column) and for 15 years penned the “RV Insight” column that appeared in Highways, the official magazine of the Good Sam Club. More recently, they wrote the “Life on the Road” column in MotorHome, and this month’s column will be their last.
While the Kievas will no longer be tied to an exhausting schedule that has them traipsing around the country, they will continue to travel leisurely in their motorhome. They are excited about exploring new places and discovering new ways to make life on the road more fun and convenient. I’m sure they will never stop learning about the RV lifestyle, although you may have to run into them in a campground to glean any new tips.
They always got a kick out of describing what they did for a living: “We travel around the country in a motorhome, getting paid to tell people how much fun it is to travel around the country in a motorhome.” I can attest to that, since I’m also fortunate enough to get paid to work in a field that parallels my lifestyle.
We’re going to miss Joe and Vicki’s columns and seminars, but we’re happy they will have more time to visit with their children and grandchildren, and be able to travel at will. That’s a nice place to be in life, especially when behind the wheel of a motorhome, pointed in random directions.