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Editor’s Note: The following story, authored by Mark Kahler for About.com, is yet another result of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) vehicle loan program using a Winnebago Via, RVIA reports. The Reston, Va.-based trade association also arranged to have three vehicles in New York City Saturday morning, a Roadtrek N6-Active Class B, a Fleetwood Tioga Class C (from El Monte) and the Winnebago Via, for tours and highlights on Fox News in segments that promoted the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) rally in Indianapolis.

It’s not often that someone offers me a test drive. When they do, it’s usually because they want me to buy a new car.

So I was intrigued when the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association asked if I would be willing to test drive an RV for a week, and then write about the experience. I was allowed to choose a route anywhere in the U.S., and it did not have to begin and end in the same place. Although the vehicle was supplied, I paid all the other expenses: fuel, camping fees, propane refills, park admissions, groceries, etc.

Despite a challenging economy in recent years, RVIA reports wholesale RV shipments in the first half of 2012 were up 7.6%t over the same period in 2011. That might suggest many travelers see RVs as a way to hit the road with efficiency and comfort while bypassing expensive hotels and restaurants.

I knew just enough about that approach to be interested in the offer. As a child, our family owned a travel trailer for a few years. By the time I was age 10, I had seen both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the Rockies, the Redwoods and major cities like Boston, Toronto, Seattle and San Francisco. Those trips were a lot of work for my parents, but they kindled a lifelong love of travel in me.

As an adult, I had no experience driving an RV. Nonetheless, I accepted the offer to maneuver a 25-foot Winnebago Via 25Q. I chose a punishing but scenic route through the mountains and canyon lands of Colorado and Utah, with a final stop in Las Vegas.

To read Kahler’s full review click here.