By Deb Silverthorn
This land is your land, this land is my land…
This land was made for Alan and Jill Bach, who have driven nearly 8,500 miles since June. The couple has driven, biked and hiked with Bella, their 2020 Winnebago Horizon, as home base along with jeep Baby Bell in tow behind them.
“Alan likes driving, I like riding. We’re a good match,” said Jill from the road, taking in the view of the canals she and her husband are now visiting in Hutchinson Island, Florida. “We’ve learned to cherish each day and make the most of the good and bad adventures we experience together.”
During a December 2019 road trip, Alan mentioned he’d someday like to drive a bus. When the pandemic hit and it was clear that standard travel would be halted for the foreseeable future, the couple put that offhand comment into action, gifting themselves Bella for their 35th wedding anniversary and Alan’s 60th birthday.
Once on the road, they realized their 43-foot-long home on wheels was now their summer cabin, fall mountain abode, winter beach house and snowy bungalow.
The couple’s travels have varied in length. Once they get to their destination and set up and park the RV, they take day trips in the jeep or bike rides, enjoying the freedom.
They’ve hunkered down at a winery, a farm, on a river’s bank and on a cattle ranch. Only a few missteps have occurred, the first being early on as they hadn’t considered how rice should be stored. “Day one lesson,” said Jill, “put rice in a strong Ziploc bag when you’re on wheels. We were finding grains for a long time.”
The RV has a bedroom, a living area with couch and fireplace, one-and-a-half baths, a cooktop, a dining table, a full-sized refrigerator and freezer, a portable freezer, a grill, an air-fryer that doubles as a pressure cooker, a dishwasher and a washer and dryer. Traveling lightly, the couple’s greatest treasures on the road are a set of candlesticks, a challah cover and Kiddush cups gifted by their daughters Alicia and Michelle, which keep them connected each Shabbat.
They’ve cooked every meal on the road, not ordering in or eating out. As they keep kosher, they stocked up on meats in Dallas. Alan, the Bach challah baker, makes enough for each trip.
“We’ve been places we’ve dreamed of, where we’ve traveled before,” said Jill, “and to places we’d never heard of but came upon and decided to explore.” Family dogs Emma and Ollie have made the trips too. Jill’s phone is filled with hundreds of photos of their travels, many documenting the rescue pups’ hijinks and explorations in the ocean, mountains and in-between.
The couple twice visited Atlanta, recently to celebrate Alan’s mother Bernice’s 90th birthday. They’ve also been to St. Louis to see Alicia. Sometimes their itinerary is planned, sometimes it’s spontaneous. They have also traveled to Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Utah.
Planning their Dallas return in February, the couple looks forward to reuniting with Michelle and Jill’s parents, Alan and Glenda Kaplan, who live here now.
When not marking the mileage behind the wheel, Alan does all the driving. The two also take to the tandem bike, often logging nearly 30 miles in a day. They also enjoy pedaling for a cause; Jill is a co-founder of the Be The Difference Foundation and its Wheel to Survive bike-a-thon.
Jill enjoys reading, photographing, cooking, making friends and chilling. This month she learned to play pickleball after meeting folks at the beach who invited her to join their game. Alan, a Salesforce and Marketing consultant, works full time from the RV.
Zooming with family and friends for simchas and funerals, and attending online classes and events, keeps them connected wherever they are.
“I love that we can go anywhere, cook in our own pans, eat on our own dishes and sleep on our own linens,” said Alan. “I’m amazed that we can close up the walls, travel to our next destination and never unpack.”