Reprinted with permission of Motorhome Life.
A studio motorhome started its travels from Selby, North
Dakota, with artist Don Dyson, a landscape painter, at the
wheel. Mrs. Dyson and seven children, ranging in age from 9
to 17, accompanied him, in the converted Oneida bus. The
66-passenger bus was purchased in Superior, Wisconsin, and
remodeled by the Dysons. Don needed changes of scenes for
his work; the rest of the family was delighted to go along.
As a roving landscape painter, Don soon found sales coming from fellow
travelers on the road. Neighbors in overnight campgrounds
or at scenic highway pullouts invariably seemed to be
attracted by the sight of a painter at work. When they
discovered they could buy an original showing the view
where they had stayed or stopped, many ordered a painting
on the spot.
Don works at top speed, can turn out a 2x4 foot panel in 30
minutes or less. While his customer watches, or takes time
out for a cup of coffee, Don can have. a landscape or
seascape painting ready for framing. He can also create a
mural in any blank space in a customer's RecV.*
When the Dysons pulled up their North Dakota stakes, they
had no idea that business would develop among RecV
enthusiasts like themselves. They found that most areas
required no city or county licenses for this type of
enterprise, thus the only expense was cost of materials.
Today Don works any hours he chooses, never has to dress up
to impress his prospects. Anyone who wants a painting makes
up has mind quickly since both he and the artist are on the
move. Don's prices reflect his low overhead and most
potential customers jump at this unique opportunity to own
an "original Dyson."
Fifteen years of RecV experience in other types of rigs
gave the Dyson family a working background for becoming
full time motorhomers. Mrs. Dyson mastered both living in
and driving the 12-ton, 10-shift bus. When this "studio"
moves to a new location, the kids enjoy changing schools.
However, they have more fun during vacation periods when
there are no restrictions on the Dysons' roaming instincts.
Special expenses relating to the motorhome have proved
surprisingly low. Insurance premiums have been comparable
to average car coverage while the license for a North
Dakota housecar is only $19.70 a year. Don works on the
theory of preventive maintenance through regular servicing
and this has kept repairs to a minimum.
As far as 53-year old Don Dyson is concerned, there are
emphatically no drawbacks to being an itinerant painter—if you have a motorhome for a studio and room to take the
* RecV = Recreational Value