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Bret Michaels

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Bret Michaels on Being a ‘Drealist,’ Loving Day-Old Hot Dogs, and Not Missing the Rock of Love Girls

With his Rock of Love and Rock of Love Bus days behind him, Bret Michaels is back on the road — only now in an RV. His new Travel Channel show, Rock My RV (Sundays at 9 p.m. EST), is a mix between Pimp My Ride and Extreme Home Makeover, taking RV owners and making their dreams come true. But does Michaels regret replacing the leggy blonds from his past with reality-TV folk who prefer a more, uh, mature form of transportation? We spoke to him about forgoing a tour bus for an RV, being a 'drealist,' and craving those 7/11 day-old hot dogs on the world's greatest road trip.

How does it feel to be back on a bus for another reality show? Was that planned or did that just happen to be the case?
No, I love it. It was great. From childhood to the moment I’m speaking to you right now, this is what I do. A lot of bands live and breathe out of hotels. I just happen to be the one that lives on my bus. I have camped and RVed my entire life.

It’s a very different type of bus than the last bus you were on, on television.
No doubt.

Do you ever miss those Rock of Love girls?

No, but I enjoyed it. But you know what? I’m good for right now. I’ve had a good run. I’ve gotta, you know, step off the Rock of Love bus and step over to rockin’ my RV, and show them how I actually work on these things.

It definitely seems like a growing process, going from that Rock of Love tour bus to Travel Channel's Rock My RV.
It is. No doubt, it’s a growing process.

Your new show also reminds me of my other former favorite show, which is Pimp My Ride ...
Absolutely. I love Pimp My Ride. I love Overhaul and one of the things about me that a lot of people know is that, besides being a sports fanatic, I’m a car and motorcycle enthusiast. One thing about Pimp My Ride, along with this show, is that I didn’t want there to be a backstory about people, I wanted to be the front story. I wanted to be the forefront. I’m a good host and I like taking care of people and what they want done: making their dream RV.

I think my favorite part of Pimp My Ride, though, was how it never seemed like they actually wanted some of the stuff that [Pimp My Ride host] Xzibit would put in their car. They would always say, "We just want a cool car," and he would put, like, a fish tank in there.
They’re like, "But we didn’t want a fish tank in the car!" Yeah, no, this thing, whatever this word is worth, I truly say I’m a "drealist."

What?
I’m a dreamer and a realist.

Great word.
Most people are either big dreamers with no reality or they’re so real that they never get anything off the ground. They bum themselves out too quickly. I dream it big, and then I do everything I can to make it functional. The key to the show, different from a lot of these other shows, is make it that this RV can actually go down the road.

So let's take this drealism on the road and lay out your perfect road trip. First: snacks. You head into a 7/11. What do you grab?
I’m a diabetic so I’m a little more careful than the average person, but I’m gonna tell you my snacky treat dilemma: There’s nothing that smells better to me than a day-old hot dog.

Noooo.
I love it, I’m sorry! The old puffy pizza, you know the pizza that’s been in there for about three months ... But if you’re going in there don’t fear getting some healthy stuff and mixing it with some junk because you need a good balance. So you'll want apple slices and Fritos.

When you’re on the road do you use a paper map or GPS?
I’m a classic modernist. I also love my GPS and Google Maps. I’m a threepeater, so I have to have all three.

That’s good, because then if GPS messes up when you’re in the middle of nowhere, you have your map just in case.
You know the map I’m talking about? It’s like a book, so when you get to an individual state you can see every little teeny town.

Yes, it's perfect because if you can’t go somewhere specific, you can still learn about the local geography.
Absolutely, and don’t fear occasionally taking those alternative routes. I’ve seen some of the most beautiful areas of the United States I never even knew existed.

If you’re too good at not getting lost then you’ll miss out on the experience of getting lost. Do you guys play any fun car games? Like I Spy?
Well for me, I have both the work bus and my personal. I’m gonna tell you this, you’re gonna be the first. This is breaking news here.

What? Go. Go!
I have my own little beautiful little custom 41- or 42-foot RV plus my tour bus, but this summer I’m switching out to take my own RV on my tour all summer.

That’s awesome! Why wouldn’t you do that?
So I have a stationary bike, and I [like to] open up all the windows and just let life go by. I don’t necessarily play games, because on the bus you can have DirectTV and mobile satellite, so you can watch a lot of stuff. But I’ll tell you where you wanna be careful: Be careful getting caught up in being in too big of a hurry to get from point A to point B. You wanna kind of have stops along the way to get out and enjoy it all.

So you ride a stationary bike IN the RV as it drives?
Yeah, I have a stationary bike that I ride for an hour and it’s got a TV on it. It keeps my diabetes in check.

Here's a very controversial question. In your RV, who controls the music?
Hands down that is me. I have to control my music because it controls my mood. If I have someone blaring something that I don’t wanna listen to and I’m not floating in the same mood, that could go real bad, real fast. I’ll slide from listening to rock into some good classic country, into some pop, back into some R&B, all of a sudden I got a little reggae on, and then I’m going from Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney back to Metallica. It keeps my mood right, it changes it up as I’m going along.

That’s awesome. I want to go on a road trip with you!
I’ll take you on a road trip.

Oh, yeah?
I’m not lying. I’ve done this before, and people go, and they have the time of their life.

I might just take you up on that. Now I definitely want a 7/11 hot dog, while listening to some R&B in your pimped out RV.
You do not do that with anyone else, I will be offended. You do that with me first, all right?

All right, you got it. I’ll talk to you soon.
Hopefully on the road!

Photo: Slaven Vlasic/Getty