OUR RV, OUR ADVENTURE BASE CAMP
Our RV, which we call “Lance,” is small.
Some of our family and friends don’t get it. When they learn we could have bought an RV 3 times as big for the same price, we get asked, “are you crazy??!!”
But honestly, we prefer the simplicity of a small motorhome. It’s small enough that we’ve been forced to get rid of everything unnecessary and just travel with the basics. That alone is a pretty liberating feeling.
Besides, we didn’t get an RV to get IN there, we got an RV to get OUT there. We’re hikers and bikers and winter adventure lovers, so Lance is a convenient basecamp for all our outdoor pursuits. Some of those places are pretty remote, and an RV any bigger than a campervan can’t always make the trek.
Here’s a look at three of our recent outdoor activities where Lance became the perfect adventure basecamp.
1. Mountain Biking at Nebraska National Forest
Sometimes there’s nothing like a good old paper map. That’s exactly how we found this little gem. We were passing through Nebraska and knew we wanted to find somewhere interesting to explore. We saw the spot of green on our paper map labeled “Nebraska National Forest”, and decided to check it out. I’m so glad we did.
Nebraska National Forest doesn’t have any dedicated campgrounds, but they do allow dry camping…our favorite! Trouble is, it is so remote, our GPS couldn’t find the dirt service roads AND there was no cell service, so we were on our own. A true adventure!
The service roads were very rough. For the most part, they were two narrow tire tracks of dirt, with plenty of washed out sections and rocks. Slow going, but doable in a van. We eventually got to a spot that looked perfect for setting up our base camp. There was no one there but us. I love when that happens.
We arrived mid-day, and immediately pulled out the mountain bikes and found some trails. It was windy, which added an extra challenge to the ride, but didn’t stop us. We stayed out until dusk, and then came back and grilled up a fantastic dinner…have you ever noticed how food is so much tastier when you love where you are?
2. Hiking in Henry W. Coe State Park
We had heard great things about the trails surrounding this California state park, and so we decided to head there ourselves to check it out. We hadn’t done much research about getting there, though, and it turned out the road, while paved, was scarily steep, narrow, and with sharp switchbacks that had us praying we wouldn’t meet someone coming the other way. One of us would have to back up, as there wasn’t room for two cars to pass. Luckily, we didn’t meet anyone else. Plus, there was no shoulder on parts of the road. It simply dropped off down the mountain. You can be sure I had a death grip on my seat, especially each time James veered closer to that drop-off.
Once we got to the top and pulled in to the park, we knew we’d made a good choice. There is a small campground with sites more geared for tenters, and wouldn’t accommodate a large rig very well…but since we were in a smaller RV, we had plenty of room.
We set out hiking right after breakfast toting our lunch in our daypacks. The trails were everything we hoped they’d be….gorgeous scenery, no other people around, and well-marked.
We got back to the RV mid-afternoon and I was wiped out; but not James! He ended up hitting the trails again, this time on his mountain bike. I’d like to say I was adventurous enough to set out with him, but I’ve got a cap on how much adventure I can tolerate in a day, and I’d already met the day’s quota. He rode a couple hours while I napped back at the base camp. Naps are pretty awesome, aren’t they? Especially when they’re hard-earned.
3. Snowshoeing at Fishlake National Forest
We’ve done a bunch of modifications to Lance so we can take him into some pretty extreme temperatures. We’ve dry camped (meaning without being hooked up to anything) as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit, and with the modifications we’ve done, we still had running water! We’ve shared all our mods over on the Fit RV website, so if you’re curious, you can check them out over there.
Fishlake is the largest natural mountain lake in the state of Utah, and sits at an elevation of 9,000 feet. It’s so beautiful and peaceful there, especially in the winter. As cold and snowy as it gets in the winter at Fishlake, very few people visit. Which is exactly the reason why we do!
Fishlake is probably our favorite place to go snowshoeing. There’s something like 20 different trails with spectacular views, but that’s not even the best part. The BEST part of snowshoeing at Fishlake is that the lake freezes. And you can snowshoe all 6 miles across it!
So, there you have it. Three trips brought to us by our little RV named Lance. Sure, we definitely sacrifice space RVing in a small campervan. But we’re fine with that. It forces us to focus less on the rig itself and more on getting out of it. So yeah, our friends can call us crazy all they want. I’ll just smile and remember trips like these…going to places so remote it feels like we have the world all to ourselves.