Hungry and exhausted after a long hike, I am just about to fire up the camp stove at our northern Oregon campground when it begins to rain. Glancing at the campers across the way, my wife, Daysi, and I watch as they resignedly crawl into their cramped tents. We’ve been there: During our most recent tent-camping trip at Lake Tahoe, in fact, a sudden hailstorm interrupted our dinner and sent us fleeing into our car while juggling plates of half-eaten steak.
But not this time.
We stash our stove and camp chairs into storage compartments and waltz into our 22-foot Class C rental RV, relishing our elevated status. As we start cooking, the aroma of marinara sauce wafts through our mobile castle and my mind drifts back to idyllic childhood camping trips in northern Michigan, first in our family’s pop-up camper and then in a small travel trailer.
Fortunately, Daysi shares my love of the outdoors, and over the past couple of decades we’ve roughed it across some of the West’s most spectacular terrain. As we’ve gotten older, however, we’ve grown more accustomed to vacationing in cabins, lodges, and yurts. But the allure of camping has stuck, and we’ve always dreamed of getting an RV when we retire, which now (fingers crossed) isn’t too far away. In fact, it’s become something of an obsession. On the road to retirement, a persistent voice pesters me from the backseat of my brain: Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?
We had decided to do a test run of this dream by renting a motorhome for a 10-day RV road trip along the Northern California and Oregon coasts. Our mission was twofold: to explore some of the Pacific Northwest’s most scenic coastal hiking trails and, more importantly, to find out if RV camping is all it’s cracked up to be.