Roadtreking for short trips is awesome too

By Ari B. Adler
Special Guest Blogger

When we bought our “previously loved” Roadtrek (2008 190 Popular) my wife, Jessi, and I believed we had made the right choice because it had enough room inside but wasn’t too big on the outside. We have found that to be a great decision based on our 2-week trip to Yellowstone and several other camping trips we’ve made in and out of Michigan this summer.

But beyond big trips and weekend getaways, I’ve been thrilled to have our Roadtrek available as a mobile office and a movable hotel room lately. I’m actually using it in ways I hadn’t thought about but that make perfect sense.

A few weeks ago I had to be in northern Michigan on a Friday afternoon for a memorial service taking place about four and a half hours north of where I live. The following Monday I needed to be about 2 hours north of home for a work event. Instead of the long drive north-drive south-repeat, that I might have done in days past, I took the Roadtrek.

The Pigeon River near the entrance to the Pigeon River State Forest Campground in Vanderbilt, Michigan.
The Pigeon River near the entrance to the Pigeon River State Forest Campground in Vanderbilt, Michigan.

I attended the memorial service and afterward started my exploration of northern Michigan since I had a couple of days to spend before having to be halfway home for my next work event. After meeting some colleagues for dinner, I wandered off and found a state forest campground where I boondocked for the night. Before turning in I was able to set up a mini office and catch up on emails I had missed while at the afternoon memorial service.

On Saturday morning, I headed a bit south and explored the Pigeon River Country State Forest Area. Complete with numerous primitive state forest campgrounds, plenty of two-tracks, hiking and mountain biking trails, small lakes and — if you’re lucky — some elk sightings, the Pigeon River area is a great place to simply wander. Thanks to my Roadtrek’s size, I was able to take back roads and two-tracks and made it through with no problem. (I have 4-wheel drive but only engaged it a couple of times — once in some sand and once on some mud — and it was more so that I could tread lightly on the environment by not risking spinning my wheels.)

The photo at the top is a real road according to Google Maps, located near Vanderbilt, Michigan.

I was delighted at how well the Roadtrek handled the backcountry of northern Michigan and the ease of just parking and camping with little fuss made it easy for me to do some solo exploration.

More recently, I drove the Roadtrek to be the mobile cheering section for Jessi when she took part in a 200-mile team relay run. Heading out after work on Friday I was able to catch up to her on the second of three legs she was running in the relay. Again, the smaller footprint of the Roadtrek allowed me to tag along on narrow roads or leap ahead and pull off to the side so I could cheer her on as she ran by.

A peaceful campsite at the Avery Lake State Forest Campground near Atlanta, Michigan.
A peaceful campsite at the Avery Lake State Forest Campground near Atlanta, Michigan.

On the first night, while the relay team was continuing their running efforts, I found a scenic turnout along the route. I had dinner, watched a movie and then snuck in a nap for a few hours before again finding a small spot along the race route to pull off and cheer for Jessi.

When the team finally finished their relay we were in Traverse City. We had arranged a spot at Traverse City State Park so we both caught up on sleep by turning in early on Saturday night. Sunday morning it was (still) gray and rainy, so we just hung out in the van and slowly got cleaned up and had breakfast before meeting family at an uncle’s house in town. It was great to drive up into their driveway with the Roadtrek. My father-in-law rolled up in his Suburban but had to leave his 35-foot camping trailer at the campground because he was concerned about getting through the narrow subdivision streets with it.

Everywhere I’ve been in the past few weeks, I did it with my own bed, water, food and space for work and leisure activities. No matter where I needed to be, I could just go be there without worrying about where I was going to sleep, eat, use the bathroom or kill some time while waiting on others.

Roadtreking across the country is a great experience and one goal I have is to do that full time some day. For now, though, Roadtreking for short trips is turning out to be quite awesome, as well!