Anything can happen travelling in a Roadtrek®TM
The following "Roadtrek Adventure" was submitted by an actual Roadtrek owner. If you have a story you'd like to share -
we'd like to get it!
Our first experience in a Roadtrek will be total immersion. With no prompting, let me exclaim here and now the vehicle is
superb and all of the conveniences were easy to operate and did so wonderfully. Now, you should know I don't sleep well. Here
we are in a National Park and it's 4:30 am. At 5:00 am I decide I have caused "her what I married" enough sleep deprivation.
I am going for my shower. Being 5:00 am I am going to risk a risque trip. I am just about clear of our site trees, when I hear
scuffing along the main dirt road. Great; just great. Here I am at 5:00 am, my panty hose is twisted, my hair styled by eggbeater
and I ain't got my face on. Now I am going to meet someone. It's 5 am give me a break!! I turn round a tree and-WHAM!! face to
snout with a moose. I am mechanically illiterate but I ain't no coward. True, I simply don't scare easily. The moose sure wasn't
scared of me. So we stood. Nose to muzzle. Silent communication was the agenda. Eventually, I allowed as to how I needed my shower,
and he allowed as to a lot of munching he has to attend to. When I looked back, he was chewing the evergreens near our site marker.
Later when sleeping beauty was on her feet, I showed her the scuff marks in the gravel. I was most impressed with the beautiful coat
on the animal. Locals informed us that from description he was probably over 1200 lbs (544.32 Kg) and as dangerous as a bear.
When I meet my bear I'll see if it's as dangerous as a moose... Oh the stories, the stories we could tell you. The wonderful
people we met. The wildlife. The scenery. How smooth the Roadtrek operated...
Vern & Tove Clahane,
Halifax, Nova Scotia
A Mew Experience
The Thrill and Chill of Winter Camping
© 2004, Steve Bydeley
A strange thought wrestled its way to the fore that Friday morning, just after the weather report. The weatherman had just
finished his prediction of some nice weather for the next three days when the intrusion occurred. “That’s crazy,” I mused, as the
thought lingered, “Not at this time of the year!” Almost jokingly, I mentioned it to Dianne, my wife, but she didn’t laugh. We
traded some comments, looked at our schedule, and decided to be crazy. We would do it! It was December 26, the day after a very
quiet Christmas and we were ripe for activity and adventure—winter camping. This would be our début!
We had little difficulty choosing the location of our first experience. It had to be Algonquin Park, in North-Central Ontario,
and there, only Mew Lake was open for winter camping.
At 9 am we began to pack our 1992 Road Trek, with the necessities. Besides cookware, food and other essentials, we took lots
of reading material. After all, it was winter and we would need to try to keep ourselves occupied. We packed layers of clothing
for the cold weather. With the right things, winter can be enjoyable. We packed wool socks and sock liners, propylene long
johns and under shirts, warm and wind-proof coats and leggings. We brought two pair of warm and comfortable footwear as well
as slippers for the RV.
Before departure, we called the park to reserve a site. The ranger chuckled, "Oh heavens no, you don’t need a reservation!"
That response made us wonder what we were getting into. Would we be alone out there? Still undaunted, we began the five-hour
drive to the park!
Picking a Site
The trip there went fast and the traffic volume was pleasantly low. Perhaps this was not a popular pastime for most people.
At four o’clock, we pulled into the welcome centre for our site permit.
"Just pick any open site and place this permit on the post," the ranger instructed.
At Mew Lake Campground, we looked for sites near the lake, or rather near the ice, since the lake had frozen over. Many good
sites were available, and when we found one with promise, we stepped out to look around.
As we talked, Dianne pointed to another site that we might consider when unexpectedly a little Black-caped Chickadee,
flitted onto her hand looking for seed. That surprised Dianne, but she squealed with delight as other Chickadees and even a
female Downy Woodpecker followed suit, to see what that hand might hold. That welcome convinced us that this would be our campsite.
There was little to set up. I only had to pull the lawn chairs—yes lawn chairs—off our bed and lean them against a tire.
As a last minute detail, Dianne insisted that we pack those chairs. Even rolling my eyes did not dissuade her.
With camp set, we decided to walk around and locate the “comfort station.” Listed on their website was a promise of heated
restrooms and showers. During our walk we were surprised to see more than a dozen other brave campers in RV’s, tents, and in
the heated ‘Yurts’ that can be rented (named after a circular tent originally from Asia). These yurts are equipped with bunks
for up to eight people.
On our return, we noticed a ball of fur rolling in the snow some 30 feet away, and as we watched, it eventually stood to look
around. Staring at us was a pretty red fox that later visited our campsite looking for stray food.
By five o’clock daylight gave way to darkness, the like of which we never see in the city, and with it came the cold. We settle
inside the RV for our first camp meal, lasagna, prepared and frozen before hand for times like this, and hot apple cider with a hint
Around eight o’clock, while recounting the events of the day, Dianne suggested we go out to see the stars. We bundled up and headed
out onto the frozen lake. The spectacular view of brilliant stars spread out against the black sky left us speechless. We gave an occasional
squeal of delight as three shooting stars added drama to the panorama overhead. Eventually our senses demanded we turn our attention to
the reality of the -12C (10F) crisp, clear night air. As we walked back to the RV, we heard the sound of one car traveling a distant
road. It was astounding that the tires of one car could make so much noise, but it soon faded in the distance. This drew our attention
to the overwhelming silence that seemed to swallow even the rhythmic sound of the snow complaining under foot as we walked.
We retired that night wondering how the next day could possibly equal this first one.
The next morning started with a brisk walk to the warmth of the ‘comfort station’ and back for a breakfast of bacon, eggs, and toast
(to have anything else would defy the traditions of camping). With a mug of hot tea in hand, we took our lawn chairs onto the ice at
the edge of the lake. Bundled up and sipping tea, we sat throwing seed, like coins to a busker, for the entertainment offered by the
whimsical chickadees, blue jays, and a determined red squirrel. The squirrel was unrelenting as he carried seed to a stash. Back and
forth, it went, but each time it left seed in its secret horde, a blue jay would drop down to steal it. As the squirrel returned with
more seed, the jay would fly to an overhead perch. The pair continued these antics for some time before the squirrel changed to a new
location—perhaps thinking the other should be full by now. We laughed uncontrollably by the hilarity of those two.
Toward late morning we headed out for a walk through the trails. The landscape in winter was fabulous! The day warmed up to about
2C (35F) and time flew by as we stopped often to take in the view. Like jewels, the sun sparkled on the ice and snow. The tracks and
wildlife were prolific, everything from moose tracks to strutting grouse. We stood a while, listening to the guttural sounds of the
ice on the lake moaning and groaning as the sun warmed its surface.
We returned to camp by mid-afternoon for lunch—a bowel of hot turkey soup, in the lawn chairs, on the lake. Again, our animal friends
entertained us interrupted by the occasional camper passing by on a walk around the lake. At one point, our persistent red squirrel
climbed up my leg and onto my knee for a closer look at what I was eating.
The afternoon rolled into evening, supper, and chuckles as we reviewed the antics of the wildlife and the experiences of the day.
We retired that night wonderfully weary from a full day and ready for the rest.
Reluctant to Leave
We woke early, knowing we were facing an unwanted ride home. Were it not for other commitments we would have stayed another day.
Knowing the inevitable, we took a brisk walk around the lake before a breakfast of—you guessed it—bacon, eggs, and toast, followed by a
cup of hot tea in the lawn chairs on the lake. I sure am glad we thought to take those lawn chairs.
What we thought was a blanket of snow for a season of sleep was really a change of costume in anticipation of the next scene in the
outdoor drama. This was a scene alive with activity and entertainment.
By mid-morning we were packed and ready to leave, ready, but not so willing to leave this place with its memorable moments, new
experiences—at Mew Lake.
My Roadtrek Experience
Story from Denise Webb
Friday, October 6, 2006:
I leaped out of my bed at 4 a.m. to apply the finishing touches on packing my suitcase. I made sure to keep quiet so not to wake my husband
and 2 girls. I took an extra long shower, since I was told that I would not get one until I returned home the next Monday. I dressed and
made my way to the kitchen to grab a bite to eat and wait for the taxi. It was 5 a.m., the taxi was right on time to take me to the
airport (Cleveland, Ohio.) I was ready for my adventure. I was on my way to meet my parents in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
My parents only live a 20 minute drive from my home in a west side suburb of Cleveland. They had set out on their own adventure about 30
days earlier in their compact RV, the Roadtrek. My mother and father loved their traveling vehicle. It suited their needs to a “T”....which
is really funny since their last name is “T”rainer. They made their way into Colorado, then to Utah, then to Arizona and now to New Mexico
to the Albuquerque International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. My decision to join them was made 6 months earlier. I begged my folks to let me meet
them in Albuquerque so I could take pictures of the hot air balloons My mother warned me... “You know, there is no showers there, we’ll have
to bathe like the service men do in Iraq with wipies.” I replied... “I don’t care.... I’ll do it to see 750 hot air balloons.” Mom said,
“I don’t know how you will sleep in our Roadtrek. Your dad and I both get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and we’re not
sure how to make the extra bed out of the back seat ... it might not be too comfortable.” Again I replied,”I don’t care... I’ll sleep sitting
up in the drivers seat if I have to. I’ll do it to see all those Hot Air Balloons.” I think my parents thought I was nuts and they were nuts
to let me join them, especially knowing what I was accustomed to when I went RVing.
My husband and I own a 32 foot Cougar Fifth Wheel and had plenty of room to spread out with our 2 daughters, an 8 and 11 year old.
We referred to our camper as our apartment on wheels with our shower, stove, microwave, 3 televisions... yes I said 3 televisions and more.
My parents had camped with us several times before and out of the mouths of our babe’s.. we would hear, “Grandpa and Grandma’s camper in tiny!”
Our 5th wheel parked next to my parents Roadtrek in a campground was quite comical. I often wondered HOW my parents could live in such a
compact unit and WHY they would want to... over the next 4 days of my first ROADTREK experience... I soon was able to understand HOW and WHY.
My flight on American Airlines went smoothly, from Cleveland to Dallas and then Dallas to Albuquerque. The anticipation of seeing 750
Hot Air Balloons was smothering all fears of being in my parents Roadtrek for 4 days. I was ready for an adventure and it was an
adventure starting with my run in with the Albuquerque Police.
As soon as I landed, I called my mom to tell her I had successfully arrived in Albuquerque. I gathered my luggage from the carousel and made
my way out the doors to wait for my parents Roadtrek to drive by and pick me up. The arrival pick up area was below an underpass. It did not
dawn on me that the Roadtrek would not be able to make it’s way under the underpass. Then I saw the Roadtrek... outside the underpass where
all the other taller vehicles where driving, picking up passengers. I ran across the road to try and catch my parent’s attention... yelling
“DAD, MOM., I’m HERE!” I caught mom’s eye and they stopped to let me hop in the back of the Roadtrek. As I was getting in, 2 police
officers came running after me... my mom said, “Denise, the police are after you!” I got out of the Roadtrek and the Policeman was yelling
at my father, accusing him of breaking into the commercial vehicle road for car rental vans and hotel pick up vans. My father tried to tell
him the arm was up on the barrier and he came in because he was too tall to go under the underpass. The police officer continued to scold my
father until my father said, “What do you want me to do?” and the police- man said, “Get out of here as quickly as possible.” At that point
my dad said, “OK!” and made his way out of the airport. “That was interesting,” I said and we were on our way to the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta
RV parking to meet up with the Roadtrek Rally Guys, Jim and Walt.
We pulled into the LARGE parking lot... surrounded by chain link fence. We were in a compound of Recreational Vehicles. There were Fifth
Wheels , Motor Homes, Pop Up campers in every make and every size imaginable. I have never seen so many vehicles and so many different state
license plates in one LARGE area with not a tree in sight. We asked the man directing traffic... “Do you know where the Roadtrek Rally is?”
We were pointed in the right direction and met our two fearless Roadtrek Rally Leaders. Jim and Walt had smiles on their faces, informational
packets in their hands and a finger to point us to our parking place for the next 4 days. We pulled in next to a Roadtrek and then another
pulled in next to us. We were all lined up like soldiers, ready to embark on an adventure to conquer the ultimate hot air balloon experience.
There was no place in the world with a larger gathering of hot air balloons.
My dad leveled the vehicle on blocks and we were parked ready to get settled. My dad, so graciously, had a plan on where my suitcase was
going to go and moved some stuff around to make the room needed for an extra body in their vehicle. I was assigned a hook to hang my coat and
rails to hang my wash cloth and towels. They had went to WalMart prior to picking me up and purchase an extra folding chair for me and food
for the weekend. They knew I drank lots and lots of water so they thoughtfully purchased many water bottles for my consumption. Dad set up
my chair next to theirs and we were set. I was amazed at how quick the process went. In our 5th wheel, we had leveling, pulling steps out,
hooking up sewer, hooking up water, hooking up electricity, and then finally setting out the awning. A much more involved process then this
“Dry Camping” experience in my parent’s Roadtrek. My dad shared his one rule “Only one person moving around inside the Roadtrek at a time.”
I said, “Yes Sir!”
We had heard the weather might not cooperate this weekend for the Hot Air Balloons. Which, we were soon finding out, was an accurate
forecast by www.weather.com. The rain started in a drizzle and we gathered under the tent that was set up for the Roadtrek rally. I was
shocked to see the Roadtreks rolling in... 34 in all! WOW, I was amazed their were other people out like my parents, traveling and living in
these compact RV’s.
We were fortunate that there where school buses running a constant loop over to the Balloon Field and Hot Air Balloon Museum.
My folks and I hopped aboard in the drizzle and made our way to the museum. I recently found out that a relative of my dad’s was the first
person to have a flight in a Hot Air Balloon in America. Sure enough, there his picture was and display in the hot air balloon museum.
I started taking pictures of the display and was told, by a Police Officer, there was no pictures allowed in the museum . There was my second
run in with the Albuquerque police on the same day. My dad said, “I am beginning to wonder what jail I am going to have to bail you out of?”
We made our first Hot Air Balloon purchases at the Museum store and then ventured to the Balloon Field. The weather was windy and rainy and
not good climate for Hot Air Balloons. All the scheduled events were canceled. We made our way back to the Roadtrek Rally to visit with the
fellow Roadtrekkers. Several Roadtrekkers stood outside my parents Roadtrek while my father maneuvered the drivers seat around and the back
passenger seat down to make my bed. The roadtrekkers were giggling and making jokes like, “Make sure you don’t stretch your legs too far
while you sleep, you might honk the horn with your feet.” My parents, concerned for my comfort, gave me a pillow, sleeping bag and blanket
and we all fell asleep by 9 p.m. I was so tired and slept great. It was very comfortable and I even slept on my stomach much of the night.
Of course, as my mother warned me, she had to use the bathroom in the middle of the night and with the closet door open near my head to make
a privacy door, I was able to experience the middle of the night bathroom experience with her. In fact, she was gracious enough to tell
me what time it was, 2 a.m. and ask me how I was sleeping!” I love my mom, she is so thoughtful to include me in on her fun!
Saturday, October 7, 2006:
We set the alarm for 5 a.m. to get ourselves back to the balloon field to have another chance of seeing hot air balloons in mass ascension.
We woke and one at a time took turns bathing with the closet doors open with wash cloths and wipies, just like the servicemen in Iraq.
We walked outside in the dark and made our way to the Roadtrek tent for muffins, orange juice and coffee. It gave us the sugar and caffeine
needed to get awake and hop on the school bus for the Balloon Field. Anticipation was high and so were the rain clouds. As I got off the
school bus their were golf carts running people to the entrance. I told my parents I would hop on this golf cart and buy the tickets and
you could catch the next golf cart. We were separated and I mean separated. There is more then one entrance that the golf carts where
using and I was taken to a different one then my parents! Thank goodness for cell phones. We finally got in contact with each other and
were able to reunite with the help of a golf cart driver. We made our way to the entrance in our rain gear and I needed to use the toilet..
the PIT Toilet. There was a row of 30 pit toilets and I went into one. By the time I walked out of the pit toilet, each pit toilet was
14 people deep, waiting to use the waste facilities. I located my parents again. My mom squirted me with hand sanitize, (as any good
mother would do) and the sky was clearing. There was hope that Hot Air Balloons were going to fly! Then we saw the first balloon (or
proper term, envelope) being laid out on a tarp in the middle of the grass field. One by one, balloons were getting blown into my huge
fans and propane heated hot air was filling the fabric. Then they where floating into the sky two by two and three by three, and so on.
There was no rhythm or reason to the frequency of their departures. It was when the balloon was full and ready... they left. People were
waving from the baskets, Gondolas, and many people on the ground where clapping their hands! My hands were too busy to clap, I was snapping
pictures to my right and left. I had 2 cameras around my neck... one with a telephoto lens. I could walk right up to the Gondola and take
pictures up inside the balloon, envelope, and take pictures of the flame shooting 2 feet high. It was amazing. My mother with her camera and
me with mine... shooting one picture after another. We walked around aimlessly from one part of the field to the other. Whenever there was a
balloon that caught our attention, we walked toward it! My poor father just followed us around like our servant, holding the bags and umbrellas.
I made sure to get a couple shots of my dad watching the balloons and my favorite picture was of my mom kissing my dad’s cheek with the bumble
bee hot air balloons behind them. In the matter of an hour the winds had shifted and the balloons on the ground, that had not yet had an
opportunity to ascend, where deflating their balloons and packing up. The winds had picked up again. With only 250 of the 750 actually taking
off, I was not disappointed, I was pleased that I saw as many as I did. Never before had I seen that many balloons at one time. I never had
the chance to walk right up to them. It was totally amazing. This was an experience I will never forget.
We hoped the weather would change for the better and we would be able to see the gas balloons ascend. We walked around to different booths
selling everything from hot air balloon theme postcards, t-shirts, jackets, sweatshirts, pins, toys, flags, and much more. There was all kinds
of food to choose from, of course all very healthy for you - no not really! We sat and waited at a picnic table and as we waited we were able
to meet a couple hot air balloon pilots and their crew. It takes many people to get one balloon a float. One pilot had a W.D.J.D. Balloon
(stands for What Did Jesus Do?) He was from Colorado. We were able to chat with him and his crew. They had all matching t-shirts on with the
W.D.J.D. balloon picture on the front... both my mom and I purchased one from the pilot. Then we had the opportunity to meet another balloon
pilot who had the special shape balloon of a duck head. His name was Roger and he was from Albuquerque, NM. He was so funny and a real
jokester. He had miniature pigs in his Balloon Vehicle and I was able to take pictures of his pigs. I promised to send him pictures.
After getting the word that all the other balloon events were canceled, we made our way back to the Roadtrek for a Roadtrek horderves event.
All the Roadtrekkers brought their chairs and put it under or near the tent and snacked on horderves. I had the pleasure to meet with
several people and hear their personal stories of traveling in their Roadtreks. I also was invited to see several of their vehicles, inside
and out. I soon was getting an education, or I like to call it, ROADTREK 101! I was getting more interested in the Roadtrek and the different
models. I became fluent in the Versatile Models, Popular Models and not to forget the new Sprinter Models. They were all very compact and
practical. I started to see HOW and WHY my parents and these other Roadtrekkers loved their Roadtrek vehicles. Again, at 9 p.m. my dad
made my bed up and I slept night #2 in my parent’s Roadtrek.
Sunday, October 8, 2006:
At 5 a.m. Sunday morning, we woke up to rain drops hitting the Roadtrek. We got ready, went to the Roadtrek tent for breakfast with our
umbrellas and made our way to the Balloon Field. The weather did not cooperate and the wind was strong. We did go to the Car Show on the
Balloon field. There was some interesting cars to view and of course I took pictures. We went back to visit with the fellow roadtrekkers.
A Roadtrek dealer was parked at the Roadtrek tent with a brand new Roadtrek Sprinter. All the Roadtrekkers were walking through the Roadtrek
Sprinter admiring the new RV with all it’s bells and whistles. We had another horderve gathering at 4 p.m. We visited some more and were
able to hear stories of traveling in Roadtreks and inventions people made to make their Roadtreks more suited to their needs. I approached
Jim Koch, one of the Roadtrek rally coordinators and asked if he would like a group photo. He said that he didn’t think I could get a group
photo because everyone is busy visiting with each other. I said, “I have a big mouth and I will prove you wrong!” I announced my challenge
and people hopped out of their seats and lined up for the Roadtrek Rally Group picture. Yes, a success! Everyone wanted a copy.
My parents and I were hopeful that a Hot Air Balloon Glow (when the balloons are blown up and tethered to the ground but the flame lights
the inside of the balloon to make a pretty glow) would happen at dusk. We hopped back on the school bus and the bus driver made us all sing
“The Wheels on the Bus.” We were packed in this bus like sardines. I was really glad I was not claustrophobic. We did more shopping at the
booths and went to the Arts and Crafts tent. We waited to hear if the Glow or Fireworks would happen. The glow didn’t happen, instead about
50 balloon pilots set up their gondolas and just lit their flames without the balloons. It looked like a giant’s birthday cake. Then the
wind calmed and the fireworks started. My dad and mom found a chair and I set up my tripod and took pictures of fireworks.
They were amazing. We made our way back to the Roadtrek in the dark and my dad, for a 3rd time, made up my bed.
Monday, October 8, 2006
The alarm went off at 4:30 a.m. We all took turns getting ourselves cleaned up and dressed. I bathed again like a soldier with my wipes.
My hair felt like straw, it was gross. I was looking forward to getting back home to my family and my shower. At 5:30 a.m., in the dark,
dad quietly prepared the Roadtrek for the road. We were on the highway, headed to the airport. Without a problem and no police interference,
we made our way to the departure drop off. I exited the Roadtrek with a new appreciation for this compact recreational vehicle.
This is the vehicle for people who like to travel, see the sights, stop at attractions without the issue of “Is there enough space to
turn around?” Everything in the Roadtrek is practical. I so appreciate my parents letting me come along on their journey in their Roadtrek.
I had so much fun being together with them. We laughed a lot, being in such a compact RV. An RV meant for 1 to 2 people and we had 3.
It was like a choreographed dance watching my parents maneuver around inside their Roadtrek. After 30 days in it together, they had the
moves down. I was the wrench thrown into the works for 4 days of their 35 day journey. Even with the wrench in the works, it was still
possible to live in this compact Recreational Vehicle. I feel so much closer to my parents from this experience and I will never forget it.
I also understand something more now. If you ever heard the saying, “If you could walk a mile in my shoes, you would understand me”.?
For the Roadtrekker the saying goes, “If you could sleep and travel several miles in my Roadtrek, you would know why I love it!” I get
it now, I know why my dad and mom love it. Gone are the thoughts: my parents are crazy for owning a Roadtrek. My new thoughts: my
parents are smart for owning a Roadtrek! It is so practical!
My flights from Albuquerque to Dallas and Dallas to Cleveland are smooth and uneventful. I can not wait to download my pictures and sharing
my experience with my family. I am looking forward to hugging my children, kissing my husband, and to bathe in my shower.
Submit your favorite Roadtrek stories and pictures and they could be posted here! Owner's who's adventures are selected will
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Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc.
100 Shirley Avenue
Canada, N2B 2E1