A friend of mine recently mentioned that although El Cap and I traveled across Florida in a 21′ Road Trek, I rarely mention it. And that’s a shame, because the Road Trek did us well.
It’s easy, if you don’t RV, to assume the RV community is filled with large RVs that can’t get to the best places, or that live on cement pads in a paved park. An RV called “The Intruder” — to borrow the words of the immortal Dave Barry, I am not making this up — comes to mind. Behemoth vehicles, large and intrusive, at war with nature, not part of it, is what you may think of when I mention our RV experience.
That’s not how it works with a Road Trek.
Even though we traveled in the largest of the Road Treks — a 21-foot van — we still traveled in a class B, or a vehicle that was not much more than a van on steroids. Of course, our “van” had a comfy bed, shower, toilet, kitchen, TV, DVD player, reclining seats… The Road Trek was a comfy place to sleep and an elegant home base as we struck out across the state, and we could camp in the same places (usually) as tent campers could (the one exception was Bahia Honda, where we were one foot too long to sleep at the Sandspur campground).
We had everything we needed and yet it was’t intrusive. We felt like we were part of a camping community that was about the greater good, you know? Low impact, high investment in nature.
We loved it.
Road Trek fans know that it’s the easiest way to travel if you don’t need to pack your entire home on your back. Every place we stayed for Backroads of Paradise, we stayed in a Road Trek (we did revisit US 98 and A1A in a car, simply because they are the first and last chapters and also the longest, so I wanted to take a second look at the roads as many readers — those not fortunate enough to have access to a Road Trek — might).
Florida is amazing, especially when seen from the front seat of a Road Trek.
Our Road Trek took us from the Keys, where we stayed near the water at Bahia Honda State Park to the “mountains” of northwest Florida, where we stayed comfortably at Falling Waters State Park where the campsites all had plenty of oaks and pines to shade us. Because Florida’s so flat, we never had to level the camper once — even way high up at 300-ish feet.
We found ourselves not needing to use the shower because our state parks have amazing facilities (my favorite bathhouses, outside of the ones at Disney’s Fort Wilderness — which aren’t fair to include because Disney has infinitely better funding than our parks, are at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park). By and large, our Road Trek allowed us to travel with everything we needed without being too big to feel like we weren’t really experiencing Florida’s outdoors.
For us, the Road Trek was the right choice: A small, low-impact camper that let us go everywhere with our house on our backs — albeit, not our entire house, but enough of it for us to enjoy the comforts of home for a month or so at a time.
You can get your copy of Backroads of Paradise here.
Planning a trip to Florida? Drop me a line with any questions. Depending on my workload, I can take a while to answer my emails, but I do answer them all.