Behind the ‘Van Life’ journey: Tips for your own adventure

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‘Van Life’ Part 3: Emily and Kelley hit the slopes

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Hey fellow adventurers, looking to get outside and explore the Beaver State? Kelley Bayern and I took a long weekend to go from sea to summit, and checked out some pretty cool places in between.

A word of warning: if you’re looking for a more relaxed road trip, you could very easily space this out into a week’s time. We spent some long days on the road to try and find as many fun things to recommend as possible. Read on for our tips, tricks, and must-see sights.

Step one: Find your ride

We loaded up into a Wandervans campervan. With everything from roof tents that can pop onto your ride, to tricked-out vans, they’ve got something for almost every size and budget. Our large camper van sleeps five, in our case, it meant we each got a queen-sized bunk to ourselves.

Step two: Load your gear

Take a look at where you’re headed. Are there any activities you want to try? It might be easier to bring the gear you need from the start of your trip and save time on the road. We rented snowshoes at NextAdventure in Portland to use them for a quick hike at snowy Crater Lake.

There’s no shortage of ways to eat, drink, explore, and play. Check out Travel Oregon’s website for tons of ideas in every corner of the state.

Step three: Pedal to the metal

Remember it’s always a good idea to leave some information with a friend in town about where you think you’ll be and when. Emergencies happen, and you might not always have service on your route.

Trip itinerary and recommendations

Florence

The Hukilau: A popular local spot serving up fresh sushi, Hawaiian favorites, tropical cocktails and lots of island vibes on the coast.

C&M Stables: Horseback riding right off Hwy 101, with something for riders of all ages and experience levels.

Coos Bay

7 Devils Brewing Co.: A Northwest-style brewpub focused on sustainable, locally sourced ingredients.

Sunset Bay State Park: Year-round camping on the Oregon Coast, with easy access to Shore Acres and Cape Arago state parks.

Southern Oregon

Steamboat Inn: A well-timed break on the drive between Roseburg and Crater Lake. Unwind with a meal while you listen to the North Umpqua River, or book a stay and soak in the beauty of the Umpqua National Forest.

Crater Lake: Oregon’s only National Park is a must-see. Check conditions before you go, the North Entrance and Rim Drive are closed much of the year for snow.

Central Oregon

Lupita’s Taqueria: Blink and you’ll miss it. This roadside stand along Hwy 97 in Chemult serves up authentic Mexican street-style tacos. Emily’s recommendation: La Lengua.

Spork: This trendy spot for Mexican-Asian fusion in Bend is perfect for a night out or lunch before you hit the road.

Mount Bachelor: When you’re not skiing or having fun in the snow, the mountain is the perfect basecamp for biking, zip-lining, and rafting adventures. They offer overnight RV parking in both the winter and summer seasons.

Other must-haves

Snacks are essential. Kelley is sure to pack the Cheetos and Oreos, while I won’t be caught on the road without sour gummy worms.

Stay energized and keep your gut happy on the road with Brew Dr. kombucha and yerba mate. Unwind at camp with Aria gin and tonic or Soda Joy cocktails: canned, portable, and perfect for any outdoor adventure. Wandervans come equipped with a Dometic fridge to keep your food and drink cold, but you may want to have a soft cooler for any day trips.

Pack the perfect s’mores kit with your favorite chocolate bars, and make it fancy with nut butter packets or some local jam! (Just don’t forget the roasting sticks like we did… whoops.)

Summer is almost here, so get out and enjoy! Happy trails to you.

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