Join Date: Oct 2016
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Someone posted the article about "van culture" a while back. Camper vans are mainstream, even un-cool regular jack offs have them. Sort of like when average people with average lives and average interests started getting tattoos; now it's cooler to NOT have tattoos.
I just got back from a trip to Nevada and Utah. I met up with my Brother to run the Zion Traverse route. In the places where I camp and on the road I saw many campervans, DIY and commercial (Sportsmobile etc). I think I saw two dozen 4x4 Sprinters this trip, Half as many Promaster RVs, a few Sportsmobilish Transits and several DIY Transits and Sprinters. Death Valley campground had almost as many campervans as actual RVs. Even way up the Kolob Reservoir road where I've rarely seen other people camping EVER there were 3-4 campervans. Last night I camped in the Alabama Hills and there were no less than 3 4x4 Sprinters and 2 Sportsmobilish Transits in the spots along Movie road.
Not that I'm going to drive and camp in something else, but after so many years of it being an underground DIY and enthusiast thing it has crept into the mainstream, and our secret handshake has been posted on social media for everyone to see. What's next, is everyone going to be allowed to join the Freemasons and be told all about our plans for world dominance?!
Everyone has caught on. But on the bright side, that means there will be more innovative aftermarket products available, and a boatload of used campervans for sale when gas goes back up to $5-6 gallon.
The back road from Rockville to Gooseberry Mesa (Utah) is really messed up going up from Grafton road, it is impassable unless you have 4x4 high clearance due to wash-out ruts and 1-2' diameter rocks sticking up in the 10-20 degree slope road. I got about 3/4 of the way up before I gave up backed down a couple hundred meters and did an 8-point turn to turn around; the "wide spot" was probably only 2 feet wider than my van is long. A guy on an ATV was shocked I got as far as I did, and I was able to stop a rental RV at the bottom before they attempted it. Limited Slip was great once I turned off traction control, but I was worried about getting high centered or banging the differential or shock mounts. I did high center on one spot, but it was just dirt so no damage. There was no signs saying when they were going to fix the road, if ever. The rains washed away the surface, so just running a grader on it won't do much.
The bigger picture is not only that vandwelling has become trendy and/or necessary, but that the popularity of camping has grown immensely. It's risky to depend on a walk-up campsite on a weekend anymore, and the best campgrounds are booked 6 mos in advance, a few minutes after midnight when the reservations are released.
It's great that so many people are enjoying the outdoors, maybe then they will realize the importance of preserving it for their grandchildren. But part of me also hopes it's a passing fad, I miss the days when I could just roll up to Kirk Creek in Big Sur on a Friday afternoon and have my pick of sites.
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