Thursday, July 9, 2020

Our first RV trip to Crater Lake, Oregon

An RV trip was in our list of things to do for a while. When our friends mentioned they are planning to do one, we thought it would be fun to club with them and experience this together. As this is pandemic times, RV looked to be the safer option if you plan to do a trip. Again, I want to  point out, that there is always risk in anything that you do outside of your own home during COVID times, but it is about how comfortable you are in taking any level of risk vs reward. In our case, for last 4 months, the kids were propped up at home, with basically no outing other than a few outdoor walks. So they were literally craving for some change, and so were we. And hence the decision for the trip in an RV. The owners from whom we rented also mentioned, they do give a 3-4  day gap between rentals too, which was comforting as well. But again, I would never vouch that it is totally risk free, as there is always some risk involved given the situation we are in.

Booking an RV

The first thing is to figure out where to book the RV from. Outdoorsy has some RV rentals from direct owners, and this is how we booked our RV. We booked an E-350 while my friends booked E-450. I would suggest booking the E-450, as it is slightly larger than E-350 in length and the additional space will be appreciated.

Also, we booked an RV, closer to our destination. We were off to Crater lake, and it’s better and cheaper to book an RV from Medford or Yreka as 100 miles / day is free and it’s more economical, at the same time you can still get the RV experience.

Campground booking 

The next up is to book the RV campground and we hit the jackpot with this one. We booked in Prospect, Oregon in the Crater Lake RV Park, and we loved our stay here. It was well equipped with hook ups for power, water and sewage each campsite having its own individual ones. This made RV living so comfortable for us. Our campsite was also well managed, with two camp hosts living in the property, and a small office with dvd, books and other small things you could borrow and return back. The camp hosts are available, for any urgent requests.

In this particular campsite spots were also well shaded with tall pines, which made it extra special as we clearly felt we were camping midst of nature. There were also short trails  starting from the campsite which we could hike with kids. For groceries, there was one grocery shop about a mile away which was convenient too.

For campfires, they do want you to get the wood from the campsite, and as per Oregon law, you cannot get wood from outside.

So as a tip, look for campground that has all the hook ups, because there are also campgrounds without these, and it might be less convenient. But, it also depends from one place to the other too.

What to pack & food

Another piece of info for first time RV-ers are most RV’s come with the below. But make sure you confirm with owners so that you do not need to take any of the below with you. We did take some additional sheets and couple of towels, for sanity reasons.

  • Camping chairs 
  • Table ( check with owner, ours did)
  • Outdoor portable grill ( you can also rent this for additional $10)
  • Canopy ( additional rental)
  • Basic utensils 
  • Plates, mugs and cutlery
  • Freezer, Fridge 
  • Towels
  • Bedding with comforter 
  • Toilet paper and paper towels (Better to carry some of your own too)
In our case, we had a planned menu, so we packed food accordingly and also as per individual family needs. I think this is one of the most important steps in the planning. If you plan your meals and keep some buffer food, you will have a clear idea of what to pack. You can buy some from grocery store, but in Prospect, we were not sure if there was a grocery store near by. This is an additional input you can check with the campsite owner. We later realized there was a grocery store, a mile away from campsite.

Depending on stay, pack your clothes. Rest of the items you pack, are very similar to usual camping trips
Other personal items you might want to take along with you.
  • Personal Clothes
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant 
  • First aid 
  • Medicines 
  • Swim wear ( as per location)
  • Jackets 
  • Hats 
  • Coffee / Tea powder ( for tea you can get chai moments tea packets, which includes milk, sugar and tea and all you need is hot water)momen
  • Extra blankets/ throws 
  • A few toys for kids ( personal choice) 
  • Chargers for phone
  • Downloaded google maps of the area 
  • Flash light
  • Lamp Marshmallows, Hershey’s milk chocolate, graham crackers and Smore sticks 

With this, you are all set to enjoy the RV! Another tip is to actually do RV camping with at least one other family, as it’s more fun to just sit around the campfire and talk.

Take it easy & enjoy

Don’t pack your day with a lot of things to do during camping, as the main experience is the camping in itself.

We drove to Crater Lake area, and we camped at the campsite for 4 nights. On day 1, which was travel day, major part of the day was driving down to crater lake area with a few stops for lunch break or restroom break. We had lunch packed, and hence we were not dependent on any restaurants.

After we got the RV from Yreka, we spent about an hour with the owner going over everything and also doing a test drive. So please account for this time. Once we reached the campsite, the set up was very simple. We connected the gas, water and power to the RV and unloaded the car and we are all set! 

We had not packed our trip with too many things, and we spent the next 3 days exploring nearby trails, visiting crater lake national park( though most of west rim was closed) and driving down to Klamath falls. To Klamath Falls, we actually drove the RV to enjoy the RV driving experience. It’s very important to make sure we hold on tight during tight turns etc in a driving RV, and make sure the kids are not running around, as they can fall and get hurt if not careful. But otherwise this is a real fun experience to drive in a house on wheels:)
Few things we explored 

  • Rogue River trail
  • Hidden Lake trail 
  • Natural Bridges trail
  • Crater Lake 
  • Pearsoney Falls and Nature trail
  • Klamath Falls (Just drove up here and a nice lunch in link park)
  • Link River Trail (Klamath Falls)

What worked very well was, we had a well planned menu, and enough snacks to keep all of us fed and more. Our campsite breakfast and dinners and picnic lunches were always a highlight. We as a team, loved to grill and cook and hence the time we spent doing these were equally enjoyable. We also spent a good part of the night around the campfire and also did s’mores which is a favorite among kids. 

was pleasantly surprised that all the kids were happy exploring in and around the camping area. They hardly bothered us. In the nights, the borrowed DVDs came useful for the kids to watch in the RV. 

Though, I imagined initially that the beds may not be that comfortable, we all slept like a log, thankful for air conditioner, heater in the RV. The availability of shower was also great, as after a long day, it was much appreciated. Having your own restroom made total sense with small kids. The kitchen in the RV is fully functional and there is enough space in the fridge and freezer for all your food. The RV also has enough space for the dry foods that you bring and your clothes. I was expecting dumping the grey and black water to be a dreadful experience, but the hook up for the same was individual to each spot, which made it quick and easy. All in all, this was a great experience, one I would recommend everyone to try. 

The best thing I personally loved about RV camping, was waking up in the morning with no particular agenda, and soaking in the nature all around.

A few snaps below