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Weekend Van-tics with the Roving Dears

Oregon sounds a lot like ‘are-u-goin’?

And man, do we recommend you go explore this gorgeous state.
It’s Friday! We, the Roving Dears, whipped out the Oregon atlas — while scarfing burgers — and decided to head south to the sand dunes. Over 40 miles of seashore and dunes reaching 500 feet above sea level, this is the largest stretch of coastal dunes in North America. Plus, we’d never been!

Fellow explorers and owners of Roamerica Rentals, Gretchen and Taylor have a policy: when adventure calls, they answer by hitting the road. They sent us packing in Charlie, an adventure van outfitted with everything one would ever need on the road. Our mission was simple: get out and have fun!

Route planning for an Oregon road trip

Roving Dears hitting the road in Oregon

Headed to the sand dunes on the Oregon Coast

We drove south and found our way to a quiet back road; a recipe for adventure. Finding a spot to call home for the night, we popped the camper top, and cracked open a beer to celebrate our freedom.

Roving Dears enjoying their ROAMERICA campervan rental

Morning in a ROAMERICA campervan

An early morning wakeup call, in dawn’s gray light, we secured the rig and set out.

The sun rose over Elliott State Forest, draped in velvety mist. With the fear of privatization looming, we wanted to witness this isolated place. Winding through Forest Service roads, we sipped our coffee and experienced the magnificent beauty that lies within this vital ecosystem.

Elliot State Forest in Oregon

Roving Dears explore Elliot State Forest

Thanks to the many activists and individuals that have fought against the sale of the Elliott State Forest, it will remain in public hands! (Visit Oregon Wild for more info)

Roving Dears in Elliot State Forest

Roving Dears stop for a road trip photography session

Old Growth forest in Oregon

After gawking at old-growth trees and lush streambeds, we packed up the van and headed into the nearest small town on the hunt for some local fishing knowledge. And maaayyybe some breakfast doughnuts too. So righteous.

Finally, it’s time to hit the river. 

Fishing for Steelhead in Oregon

Searching, we found a place where dunes slip into a river full of active Steelhead. We’ll be honest—we didn’t catch any—but we did come across a monster. We flew some streamers past, and he laughed a wise-fish laugh and slipped back into deep waters. We cracked open a beer to celebrate such a beautiful encounter.

Roving Dears gearing up to go fishing

Roving Dears heading out to go fishing in Oregon

For us, gearing up is half the fun. It’s a methodical process, sometimes doused with a splash of champagne, and often interrupted with a curse word or two (those nail knots can be tricky, ya know)!

Examining a fly for a fishing trip in Oregon

Fishing new waters with little knowledge of what lies within can be quite a gamble (FYI fishing > gambling). But that’s part of the appeal. Learning from experience, regardless of how productive your day may be, has been our method from the start. Immersing ourselves in the unknown produces a sense of surrender that makes any encounter feel special. That encounter may be a tight tug on your line, or bushwhacking through dense flora and finding yourself staring up in awe at the base of a towering Sitka spruce.

Trekking through Sitka spruce to the water's edge

Roving Dears tying on a fly to cast her line

Waiting for the fish to bite

After a full day on the water, we welcomed the van’s long shadow and a smorgasbord of schnacks.

Afternoon snacks in the Roving Dears' ROAMERICA campervan rental

Restful Afternoon in a ROAMERICA campervan

Enjoying a fully stocked ROAMERICA campervan

Following a day full of sunshine, we decided to spend the evening utilizing our luxurious accommodation. We parked and cooked enough dinner to feed us for a week (we tend to overdo the food thing). Post-facemasks and not-so-graceful van yoga, we cozied into our bunk beds with a full moon serving as a night-light.

Oregon campsite with ROAMERICA campervan

Roving Dears evening relaxation in their ROAMERICA campervan

Dinner prepared by the campfire

Dinner under the light of the moon in Oregon

Morning coffee in ROAMERICA campervan

Slow wake-ups mean more coffee time. Lots and lots’a coffee. The following day began with breakfast, and did we mention coffee?

Roving Dears fuel up for a day at the sand dunes.

We set out to explore further north while making our way home. We spent the day lake fishing and getting our fair share of cardio. Ascending the dunes, those shifting dreams of staggering scale. We sprinted down, break-neck, all the way back to the van.

Trekking on the sand dunes in Oregon

Fly fishing gear ready for angling

First catch of the day

Running down the sand dunes in Oregon

Rolling through coastal towns, broken jetties, dive bars and tangible Oregon history, sandblasted to perfection. It was on the road home when the rain came down.

Roving Dears finish their Pacific Northwest road trip

So what’s the take-away?

Road tripping in a sweet-ass van: 
The space requires a close-knit relationship; you better hope you want to get that close! A cabin on wheels, it rolls where curiosity leads. Non-stop tunes. The van is just the right size for connecting with your homeslices. Oregon is green: it rains A LOT. So when you get spring fever you can bust a move outta town, but not have to deal with soggy gear. Best of all, you can reach the mini-fridge from the passenger seat!

Gear packed into a ROAMERICA campervan

Coffee in a ROAMERICA campervan

The fly fishing: 
It’s tough when you’re new to a spot. You’ve got to try-try-again to dial it in. Talk with local shops, know state fishing regulations, purchase a good map, and read online blogs. If you’re looking for great intel, try Royal Treatment Fly Fishing. They’re full of advice on Oregon fly fishing.

Preparing a fly fishing line in Oregon

Last but not least:
Go out and hit the road. Your mind will be blown and hearts will explode with all you feel and see. And go with dear friends, to help you celebrate along the way.

Roving Dears leap for joy on the sand dunes in Oregon

Roving Dears relaxing in their ROAMERICA campervan

-xox The Dears

Words and photography by The Roving Dears