When my ex-husband bought an RV, I made fun of him. I laughingly called him “trailer trash.” You see, I like comfort, I really like comfort. So, why would I want to stay in an RV, I asked myself?
When I was invited by CanaDream to take an RV Maxi Motorhome, the very idea that I would travel in a confined space for four nights didn’t sound appealing.
But several friends told me to give it a try. RVing is more popular in Canada than ever. Others noted how much safer they felt travelling in an RV since the COVID-19 pandemic, because sleeping in a vehicle limited interactions with others. Not only that, I learned that according to the Canadian RV Association, demand for new RVs outstripped supply during the first six months of 2021 — Canadian dealers sold 30,376 vehicles, while manufacturers shipped just 30,102 north of the border.
Still not quite convinced, I reminded my friends that I’m claustrophobic. Then there’s the frightening thought of me behind the wheel of a large rig. Yet, I opted to give it a try. So, how did it go? Well, it turns out, my RV getaway with two girlfriends was an epic adventure filled with lots of laughter and fun.
First off, our Maxi Motorhome was roomy enough and pretty luxurious. The kitchen was fully equipped, the beds were comfortable, with bedding comparable to what you’d expect in a nice hotel.
We spent the first two nights in Squamish, an nature-focused destination about an hour’s drive north of Vancouver, at MTV Fun Basecamp. Situated next to Alice Lake Provincial Park, it is the top choice for mountain bikers because it links directly to some gorgeous pine forest trails. As I’m not a mountain biker, I journeyed onto these trails every morning for a brisk walk, enjoying breathtaking mountain vistas and a meandering creek.
(P.S.: The bathrooms at the campground are clean and feature free showers. With three of us, it was nice to have the option to shower there as well as in the RV.)
Nighttime was all about gathering around the campfire, comfortably nestled under the stars, glass of vino in hand, with the sweet babble of the creek in my ear. Sounds pretty relaxing, doesn’t it? Well, it was that and so much more. One of the many bonuses of RVing is the people you meet. As a French-Canadian, I was thrilled when on our second day a large group of francophones camped next door — it made the trip that much more memorable.
Exploring Squamish provided a chance to travel in another unique vehicle: the Sea-to-Sky Gondola. Within a 10-minute ride, that takes you straight from sea level to the summit, you can get spectacular views of Shannon Falls and the Squamish Chief, seeing those famed attractions from a perspective that’s new for most travellers. Once there, the terrain offers easy nature walks or more challenging hikes, both of which I did. After a long hike, savour a fine glass of red at the Sky Pilot Eatery while taking in those sweeping panoramic views overlooking Howe Sound.
I then drove to Whistler’s Riverside RV Park. Whereas MTV Fun Basecamp is more rugged, the second campsite about 45 minutes north on the Sea-to-Sky Highway, is modern and pristine, with quaint log cabins and yurts. Our site was directly across from the Riverside Green Putting Course and our view was peaceful and beautiful. Like MTV Fun Basecamp, Riverside offers free WiFi connection and showers, in addition to dining. They also have a shuttle service to and from Whistler Village, but it is only a short, picturesque 20-minute walk to the village.
The next morning it was off to the Scandinave Spa Whistler, where the turquoise pools with a Nordic waterfall and surrounding forest views will melt away all of your cares. The spa sits on three acres, with solariums, terraces, outdoor firepits, eucalyptus steam room, and hot and cold mineral baths. The postcard-worthy setting will make you forget (OK, maybe for a minute), how cold some of the pools are … may I suggest the tepid or warm ones? Then, grab a good read, or simply soak in the tranquility of the solarium for some well-earned R&R time. Hungry? There’s even a bistro offering delicious light fare.
The last day the sun shone bright, and I headed for a hike to the glacier-fed Cheakamus River. Surrounded by basalt column cliffs and old-growth forest, united with the breathtaking peak of Black Tusk in the background, it was one of the most impressive hikes I’ve ever done.
Whistler’s Culinary Delights Await
Two of the four nights, we dined by the campfire. After all, that is what camping is all about. However, if you do want spoil yourself, here are two restaurants that are worth a visit.
The Mexican Corner Restaurant: It isn’t just about tacos and tamales at this favourite spot in the village. From the gastronomy to the décor and ambience, Mexican Corner offers Whistler an authentic experience without the expense of an airline ticket. Whether you want Tuna Tostaditas, the Chile Relleno, roasted poblano pepper stuffed with braised beef and ground pork, or some downhome street food like Cochinita 3 Tacos, one thing’s for sure — you’ll never be short of fabulous options.
Mallard Lounge: Arguably the Grand Dame of the village, the iconic Fairmont Chateau Whistler’s award-winning restaurant is where you can indulge in some Canadiana cuisine with unmatched verve. After my visit at the spa, I settled in with a fine glass of Burrowing Owl Malbec and a mouth-watering hothouse tomato and spring asparagus salad with prawns. Taking in the views of Blackcomb Mountain, it was an unhurried lunch.
Would I RV again? In a heart beat. It truly was a road trip of a lifetime.
MORE ABOUT CANADREAM RV RENTALS
Reservations: If you book your RV trip between August 15 and October 31, 2022, CanaDream will give you the first night free in a range of vehicles including the Super Van Camper, Midi, Maxi and Maxi-Plus motorhomes. For more information and pricing, including summer and fall savings, 2023 early booking deals and relocation offers, visit www.canadream.com.