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  • Writer's pictureRachael Nitz

Adventures in a VanDoIt Camper Van (a series)

Part 1: Oregon and Idaho


Rachael here to share our recent adventures with VanDoIt. We aren’t usually a long trip van fam mainly because of work and school and other obligations but we got the opportunity to take a two-week trip from the PNW back to Blue Springs and I want to share our travels with you!

Part 1 is all about who we are, why we ended up traveling in the PNW, and what we did in Oregon and Idaho.


Who We Are and How We Got Here

 Big Black Van at Buc-ee's
Our Big Black Van at Buc-ee's

We are a family of three. Rob (37-year-old barefooted hippie), Rachael (35-year-old therapist and not as barefoot), and Maddie (9-year-old soccer player hippie kid) usually travel in our BBV (Big Black Van) which is a 2019 mid-roof DO we purchased off VanDoIt’s inventory in 2021. We are getting ready to trade in for a 2023 high-roof, extended length MOOV. We were already going out to the PNW for the Overland Expo as an ambassador for VDI when it came time for our new van to be picked up (when we get back of course!). So, we extended our trip!

Set-up at Overland Expo-PNW
Set-up at Overland Expo-PNW

Rob drove our BBV (Big Black Van) down to Blue Springs then picked up a show van that has a similar layout to what our new van will have and drove solo out to Oregon where Maddie and I flew in to meet him. We spent the weekend chatting it up at the Overland Expo-PNW with so many amazing people. We met many who are current VDI owners, getting ready to be, and those just looking around trying to figure it out. We got to partner up with another VDI fam, the Newman’s who are old pros with VDI and on their second van. It was so much fun but also tiring. Since we were already in the PNW and have some friends in the area, we decided to make our work trip into a play trip.

While we love our BBV, we’ve simply outgrown it with Maddie getting bigger and Rob not being able to stand up in it. So, here we are, making the trek back to Blue Springs and making plenty of stops on the way.  


So, Where Did We Adventure To?

But First, a Detour…

Last BlockBuster in the world
Last BlockBuster in the world

What I love about van life is the ability to stay where we want and extend our trip at the drop of a hat because we have everything we need. We left the expo and were able to spend a few days with friends in the area who just had twin baby boys. When we weren’t snuggling babies, we were our exploring and adventuring. We did a few hikes, cooked meals in parks, visited the last Blockbuster on earth, and just enjoyed each other.

I think it’s so crazy that people will spend so much money on a hotel room they are only in to sleep. Did you know the average cost of a “family friendly” hotel room in the U.S. in 2024 is currently $214 a night? For a room you are just sleeping in and maybe using the pool! This trip would have cost us $3,852 if we had stayed in hotels and that doesn’t include food and shopping and everything else we did on our trip. I like my alternative better. We parked in a beautiful neighborhood (to be close to our friends) and woke up to birds singing and mountains right outside our door. In the past we have watched the sunset in an Upper Michigan marina, avoided traffic after fireworks but parking downtown in Wisconsin, camped in the “cheap sites” at huge campgrounds, had a wide open view of Lake Michigan, and everything in between.


Now Back to the Trip…

Shoshone Falls, ID
Standing in front of Shoshone Falls, ID

We stayed in Oregon with friends for a few days then made the drive toward Shoshone Falls, Idaho. Ever been? It is breathtaking! We pulled up to a massive waterfall, parked, made lunch and went for a hike, all while taking in the beautiful views and sounds of the waterfalls. Let me tell you about this road we had to trek down in the van. This was a skinny, winding, downhill road that I doubt a camper could go down. I’ve grown up camping; my family all still own campers and there is no way they could have done that safely and then also found a spot big enough to park at when they got down to the falls. This van takes us places other vehicles can’t and opens the doors for us to explore more.

Dierkes Lake from the trail
Dierkes Lake from the trail

We found a little swimming area at the lake next to the falls that also had a cool less-than-2-mile hike around the lake. We got to see some cool rock walls (scaled a few), beautiful views, and just enjoy nature. All because we had swimsuits and hiking shoes and plenty of snacks and food in our van. It’s so nice to just stop for the day without having anything set in stone or reservations we have to get to. I will say, having a shower is a nice plus of a hotel room but we went to a Planet Fitness and used their showers so it worked out well for us!

***Stay tuned for part two when we head to Yellowstone for a few days!

Much love & Blessings,


Much Love & Blessings

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2 ความคิดเห็น

08 ก.ค.

So fun! Safe continued travels - we miss your smiling faces but enjoy living vicariously thru you!

Rachael Nitz
Rachael Nitz
08 ก.ค.

We will see you soon!!

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