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Old 05-19-2013, 05:48 AM   #11
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Location: Newark, CA
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Re: What was that special moment in your SMB?

We have many but the first was 3 days into our first trip 12 years ago. We left the Bay Area late and crossed over Tioga Pass, camping along Highway 395. Two nights later, we were in Death Valley along the West Side Road near Badwater and turned upTrail Canyon to camp. The road starts out 2WD but becomes a 4WD track when you reach the mouth of the canyon. We drove up about a half mile and found a flat but rocky place to back in with the front of the van pointing east. We "popped the top" and had the table and chairs out and cocktails ready in less than 5 minutes. No one else was anywhere nearby. The next morning we awoke just as it was getting light. The front penthouse window was open and we could watch the sun slowly rise behind the mountains overlooking Badwater. We'd watch for a few minutes, go back to sleep, and then wake up again a few minutes later. What a way to wake up!

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Old 05-21-2013, 10:06 PM   #12
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Re: What was that special moment in your SMB?

It seems that so many of the special moments are really not the "big ones" where you are sitting on the edge of a canyon watching big horn sheep arm wrestle (or whatever they do) but seeing some of the otherwise ordinary things in a new and different way or from a different perspective. Maybe it really can be the simplest things in life that can mean so much.

I also have to say that I have seen some of your trip reports and pictures and they are so full of superlatives that I am sometimes overwhelmed. They are the standards for dream building for me but not all of us get to have those moments. I would really like to hear from those of you have fulfilled, or are still fulling, your dreams and which one of those stands out to you.

Please tell me more.


Charlie is the best antidote for a tough week at work. I get to see a different side of this great country and relax in different places on every trip. My vacation home is parked where money can't buy residence. Life is a long journey and my magic carpet is named Charlie.
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Old 05-22-2013, 01:22 PM   #13
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Re: What was that special moment in your SMB?

My moment was a couple of days after I picked up my "new" 1995 van in 2007. I was camped at the north rim of Grand Canyon after it was officially closed but still accessible and allowing people to camp. I was finishing dinner in the van, looked out the window, and saw 30 or so wild turkeys strolling past just at sunset.
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Old 05-22-2013, 03:46 PM   #14
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Location: Turlock Ca
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Re: What was that special moment in your SMB?

Itís hard to stack up accolades to any one place or trip. There are so many variables that I canít pick just one. For scenic beauty though, two stand out. Driving to Shuteye Peak was both challenging and scenic. I would venture to say itís the most beautiful trail Iíve ever been on.

Coming over a hill and seeing the Grand Teton range in its full glory for the first time in my life was a breath taking moment.

But it doesnít have to be scenic. Meeting other SMBers is great. Seeing 9 vans pulled over for a break in a wash during the Valley Of Fire group meet was something I'll never forget

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Old 05-22-2013, 04:37 PM   #15
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Location: Ashland, OR
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Re: What was that special moment in your SMB?

In July 2011 my wife and I took our first trip in the Sportsmobile that was longer than two nights. The whole trip report is here but there were some moments that were especially memorable. First was camping in Yosemite Creek campground, my home-built removable solar panel lying in the sun while the van was comfortably in the shade, and enjoying a nice hot shower after a long hike. It was the first time I felt that all the planning, tinkering and accessorizing that went into gearing the SMB up had really paid off. A fellow camper asked us how much we charge for access to our spa facilities!

Second was later in the same trip while camped in the Mono Craters area. We were boondocking, surrounded by beautiful scenery and no one else for miles, but it was raining. My wife and I spent the day eating, reading and napping without stepping out of the van for hours. It was another reminder that the answer to the question, "Did we do the right thing by buying this monster?" was a resounding "YES!"

RB30's post reminded me of one more. We were camping in Carrizo Plains in April 2011. I was wandering around taking photos and I heard my wife calling for me. She had been napping and awoke to the sound of what she thought was raindrops. Instead, she found that we had some visitors slightly larger than wild turkeys.

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Old 05-22-2013, 08:29 PM   #16
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Re: What was that special moment in your SMB?

As Dave says the Valley of Fire was epic. I climbed a very big hill there. Yes, in the van.

For the girlfriend and I, Sedona AZ was a very scenic place. My first time through.

I know I have not been to the ultimate place in my van yet...
Two wheels or four, its all good. :-)
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Old 05-22-2013, 08:37 PM   #17
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Memphis, TN
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Re: What was that special moment in your SMB?

For us it was the initial adventure to SLC to pickup our SMB, waking up at Deadhorse Canyon, biking in Moab, and the push back across the country. We were excited before, and that trip sealed it.

It's taken the spring to really shake out exactly how this works vs primitive camping with our kids, but the increased camping window and flexibility is fantastic.
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Old 05-23-2013, 11:02 AM   #18
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What was that special moment in your SMB?

My wife and I were headed home from a week of camping a few days ago. Feeling great, looked back at the dogs crashed out on top of the cooler and each other. Couldn't have been better

Gotta say, camping with a 6 month preggo wife and two dogs. The van makes it all possible.
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