Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Going Mobile

Spring has sprung, at least outside of the Inland NW

RV travel is fantastic for many reasons, but one of the best is the weather.

Especially if you’re down south right now. There may be six weeks of winter still to go for Spokane, but in Southern California, it's already spring.

Sure, it's technically winter down here too, but you could have fooled us. During a bike ride up Solstice Canyon in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, it looked every bit like early spring. Wildflowers were blooming, the hillsides were green and bushes and trees were flowering.

It isn't even February, and yet something about the angle of the sunlight changed just enough to wake up SoCal’s rolling hills.

Sorry to rub it in, friends. We realize that like Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day," you’re facing an interminable number of snowy weeks ahead.

If you find yourself in Southern California, consider checking out the Santa Monica Mountains. Even though 20 million people live in the Los Angeles area, you would never know it when you hike and bike these mountains stretching from the ocean into central L.A..

It's surprisingly remote and yet the mountain landscape might look familiar to you. That's because the TV show "M*A*S*H" was filmed here, along with more than a few movies.

Hiking trails crisscross the mountains. And for cyclists, a number of country roads climb into remote corners, offering spectacular views.

Right now, the hillsides are a brilliant green, the product of steady winter rains in Southern California. As February begins, this is the perfect place to be.


And for snow lovers ...

Not everyone craves warm weather. For the skiers out there, February is the best month of the year.

Last year, John went on a month-long tour of New Mexico, Utah and Colorado in our Thor Gemini, notching 15 ski days in places like Taos Ski Valley and Aspen.

Small problem though: Everything froze during that trip. It turns out our rig can't handle sustained temps below 20 degrees, despite what the salesman said when we bought it.

You live and you learn. Best practices for winter camping? Drain the water lines and tanks, or face some nasty freeze-ups -- at least in our rig.

Taking these precautions, you can use the RV as ski lodge. One of the best locations for winter travel is Colorado, where storms roll in and then give way to long periods of sunshine.

A new service called offers invaluable information on where RVers can stay year-round. CampColorado has details on more than 30 campgrounds that are open all winter, most of them with hookups. Some offer cabins as well.

John's best ski days in Colorado were at Wolf Creek Pass, near Pagosa Springs, where camping is available, and Aspen with its amazing array of world-class resorts. You can camp at nearby Glenwood Springs, and don't forget to check out the city’s amazing hot springs pool.


RV shows keep coming

So you checked out the goods at the National RV Show two weeks ago at Spokane Convention Center and the Inland Northwest RV Show at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center last weekend.

Want more? The biggest RV show in the Pacific Northwest is next weekend in Seattle. The Seattle RV Show offers an enormous display of rigs on the floor of the cavernous CenturyLink Field Event Center. Cost is $13 for adults, those older than 62 are $11. Children 17 and under are free.

Leslie Kelly
Leslie Kelly is a freelance writer.