This month, TrailBlazer would like you introduce you to Joann Loo, who is fresh off of a nationwide roadtrip across the US with her husband and son. A photographer by trade, she’s been a camper for the past ten years and doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.
TB: How long have you been camping and RVing? Who introduced you to it? Tell us how it all began!
JL: I always wanted to go camping when I was a child. Television and the movies made it look like so much fun. I used to pitch a fort with blankets and chairs in the living room as a child, and I even camped out in my parents’ yard when I was a teen. One time while I was in college, my aunts and uncles planned a large camping trip to Sequoia National Park with the entire family. It was so much fun. My then-boyfriend-now-husband never really had the chance to go camping when he was younger, and we decided that we would start doing more outdoor activities together. We took advantage of our college adventure programs and joined some of their camping trips. From then on, we started going on trips of our own and taking friends and
family with us. It’s been 10 years since we started! This is our first year of RVing. We had always wanted to take a road trip around the country, but never got around to it. We decided to just go for it, before our son begins school and we have more obligations to keep us in one location. Mark Twain once said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed in the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
TB: How did you first hear about Thousand Trails?
JL: We heard about Thousand Trails through the dealer when we got the RV.
TB: What is one of your fondest camping memories? How about one of your fondest TT memories?
JL: My fondest camping memory would have to be when we camped at Black Canyon in Nevada. It was one of our first adventures together. The trip was four days of canoeing, hiking, and relaxing in natural hot springs. We camped in a secluded canyon slot and I remember feeling in awe as we watched the stars. We enjoyed each Thousand Trails campground we visited during our trip around the country. It was comforting to know that every TT campground has the same resort-like standard and that we would always feel comfortable at TT. The staff was always friendly and welcoming, and the amenities that each campground offered–pool, mini golf, arcade, playground, water park, family activities, and more– was icing on the cake.
I also loved watching how happy my son was every time we arrived at a campground. He doesn’t talk yet, but he would point toward the playground or the pool and pull us outside so that he could play. He smiled and laughed so much while we stayed with TT. It was heartwarming.
TB: Any funny camping/ RVing stories?
JL: Before our son was born, we introduced our siblings and cousins to backpacking. It was a super last minute trip. We were at a family party and everyone decided to head to Yosemite the next day! Our family didn’t have any gear for camping at all. Some of them brought their school backpacks, and we lent the few extra packs that we had. The next morning, we stopped at REI on the way to Yosemite to buy freeze-dried food and gear. We advised them on what they would need to buy, but a couple of the cousins decided that they wouldn’t need as much as we had recommended. When we arrived at Yosemite, we got lucky and managed to score backcountry permits for our large group of 9. Everyone was having a good time, but by the second day, some of the cousins realized that they didn’t buy enough food. Luckily, we packed some extra food just in case. Everyone helped out to share what food we had with each other, but we still had to watch our portions to make sure we’d have enough food for the rest of the four day trip. Everyone was a little hungry throughout the trip. On the last day, some of them ran out of food and water during the hike down to the car. They hiked/ran down as fast as they could because they wanted to eat something. They found some granola bars in the car and thought they were the most delicious thing they had ever had.
TB: What type of camper are you/what equipment do you use? What do you prefer and why? (ex: fifth wheel, RV, tent, cabins, etc.)
JL: We used to use tents and preferred them over cabins because we have the option to camp at more locations than in a cabin. Now we camp in an RV because it’s more convenient with young children.
TB: Where have you gone that you wouldn’t have otherwise, if it hadn’t been for your Thousand Trails membership?
JL: We planned our trip around the country based on the National Parks and Thousand Trails campgrounds. Many of the Thousand Trail campgrounds are out in towns that we previously hadn’t heard of, so we definitely have gone to many places that we likely wouldn’t have otherwise. A few of them, I believe, are on Native American land – like the La Conner, WA location. It was neat going into town and seeing the town filled with mom and pop shops!
TB: What is your favorite part about the outdoor lifestyle?
JL: I just love how I feel every time we camp or hike. I feel relaxed and rejuvenated. Plus, the scenery never ceases to amaze me.
TB: Can you finish this sentence? I knew I was a TrailBlazer when…
JL: The beautiful and vast scenery left me in awe and I hungered for more. We knew we would love this lifestyle not long after we started to camp for the first time!