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I Knew I was a TrailBlazer: Stairs Up, Handle In

This issue, Trailblazer would like to introduce you to Eric and Jen Reinhart of Stairs Up Handle In. They’ve been full-time RVing for 18 months and are continuing to evolve as campers and full-timers!

TB: How long have you been camping and RVing? Who introduced you to it?  Tell us how it all began! 

Eric and Jen Reinhart out and about

JR: Between Eric and I, we have two very different experiences with camping. Eric grew up tent camping, with his family frequently traveling to the Adirondack Mountains for vacations filled with hiking and biking and all things involving the great outdoors. I, on the other hand, was the furthest thing from outdoorsy. As adults, we actually didn’t really get into camping together until a few years ago when Eric talked me into trying to tent camp. I quickly learned that tent camping was not for me, but I let Eric know that I would be willing to give it another try if we had a camper. I swear, it only took him a week to find one. We started exploring with our small 20’ camper, and I became more comfortable with this idea of camping. One day, I let it slip that ‘if our camper was just a bit bigger, I could probably stay in it for a month or more.’ And, long story short, we bought a bigger travel trailer and moved into it full-time. We just celebrated 18 months as full-time RVers!

Eric and their dog

TB: How did you first hear about Thousand Trails? 

JR: When we purchased our current travel trailer, we actually received a free year of the Thousand Trails Camping Pass from our dealership. Once we researched the membership options, we realized that becoming members would allow us the financial flexibility to make our dream of full-time RV life a reality. 

Jen on a hiking path

TB: What is one of your fondest camping memories?  How about one of your fondest TT memories? 

JR: One of our fondest camping memories is definitely getting together with our families every summer in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We book multiple campsites and spend a full week camping lakefront, floating on tubes, hiking trails, and shopping at the local stores. We talked our family into meeting us there one year, and it quickly became an annual tradition that we look forward to every year. Our fondest Thousand Trails memory would have to be the people at our “home base” Thousand Trails. When we first moved into our RV, we were stationary for 7 months at a Thousand Trails park that just happened to be about 10 minutes from our house. It was our first experience as “full-timers” and the employees and fellow guests were some of the friendliest and kindest people we have met. It really made us feel like home. 

Eric and Jen along a river

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.) 

JR: We currently have a travel trailer and chose this as a compromise between a smaller camper and a fifth wheel. We like the flexibility that comes with having the travel trailer, like still having storage and access to the truck bed. 

TB: Where have you gone that you wouldn’t have otherwise if it hadn’t been for your Thousand Trails membership? 

Eric and Jen Reinhart

JR: Rondout Valley in the Catskills! We actually were headed towards the Adirondacks and in our route planning, we saw that Rondout Valley was a good halfway point. We booked there not really knowing what to expect, and we fell in love with the Catskills! We had the greatest time, between the local breweries and shopping and people and the Thousand Trails campground itself. Everyone was having so much fun there, and the vibe was just really great! We actually booked it again this year, just because we liked it so much.  

TB: What is your favorite part about the outdoor lifestyle? 

JR: Eric’s answer is definitely fresh air. While I have made strides living the outdoor lover’s lifestyle, I am still very much indoorsy. 

Eric and Jen Reinhard along side a river

 TB: This is the question we will be finishing the feature with every month.  We want to know when you knew you were the consummate camper, a true Trailblazer.  Can you finish this sentence?  I knew I was a Trailblazer when… 

JR: We are always evolving as campers, but I think we could safely say that we felt like Trailblazers when we looked back at our first year of travel and counted over 250 nights spent in a Thousand Trails campground.

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