Retired and On The Road - Sphene and Joon with more than 125 nights in the Atacama

Retired and On The Road - Sphene and Joon with more than 125 nights in the Atacama

Retired and On the Road - A Customer Spotlight. 

I have loved tents my entire life. More than once I have attempted to speed up the arrival of a Colorado spring by buying a new tent. It might be fun but it never works. Motorcycle riding with a tent strapped on the seat behind me has been a passion since I started riding. That was forty some years ago. There is nothing better than riding great roads all day and just as dusk turns to dark, find the perfect spot to set up your portable home. It’s even better if a cooling rain provides the soundtrack for the evening on the taught surface of the rain fly. Most tents can manage to keep you dry for the night but the Redverz is the only tent I know of that can make you feel at home for the night.

My wife, Joon, and I are enjoying our retirement by riding around the US and Canada on our GS’s and our Atacama tent. We left Denver in early September 2016. So far we’ve ridden about 17,000 miles and spent roughly 125 nights in the tent. We effectually call it; “Greennormous” or sometimes “The Big House”. It was also named “The Apartment “ by a great young Polish couple we met in the Southern California desert last January. It’s a big tent, it can handle multiple nicknames. Early in our adventure we camped on the rim of the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area in Utah.

After setting up the Redverz over one hundred times, we’re getting pretty good at it. It’s really very simple. First thing is to open an after the road beer. Then try to figure out which direction the wind is coming from. You may have to consume the entire beer while making an accurate determination of wind speed and direction. So be it. Stake down the wind end of the tent into the breeze, insert the poles in their sleeves, stretch out the tent and stake down the front two corners. Next either open or close doors and vents, depending on the weather. Now you can tie down the guy ropes and call it done. Reward yourself with another beer, if you like. One of our favorite campsites was on the banks of Idaho’s Wild and Scenic Salmon River. We had a 100 yard long white sand beach all to ourselves. As soon as we had the tent up I said; “Hey babe, let’s spend two nights here.” We did. It was a beautiful and warm night so had all doors tied wide open for maximum air flow. About midnight we got to watch the rising of the Harvest moon over the canyon walls from the comfort of our sleeping bags. Retirement is great by the way.

Even in a tent as mighty as the Atacama, winter camping can be problematic. Long dark chilly nights can really put your resolve to the test. You have to plan on late afternoon setups, dinner in the dark and long winter’s naps. I think our record was 15 straight hours in the tent. We set it during mid-November at Yosemite National Park. We thought we were so smart for riding over Tioga Pass on the last warm sunny of 2016. Little did we know? We were idiots for camping at Hodgeon Meadows for the first snowy and road closure day of 2016. It snowed. My Motorcycle was left by the side of the park road. Kind park rangers drove us back to the campground. It was dark and cold by 4:30. All the doors of the tent were zipped up tight and all tried and true methods of generating heat were employed. We survived the night. As soon as the sun and rangers gave us their blessing to retrieve the stranded bike, we did! One more night was necessary because of the short days. Luckily we had a good fire and a great group of fellow sufferers, I mean campers, to celebrate with. At least until 8:00 when the fire died down and the temperatures fell to the point that we all scurried back to our accommodations. Believe me, as soon as the road was deemed passible the next day by the good rangers, we got the hell out of there.

Next stop was the magnificent California coast where all we had to deal with was fantastic scenery, great roads, beer or wine with dinner and maybe a little rain now and then.

One of our favorite areas of the trip thus far, is the Anza-Borrego Desert in Southern California. It’s a 900,000 acre state park that allows free disbursed camping. A few nights of free camping is a good way to get back on budget after enjoying the culinary delights of San Diego. We spent about 14 nights out there at least five different spots. There are also very good hiking and GS riding possibilities. 

While on a ride the length of this one, a little rain is going to fall. In our case a lot of rain is going to fall. Joon and I like to take credit for ending California’s long drought. It rained a lot while we were there. But it wasn’t until we got to the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas did we find out just how good the mighty Redverz is in the rain. 

We were at the US Army Corp of Engineers campground called Cove Lake, Arkansas. We were both reading a Bill Bryson book called The Lost Continent. It was good thing that the book was entertaining, because we spent two days inside the tent. We were also the only people camping in our loop of the campground. The park host warned us that we were under a tornado watch, and if we heard him driving through in the middle of the night honking his horn, run, don’t walk, to the nearest brick sh@!house. That meant that we were now under a tornado warning. He didn’t, I am happy to report, but it was a very wet night outside and a very dry night inside our sleeping quarters. The vestibule area was basically a lake, but that’s ok. The sun finally came back out and we even got to pack up a dry tent, something I never thought that I’d see again. 

One of the amazing things about the Redverz is the size. It’s big. It’s a big tent for a big trip. It’s so big, that it makes its own weather. Well, not really, but it seems like it does sometimes. The ventilation possibilities are awesome. We survived two nights in Savanah, Georgia. Night time “lows” were in the upper 70’s. They weren’t our favorite nights in the tent but we did live through them. The bug screens were all closed and all the doors were wide open. As much breeze as Savanah offered that night came right through the tent. It did make us long for the cooler climes of Colorado and Canada, however.

So, if you are looking for a great tent for a big tour, the Redverz is it! Everything about it is top shelf; from the design to the materials you will be impressed. Just be prepared to visit with folks curious about it in campgrounds.