No rain on our parade: renting an RV for a quick getaway
It was the Fourth of July weekend, and the ROVA gang felt compelled to get out of the city and into nature, choosing upstate New York as our within-reach but concrete-free destination. We’re a ragtag bunch, with a collection of camping gear that ranges from top-of-the-range air mattresses, chain-mail grill cleaners and travel bidets to threadbare sleeping mats, and $20 tents.
We were tossing up whether or not to hire a couple of cars when I came up with the genius idea to get in touch with Outdoorsy, the RV rental site that hooks wannabe adventurers up with RV owners who rent out their vehicles when they’re not using them.
With what seemed like very little effort on my part, Outdoorsy found us an Airstream Interstate in New Jersey that we could use for the weekend, and that slept two (me and my husband) but had seats for eight (the rest of the gang). Perfect!
After a quick and easy pick-up and walk-through of the Airstream, the six of us loaded in and hit the highway, and before long there were trivia games, carpool karaoke, and plenty of satisfaction when the city-gray turned to outdoor-green.
Three hours after leaving New Jersey, we arrived at our campground in Coeyman’s Hollow. The place was a dense forest with dirt tracks disappearing off the main road, promising that you’d find a campsite down there, somewhere. After a couple of false starts, and a trial-by-fire of the Airstream’s off-roading capabilities, we found our site—a huge clearing overlooking endless trees and distant mountains.
While the gang set up their tents, I pushed a button to flatten out the seats and create our bed. we set about getting the fire going for dinner, made sure the beers were chilled, and lent a helping hand where needed. After an insanely good camp dinner of marinated pork and mushrooms grilled over the fire, we slept on full bellies with the forest air settling on our skin, the Airstream windows wide open.
An ominous humidity hung over the campsite the next day. We headed down the road to find a swimming hole that was known locally but not signposted. After driving too far and stopping at a post office for directions, we eventually found the tiny parking lot and trailhead. The sky darkened as we walked deep into the forest, and by the time we reached the hidden swimming hole, the rain had started. Lightning and cracking thunder accompanied the more intrepid of us into the water; the rest waited it out to avoid being fried in the unlikely event of a lightning strike.
That day spent swimming in the forest—loosening city-tight muscles under the pummeling water of the falls while drinking craft beers bought at the local mini-mart—will keep me going when I sit in my Manhattan office thinking of other places. The smooth, slimy rocks; the glee on the face of a lifelong New Yorker leaping off rocks into cold spring water; the feeling of rough edges being smoothed away as I floated on my back, trees in my periphery and the sky everywhere else.
Hours passed with no other humans showing up. Either this place was a very well-kept secret, or nobody else was enough of a lunatic to go swimming in a lightning storm. We dripped our way back to the RV, grabbed supplies for fire-cooked burgers in town, and descended on our campsite with satisfied sighs.
Despite the rain, we had enough dry wood to make a nice, big fire, and the grill heated quickly. As the last burger sizzled on the grill plate, a fat raindrop sputtered alongside it. Then another, and then all of them as the afternoon’s thunderstorm returned for a second go-around. The umbrellas came out and were used to shield the burgers. We all ran for the Airstream and collapsed into the seats as the raindrops melded into a solid current of water rushing from above.
The RV conveniently had a double-burner stove and a full propane tank, so we resettled the burgers above a different kind of flame, threw some bacon on, and prepared a feast that we devoured with paper plates resting on our knees and cold beers right out of the fridge. The rain kept coming, and we played word games, or talked, or stared out at the waterfall cascading down the windows that gave the earlier falls a run for their money.
Eventually the rain stopped, and the tent-dwellers headed out to inspect the damage. Turns out they’re master tent-setter-uppers, and they had dry beds to sleep in. For my husband and I, the only thing we had to contend with was the smell of burgers in our bedding, but after opening the windows the scent of the outdoors returned.
The next day it was time to leave. The trip felt too quick, yet long enough to have shaken the city out of us. The drive back was quieter, calmer—except for the part when we drove over a train track and Shaun beaned himself on the roof, but that’s another story.
The legends at Outdoorsy were kind enough to provide us with the Airstream Interstate to test the service. Needless to say, it was awesome. Find your ride at outdoorsy.com.