Time to pack up the trailer and ride

Customers Gary Morgan, left, Rich Kariger from Lancaster discuss the better insulation available on a Wilderness by Heartland travel trailer with sales manager Jordan Heck at All Valley RV Center in Acton. PHOTO BY DAN WATSON / THE SIGNAL

Well, by almost any indication, this year’s summer vacation will probably look a little bit different than last year’s.

With the ebb and flow of pandemic concerns likely to stay with us for at least through the fall, more and more Americans are realizing that recreational vehicles offer summer travelers their very own traveling quarantine and hitting the road in comfort and style.

“We’ve definitely seen an increase in business,” said Hayley Mount, store manager at Camping World of Valencia in Stevenson Ranch. 

“It’s amazing to see families coming together and staying in their coaches. They’re spending a lot more 1-on-1 time,” Mount said. 

While there might be some campsites that temporarily have limited access depending on whether it’s a county or state facility, and where, there are still a number of places where you can park your RV and enjoy wherever you are in the safety of your RV.

“Families can go hiking together and spend time at the beach together,” Mount said, naming just a few of the possibilities.

The right ride

Recognizing what’s right for your quarantine travel crew is critical with such a significant investment, said Jordan Heck, sales manager for All Valley RV Center.

“The main thing is to pertain to the customer’s needs and wants,” he said, noting there’s some practical considerations that go into an RV choice, as well as comfort and style choices. “There’s some customers who aren’t going to be able to tow a large unit,” Heck said, referring to the larger campers, which is why he sometimes suggests for newer RV customers to start at a smaller unit and then gradually work their way to a larger one.

“A lot of times it’s best to guide them with smaller units at first,” Heck said, noting that many of their customers at All Valley are generational, and the focus is on retaining clients with care to their needs.

“The key in all reality is finding out what both he and she feel comfortable with for a floor plan,” Heck added, calling it “the customers’ guidelines.”

Popular units

Toy haulers

For those with an adventurous agenda, these RVs can haul all your small off-road vehicles. From snowmobiles to motorcycles and ATVs, toy haulers were built to carry large cargo. 

These are Mount’s favorite choice, as it allows her to haul her “toys.”

“I have a toy hauler, because I go to the desert and go dirt bike riding,” she said, and it lets her “carry my toys around.”

Travel trailers

These towable models are among the most popular RV types seen on the highway and in campgrounds these days.

Travel trailers are known for being cost-efficient and for their flexibility to remain simple or complex as they can come with their own water supply, kitchen, refrigerators and bathrooms. These RVs can connect with a standard ball hitch receiver, which can widen towing vehicle options.

Class A and Class C

The JAYCOs, a slightly higher-end model, are popular right now because of their quality and design, Heck notes. And the fact that people are spending more time in their recreational vehicles due to the feeling of safety and closures can’t hurt people’s willingness, when possible, to spend a little bit more for more space.

Whether gas or diesel, Class A motorhomes are a popular choice for long-term trips as they offer a “home-away-from-home” feel. 

Class C motorhomes are built atop an existing truck and van chassis and range between 20-33 feet. Their features resemble those of Class A models but at an overall lower cost. 


Once you have the means and motive, the opportunities for travel call for a little bit of research. 

In mid-July, when Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered a whole new wave of closures, the state parks system, which operates a reservation website, issued a statement to let people know state officials would be working with local officials to open as many facilities as possible as soon as its safe.

“The State of California recognizes the benefits of the outdoors during this challenging time of COVID-19,” according to a July 13 statement on the parks website. “As such, state Parks is working with local officials on a phased and regionally driven approach to increase access at park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved. To date, limited public parking is available at 193 park units and 16 park units remain temporarily fully closed.”

Basically, just like the locations you plan to visit outside the park, it’s a good idea to call and check first to see what’s open. However, the good news is that if you’re lucky, you might still be able to get a reservation that usually would be booked months in advance.

For information on reservations, visit parks.ca.gov/?page_id=30388.For a list of which parks are still open, go to parks.ca.gov/pages/712/files/OpenCampgrounds.pdf.

Visitors with existing campground reservations will be notified via email in the case that their reservation must be cancelled in compliance with local and public health orders.

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