I went by the name of OffroadGirl for a long time, and this post reflects the old name for this website. I am more focused on travel now, and the name MoniCamps is a better fit. I’ve kept this post here for old times’ sake.
Hi, my name is Monica and I’ve had the nickname of OffroadGirl since the early 2000s when I owned my first Jeep. I went from a clean and polished city girl to a dirt-covered mountain girl in the blink of an eye, and I haven’t looked back. Since then, I sold that Jeep and now I own a different Jeep. I spend most of my summers finding trails in Colorado and Utah with my friends at TrailDamage.com and contributing to the endless money pit that this entails.
The first time I ever spent the night in a tent was outside of Moab in 2002, my first time to Utah. We left Denver in the afternoon and got lost on the way to the campsite. I didn’t practice setting up my new tent, and doing it for the first time by flashlight was less than ideal. I crawled into the sleeping bag I borrowed and fell asleep, and slept like a baby. In the morning, we woke up cold and surrounded by cows. My inflatable sleeping bag pad was flat, but we were in sand. It wasn’t the best experience, and I didn’t camp again until 2013.
There are many Jeep trails that require multiple days and nights to do, and I’d never done them because I didn’t camp. We wanted to do White Rim, so I bought camping gear. I bought a huge, four-person tent with two rooms, two sleeping bags I could zip together to make a big bag, and lots of gear. I put in carpeting and a ceiling fan, and I had a double-height air mattress. It was glamping more than camping, and it was going to be comfortable if it took all of my money. My first camping experience with my new gear was at the Fort Collins/Lakeside KOA. I went with friends and had a fantastic time.
That summer, we camped in a few places. I stayed in my tent and loved it, even though it took about an hour to get everything set up the way I wanted it. I packed it all down into storage containers that sat on the cargo rack above my spare tire on the Jeep. I was mobile and happy outdoors, but tent camping is tough sometimes. I didn’t have electricity or water, of course, and it was challenging when it was wet or windy. At the La Junta KOA, we camped on thousands of ants. I lasted two years before I had to upgrade.
Travel Trailer Camping
A two-door Jeep with lots of added armor can only tow about a thousand pounds, so my options for a travel trailer were limited. A Livin’ Lite QuickSilver met my requirements, and I bought the 8.1 model in 2015 to have a queen-sized bed on one end for myself. I was in heaven! I kept all of my tent equipment (I knew I’d use it again on multi-day Jeep trips) and outfitted the travel trailer the way I wanted it. It still took about 40 minutes to set it up, but it was worth it. I was comfortable.
There were some drawbacks to it, of course. It didn’t have any water tanks, so all I had was a Porta Potti. I still frequented the plumbed and pit toilets at campgrounds. There was no shower, and the running water drained outside into a bucket. It was basically a tent in a box, so it could get chilly. I could still hear everything outside the pop-up, so neighbors could be annoying. I was sweaty, dirty, and bleeding after each time I set it up and broke it down. I lasted two years before another upgrade had to happen.
Motor Home Camping
In September of 2017, I was waiting for the travel trailer to dry after a morning rain so I could pack it up and head for home from the Ouray KOA when I realized that it was time to upgrade again. My retirement goal was to live full time in a big Class A motor home, and I figured that was still many years away. That didn’t mean I didn’t constantly lurk around RVTrader.com looking at RVs and dreaming. I visited a LazyDays RV nearby to figure out what I wanted, the manufacturers I’d buy from, and how much I was willing to spend. There were surprisingly few that matched my requirements, and one particular coach in Alvarado, Texas caught my eye. I would look at it, dream, and put it away, only to come back to it a week later to find it again.
It didn’t take long for me to contact Motor Home Specialists outside of Dallas to set up a time to buy the motor home. It was perfect, and the price was really good. I few to Dallas, they picked me up at the airport, and I was signing paperwork by noon. They let you camp on site, so I spent the weekend there with many questions that they answered right away. They loaned me a car, and they were absolutely fantastic to buy from. Then I drove it home.
I document my Jeeping adventures extensively on TrailDamage.com, and take a lot of photos of my life outside of the Jeep. I wanted to dedicate a little space to my adventures in the motor home, so OffroadGirl.com was born. I hope to share information about campgrounds, tips and tricks about the RV life, and personal tidbits from my time out in the wild. Thanks for joining me!