A home away from home | TheUnion.com

A home away from home

With spring here, summer can’t be far away, and that means vacation time. Many of us will travel short and long distances, seeking new adventures or a well-deserved reprieve from life in the fast lane. One way to reach those destinations is by motorhome, even with the high price of gasoline. Just ask Grass Valley’s Mark and Judi Christensen.

The Christensens purchased their used motorhome last fall on eBay, then flew to Arizona to inspect the vehicle before closing the sale and driving it home. After arriving in Grass Valley, the motorhome underwent a few minor maintenance repairs and alterations, including the addition of a hydro-lift to hold their Harley-Davidson on the back of the RV (recreational vehicle). They can still tow a vehicle or trailer, if necessary Ð “take all the toys,” Mark says with a grin.

Motorhoming has a few advantages over other forms of vacation travel for the Christensens. “You’re in your house, driving in your house,” Mark says. “You have the benefit of being able to see the beautiful countryside, your food’s right there, ready to go, a nap if you need it, the bathroom.” And their faithful canine companion, Freeway, gets to go with his owners too.

In spite of today’s rising cost of gasoline, Mark says their motorhome is still a vacation value. “The motorhome’s an enjoyable way to go. It’s actually more comfortable than riding in the car. You have all the room you need; my hotel’s right here.” Their motorhome has a full kitchen, bathroom with shower (very tight fit!), a regular bed and seating that becomes an additional sleeping area, if necessary. Judi keeps the motorhome stocked and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Their inaugural trip took the Christensens to Fort Bragg, where they stayed at MacKerricher State Park and later, Casper Beach RV Park. The RV park had full hookups and an access to the beach “right across the street”. The Christensens carry a book with them that lists RV parks and locations throughout the United States, making trip planning an easy task. It includes the amenities at each location, such as electricity and wi-fi hookups. “If you’re at one place, you can email to another and get reservations, and then you can take off and go there,” Mark said.

Recently the Christensens attended their first NASCAR race, deciding to join 1,250 other motorhomers in the Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s infield. Spaces were only 15 feet wide and 45 feet long, making for tight quarters and the making of many new friends. “You park the best you can and help each other out,” Mark said. “It’s a big party, it’s big fun, very family-oriented too. It was respectful of kids; they could walk around in there and not get hurt or bothered. It was a very good experience.”

Avid Ford fans, the Christensens were parked next to Chevrolet supporters, prompting a weekend full of practical jokes and good-natured teasing. “You’re up on the top of your RVs and screaming back and forth at each other, trying to scream back and forth at each other with the sound of the (race) cars going around,” Mark chuckles, “pinning ‘I love Fords’ on the Chevy-lover’s RV, all around it.” They had so much fun on that trip that other racing events are definitely in their future.

And although he hasn’t figured out a cost comparison between a motorhome vacation and other methods of travel, Mark says, “If you have to worry about the cost of gas, you can’t afford to go.”

Upcoming events: Roseville’s All American Speedway begins its 2007 season on Saturday, April 7th. Now a NASCAR-sanctioned track, the speedway reports that at least 27 Late Model cars are on the roster for the NASCAR Whelan All-American Series event, NASCAR’s number one weekly short track program. Gates open at 3pm; racing begins at 6:30pm. More information is available at http://www.allamericanspeedway.com or by calling 916-786-2025.

Correction: Last week’s column featured a number of photographs of Ashley Force. Those photos were incorrectly labeled. The only photo I took was the shot of Ashley by herself; the others were courtesy of the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) media website.

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