If you are the parent of twin 10-year old boys, an “active lifestyle” is rarely an option. The Speers family of Evergreen, Colorado, however, takes active living to a whole new level!
During the summer months, you can find Andrew, Nicole, and twins Lucas and Aidan (12) completely at home in their Craigslist-find mobile basecamp—a 1993 16-foot Amerigo fold-out pull-behind camper—getting geared up for their next Adventure Race.
Adventure racing, or expedition racing, is typically done as a team sport (2 or 4 people). It involves map-and-compass orienteering through an unmarked wilderness route, using multiple race disciplines such as trail running, mountain biking, kayaking, and rock climbing/abseiling. Events can range between a few hours to multiple days and no outside assistance is allowed.
Superior teamwork skills, equipment knowledge, a keen ability to navigate, and athletic ability are required for successful adventure racing. Andrew and his teammate, Charles, are consistently top-contenders for the 2-man events, and the twins are forces to be reckoned with in the junior divisions. Nicole holds a crown in managing the big and little boys, but is a seasoned obstacle course racer and marathoner in her own right.
The Speers family basecamp is equipped with all the necessities of keeping the busy family ready for action, including the essential extra towels and broom that a mother of young adventure racers always needs on hand. In a moment’s notice, the family can load bikes, kayaks, climbing gear, and perishable food in the already prepped camper and hit the road.
Their water tank holds enough water for several days’ showers after getting good and grimy (there was a half-hearted joke about installing a garbage disposal system in the floor drain), and evenings are spent having the boys favorite s’mores and playing board games around the little kitchenette table. The camper had a major remodel to spruce it up and equip it for the busy family.
The roof was replaced, and the family added new paint and custom graphics they designed. A refurbished air conditioning unit was also added to keep things comfortable in hot locations like Moab and Oklahoma. And because they love to boondock (preferably near a swimming hole), a solar panel system was installed to keep the batteries topped off and ready.
From their mobile basecamp, the family can not only enjoy competing in their races, but share a love for a slower paced life. Whether they are waiting out a hail storm under an abandoned gas station awning in Kansas or camping remotely under some of the darkest skies Utah has to offer, the family has developed a love of the spontaneity of Mother Nature.
The basecamp camper is the perfect adventure oasis that serves up the twins’ favorite pre-race delicacy (fried Spam sandwiches) and offers post-race relaxation with a hammock and some cold beverages for the adults.
When asked for advice for families wanting to start their own mobile basecamp, Andrew says:
“Just get out and do it! Start off with short trips to gain some experience, and don’t be afraid to ask fellow travelers for help!”