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Photo by @this.is.mike

Living the Van Life and Traveling the World with ROAMERICA Rentals.

BY SHELBY STANGER

HERE’S THE WILD IDEA
Gretchen & Taylor’s Wild Idea: To be able to go on an adventure at any moment with minimal planning and packing. To explore the world from a van and start a thriving business around their passion.

Gretchen Bayless and Taylor Hood are the founders of Roamerica Rentals, a camper van rental company based in Oregon that lets you take their vans all over North America and even to Canada. Their vans are decked out with items like Rumpl blankets, Stanley stainless steel cooking ware and local organic coffee, so all you have to do is show up with clothes and hit the road. Van life is all the rage right now, and it’s definitely a passion for these two – which is why they were so eager to start a business around sharing their love of exploring the great outdoors with the world.

What I love about their story is it’s very real. Starting a new company isn’t always easy, and as fun as a camper van rental company might sound, it comes with challenges, like working day jobs! That’s right – Roamerica is their side hustle. They didn’t let time or stress or some serious health problems hold them back. Gretchen and Taylor have a lot of joy and a huge sense of adventure, and that shines through in everything they do. They share tips for getting through the highs and lows of starting a business, and letting us all in on the true van life essentials so you can get on the road and get going.

LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE IF:

  • You want to travel out of a van.
  • You want to see the world.
  • You love the Pacific Northwest.
  • You’re starting a new business.
  • You’re struggling with Lyme Disease.

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Here’s Your Itinerary for a Perfect Pacific Northwest Road Trip – May 11, 2017

Start planning with these ten destinations—but remember, adventure happens when plans go awry.

BY ABBIE BARRONIAN

Your journey starts in Portland, where you can rent a fully equipped Sportsmobile from ROAMERICA rentals. Pick up some reading material for the days ahead at Powell’s, the world’s largest independent bookstore, grab some killer donuts and coffee (but skip Voodoo, best known in recent years for mind-boggling lines), and hit the road.

Head to Manzanita, Oregon, a tiny coastal town with great car camping, gorgeous, uncrowded beaches, and excellent surfing at nearby Short Sands. Reserve a campsite at Nehalem Bay State Park, and be sure to check out the tiny bioluminescent critters in the water at night if you’re there in late summer.

Drive north up the lush, coastal Highway 101 and visit Westport, Washington. The sleepy fishing town is home to some of the best surfing in Washington, with mellower, messier breaks at the Jetty and cleaner, more consequential surfing in the Groins. If the frigid Pacific Ocean isn’t enough to wake you up, follow your morning session with coffee at Tinderbox Roasters, and follow up your evening session with a big bonfire at camp in Twin Harbors state park.

Head further north to explore the Olympic National Park. Any outdoor person can find their rhythm in the diverse park, which features rainforest, glaciated peaks, and dramatic beaches. Mellow alpine climbing await on Mt. Olympus and the South Brother, the Hoh River offers scenic hiking and fly-fishing, and the coast has stunning beach camping and surfing (hit La Push if you’re looking for waves).

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Portland Business Journal – April 28, 2017

ROAM Expands and Becomes ROAMERICA

Now Offering Rental Usage Throughout the U.S.A and into Canada

Portland, OR (April 28, 2017) – ROAM, the first campervan company for the ultimate road-tripper, is expanding, and is now ROAMERICA.

“People have been loving that you can take our vans anywhere in the U.S.A, and now that you can also take them anywhere in Canada, we wanted a name to reflect that,” says Gretchen Bayless, Co-Founder of ROAM. In addition to the expanded territory, ROAMERICA has also added more vehicles to the fleet, streamlined a process so international travelers from all over the world can also rent their campervans with ease, and opened a brand-new office in NE Portland near the Portland International Airport.

The company, which has been featured everywhere from GQ Magazine to The Adventure Journal, has become the go-to rental company for overland campervans. With self-contained and fully equipped Sportsmobiles, all are designed for rugged Pacific Northwest conditions, with 24/7 roadside assistance.

They are also customized with the adventure traveler in mind, complete with all the camp gear you need and extra benefits like RUMPL blankets, HiBall Energy drinks, Clif Bars, Field Trip Jerky and Helinox Camp Chairs. “The details keep customers coming back,” says Bayless, adding that the company has also partnered with evo to offer trips from their Portland office and soon from Denver and Seattle.

In addition to detailed perks inside each van, customers love the easy-to-use online booking system, as well as the fact that they will transport customers to and from the PDX airport to the ROAMERICA office, free with rental.
While they are booking up fast through the next season, you can go to RoamericaRentals.com to find out more and reserve your van for summer.

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ABOUT ROAMERICA:
Founded by Portland couple Gretchen Bayless and Taylor Hood, who spent years of exploring the gorgeous and little known areas of the Pacific Northwest, ROAMERICA was founded in 2014 to make road trip adventures the “best vacation you have ever had.” In the beginning, it was all about traveling to find empty surf, deep snow, and a major lack of people. Because RVs were too big, and mostly only fit on a highway or in a Walmart parking lot, they customized Sportsmobiles and added in everything they’d ever want for a road trip. Ever since, customers from all over the world are exploring North America in a whole new way.

Photo by Kole Krieger

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GQ Magazine – FEBRUARY 8, 2017

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Every Couple Out There

BY MEGAN GUSTASHAW

Valentine’s Day might be the worst but romance is not. Here’s how to give a romantic gift – on February 14th or any day of the year – that fuels the fire, instead of igniting a blowout fight. Step one: know which cliches are fair game. Teddy bears are generally a bad idea, chocolates will work just fine, and sex toys are appropriate on a case-by-case basis (if you have to think about it, don’t do it). These gifts should go over exceptionally well; while they’re typical, they’re also the kind of crowd-pleasers that get the job done.

1. Flowers That Don’t Suck
Instead of grabbing an $8.99, cellophane-wrapped bouquet at the bodega or grocery store, upgrade to a real-deal arrangement from an actual florist. It’ll be bigger, more beautiful, and possibly come with a nice vase. It’ll also win you quadruple romance points. To order something that will really blow your partner away, check out these tips from real-life florists. Hint: baby’s breath is to be avoided at all costs.

2. A Serious Piece of Jewelry
If you’re going to go the jewelry route on Valentine’s Day, good for you. Even better if you spend more than $50 and/or buy your partner something you know they really want—like a dope signet ring from David Yurman—instead of whatever sparkly thing the Internet told you to buy. One note: If marriage is on the table, avoid rings altogether. Not proposing on Valentine’s Day is perfectly respectable, but pulling a ring box out of your pocket and having it not be an engagement ring is just cruel.

3. A Getaway That Has Nothing to Do with Valentine\’s Day
An experiential gift is always a good idea, especially since it’s also for yourself. Just try to keep the agenda somewhat romantic. Renting a fully equipped camper van and touring Big Sur is rustic in a good way; a week in the wilderness with nothing but a tent and a flashlight might be taking things too far. If your partner isn’t an outdoorsy person, rent a stylish AirBnB or book a swanky hotel room and plan a city escape. NYC bound? We can help with that.

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Photo by Mike Branscum

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The Best Camper Van Rentals in North America – November 3, 2016

Say hello to van life without the commitment, liability, insurance, maintenance, storage, cost.

BY ABBIE BARRONIAN

We know, you know: Camper vans are everywhere these days. You could argue that two-door campers are the new Subaru Outback, representing an outdoorsy, minimalist lifestyle in their own clunky way. And what better way to get outside than an all-in-one adventure vehicle? A camper van can fly under the radar in the city on a long road trip, keep you warm and dry in a snowstorm, and not require much set-up (after the initial build, that is.)

If you don’t have the time and money to get an old Sprinter van up and running–and trust us, van life is cheap once you’re on the road, but it can be a huge financial undertaking to get started–these rental companies have a solution. Whether you’re in the market for a wildly painted camper van, a rugged teardrop trailer, or a classic white Sprinter, one of these family-run companies will have what you’re looking for. Some of them will even stock the fridge with beer before you get there.

ROAM
Gretchen Bayless and Taylor Hood were living their dream–a life on the road in the Pacific Northwest, in constant pursuit of snow and surf–when they decided to turn their lifestyle into a business. Their company, ROAM, rents fully equipped Sportsmobiles out of Portland, Oregon, to help customers live their dream, too. The spacious vehicles are outfitted for Pacific Northwest’s notoriously wet weather and come stocked with everything you need for your adventures–Rumpl blankets, kitchen supplies, even headlamps and a deck of cards. Bikes, surfboards, and crag dogs not included. From $175/day.

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Photo by Mike Branscum

Want to test out van life? Check out ROAM rentals in Oregon – November 3, 2016

Say hello to van life without the commitment, liability, insurance, maintenance, storage, cost.

BY ROBERT PURSELL

For many travelers, the prospect of buying and outfitting a van to begin their full-time life on the road is both enticing and daunting.

Being able to travel anywhere at the drop of a hat sounds great, but taking the leap into van life requires a large commitment of both time and money.

Luckily, for those considering making the switch to van life, an Oregon-based couple recently started ROAM Rentals out of Portland to allow visitors the chance to rent a tricked-out campervan and explore the Pacific Northwest.

“We’ve been doing this little thing called ‘van life’ for years now,” Taylor Hood, who launched ROAM with his wife Gretchen in May, told GrindTV. “I was living on the East Coast for a while and living the van life to go mountain biking, skiing and kayaking as much as possible.”

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