Thursday, February 11, 2016

Solo RVer Diana Pace loves the outdoors, hiking National Parks, and her simple van

Diana Pace of Roseburg, Ore., visits Badlands National Park, South Dakota
As a mom, Diana Pace of Roseburg, Ore., tent camped with her sons until they were about 14, "after which,” she mused, "they didn't want to be seen hanging out with their mom. Actually when they were in their 20s we started backpacking together and had some awesome trips.”

After a lifetime of camping, she wasn’t about to give it up when she became an empty-nester. Sometime in the 90’s, she went on a hiking trip with a friend who owned a VW Vanagon.

"I loved it,” Diana recalls. "I knew I didn't want a motor home or to pull a trailer and I didn't need a TV or air conditioning. I was used to tent camping and backpacking. A camper van seemed just right for me. No tent to put up, or worries about rain, and easy to get around in.  Simple.”

In 2000 she found a 1994 Ford Aerostar converted van. She named it “Dakini" after a trip to Bhutan when she learned that it means "angel."

Diana Pace travels in “Dakini” her 1994 Ford Aerostar van. 
"It's a simple setup with a pop-up roof, bed, sink, counter, lights and frig,” says the retired nurse. "I use a single burner propane backpack stove to cook on.”  She installed a solar panel for power because she usually dry camps where there are no electric hook-ups. Through the years Diana has had the transmission replaced and the engine rebuilt.

The 4-wheel drive van allows her to camp and hike "pretty much anywhere" she wants. And where she wants are national and state parks from Canada to southern California and from the west coast to the midwest.

In the summer of 2015, Diana made an epic 6,080-mile journey from Oregon to 14 national parks and monuments in Montana, North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Diana Pace hikes Sierras Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park.
"Everything went smoothly on the entire trip, from getting campsites to boat tours on Lake Superior to cave tour tickets in South Dakota, to meeting great folks in spite of the demands of high tourist season,” says Diana.

"I have made many trips to the Southwest and I can't seem to get enough of the parks in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico,” says the retiree. "I love visiting the Puebloan/Native American sites.”

This past winter she spent part of the snowbird season camping and hiking near Quartzsite and Lake Havasu in Arizona; Joshua Tree National Park in southern California; and Lake Mead, Lake Mohave and Death Valley National Park in Nevada.

Diana does not hesitate to travel alone. “Early on I did several Oregon trips with my granddaughter. Other than that, I travel solo meeting nice folks from all over the country and the world."

-- Julianne G. Crane 
Read about the RV lifestyle at

Photos: Courtesy of Diana Pace


  1. Your article is perfect for me as I have several women who are interested in travel and your article assist in their decision making. Again, great posting! :-)

  2. I would add that I do detailed planning of routes and itinerary for trips. Diana

  3. Very nice article, Diana. It was fun seeing you yesterday, and look forward to catching up with you on a hike some day. I would like to find out about your solar panel, it's a great idea. Happy camping.