This is the story of one mother’s journey to find her dream job and live a life full of fresh air, family, adventure and Pop Ups.
Meet Cari Rowe!
Pre Pop Up
High in the Rocky Mountains and far from the hustle and bustle of the hectic city life, surrounded by acres of forest you will find Red Feather Lake, Colorado. This is where Cari and her family had their little family cabin and where Cari got her start as an outdoors adventure lover. “It was a trek to get there and we had to bring our own water”. It was her first taste of roughing it, and long before she had ever heard of a Pop Up camper. This was where the family would retreat and be carefree in the beautiful peaceful wild playground that was the Roosevelt National Forest. Summers, weekends, and vacations were spent hiking, swimming and fishing, and once she became a mom herself to two little boys, she kept the tradition going, taking both boys to the cabin from as young as one month old.
Her 1st Pop Up Experience
In 2005, Cari met Robby Rowe, and her first Pop Up camper. Back then, Robby only had a mini Pop Up camper built to fit his Ford Sport Track Explorer. There was no shower, no toilet, no nothing, just the absolute bare minimum. But Cari was used to that from childhood days at the cabin, so she fit right in. Little did she know just how right this fit would turn out to be!
Life before the Pop Up
Before the camping business, Cari worked in a hospital as an exercise physiologist – mainly in the cardiology department. She spent long days caring for, analyzing, and overseeing the rehabilitation of patient with heart disease and other chronic illnesses. Though Cari loved her job, she saw little chance for growth, and in 2006 she went back to school to get her MBA. This was also the year that she and Robby got married, and three years later, in 2009, Cari and Robby made a scary decision: for Cari to quit her current job at the hospital, and become a full time member of the Phoenix Pop Up family.
“It was scary to put all our eggs in one camper, so to speak, but it just felt right”. Eight years later, it still feels right.
The Pop Up-grade
Bringing their two families together meant Robby’s mini Pop Up would need an upgrade. They were no longer just two heading out on romantic camping trips to remote areas, now they had four boys and two dogs to think about as well. Now if only they knew someone in the camping industry that could help them custom make the perfect camper to suit the whole family. Oh, wait. They did! Now came the hard part, what features to add to the camper. The first feature came adamantly from the boys: indoor shower and toilet was a MUST. “The interior shower and toilet was more important to the boys than it was to me and Robby” she laughs. Then came the requests you would expect from young boys; a stereo, TV and a DVD player. Which they got, because sometimes it rains, and sometimes you just want to sit inside and watch a movie or listen to some music after a busy day of hiking and fishing and fresh air. Other important features were a refrigerator for snack and cold drinks, and lots of storage space for all the outdoor toys you need when camping with kids. When it was all said and done and assembled, their new family Pop Up was a deluxe custom made 8½ft PULSE SC built for their Chevy Silverado 1500.
Broncos and Boondocking
“Boondocking is how we prefer to camp. The further away from civilization the better.”
With business booming, it may just be weekend camping trips for Cari and Robby, but with the Pop Up, it’s just pack and go. Preferably somewhere off the beaten path. They also still find time to go to the old family cabin in Red Feather Lake at least 2-3 times a year. But now they bring the Pop Up, too. When the boys were younger, Cari and Robby would sleep in the cabin and let the boys stay in the Pop Up because “that was the fun place to be”.
But Pop Ups are not just for off road camping and getting off the grid, they can also be used for camping out before the Denver Broncos’ home games. And what better way to show your team support than showing up in a custom made “Bronco” Pop Up for their 1987 Ford Bronco, The Bronco Bronco. That’s how the Rowes do pre-game camping!
Before Cari and Robby head out to experience more of the great Colorado wilderness, they have another one of their favorite camping events coming up: The Overland Expo. Every year they leave plenty of time, so that they can do plenty of exploring along the way. The drive from Denver, Colorado to Flagstaff, Arizona, has endless possibilities for camping and exploring, and they take advantage of this opportunity. If you are a camper at heart, and want to check out more from Cari and the Phoenix Pop Up family, you can join them at the West Overland Expo from May 16th-18th. Everyone is welcome, and the camping is free!
Camping is a personal experience and this is a chance for Cari to get to know other camping enthusiast and hear their stories and find out how to help give everyone the unique personal camping experience that’s right for them. It’s not just her job, it’s her passion! So with this we say: