Skyler and Maria Lanning have a lust for life and are true outdoor ambassadors. Not satisfied by the corporate world, they sold just about everything, bought an RV, and went on a U.S. tour. At the end of this trip, they settled in Portland. Though they found careers there in the outdoor industry, they still felt unfulfilled.
Rather than packing bags and hitting the road again, Skyler and Maria founded Wildwood Adventures, providing a variety of tours in and around Portland. Wildwood Adventures offers everything from beer tastings to volcano treks. Read on for an interview with Skyler and Maria, and let Wildwood Adventures be your guide next time you’re in Portland.
Skyler and Maria, briefly tell us a little about you both.
Skyler enjoys coffee, mountain biking and longs walks on the beach.
Maria also enjoys coffee, running and snuggling on the couch with her Lab named Sammy.
We have a very dynamic relationship, where Skyler is type B and Maria is very Type A. On a basic level, we are very different, but our personalities end up meshing extremely well.
When did you first start to get serious about your RV trip, and what was the final impetus to pack up and hit the road?
The original idea of travelling in an RV came about because we wanted to simplify our lives. Sometimes you get so caught up in living your life and dealing with all the complexities that continually confront you, you start to lose sight of the things in life that make you happy.
We sat down and started to list the things that were most important to us, and it was surprising how simple they were. We wanted mobility, fewer possessions to keep track of and more time to do what we wanted. All of these things, with a decent amount of creature comforts, led us to the RV idea. There was no impetus per se, it was more of a pressure that built day after day, until the scales tipped in favor of doing what would turn out to be fifteen of the greatest months of our lives.
What were the highlights of that trip?
While we would love to list out a few of the epic things we accomplished on the trip, we honestly find ourselves reminiscing on some of the simplest joys of the trip. A fresh cup coffee, enjoyed in the morning peacefulness of a random national forest. Extending a magnificent hike from two hours to five, because we had all the time in the world. It was utterly freeing to wake up in random locales and have the whole day ahead of us, with full autonomy on what we chose to do.
What made you decide that Portland was the end of the road for you?
Our stop in Portland was a bit of a fluke. While looking at a map, it seemed like a good stopover between San Francisco and Seattle. We ended up spending a month in and around the city, exploring their beer, culture, hiking, waterfalls, and coast. One of the main objectives of this trip was to decide where we wanted to move to next. So we made a list of the top 10 things we were looking for in our next city, as it turned out, Portland checked off 9 out of the 10 (the only thing it lacks is the sunny and 75 degrees year round Cali weather we were hoping for).
How would you best summarize Wildwood Adventures?
Wildwood Adventures is here to help travelers step outside of their usual routines and explore the wonders of Oregon. Instead of worrying about logistics, our adventurers can focus their time on having an unforgettable experience.
Our tours are limited to a 10 person maximum, which allows for a much more intimate and personal experience for our guests. We provide transportation in a luxury 2015 Mercedes Sprinter and offer complimentary locally sourced snacks. We strive to ensure that our adventurers have a great time and try to anticipate all of their needs.
Tell us about some of the tours you offer. What has been the most popular tour so far? What is your personal favorite?
We offer six set adventure day tours from Portland. Typically these tours depart from downtown Portland, with two start times: 9am and 1pm (depending on the tour and duration). Of those six tours, 4 are half day tours, with run times between 3 to 5.5 hours. Those are the Portland City Tour (3hrs), Portland Craft Breweries Tasting Tour (3.5 hrs), Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls tour (3.5 hrs) and the Willamette Valley Wine Tasting Tour (5.5 hrs). We offer two full day tours as well: Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls & Mt. Hood Tour (7 hrs) and the Oregon Coast Tour (7.5 hrs).
We also offer a Choose Your Own Adventure option. This option works well for those that want to make their adventure a private experience or want more than just what our set tours call for.
Our favorite tour is probably the full day Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls and Mt. Hood tour. This is probably the most “action-packed” tour we offer with stunning sights all day long. If our visitors only have one day to spend in the Portland outskirts, this tour is probably the best way to see the true natural wonders that Oregon is so famous for. During this tour, we’ll start the day visiting the Columbia Gorge Waterfalls, eat lunch in the Windsurfing Capitol of the World (aka Hood River), drive through Oregon’s Fruit Loop (a beautiful region of fruit and flower farms) and climb to the top of an ancient volcano, Mt. Hood. How could this tour not be our favorite?
How far in advance should tours be booked, and what is the best way to contact you for booking a tour?
For one of our six set tours, we can take bookings up to the day of departure, pending availability. Bookings can be made via our very easy-to-use online availability calendar on our website or by calling us directly at 503-396-3929.
For the Choose Your Own Adventure tours, we recommend at least one to two weeks’ notice, as these tours take some extra planning. To book these types of tours, give us a call or contact us via the website on the Choose Your Own Adventure page.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. I truly wish you the best of luck and success with this new adventure. I can’t wait to make it up there myself for a tour.