Tuesday, May 15, 2018

On the Road for the Summer

As of May 1st, we are finally off on our summer of travels. We're going to be taking it slow, in order to keep our fuel budget in control, and yet still see the country as we want to.

The trip (so far) has been uneventful other than our travel stops. We have been using a combination of private residences that offer free reciprocal use parking space through BoondockersWelcome(dot com), and national forests or wildlife management areas whenever possible. Since the state parks do not honor our senior passes, I would only use those as a last resort.

We have used Walmarts in the past, but with so much controversy over which ones allow overnight parking and which ones don't, we prefer to locate parking that we already know is permitted before we get there.

Sometimes that means driving a little out of the way, but we try to plan our stops and make arrangements ahead of time when necessary. So far, we have come over a thousand miles since leaving Florida, and only spent $10 one time for a camping fee. Most of the places we have stayed have been absolutely beautiful, and the hosts have been more than cordial and hospitable.

Although we haven't had a problem (yet) with getting in and out of some of these places, our intent still stands to do some trading of vehicles next fall, and downsize to something far more economical and maneuverable. For now, we will make do with what we have. There's no point in looking at anything seriously until we are ready to buy.

Other than roaming around the Midwest, and watching the map listings that are in red print (touristy things), and avoiding major cities, we only have a general idea of where we are going. The weather is going to have a huge influence on our travels. If we choose not to go north to stay cool this summer (because it might actually be "too" cool up there), then we will go to higher elevations to the east and south.

It may seem counterintuitive to go south to avoid heat, but there are places in the Smokies that are high enough to be cooler. The catch-22 there is that they may be crowded. On the other hand, our vehicle situation doesn't like steep hills, so we have to check intended routes carefully. It may take good, in-depth research through several sources to find places that work for us, but it "can" be done.

One thing I have done recently is to delete my account with RVillage. It sounded like a great thing when it first started, and for some, it may be. But for us, it has turned out to be a total waste of time. It is obviously geared toward people who drag their houses with them in the form of large RVs, and don't mind throwing money away at RV resorts that we don't use. The notices that are emailed to us that tell us people have arrived nearby are mostly anything but nearby. Most of them are as far away as 50 miles! Too many members still seem to be secretive, in not telling exactly where they are other than the city in general, and too many haven't even bothered to fill out their profiles, so we know what kind of travelers they are.

Unless other RVers are in the same park, I won't bother to contact them, and if I can't get an idea of what kind of people they are from their profile, I still won't contact them! And since we are no longer in a RV park and have no intentions of using one in the future, it is totally pointless to belong to it!

Also, I started a group on there for "cargo trailer campers", since it is obvious from the Facebook groups devoted to such travel, that there is a huge interest in it. And yet nothing ever happened with that group. It remained dormant. So that also tells me that the people who make use of that site have little in common with the way we travel. They don't care about cargo trailer campers, van campers, or anything that does not fit in with their RV park lifestyle. It's just not a good fit for us.

The same goes for discount travel clubs like Passport America, Good Sam, KOA and others. I'm sure they are all good programs... but again... geared toward RV parks... where RVs are parked side by side with questionable neighbors, subject to noise and countless rules, bad managers, high prices, lack of freedom, and so many other restrictions and faults.

Regardless of our mode of travel, we would rather be out by ourselves, where any camping neighbor is at least a hundred feet or more away (preferably more)!

The exception to that would be private residences, where we are often the only ones there that are camping. We enjoy meeting new people and getting together with another compatible couple. We despise crowds of people!

So far, our travels have been such that we have not stayed anywhere more than two days, although there have been several places we would have liked to stay for a week or two. Unfortunately, we are still working with schedules imposed by others, and had to be certain places at certain times. That will come to an end in a few weeks, and then the rest of the summer will be all ours, to do with as we wish. By August 1st, we should be able to travel wherever we want, whenever we want, and stay longer or leave earlier at our discretion.

As predicted, our exact location and what we are doing will remain private. But if anyone has thoughts on anything, please speak up!

Thanks for reading!

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