Challenges of Boondocking

These are real concerns that will put a crimp in your adventures…

When you read about boondocking you’ll frequently hear how wonderful life is living free on the road.  Well, I am here to tell you not every day is peaches-n-cream.  There are plenty of obstacles you’ll face and many changes you will make.  This post is about a few of those challenges we have faced along our 2600 mile journey.

Over the course of two months on the road I’ve watched many You Tube videos, read many posts and blogs concerning the RV lifestyle.  The majority of information that I have found lead me to believe that the RV life is an all carefree style with limited stress.  I’m here to tell you life in general is stressful.  It doesn’t matter if you live in a house or on the road, problems will arise and have to be dealt with.

The first big issue we faced while being on the road was high-speed internet access.

4G-internet-phone-serviceNow if you are working from your laptop as your main source of income you will be hard pressed to find a steady fast connection.  Yes, you can give it your best shot at the local McDonald’s or Starbucks, but driving your rig to find these locations will get tire-some.  Depending how big your rig is you may not be able to find parking close enough to connect for long.  There also will be days when you wont be able to connect at all. We use Verizon with a Jetpack and still have trouble with a steady signal.  Verizon has dead spots too.  This is just food for thought for those planning on an on-line income.  You may want to rethink your plan.

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Power usage is another biggie to think about.  Are you the kind of person who can’t live without your t.v. shows or video games?  I can tell you even if you have batteries and solar panels the power generated will be limited.  The power that has been stored would be better used to power a refrigerator, an air conditioner, fans or keeping your cell phone charged.  There will be a lot of quite time.  Can you handle the quite? “Silence is golden” as the saying goes only to those who enjoy it.

Storm+warning

Weather conditions are a must to keep track of, rain storms, high winds and hot temperatures.  These conditions can all be a day breaker for the boondocker.  Keep a daily check on your local weather channel to make sure you are not in arms way.  Hot temperatures are the most of my worries living in a RV.  See this post on how we deal with the heat. Spending for a full hookup campsite for power can take a toll on your finances if you are on a limited income.

bathing with a bucket (500x629)

Lastly, get use to limiting your bathing time.  There will be days when you will not bathe.  I know you have probably heard of full-timers that purchase time at a gym to use their showers facilities.  Once again, driving around in a big RV in a heavily populated area to find your shower access will get old.  It’s also expensive, remember you have to pay per person.  You would be better off locating a truck stop and share the shower stall if you’re traveling as a couple.  We’ve used a bucket with water or baby wipes to wash down if a shower wasn’t available.  Change your clothes regularly and don’t forget the deodorant. This will stretch the bathing considerably.

These four issues are not often discussed or are sugar-coated in the camping, boondocking world.  They are real concerns that will put a crimp in your adventures if you’re not prepared to deal with them.  Think it through, be realistic, prepare and enjoy the ride.

Savannah Eats

Savannah is a fun place to visit – there is something there for everyone’s taste – come hungry and leave satisfied knowing Savannah Eats.

On our visit to Savannah, Ga. to see a close family friend we decided to partake in the local cuisine.  It’s always a good time trying out local food and engaging in new cultural experiences.  Here’s a list of where we went and what we ate along the way.

First stop was “The Chromatic Dragon located at 514 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.  A unique pub and eatery that has captured the interests of its clientele, the 21st Century video gamers.  The establishment is a gamers paradise with food, drinks, big screen tv’s, games galore and a bar.  Pick your seat, select your controller and order from a hearty menu.  Everything from drinks, appetizers, lunches and entrees.  The list of video games is long, long enough to keep you and your friends entertained and satisfied for the evening.

The gamers theme extends through out the eatery including wall decor, friendly staff members and right down to the menu.  You will get a kick out of reading the many food options “The Chromatic Dragon” offers.  All item descriptions are geared toward favorite video games, past and present.  Oh, did it bring back the memories.

Our choices from the menu included:

Nachos of Doom – Fresh traditional nachos with a spicy twists.  Simply delicious.

Starfox Barrell Rolls – Corned beef, swiss cheese and sauerkraut rolled into a spring roll and deep-fried. Who ever thought of such a combination.  What a game changer.

Our entrees were “The Castlevania” a classic corned beef sandwich with sauerkraut. The “1 Up Burger” a large mushroom and swiss and “The Tractor Bean” sliders made with black beans.  All sandwiches were equally good and served with piping hot steak fries on the side.

All this delicious food makes this a must see and unique experience for the visitors of Historic Savannah.

Next we ventured out to an up scale English pub and restaurant called “Churchill’s Gastropub & Taphouse“.  Located on 13 West Bay St., Savannah, Ga.  Nestled in the historic area of downtown, just two blocks from River Street, this little pub was a wonderful food experience.  A refurbished two storey authentic English pub right down to the mahogany bar that was shipped to Savannah straight from the United Kingdom.

Churchill’s offers a large selection of imported beers to choose from.  Choose your seat from the first level of traditional English pub scenery or venture up stairs to partake in the open terrace overlooking historic Savannah.

The menu has a large selection of English and American favorites.  We ordered the Giant Bavarian Pretzel.  I have never seen such a deliciously, huge, soft, yummy pretzel in my life.  It was served with two different spicy mustard dipping sauces. You could make a meal out of just one of these pretzels.

Our entrees were as follows:

Paella – A rice and seafood dish with added Chorizo in a red sauce. Not too heavy and very flavorful.

Banger’s & Mash –   Pork sausage marinated in beer severed with mashed potatoes   and onion gravy.  Hubby seemed to enjoy his meal as there was nothing left with no complaining.  🙂

Rosemary Biscuits – House made fresh biscuits with home-made jam and honey butter. These were tasty little treat which went well with Churchill’s full  flavored fresh brewed coffee.

Enjoying the whole experience, I would give Churchill’s a two thumbs up for a relaxing adult dinning experience you wouldn’t want to miss.  *Side Note* Churchill’s opens at 5:00 pm till 1:00 a.m. for dinner meals only.

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Probably my favorite evening meal was prepared from the Tangerine Fusion & Sushi Bar located at 11215 Abercorn St., Savannah, Ga.  Tangerine is on the south side of Savannah and was rated one of the best sushi bars in the area.  I was able to experience why.  The food and atmosphere perked up the senses and taste buds as soon as you walked in the door.  The owners have created an atmosphere of Pan-Asian and Thai style with grace.  Warm, bright colors splashed the walls mixed with traditional Asian flowers and decor make for a relaxing adult dinning expirence.

Food choices are numerous as the menu leans toward seafood and chicken, however they do offer pork and beef dishes.  I was not disappointed with the quality or quantity of the portions.

We were not able to dine in as we arrived very late in the evening, but the staff were more than willing to prepare us a take out selection.  I would highly recommend giving  Tangerine Fusion & Sushi Bar a try if you’re a lover of Asian Cuisine.  We hope to be able to dine in next time.  *Side note*  I ate the leftovers for lunch the next day, they were just as delicious.

Savannah is a fun place to visit not only for it’s historical value but also for it’s food selections.  There is something there for everyone’s taste buds and pocket book.  Come hungry and leave satisfied knowing that Savannah Eats.

Our 2007 Road Trip, Part 2: Signs of Georgia

This is such a great post on driving through Georgia and what you will see coming down I-75. Brings back a lot of memories.

Midlife Crisis Crossover!

Giant Peanut! Behold the World’s Largest Peanut, according to the good people of Ashburn, Georgia. Also possibly the World’s Most Hypoallergenic Peanut.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, marvels, history, and institutions we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. For 2007 we changed up our strategy a bit and designed an itinerary for what would prove our most kid-friendly outing ever. Granted, my son was now twelve years old and less kid-like than he used to be, but the idea was sound in principle.

Thus in this year of our Lord did we declare: the Goldens are going to Florida!

When most people think “road trip” in the fanciful sense…

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Down in the Boondocks

Forty five miles from Savannah, Ga. we traveled to a Barrington County Park, a secluded free camp ground…

Forty Five miles from Savannah, Ga. we headed south to a quaint, hidden, free campground called, Barrington County Park .  On the outskirts of Townsend, Ga. off Hwy 57, there is a sizable camping area off of Harper Lake.  Harper Lake is fed from the Altamaha River system.  Traveling into the park was a little hairy.  You will travel approximately three miles on a wide, maintained dirt  road.  Here’s the catch, there is three miles of small ruts on this road, as all dirt roads seem to have, just beware of your speed and drive carefully.

Being our first experience at boon-docking, Barrington County Park was a pleasant surprise.  At first sight the grounds were very well shaded with oaks and their companions, Spanish moss.  The ground is covered in clean sand, (if that matter to anyone). The advertisement was true and correct as to their description of dry camping, trash pick up, running water (well water), showers and flushing toilets.  Now mind you, the water pressure wasn’t great, but it got the job done. It was very refreshing after a hot day.

Barrington Cnty Park (3)

There were only two tent set ups and two other campers on the grounds.  We could park any where we wished. Parking close to the Lake side (it looked like a small river) we had a clear view of the jumping fish, birds and squirrels.  Not far from the fishing and boat dock (built by the Department of Natural Resource) we had the perfect spot.

Now for the bad news, internet access was spotty, very spotty.  Our service provider is Verizon, and we were receiving incoming calls but no internet.  As I mentioned before, there is plenty of shade.  So, if you plan on using solar panels you need to be choosy where you park.  I needed to mention these issues so you may plan your activities accordingly.  I also spoke with a local who gave us some very vital information, If you are planning to use this site to boon-dock, it’s best to come and enjoy the peace and quite during the week days.  The locals use this spot for a party hangout on the weekends.  We didn’t stay to confirm this activity.

All in all, it was a very nice, clean park.  A little bit difficult to get to, but if you want a little R and R away from everything and everybody, give it a go.

Maiden Voyage to the Deep South

Our first maiden voyage to the deep south in out 1975 Cruise Air motor home. We found the weather very unforgiving…

Dotty’s maiden voyage into the deep south started two Fridays ago.  We found the weather very unforgiving, at  45 to 50 mph, the winds were atrocious.  A major storm front was developing to the west.  The camper felt like a sail boat  being tossed on the high seas.  After only about four hours of driving we were exhausted.  The drive left us racked and on edge.  Making it only to Findlay, Ohio (Flag City) we parked Dotty and batten down the hatches, boondocking at the first Wal-Mart we could find.

Saturday morning came early, the winds died down to 20 mph making it a little better for driving. We sailed our way to Richmond, Ky taking it slowwww.  Dotty  was running great but the steering was a little squirrely.  Noticing a rain front was coming in, Bill tested the windshield wipers.  Oops, they don’t work!  Great… not going any farther, we’ll just be boondocking at Meijers tonight.

Bill woke early Sunday morning as he always does.  Something was telling him to look at the weather radar.    We had two hours to get motivated and beat the nasty storm that was quickly building to the West.  No windshield wipers, I need to wake up fast, Ugh. With fifteen minutes to spare we headed South out running the storm front covered in red.

We didn’t talk much as we approached Southern Ky and Jelico Mountain.  Tension was building and we were both very nervous.  Would Dotty make it up the mountain side? We were gonna find out.  Well, she did.  A big 50 mph all the way up the hill.  Not fast but she made it.  It was a big sigh of relief when we got to the top.  We took a small break at the Tn. Welcome Center, which was very crowded.  Dotty was starting to draw attention from travelers.  People are eager to ask all sorts of questions about her.  She is one of a kind.

Down the mountain she came with her sails a flying.  She had Bill a little panicked, I tried not to pay attention.  I was thinking to myself, “He’s one hell of a driver”.  I don’t know why we were so nervous, he’s driven in some of the most God awful weather conditions while expediting.   We swallowed hard and drove down the mountain .

Off to another cheap night of camping at the Flying J, south side of Knoxville, Tn.  The temperature was high, in the low 90’s.  It was not comfortable. All the windows open, we were sweat’n puddles.  Bill takes a look at our cat, Mel, and decides it’s to hot for her.  He plugs the fan into the inverter and places it on the floor facing the cat.  Well hell…It’s gonna be a great night.

It was a hot, sticky, crappy night.  Along with the heat, we had to listen to young’ns racing their hot rods up and down the street.  We wont be staying at that Flying J again, travelers beware!

With less than a fulfilling night sleep,  we woke on Monday morning ready to get to Warner Robins, Ga.  and see the family.  Traveling was uneventful until we caught up to a major traffic jam in a Resaca, Ga.  Miles, upon miles of traffic, creeping every so slowly down the interstate.  An hour and a half later and six miles down the road, we made it to the closes exit in Resaca.  Now how are we going to get around this mess, Google it!!  Looking at the routes, we chose Hwy 41 to get us through Atlanta.  Now, this is not a quick route, but it’s better than sitt’n in traffic.  We burned a couple of hours going through small town after small town.  Finally picking up I-75 South, we managed to pick up speed and making it to Warner Robins around 8pm that night.

What a ride, what a trip.  We’re we crazy to take a 1975 Motor Home on a 1000 mile trip South?  Part of me says “yes” but part of me says, “I would do it again.”  The stress was worth seeing the family and grandkids.  You can’t put a price on that.

‘Dotty’ is her name.

The seller of our motor home had his own camping story to tell.

What’s in a name?  We all name thing we love, care about or has meaning for us.  It bring a connection or commitment to the object we name.  I have always had a fascination with naming things.  If I like it, it gets a nick-name, a personality.  Same goes for vehicles, the motor home had a name before we left the sellers home.

The seller of our motor home had his own camping story to tell.  He purchased the motor home with the idea that he and his wife would become full-time rv’ers.  He spent many hours refurbishing the camper to get it road ready.  During this time, his wife became ill and passed away.  They never were able to fulfill their dream.  His wife’s name was Dorothy.  Dotty seemed an appropriate name, it suits her, I will never forget the story behind their dream and fulfilling our own.