Sandra just got back from an incredible 84-day solo road trip in one of our Mavericks, named Ribbon. As if that wasn’t amazing enough, she camped for free the entire time using two apps! So naturally, we had to ask her a few questions about how she did it.
I’m a retired engineer. I turned 60 this year and wanted to do something special for my birthday.
I wanted the flexibility of camping (not being confined to where I could find a hotel) with the ability to visit large cities as well as remote rural areas. I chose to rent a campervan because it provided the greatest flexibility vs a class C camper or a trailer.
I rented from the LA office. I traveled from LA to Washington DC along a southern route and then returned to the west coast via a northern route. The states and the order I traveled is:
CA, Utah, Arizona, NM, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, KY (via Illinois and Indiana), WV, VA, DC, PA, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, SD, WY, CO, UT, Idaho, Oregon, WA, Oregon, CA (back to LA).
I left LA on May 24 and returned on Aug 16.
I had a few dates where I had to be in a certain place on a given date. Other than that, I tried to stay off of the interstates and wander to wherever my wanderlust took me.
I had to be a little bit flexible as some of the places that I wanted to visit were not accessible due to wildfires in the area (specifically CO, OR, CA).
I used 2 apps mostly to find places to stay: Campendium and Trucker Path. Campendium is a good app for finding free places to camp (BLM and National Forest Service land) and campsites. Trucker Path is good for finding truck stops. Truck stops are a great place to get a shower and a safe place to park.
I did not have any issues traveling solo and I felt safe everywhere that I went.
Lifest 2018 in WI, Museum of the Bible in DC, Black Canyon NP, the Amish community in Indiana, canyoneering in Escalante, visiting family and friends.
The campervan was awesome. It was comfortable to sleep in and flexible enough that I could take it into the city (i.e., Pittsburgh and DC).
Be flexible. I did not reserve a campsite anywhere, yet never had a problem finding one when I needed it. Take your time (easy for me to say as I had lots of it); don’t rush through places. I met some interesting folks off the beaten path since I was willing to take my time and was not on a tight schedule.
The only thing that I might have done differently is to schedule the trip a little bit earlier in the year. I had planned to do southern OR and the east side of CA at the end of my trip during the last 2 weeks of August. Unfortunately, by then most of this area of the country was consumed by wildfires. So I might have done the trip earlier (in the spring) so that I was in southern OR and CA before wildfire season settled in.