Road Tripping

The open road is there, it will always be there. You just have to decide when to take it.

~Chris Humphrey

I guess we finally decided to hit that open road. The lack of posts these last few weeks is due to our first major truck camping road trip – 18 days, 11 states, 5816 miles. Melissa made a rough road map of our travels. Click this link for an interactive version of the map below.

Our general route on our first truck camping road trip

The truck was my father’s – a 2003 Chevy Silverado, for farm use with only 23,000 miles. We took the rear seat out and have done a few things to try to make it more livable and useful for long trips. More on that in a later post.

Our home away from home (click photos to enlarge)

The photo above is from our first night camping in a Forest Service campground in Shawnee National Forest, IL. This was one of only 4 campgrounds we stayed in on our journey (we spent roughly $80 on camping fees for the whole trip). The rest of the time we did was what is called dispersed camping – finding a spot on public lands (that allow it) and setting up camp wherever. Dispersed camping is free, and, if you have a 4wd like us and drive past where the RV’s can travel on the often rather rough dirt roads, you can be totally alone.

We weren’t sure where we were headed after visiting my Mom in the mountains of VA, but we turned westward and made most decisions on the fly as we drove (turns out the internet with a mobile hot spot, when available, is faster than ours at home).

The trip was a great way to see parts of this country as we drove through. In normal times, we would have explored more, eaten at funky local restaurants, and interacted with people throughout our route. But now, we tried to isolate, wore our masks whenever we were near people, and enjoyed a wonderful selection of meals that Melissa had prepared with many hours spent using our dehydrator before we headed out.

In the next several posts, we will share some of the highlights from our excursion and give some pointers on how to truck camp your way to some beautiful places across our country. We learned a few things that we might need to upgrade and are looking forward to another adventure to parts unknown in the near future.

14 thoughts on “Road Tripping

  1. Oh how wonderful. I look forward to hearing tales from the road, like Travels with Charlie but in the age of COVID-19. I used to camp in my old VW camper back in the late 60s but once it developed a hole in the floor, I found that mosquitos loved our arrangement and had a good feast. That was the end of that – no sleep and the sound of buzzing through the night. I expect you did a lot better. Love your dad’s truck.

  2. Congrats on getting out. Sheila and I have taken 3 major road trips around the Western part of the country since we retired (8500, 10500, and 7500 miles) plus some shorter eastern travels.. We still haven’t seen enough!

    Love the truck camping in wilderness idea. Our first trip was with a pop-up camper — great, but as you said for RVs and RV camps tend to suck. We took what we learned and changed to car/motel/VRBO for the others. One car, two people and one or two small dogs.

    A tip if you haven’t thought of it. We never unpack overnight. We bought some small, plastic chests of drawers from Walmart — one at each rear door. Stop, take what you need for the next day plus a small carry-on, dirt clothes in a plastic bag, wash once a week at a laundromat. Fabulous over 5-6 week trips or for just a week.

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