“How Do You Shower?” And Other FAQs

After a week and a half on the road, here’s answers to a few FAQ’s that I’ve gotten over the past few days:

  1. Where do you shower?
    1. Well, to be honest, sometimes I just don’t. The beauty of camping in the summer is that you can shower in the lake/river/stream near by! Alternatively, I’ve filled up my solar shower at local RV Parks, campgrounds and day use areas. Knowing that I have a limited supply of water ( 1, 5 gallon container, and 1 1 gallon jug = 6 gallons ), I can’t justify using drinking water for showers. So somedays a baby-wipe shower does the job.
  2. Where do you use the bathroom?
    1. It’s time to get comfortable with nature folks! If I’m out in a remote BLM (Bureau of Land Management) spot or other dispersed area there usually isn’t a vault toilet or formal bathroom structure. Basically I go in the woods. We’ll leave it at that. Sometimes I’m lucky and camp near by civilization so there’s a friendly McDonalds/Starbucks/Etc. near by for use, but it definitely takes some planning.
  3. Where do you sleep?
    1. I try to only splurge on formal campsites if it’s in a national park or other attraction that in my view, is ‘worth’ the spend. That will usually set me back about $20/night assuming that I’m using my America The Beautiful national park pass (otherwise there’s a park entrance fee as well). I bought the pass for $80 and it’s good for a full year at any national parks. It’s a steal!
    2. If I’m not paying for camping (which is the majority of the time), I basically drive towards a national/state park, look for forest service roads and find myself a nice spot there. Or I can use an app called Ultimate Campground and it will point me towards free/dispersed campsites in the area.
    3. The third option which is always there but I don’t plan to use very often is Walmart. They have a sweet policy for overnight camping and are super welcoming of anyone spending the night in an RV or van. Sometimes they are 24 hour Walmarts which means there’s also 24 hour access to a bathroom and emergency convenience items. While it’s not scenic, it’s definitely a good thing to keep in my back pocket.
    4. Have you gotten bored?
      1. Hell no! Knowing that I can do whatever I want, whenever I want has been awesome. When it’s nice out, I try and find something to do outside or a hike to do.  If it’s raining, I drive somewhere where it’s dry or read a book. Or, better yet, I find a near by town and get to know the neighborhood. Small towns are super charming and poor weather is a great excuse to get to know the locals.
      2. I’ve also taken up listening to podcasts/reading historical accounts of things that happened wherever I’m staying. Example: While in Montana this week the Montana Historical Society has an awesome free podcast that covers everything from Native American folklore to pioneer stories and the history of modern hunting laws. It’s been a great alternative to Spotify if I’m looking for something to keep me engaged while driving. Also, I’m trying to start a habit of picking up historical books at local tourist stops. Most recently, I purchased Wild River Pioneers, detailing the modern pioneers that have homesteaded Montana. Reading about what came before me has given me a great sense of connection to all the areas I’m camping in.
    5. Have you been lonely?
      1. Even though it’s only been about a week, nope, not lonely at all. See above comment. Also, I’ve always enjoyed my alone time so this solo-camp situation has been pretty awesome. Chalupa makes for great company as well. Lastly, people have been so great when it comes to visiting towns around the area. Ex: there have been countless examples where I’ve mentioned that I’m going to a certain town, and then someone will inevitably reach out and say “hey! I have a friend/family member that lives out there, here’s their contact information, you should definitely hit them up!” This has been awesome. Thanks to everyone who has been so helpful! I’ll continue taking you up on these awesome intros!
    6. Have you been scared?
      1. HELL YES. One night I woke up early in the morning (~2am) to the sound of wild animals walking around (and on) my van. This was super unnerving. I’ve kept my bear spray and knife handy every night. Sometimes it means I don’t sleep a lot if I’m really freaking out. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over that but it’s part of the adventure I suppose.
    7. What’s it like traveling with the dog?
      1. There’s some definite pros and cons here.
        1. Pro? Having a companion has been awesome, plus she makes a great security system for people/animals getting too close to the van. Also, how could you not like having a little Chalupa around?!
        2. Cons? Unfortunately, while pets are allowed in all national parks, they’re usually not allowed on any of the trails. Read: I can camp with her just not hike with her in the national park. Which is a bummer. Hikers can pick up permits for service dogs, but since Chalupa is an ESA (Emotional Support Animal), not a formal service dog, she’s not eligible. Now that I know this I’ll plan better for future national parks knowing that I can still camp there but will need to find hikes outside of the park.

More photos to come once I have better wifi! In the meantime, check out Instagram for a steadier stream of pictures.

 

 

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