Boondocking Explained

Ok, more total honesty for you all – when you buy a tiny camper, you buy into a subculture that you never knew existed. At the beginning I thought, “I’ll buy this adorable little T@b, hook it up to my car, and I’m gone.” Ha!

Instead I had to learn about boring crap like electrical systems, furnaces, broken fans, and, at 6 am today, alarms that sound when their batteries die. That was so much fun.

I use words like “chocks” and “stabilizers” and I’ve gotten a little obsessive about leveling. More often than not, I have no idea what I’m talking about but the subculture requires allegiance so I smile and nod.

In reality, the T@b crowd is amazing. They are SO helpful, as seen when total strangers walked me through diagnostics of my thermostat while I shivered in 20-degree temps last week.

And they’re funny. It seems T@b owners on the whole don’t take themselves too seriously, maybe leaving that for the people who feel the need to drive their entire houses around behind them. If you can enjoy life in a 90 sq ft box, you can laugh at anything.

The most surprising thing I’ve learned about is boondocking. This concept allowed me to travel from North Carolina to Montana for exactly $22 in lodging costs, and I only paid that to a campground because I was desperate for a shower. My goal was to make the whole trip for free but hygiene wins every time. So far my return trip has been entirely gratis.

You all have asked, so here’s the deal.

Hotel Walmart

There are a handful of companies that allow RVs and semis to park overnight for free. These include the ubiquitous Walmart as well as Cracker Barrel, Costco, Cabela’s, Pilot, and probably a bunch more. There’s no true requirement that you buy something from them but, of course, it’s appreciated.

I also joined a group called Harvest Hosts where, by paying about $70 per year, I can boondock at a bunch of wineries, distilleries, and golf courses. In truth, though, I haven’t used it yet.

So I just find a place that allows overnight parking and doesn’t have any obvious serial killers (really, I’ve left 2 places already because I got the heebie jeebies), park out of the way, disconnect my power cord from my car, turn on my propane so I have heat, and go to bed. Last night I camped between 2 enormous semis and while it looked silly and felt intimidating, they blocked the crazy winds nicely and I got a solid 7 hours of sleep. Tonight I’m in a very bright and very loud lot in Warrenton, MO, so there could be stories before the night is over.

The Loo

It’s the next obvious question so here goes. My T@b doesn’t have a bathroom. Many do but mine is older and frankly, I kind of like that I don’t have to deal with all that gray water/black water stuff.

Of course, that creates its own challenges when I’m sleeping at a Walmart. Enter the Luggable Loo.

I hated this idea at first. It’s a 5-gallon bucket with a toilet seat glued to it, and a lid on top of that.

You line it with these brilliant-but-embarrassingly-named bags, and you’re good to go. Literally good to go.

So look, I hate, HATE talking about bodily functions. But I have to say this set up made life in a blizzard a lot easier. The end.

Mighty and flatulence

I know you want to know. I have no idea where he is. I have neither seen nor heard evidence of him for about 36 hours so he’s either dead or he has crawled into the bag of clean laundry that’s in my backseat. I hate both options.

And yes, people, Irish Spring. I get it. I’m just afraid the smell will flush him out if his hiding place. I’m kind of enjoying this reprieve.

I do need someone to tell me whether mice fart. Asking for a friend.

My goal is to get home tomorrow night. I cut about a week off of my trip and while I hate that, trust me when I say I need to get home. Many of you all don’t know this but I have lupus and it has been intense for about the last 2 weeks. I need a few days at home to recuperate (and to spoil Roz, Dooley, and Stella) before I jump back in to work. I’ll do another road trip soon but it’ll be a little less ambitious. 🙂


10 Replies to “Boondocking Explained”

  1. The poo bag name made me chuckle. Glad you posted your trip. Seriously, for the past few years I have watched a ton of vids on doing the same thing. It sure seems like loads of fun and a lot of work!! I don’t know if I’ll ever do it but, I’m glad you got out there. I’ll be praying for quick recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do it. You’re exactly right – it’s fun and it’s work but I realized a little too late that I was making it more with than I needed to. You can borrow my camper!


  2. I am proud of you for taking this wonderful, long trip and updating us on your blog. Mostly, I am impressed that you use the port-o-potty. I know I would get grossed out.🤪

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh Kim this is amazing! I didn’t know you had lupus… you’ve done really well! This has been so fun to follow!!! Thanks!


  4. Of course I loved the post where you talked about how nice people from Montana are… oh and by the way… despite my lack of commenting, I consider myself your most loyal and addicted blog follower. I check a few times a day and wondering how I’m going to manage withdrawal when you get home. I digress.

    Still not sure why… but think this might be my favorite post. Love, Love, Love following your adventures. Can’t wait until next time. Kim- you are the best! Makes me beyond happy that you get to see Roz soon. Xoxo xoxo


    1. My post about toilets is your favorite?! You crack me up! Thanks for following along. I promise not to desert you just yet!


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