Sleeping on the Road

As I travel in the Stew Wagon, people sometimes notice that it’s outfitted for camping, both urban and rural. One of the questions that comes up is, “Where do you sleep?” They arent referring to whether I sleep in the vehicle. That’s a given. It’s about places where I stop for the night, and how it works out. You might be surprised to learn that there really are a lot of options.

National forests and BLM land are fabulous options. They can be awfully rugged, though. For some, you’ll need 4WD or AWD. The more popular ones, like Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone, have easy roads and well developed campsites. Most even have toilet arrangements and fire pits or grills. Some are free, but none are expensive.

Many rest stops, along interstate highways, allow overnight stays. They have restrooms, and some have WiFi. If you have a van or RV, you can easily cook, but I wouldnt set up a grill.

Truck stops can be an easy solution. Once again, full amenities, and if you want to spend the money, waitstaff for your meals. The main thing here, is to ask. Some truck stops dont like RVs, campers, or vans hanging around the parking lot. It’s better to know, up front, than to have somebody bang on your door in the middle of the night.

Some large retail chains, like Walmart and Cabella’s, are also traveler friendly. Once again, Ask.

Most of the time, I do either of two things; I pull into the parking lot of a hotel, or I drive down a country road. Both have their advantages, but I prefer the country road, for reasons I’ll explain later.

If I’m staying in the city, hotel parking is excellent. They’re accustomed to seeing vehicles that look like they’ve been on the road. Also, the good lighting helps keep burglars from getting curious.

My basic motto here is, “In late. Out early.”  Getting in just before bedtime is excellent. There are plenty of places to spend the evening, until then. (I’ll post about that some other time.) I’ll usually park somewhere in the middle of the lot, where I wont attract attention. Then I cover the windows, set up the bed, and settle in.

The morning routine is basically the opposite, with a couple of additions. I dress, comb my hair, make the bed and take down the window coverings. After that, I lock up and go inside for a bathroom break. Depending on the situation, I might grab a cup of coffee on the way through, but I’ve learned to ask for this, as well.

Once down the road a few miles, I can find a wide spot and pull off. Then I’ll set up my little Coleman stove and cook up a quick breakfast. If I have them on hand, that can include eggs and sausage, or bacon. Otherwise, it’s usually oatmeal with mix-ins like raisins, nuts, or whatever else I have. Fruit is usually on the menu, and always coffee.

I dig waking up in the country, though. It’s usually quiet, and smells are marvelous, depending on the season. No matter what, they’re different from the city. Most times, I can light the little stove and rustle something up, while the sun rises.The morning routine for boondocking down a country road is similar, except there’s no indoor plumbing, so the bathroom break can be a little breezy. Days when the weather is contrary, I’ll drive until I find a truck stop or convenience store, where I can use the facilities, and maybe a microwave. If I have a few extra bucks, I might find little coffee shop and buy breakfast. Maybe it’s chauvinistic, but a pretty smile and a good old cup-o-joe can set the tone for the whole day.

Some people think I’m crazy, but if you’re a bona-fide Vagabond at heart…you get it.

God bless you all. Live in the Present, and keep your Go on.


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