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Since leaving Montana in early November, we have learned a great deal about living life on the road and constantly adapting to new locations. The heavy trek from Montana to North Carolina was certainly the most challenging part of the trip.

Looking back, the beginning was challenging because…

  • Challenge 1: We were just getting started. The RV life is something you really have to dive into to really understand how it works for you. In the beginning we didn’t know how to plan ahead and make the most of the journey in between destinations.
  • Challenge 2: When we started, winter was already on our heels. It was cold. So we were going as fast as we could to get to warmer temps – really just stopping to sleep.
  • Challenge 3: I was stressed about how working on the road was going to be. I was worried about how travel days and moving the RV every month would disrupt my work flow.
  • Challenge 4:We couldn’t find RV parks to take us! Seriously, this was a challenge.

Thankfully, we have gotten past of that and have learned to thrive while moving from point c to point d. Plus we have learned how to make new friends while on the road.

Enter Boondockers Welcome

We have joined an RV club called Boondockers Welcome. It connects us with property owners across the U.S. who are also RVers. They allow RVers to park their RVs on their property at no cost. Some even provide electricity, water and a waste dump. Those that offer extended amenities will ask for a small donation to cover your footprint.

Boondockers Welcome – Crystal Springs, MS

Our first experience with Boondockers Welcome was in Crystal Springs Mississippi. Now, I didn’t like much about Mississippi. We were only passing through, so I am sure there is good to be found, but what I experienced was garbage everywhere. I can’t stand seeing trash everywhere. It irritates me.

Our First Host Family

However, the host family we were connected with was AMAZING. Seriously, it was such a great experience and we had so much fun getting to know these folks. They invited us in for dinner, we talked about the highlights of our trips, they told us about their adventures. We connected over the RV lifestyle with complete strangers.

Yellowstone to Glacier

Our hosts mentioned that they want to travel to Montana for the first time to see Yellowstone and Glacier. So as we were pulling out of the driveway we ordered them a Montana/Wyoming travel book as a thank you for their hospitality. I also printed out a map to show them the routes I suggest they take. When they do come, we hope to spend time with them.

Zion and Bryce

They showed us pictures of their time in Zion National Park in Southern Utah. This was perfect timing, because after we leave Las Vegas in April we have time to sneak up to Zion on our way home. This park was not on our radar at all.

Our Boondockers Welcome site in Mississippi

Our host family in Mississippi

Boondockers Welcome: Texarkana, Texas

Our next stop on our way to our current setup outside of Lake Texoma, was in Texarkana. We stayed three nights with this extremely welcoming family. These folks were a hoot. They have boondockers almost every week and have hosted almost 100 times.

This host has an entire room dedicated to Department 56. It was remarkable and so much fun to admire each detail.

Roadside Friendships

Making new friends and connecting with people was one of the things I wanted to push myself to do on this trip. It was pretty challenging for me in the beginning. After the long month in the backwoods of Tennessee, I made the decision to seek out relationships.

Dear stranger, you will become my friend

I really feel like I have busted out of my shell, not that my shell was all that tight to begin with. But I enjoy connecting with people and socializing more than I ever have. I am not as much of a recluse as I sometimes claim to be.

Surprise we are just down the road

When Zach told me we would be boondocking in Crystal Springs, I looked up where our friends Brian and Jensi lived. I knew they had recently moved to Mississippi from Montana. It turned out they were only 30 minutes from our boondockers site. So we headed over to their house for dinner and buckets of laughs.

Welp, here we are in Texas

So we are now set up in Northern Texas, outside of Lake Texoma. We are right on the border of Oklahoma and Texas. We don’t known many people in the area, however we have a friend who lives up in Oklahoma and we recently learned he and his girlfriend are fans of Ticket to Ride. We hope to get together with them before we start heading west again.

Oh, and Blake Shelton

Blake Shelton has a house on Lake Texoma, so we will try to get together with him and Gwen eventually. I’m pretty busy with work, so hope they will be patient with me trying to squeeze them onto the calendar. Hope they play board games or at least chickens foot.

Our Texarkana host family

Texarkana host family’s Department 56 village

New and old friends at the 5k

Dinner with Brian and Jensi

We have conquered our initial challenges …

  • Challenge 1: We were just getting started. The RV life is something you really have to dive into to really understand how it works for you. In the beginning we didn’t know how to plan ahead and make the most of the journey in between destinations.
    • Boondockers Welcome is the best way we have found to enjoy the stops along the way. We don’t want to pay $40 per night at an RV park. We only pay $500/month if we stay somewhere a month. It’s too much to pay a nightly rate that frequently. We pay $35/year for our membership and can park at local homes for free or $10/night at most. We can book online a few weeks ahead of time. It’s super easy and a lot of fun!
  • Challenge 2: When we started, winter was already on our heels. It was cold. So we were going as fast as we could to get to warmer temps – really just stopping to sleep.
    • Next fall we will not be selling a house so we can head out of Montana in early September. No more winter for the Smiths!
  • Challenge 3: I was stressed about how working on the road was going to be. I was worried about how travel days and moving the RV every month would disrupt my work flow.
    • My work has been very grounding for me. I have an extremely steady work ethic, so now that I have my sea legs, picking up and moving the fifth wheel is not a big deal to me. I plan my work around travel days and plan my travel days around my work. It hasn’t been a issue and I am very confident in how well I have adjusted. Zach has also been working very hard on his business. He has transitioned very well into a computer based work environment.
  • Challenge 4: We couldn’t find RV parks to take us! Seriously, this was a challenge.
    • We are now familiar with the areas that we want to return to. One of which has a ton of RV parks, however, they only take full year tenants. Yeah, it’s crazy. So we are planning ahead to work around this. We are also able to use Boondockers Welcome to fill in time we are not at the RV parks.