One of the questions we were asked repeatedly at the Nashville Tiny Living Festival was… “Where do you park?”
At the time, we hadn’t parked our bus many places. To be honest we had expected a lot more hassle in this area of #buslife, we have gotten a little bit, but a lot less than expected.
We think now that we have a few hundred miles behind us and almost a month on the road we can share a little about our experience on this topic. We took a lot of recommendations for apps and hideaway spot others had found throughout our build.
Here’s how our first month on the road has been.
Days 1, 17 & 20-22:
iOverlander has provided us with 4 free nights so far.
– The first was a parking lot behind a McDonald’s a few miles away from Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky. We stayed for one night with Hanzian Bus and This is Bus. A few trucks came in and left without much noise. The McD’s was open to 11pm which we used to get a bite and use the restrooms.
– One night was a truck stop. That turned out being quite convenient and quiet. The iOverlander review mentioned it was a busy and noisy stop, but we didn’t experience that on our stay.
– Two nights Sweet Brier Dam State Management Area in North Dakota. (We could have stayed up to 10 nights at this site for free). This was a great spot. Had we not had to resupply and subsequently found out we have a fuel leak, we would have stayed for the 10 day maximum.
Days 2, 4, 6, 12, 15, 16, & 18:
On day 2 of our full time travel (Tennessee) we bought a Planet Fitness black card membership that allows a guest for free. Basically two memberships for $24 month.
We’ve stayed in Planet Fitness parking lots 7 times (Tennessee, Iowa, Minnesota, and North Dakota). I have to say though that all of these locations were connected to other businesses. In Bismarck North Dakota at 10am in the morning we were told by a worker at a connected clinic that we were not allowed to park there… not just overnight, like anytime period.
Days 7-11 & 13-14:
We stayed with a long time friend on his 10 acre property in Minnesota.It was great to finally meet Shane, Sarah and the kids. The farm that is forming on the property is inspiring. Beautiful sunsets and beautiful people to be with.
The only night we’ve paid to park. The heat in Illinois was getting to us so we found OKAW Valley Kampground on Campendium . The rate was $34 for full hook up and access to their pool and laundry. There is also a dump station and water to fill up those tanks. (Campendium also has free areas listed that we will be using soon).
We are heading towards Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota and then moving down to South Dakota on our way to Colorado. There is a lot of BLM land and National Parks along our planned route to stay at, as well as more Walmarts, Cracker Barrels, and Planet Fitness.
Whether it’s boon-docking under the stars or the parking lot lights finding a place to park can be a headache, but a Planet Fitness membership and a few apps on your smart phone can help tremendously.