The Art Of Slo-Mo RVing, Friends & Moochdocking – Lake Wateree, SC
Our ultimate goal was to get to Virginia and in fairly short order too (trying to escape that Southern heat ya know), but we had ~430 miles of asphalt between us and the mountains. For some folks that might look like a single drive, but in “beastly slo-mo” style that meant a minimum of 2 drives. Slo-Mo is a real thing for us, not because we can’t travel faster, but simply because we prefer not to….and it keeps us sane too!
We approach Fulltime RVing as a lifestyle not a vacation, although it took about a year for us to figure out what that really meant. Our first year on the road we drove like we were on an extended road trip, zooming like mad chickens across the entire country, staying no longer than 3-4 days at each campsite. By the end of it we had seen a ton but we were beyond exhausted, literally so worn out by travel that we seriously thought about giving up on RVing altogether. There was simply no way we could keep up that pace!
Once we figured that out however, and slowed down (like…way down) we actually started to enjoy the journey. Our 2nd year we did way better, and by the third year we were pro’s at the whole slo-mo thing.
Other folks might do it differently, but the way we plan our travels is that we rarely drive more than~150-250 miles in a day, we always plan to get into camp by the early afternoon (gotta be in time for happy hour you know) and, apart from rare exceptions we always try to plan good, solid stay-time at each place we go. Plus we’ll typically try to stay totally still for at least a few months a year (thro’ volunteering, boondocking or monthly stays). Adopting this mode of travel has saved our entire RV lifestyle!
But to get back to this blog post, we had ~430 miles of driving to do which meant we needed a stop somewhere in-between. We’ve got several resources that we regularly use when we need an overnight parking stop like this (e.g. Harvest Hosts, Overnight RV Parking & Days End), but in this case we decided to do something different. And where we ended up takes us back to a random random encounter we had at Ridgeway State Park in Colorado around 6 years ago. It’s where we met Sam, and like the vast majority of RVers we meet on the road, we struck up an instant connection. I’ve written about this phenomenon many times on the blog before, and even after 8 years on the road it’s still one of the most unexpected twists we’ve encountered since we started RVing.
Before we embarked on our journey we always imagined RVing would be a rather solitary adventure. We’d travel around and see stuff, but it would be just Paul, me and the pets. There was nothing wrong with that (in fact we were quite happy with the prospect), but what surprised us is that it didn’t turn out like that at all!
We started meeting people in campgrounds almost right away, struck up conversations with folks we met walking the dog, and developed meaningful friendships that have lasted the entire time we’ve been on the road. As time went on we met younger couples and even entire communities of young travelers. And all this happened waaaay before my blog had 10 views a day or even waaay before XScapers or RVillage or Instagram or any of the many snazzy online connection communities that exist today.
By year 3 we had so many friends on the road we were being social practically all the time, and these days there’s practically not a campground that we go to where we don’t know somebody.
I believe it’s the very act of RVing that brings people together. Call it wanderlust, or a sense of adventure but the folks that chose this lifestyle have the natural urge to explore, and that very nature opens the mind and creates the ability to form quick and (often) deep connections in short order. We’re more social now than we’ve EVER been in our lives, and it’s a pretty amazing thing.
So when Sam contacted me out of the blue almost 6 years after we’d first met him in CO and offered us a spot to stay by his property in SC on our way north, it was just one of those serendipitous RVing connections coming back to life. It just so happens his spot was exactly on our northern route and it just so happens it was around ~200 miles from our last stop, exactly the kind of distance we were looking for.
“If it fits your schedule you’re welcome to come by” he wrote. And some time later he sweetened the deal by saying “I’m cooking ribs on Saturday and all my spices, mixes and sauces are homemade”
How could we resist THAT??
We’ve “moochdocked” like this several times before, often with folks we’ve only met once or twice (one time with a blog reader we’d never met at all!), and it’s always turned out to be a great experience.
Again, it’s something I’d likely never have done before RVing (what, stay at someone’s place you barely know??), but it seems totally natural now. RVers meet and offer these things to each other all the time, and there’s even official ways to do this (ever heard of Boondockers Welcome? That’s exactly what they do!) . We’ve become fast friends with many of our hosts and have interacted with folks from all walks of life this way.
And that’s exactly how we ended up parked in Sam’s driveway, enjoying homed-smoked ribs with his closest neighbors and watching the sun turn the clouds pink over Lake Wateree. Polly was lounging on the grass, we were all drinking beer and Sam’s two cats were hamming it up to the new cat-lovers in town. We spent an awesome few days at the property, exploring the nearby State Park and passing the evenings chatting about life, the universe and everything (the answer is 42, of course). It was a great stop and a relaxing few days. Thanks a bunch for the hospitality, Sam!
We’ve made it to Virginia now and have been hanging in the cool (yes finally!! cool weather) mountains for a few weeks. It’s a gorgeous spot and we’ve got lots to share. Plus we’ve stayed at 3 new RV spots, so we’ve got 3 more campground reviews coming. But all of these things deserve their own blog posts, so I’ll leave this here. We’ll slo-mo our beastly butts up the mountains and see you back down on the other side.
What’s been YOUR experience RVing? Have you made lots of friends or have you found it tough to meet folks? Do you find RVing social, or are you a loner RVer? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to comment & chat below!
Related Blog Posts:
- 10 Things I Wish I’d Known About Fulltime RVing -> Just updated for 2017! Read HERE
- All About Volunteering/Camphosting -> Click HERE
- All About Boondocking -> Click HERE
- Planning Your RV Travels -> Read my 3-part series starting HERE
- There is No One Right Way to Fulltime RV -> Click HERE
- 3 Twists I Never Expected When We Started RVing -> Click HERE
- Does It Ever Get Bad? Our Top 6 “Incidents” And How We Handled Them -> Click HERE
- RV Camping Memberships – Are They Worth It? -> Click HERE