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Off The Deep End

Updated: May 5, 2022

At first there was the big toe submerged. I had moved into the van but was parking at friends' and family member's driveways ... IN MASSACHUSETTS. That lasted three months while I finished up my Holiday shows and the electrical mayhem. Then on January first I stepped into the shallow end ... I was on the journey and traveling half way down the East coast BUT I was still staying with friends. It felt comfortable and easy, sometimes I even slept in their homes when it was awkward (two developments with strict HOA rules in NC) or impossible (DC) to sleep in the van.

But today, the real adventure began!! I've entered the deep end, the next stage of Vanlife: Boodocking.

What is boondocking?

Boondocking is free camping, generally out in the boondocks. There are many ways to do it.

I use an app called "Boondocks Welcome" to find free, safe and quiet places to park. People participate as Hosts and allow travelers like me to park on their property overnight; or sometimes for up to 5 days! Usually, the hosts love to boondock themselves. It's a wonderful way to meet like minded people.

Most of Tuesday was spent planning my route and requesting stays. I decided to leave Vicki and Bob's on Wednesday afternoon, when surely the unshoveled 1/4 mile driveway would be manageable enough for Selly. I only wanted to drive 4-5 hours a day on my way to the Selenite Ranch in Fredericksburg Texas. So I logged on to Harvest Hosts another app that connects boondockers with hosts such as Breweries, Vineyards, Museums, Golf Courses etc (they recently merged with Boondockers Welcome too) and found a bunch of cool places to reserve.

It was so exciting to get my first approval yesterday from the hosts I am staying with tonight! There was a certain amount of reluctance within me prior to .... what if they don't like my profile?!?! What if it takes too long ... I only had twenty eight hours!! But of course, it was so easy and they were super nice, responding right away with details about address, parking instructions and even wifi password!! By the end of the afternoon I was addicted! So many cool places to stay and cool people to meet. I had three out of five nights confirmed by 5pm.

At 8am I tried to start Selly to move closer to the house so I could load up more easily. Nothing!!! Not a sound. The battery died!! SHIT!! My first thought was that the battery to battery charger was not working properly and had drained the van battery!! Bob had a charger so we hooked it up and the three of us set off to do some errands inWinston Salem ... about a half hour away. We dropped Vickis car off at the dealership, went to Michaels, Wal-mart, Pet store, and bank then picked up the fixed car and she and I grabbed a lunch out. We all met back at the ranch and the van started right. PHEW!!

I packed up (nearly) all of my things scattered around their house and said my final good byes. Off I went to my first BW stop just two and a half hours south west ... BabyFluff's Driveway in Inman, SC. I spoke to JC on the way, telling him about the battery and he urged me to get it checked asap so that I could get on the road easily in the morning. He thought it was just an old battery and not the charger. That was good and bad news.

I needed to arrive at the host house before dark; those were the instructions. Its all about the reviews as I start out!!! So I forewent the auto store stop. I arrived at the house and BJ greeted me. I told him about the battery issue and he suggested I drive to the auto shop (there were several just down the street) ... all still open! Awesome!! Off I went. Long story short the battery needed replacing but they could not do it because it was under my front seat ... too tricky ... I returned 90 minutes later after five stops (one at a very busy and scary Wal-mart with most of the parking lot lights blown out) with a battery charger and cables.

BJ met me in the driveway and helped me set up for an overnight charge. Easy peasy. I will buy a new battery LATER!!! tomorrow, Selly will start for sure and at 6:30 the two hosts and I will leave this driveway. For now, wine never tasted so good!!! I poured myself a good sized cup andam snuggled in my comfy bed in my cozy van, in a safe driveway of perfect strangers, in the South Carolina boondocks, and I couldn't happier.

So very grateful!!

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