We recently spoke with Cathy and her husband Rocky on their epic 7,000 mile road trip in their van! We are SO glad they chose RV Self-Park along the way! Check out what more about their journey and what they had to say about staying with us!
You said you went on a 2-month, 7,000-mile trip recently with your husband and dog in a camper van. Where did you visit on this trip/what did you do?
“Our travel goal was to drive up the east coast from the Outer Banks in North Carolina until we reached the Canadian border on the coast of Maine. We started in Bentonville, Arkansas, and headed east on I-40/I-540 through Tennessee and North Carolina. We finished this leg by taking US 64 from Raleigh, NC, to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. We stayed four nights at the Camp Hatteras Resort while exploring the Outer Banks. We hugged the coast as much as possible as we continued north to Chincoteague, VA, Ocean City, MD, through Delaware, and spent the 4th of July holiday at Holly Acres Campground, Egg Harbor City, NJ. “
“We took a side trip to Philadelphia, then headed through southern New York (skipping NYC) and back to the coast. We continued through Connecticut, Rhode Island and then meandered through Massachusetts. We spent time in Plymouth exploring "America's Hometown" and took day trips to Cape Cod and Salem. We stayed at Cape Ann Camp Site near Gloucester, MA, for a week. We soaked up the New England charm in Gloucester while learning more about our country's oldest seaport.”
“We continued our drive along the coast of Maine, taking in beautiful views of the rocky coastline while meandering through harbor towns. After arriving at the Canadian border in Lubec, Maine, we headed southwest. We crossed Maine into the White Mountains of New Hampshire and drove on to Burlington, Vermont. North of Burlington, we hopped on Highway 2 and drove north across the islands of Lake Champlain. We took an extended pit stop at Hero's Welcome General Store in North Hero, VT. We shopped and bought a picnic lunch. After dining on the shores of Lake Champlain, we continued north to Alburgh, VT. In Alburgh, we spotted a street named Vantine. Vantine Street began a dive into the ancestry of the Vantine family, which took us to a cemetery in Chazy, NY. After learning more about the history of the Vantine family, we continued our drive down the western shores of Lake Champlain. Eventually, we headed west through the Adirondack Mountains. We stayed in upstate New York for another week taking day trips and driving around the Finger Lakes Region, checking out different wineries.”
“Leaving New York State, we headed west along Lake Erie into Ohio. We drove south from Cleveland to Marietta, Ohio. This charming town is chocked full of American History. We had no idea Marietta was the first permanent organized settlement in the Northwest Territory. We followed the Ohio River into Huntington, West Virginia. We learned that Huntington was founded by the railroads and is the second busiest inland port in our country. Marshall University is located in Huntington, as are unique shops and museums.”
“It was time to head back to Arkansas. We continued into Kentucky and spent one night in the Daniel Boone National Forest. We planned to break the last two days of our trip into five to six hours of driving each day. As we headed northwest, skirting through Indiana, the search for our final campground began. We were anxious to find something quickly, not too far off the highway. We could not find any place to camp that did not involve driving at least forty-five minutes after leaving the interstate. We decided to find a pet-friendly hotel. By this time, we were driving through St. Louis, and it was about 9:00 p.m. We got very frustrated and decided we would not pay over two hundred dollars for a pet-friendly hotel, especially when our dog's stay would be an additional fifty dollars.”
“Thank goodness we found the website for the Self-Serve RV Park! We had never heard of anything like this. We booked our site online and were a little anxious about what we would find when we arrived. We felt like we found an oasis in the desert when we pulled in and parked in our spot! Self-Serve is EXACTLY the type of RV park suited to our style of travel. We began checking for other locations in the United States, thinking we would plan our next trip around self-serve parks. The following day checkout was easy, and we were on our way home.”
During this trip, what were your favorite places to visit/camp?
“Traveling the east coast in our van and then exploring the Lake Champlain region were bucket list items of Rocky's. We also knocked off several of Cathy's bucket list items: the Outer Banks, Kill Devil Hills and the Wright Brothers National Monument, the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.”
“There were too many beautiful or historical places to make an all-inclusive list of favorites. We discovered numerous quaint townships and saw incredible views of our country. A far from all-inclusive list would include: the mansions, as well as the coastal views in Newport, Rhode Island, historical Plymouth MA, Acadia National Park in Maine topped off with a breakfast of just picked Maine blueberries. Seldom did we head to a "specific" place. We basically visited places on our route. Rocky says the "trip" was his favorite!”
You found us on your last night of traveling, it says in your review. What was your favorite amenity while staying with us? Do you have any suggestions on things to change or things you want to see us do?
“Favorite Amenity??? We can't pick one favorite.
1. Safety - great system of security cameras that we could access and use to view our surroundings
2. Simplicity of registering and paying online
3. Different options for reserving a site instead of booking for twenty-four hours
4. A dog park
5. Easy in and out with dumpsters available at the exit gate
6. Clearly marked, well-lit sites.
We will be watching for more of your parks to begin to pop up!”
What are your favorite parts of living in a van for an extended period of time?
“The best part about traveling in our van has been freedom. Freedom to go wherever we want and then at the end of the day, not having to take luggage into a hotel room. Another excellent part about living in the van is that we have all of the basic comforts of home no matter where we travel. Our van has about 60 square feet of interior space. This means nearly everything is in arm's reach!”
What are your least favorite parts of living in a van?
“We do really well living in our van. If we (I) had to pick a least favorite part, it would be not having a washer and dryer! As it is in all homes, we could always use more storage space.”
Any future cross-country trips coming up?
“Our next trip will probably be traveling through the Great Lakes region in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.”
We are extremely happy we were able to help Cathy and her husband on the tail-end of their trip. The experience she had with us is exactly why RV Self-Park was created. A safe, convenient alternative to staying overnight in a Wal-Mart or Cracker Barrel parking lot. RV Self-Park hopes to continue helping other RV travelers travel across the country in a quick and easy manner.