As we reflect on the nearly 8,000 miles we traveled in our third year on the road, we’re reminded of the great memories we made, the adventures we had, and the friends and family we visited and caught up with. We had a great year.
Our ambitious itinerary took us through 27 states, with stays in 19 of them — adding 10 to our state map. We covered 596 miles in our longest drive, from the Melbourne, Florida, area to Charlotte, North Carolina, to visit friends. In our shortest drive, 29 miles, we navigated from an overnight casino stop to visit a friend we hadn’t seen in 30 years.
We stayed in four state campgrounds, visited four Boondockers Welcome hosts, and overnighted in three Walmart parking lots, two Bass Pro/Cabela’s parking lots, two truck stops, and one rest area. We moochdocked at the homes of nine friends and family members. Moochdocking and Boondockers Welcome stops saved us a lot of money to offset high fuel costs.
Narrowing down our favorite stops wasn’t easy, as each offered different experiences, from an armadillo haven in Texas to lake living in Florida and the beauty of Acadia National Park in Maine. Although we enjoyed each stop, despite the challenges along the way, these are our favorites of our 2022 travels.
We visited state campgrounds in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Virginia. Other campgrounds included a beach park near Corpus Christi, Texas; non-reservation, non-credit card Bar Harbor Campground in Maine; an RV resort in Vermont; a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers campground in Missouri; and an RV park in Oklahoma.
The Mississippi campground offered close proximity to the beach on the Gulf of Mexico, making for nice relaxing times in the sun at the end of my workday. But the tight turns in the campground loops and the cramped campsites kept that from being our favorite.
We found the beach park near Corpus Christi nice. But we visited at the wrong time of the year to really enjoy it. In early March, the temperatures can be cold, with wind and rain.
Our favorite would have to be what we dubbed “Armadillo Haven”: South Llano River State Campground in Junction, Texas. Although we didn’t see the river from the campground, we did see a lot of armadillos and had fun watching them. The park also offers bird blinds, where visitors can sit in shelters and watch a variety of birds in their natural habitat.
Favorite Boondocking Stay
All four of the Boondockers Welcome hosts we visited made us feel welcome and appreciated. One gave us two dozen fresh eggs from their chickens when we left. Another invited us inside their home when a tornado warning threatened the area and our safety. One gave us a tour of his workshop and shared with us about the projects he was working on.
Our favorite boondocking stay, though, was on a farm about 35 miles northwest of Gainesville, Florida. The expansive property featured a manmade pond, and the host allowed multiple guests to park around it. We met a couple of really nice Airstreamers there. The secluded property also included a walking trail. We found it to be a pleasant oasis, despite the creepy entrance through Spanish moss-draped cedar trees.
Favorite Overnight Stop
We discovered we prefer Cabela’s/Bass Pro over Walmart parking lots. We find shopping at Bass Pro more enjoyable, and the parking lots tend to be quieter at night. When we stay at a parking lot for either store, we try to find one with restaurants nearby to give us supper and breakfast options to avoid opening our slides.
Foxwoods Casino in Ledyard, Connecticut, has nice RV spots set aside. That made for a convenient overnight, and I was able to work in the business center inside the casino during the day since it was too hot in the RV without hookups.
Our favorite overnight stop would have to be a Walmart parking lot in Gorham, New Hampshire. The spacious lot allowed us to park far from the store entrances. And, because of its location in New Hampshire, it offered beautiful views of the White Mountains.
With 19 states to choose from in our third year of RV travel, we had difficulty selecting a favorite. Virginia ranked high on the list as we had a wonderful time exploring that state with our host friends Jim and Jenny. We spent another wonderful five weeks in Michigan with family, which always brings us joy.
After much thought and reflection, we awarded Louisiana our favorite in 2022. We relished our time with cruise friends Dwaine and Belinda, who made sure we had an authentic experience, including Cajun delicacies of turtle, gumbo, red beans and rice, and a crawfish boil.
We also spent time in New Orleans, exploring the National WWII Museum, taking a Mississippi River cruise, and watching another armadillo.
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This is the travel blog of full-time RVers Bob and Lana Gates and our truck, Gulliver, and fifth wheel, Tagalong.