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Destination USA

We have currently traveled to 14 states and have stopped at so many amazing places. We have chosen to stop at as many National Parks, National Monuments, National Lakeshores and National Historic Sites as possible. People ask us, “Which one has been your favorite so far?” I have spent a significant amount of time thinking about this question and my answer would be; each place has been so unique in its own way. There have been some places that are more spectacular than others however I have yet to not be in Aww at any of them. I make it a point to not research a place before I go there. Sometimes seeing pictures beforehand spoils it.

When we first started our trip we would stay at campgrounds however when we were preparing for our travels we made sure we were self-sufficient in our RV. This way we did not have to worry about always making it to a campground before we wanted to stop traveling for the day. Because we have two children, we don’t like to travel for more than 3-4 hours in a day. One time we came to an area were all the campgrounds were around $70 a night. We decided that was too much to pay since we had everything we needed in our RV and just needed a place to park for the night. We ended up going to a BLM (Bureau of Land Management) site and boon docked for the first time. You can stay at most of these sites for 14 days free. The sites do not have water, sewer or electric hookups, but we have all of that already. After we boon docked for the first time we found how easy it was and how much less money we would spend if we did not pay to stay at campgrounds. We have been boon docking on BLM sites ever since. We have a few apps that we use to search for BLM Land in the areas we plan to stay at.

We also purchased an America the Beautiful pass before starting our trip. (My husband researched things like this before we launched our travels.) America the Beautiful is a pass that you purchase for $80.  A pass is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. Each pass covers entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees (day use fees) at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. A pass covers entrance, standard amenity fees and day use fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per vehicle fee areas (or up to four adults at sites that charge per person). Children age 15 or under are admitted free. Each place typically has its own entrance fee, most being between $10- $35. We have already been to around 20, so the pass has paid for itself more than once.

I also want to mention GyPSy Guide. GyPSy Guide is an audio tour for scenic road trips. They include stories, tips and directions that play automatically; all the benefits of a guided tour with the freedom to drive yourself. They do cost a small fee, usually under $5, however you can listen to them while driving through the parks and they tell you so much information about the park, things you would not learn unless you spent a significant amount of time at each visitor’s center. This is super educational for the kids but a little secret; I think I enjoy it just as much, if not more, than they do.

We can go a week without needing to refill our water, we have a battery for electricity and we have our generator for recharging our battery and running the workshop equipment. We have been learning there are gas stations that have RV sewer dumps and fresh water fill-up stations. Some charge a small fee and some are free. I do a weekly menu for lunch and dinners and we grocery shop accordingly. I use Ibotta to find offers near me and earn money on the groceries I buy.

BLM sites are usually outside of town a bit but with a little planning you can spend one day doing all the domestic things and you have the rest of the time to do the fun stuff. We usually dedicate the mornings for getting work done (fulfilling orders) and completing school work. We do a lot of hiking and again visiting of National Parks. The kids usually spot any playgrounds in the towns we go to and love spending time at them. We do not typically eat out much or do all the touristy stuff, so our expenses are pretty low. We use a credit card that gives us cash back when used at gas stations, and since diesel fuel for the truck is our largest expense it also makes us a little money. Deisel fuel is a large expense however without it we wouldn’t fulfill our original goal, Destination USA!

“Don’t look back; you are not going that way!”

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