It all seems so straight forward when you think about how life on the road will be, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Us bus folk live a simpler life, and at times, much more complicated. Here are some things that we’ve learned since we hit the road.
Scheduling is no joke, you really need to plan this shit. There is no just wondering into an RV park or campground willy nilly and getting a spot for the night. And a lot of these places, believe it or not, don’t allow you to book online. Sometimes you find yourself just parking in a parking lot in a national park and hoping the park rangers don’t try and kick you out. (Thanks rangers at Jackson Lake in Grand Teton for letting us stay in the parking lot for a few nights)
Planning just a week in advance takes a few hours of work. You have to plan what you want to see, call places to see if they have openings, and see how far away the campgrounds are from the actual attractions. Doing all of this in the middle of summer, during peak RV season, is not ideal as you’re competing for spots with people who have planned this out a year in advance. Plus, it puts a damper on the original idea of let’s just go out and see what happens plan we set out with. But man, does it feel great to get that one week in advance planned out.
The Internet & Cell Service:
Monitoring Data sucks. When you’ve spent most of your life with unlimited data, streaming Game of Thrones in anything less than 1080p seemed pointless. But when you’re sitting at 15 gigs used of your monthly total of 30, 7 days into the billing cycle, with a $15/a gigabyte fee looming over your head, that 240p episode starts looking damn good. I guess we should try to experience nature at night more, but I mean come on… it’s Game of Thrones.
What’s worse than monitoring your data? Having no service to use said data, especially when you have work to do. We are fortunate enough to be able to work on the road, but working on the road actually requires you to work at some point. Shocker I know.
We have since named ourselves the Data Suckers. We suck up all the data whenever and wherever we can. Data and service varies with different providers, and is something you should research before leaving. Don’t chose AT&T for your cell plan if traveling around the country in national parks, you’ll have a better chance of connecting with someone via telegraph than a phone with an AT&T service plan.
Paying for RV Parks:
When we first set off I thought we would be boondocking quite a bit, but didn’t realize boondocking kind of sucks. Turning your refrigerator on and off constantly to conserve power, but still keep your groceries cold gets old fast. So, you’re left with staying at RV parks and campgrounds. RV parks are great, but spending $45+ a night adds up fast, even split between two people. If you decide to boondock or stay at a campground not around a major city, you’re basically forced to choose whether you want power, or you want service/wifi. It is rare to have both.
This may not seem like a misconception for anyone who is a good planner and has some foresight, but for me it took some getting used to.
Having a bus that isn’t professionally sealed off from the outside causes you to get up close and personal with the wildlife, and not in a great way. Mosquitoes, flies, moths, wasps, and even a tarantula have found their way aboard our humble home.
Our advice for fellow skoolies: Get a dust-buster. They are awesome for catching bugs and even wasps, and not to mention pretty entertaining. It also doubles as a vacuum to keep your home clean, but that is less fun. A better pro-tip would be to properly seal your RV before heading out, but ain’t nobody got time for that. (But you should make time for that)
These “problems” can be fixed easily with just a little bit of planning and research. If your properly plan your trip, rather than taking our approach and winging it, it’ll be smooth sailing. But if you’re planning on leaving soon, maybe think a little more about some of these things. Or don’t, I’m not your mother.