Technically, it has not been a whole month yet, but, with May starting it seemed close enough. We have certainly had our share of kinks and things to work out these first few weeks. Therefore, we thought we would offer up some advice, or lessons if you will, of things we have learned so far from full time traveling in our converted school bus.
1) STOW GFF – pronounced “Stow Girlfriend Friend” in a high pitched voice. This is the acronym we came up with of all the things to check and make sure are in the right position before driving. This helps prevent us from breaking parts of the bus, blowing up and being attacked by refrigerators. (Stove, Table, Ottoman, Water pump, Gas (propane), Fridge, Fan)
2) Always take a shower when it’s available. If it is free and has hot water – take two. We learned this the hard way when we spent 4 days at a mechanic shop while our water pump was broken – of course on day 4 we learned they had a shower the whole time, so maybe the lessen is really to always ask where the nearest place to shower is? Anyways, a lot of times when we leave a campsite we don’t know where we are going next and a lot of times we end up in places without showers or places without hot showers or places where a 4 minute shower costs $6. As fun as “showering” with a wipe is I don’t recommend making a habit of it.
3) The rule of the shower also applies to the water tanks – fill and empty them any chance you get. It’s still debatable which is worse – no water to wash dishes for days or no water to shower for days – both make for a stinky bus. We only have 25 gallon fresh and grey water tanks which only lasts us 2-3 days dry/primitive camping.
4) The bus will not drive in sand, and it will sink quickly. If sand looks like its nice and hard-packed do not trust it. If you do attempt to drive on or near sand, make sure there are a lot of people around and at least one of them is nice and has a truck and a tow rope.
We didn’t think about taking pictures at the time, but this is where we got stuck.
5) Long term boondocking is impossible without an extra vehicle or a tent. If we want to drive to a trailhead or run into town for dinner – we lose our spot as there is nothing to leave behind to claim it. We have not figured out the solution to this yet and have therefore stayed in more campgrounds than originally planned.
6) Figuring out where to sleep is a surprisingly time consuming process. After trying numerous apps we’ve found Campendium to be our favorite to use as it has all the information we need (location, price, pictures, reviews, cell service, contact info, etc), but isn’t overly busy with lots of extra information and doesn’t require clicking through multiple screens to get to the info. We moved quickly through New Mexico with only 1-3 nights spent at each place. This meant we went through this process A LOT (we stayed 14 different places in 3 weeks). We are excited to slow down now that we hit Arizona and Utah and spend 4-10 nights in each spot.