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As I am writing this, we have been on this adventure for a total of 32 nights.
Seems crazy, but it’s flying by!
I thought it’d be fun to give you guys a little insight into what camp life is like for Cole and me, since we are doing so much of it.
So, how’s it going? Honestly, really great. I’m surprised, because by now, I thought I’d definitely have slept in the car at least once. Or been downpoured on. Or been attacked by a bear. (Have I mentioned that I’m the slightly neurotic one?) But none of those things has happened.
Maybe we’re lucky? I’d like to think it’s because we’re flexible and prepared. But we’re definitely a little lucky too.
First, a breakdown of our nights out here on the road:
- Nights: 32
- Tenting: 25 (17 developed sites with water / 8 primitive, 4 times setting up in the dark) *of the 8 night of primitive camping, 4 happened in the first 5 days on the road… #startstrong
- Couchsurfing / Friends: 5
- Hotels: 2
When explaining that we’d be sleeping on the ground for a year, we always reassured the widest-eyed friends and family that we’d probably grab a hotel every 5 or 6 days. I was shocked, but we only really needed it first when we were disgustingly sandy after Great Sand Dunes and didn’t feel right about ruining someone’s couch, and second about three weeks after that, in remote southern Utah where Couchsurfing wasn’t an option.
Couchsurfing (free, online network of cool hosts and travelers) has been amazing! We have had beds/pullout couches, a couple of private rooms, showers, and breakfasts. We are going to do some major hosting when we settle in St Louis next year.
Tent camping has also been quite pleasant. We have a system of setting up and breaking down camp, and it takes us maybe fifteen minutes each way, including blowing up our sleeping pads. Not too shabby.
Sleeping was dicey for both of us the first two nights, but since then, we’ve slept like rocks 7-9 hours per night. For sure mostly thanks to our high quality Big Agnes inflatable sleeping pads, which we snagged from an REI garage sale.
We usually zip our two LLBean sleeping bags (given to us by LLBean) together, which makes for a cozy body-heated night. We’ve had a few very cold nights, about 35 degrees, which we weren’t expecting this early in the trip, but with a few extra layers, it’s been more than bearable.
Since we put up and break down camp almost every day, we get real excited when we can stay in the same place for two or three nights. This gives us way more time to relax, drink an adult beverage of choice, read on our Kindles, and play games.
- Settlers of Catan dice game
- SET (because I school Cole)
- National Parks-themed Yahtzee (given to us by USAopoly)
None of these take up much space, and are all a super fun way to pass the evenings.
Picnic tables aren’t always too comfy, so we also love our low-sitting LLBean camp chairs (given to us by LLBean). Sturdy and durable, breathable in the heat, and super relaxing after a day on our feet, I didn’t think I would love a chair as much as I do…
We have been efficient and productive so far, getting most of our week’s worth of work finished in one four or five hour session. We’ve used Starbucks (most reliable), friends’ and couch surfers’ houses (somewhat reliable) and McDonalds (hit or miss) to do this work. We also use car time to write posts and edit videos, which has helped a lot.
As we continue to grow our brand and make connections, we hope to keep finding a manageable balance between exploration and blogging work. Right now we have a certain list of things we make sure to get accomplished between each park, and we’ve been good at getting the necessary things done.
Most of all, we want to protect our park time. Even though we consider this as our “job” right now, and we want to turn our blog into something more, we want our time at the parks to be reserved for some good ol’ unplugged adventure time.