Thursday, March 15, 2012

Boon Docking

We did it!  We are on the road!!!  We have a campsite reserved for Friday and are winging it until then!  Trying to be a bit on the edge......
Okay, nothing completely crazy but, for my husband, who likes to plan and know things in advance, this was wild enough for him!  I downloaded an app on my iPhone that is sponsored by Good Sam's campgrounds that helps you find a campsite near your location. I tried to use it but, it wasn't super user friendly.  Some of the sites we tried to call to plan ahead for an overnight stop had bad phone numbers and others were heard to find since we were not familiar with the area we were in and had no idea how far they were from us and if we would make it.  So, we just drove and headed towards Texas which is where we eventually want to end up by Friday.
Unlike our last trip, the kids were SO exhausted from their full morning at school that they fell asleep pretty quickly!!!  All three kids were sleeping and I was able to sit in the back and catch up on the blog a bit while Brad drove.  Life was good.  Then... we hit bad roads in Oklahoma that were so bumpy they woke all three kids up!
No worries!  We are in a RV and I have easy access to all three kids, a potty, and food!  Whew!!!  Life is still good and the travels can carry on!!! One thing I purchased in preparation for our trip is snack bowls that have no slip bottoms!!!  I had envisioned a bowl full of something messy, Brad taking a turn, and the bowl would go flying from one side of the RV to the other!!!  In my mind, slip proof bowls, found in the toddler section, are a must and well worth the money!
One thing I didn't think about who Shilo who would also have to go potty.  I need to train him to use our bathroom!!!  Poor guy, he started to do the pee-pee wiggle about 4 hours into our trip and I knew we had to stop.  Turns out, we get about 4-5 hours on a tank of gas so we'll just have to time Shilo needing to go potty with us needing to stop for gas.  I was hoping that being in a RV would cut down on stops but I didn't take into consideration needing to gas up.... or Shilo needing to go potty!  What the RV does do is help cut down how long our stops are.  There is no needing to get shoes on everyone, parading them through a gas station to find a bathroom, and then taking the long way back to the car stopping in the snack aisle.  Nope, it is all here in one location.  We stop and the kids can go potty and get snacks without all of the the extra hassle.

And yes, Shilo is wearing a diaper.  Not so he can pee in there while we travel however, it does help in case we don't get to stop in time.  Since he is new to us and new to being a puppy with a home, he still has a bit of a feral streak in him and he is a big time marker so this just helps keep him from marking all over the RV (and other people's homes when we stop for a visit).
As we were driving we came up with the plan to make it to the other side of Dallas so we could get up and drive to Austin in the morning and by doing so we would hopefully be on the other side of the morning traffic.  The kids were getting antsy, Ethan was ready to eat and go to bed for the night, and we were attracted to the outlet mall in McKinney, Texas!  So, we pulled over!  We asked at the mall office if we could park there overnight (I was unable to find a RV campground close to us), boon dock.  They said all cars left overnight would be ticketed.  I jokingly asked "How much is a ticket?  Is it cheaper than a campsite?"  The security guard didn't laugh.   I knew then that boon docking, spending the night in a parking lot or any other non-camping area for free, was not welcomed at the outlet mall so we headed to the other side of the highway where we saw a Cablea's.  Surely, a store dedicated to the outdoors and camping would allow boon docking.  Usually we are the type of people that ask for forgiveness not permission however, the possibility of having the police knock on your door at 10pm didn't sound too appealing!And since the outlet didn't allow overnights we now have to assume that most business would not welcome us either.
I sent Brad inside, with the big two, to ask the manager if boon docking was allowed and without hesitation he welcomed us and told us where to park!!!  On the side of the store is a site just for campers complete with a water and dump station!!!  Just what we were looking for!  As we were planning our trip I was hoping that one of the 10 nights we'd be able to boon dock and here we are doing it the first night of our adventure!  How exciting!
As I laid Ethan down, Brad cooked dinner!  Yay, our first time to use our stove!  Let me tell you, the stove heats up the place... and if you are not careful... you can set the smoke detector off! : )  We opened our door and let the place cool off!  I was thankful that we had a screen door to keep the dog and kids in while we aired out!
You know what is nice about boon docking while traveling on the road?  No hauling bag(s) and tired kids into a hotel room!  Just pull over, make beds, let the kids bounce around to burn off energy, and then lights out!  Did you know that the seat ledge makes a good platform to jump off of?  I guess it is better that than the ledge by the tv!!! The other bonus, we have nothing to hook up, just fired up the generator and we were in business... plus, it is free!!! : )
After a night of boon docking everyone needs Starbucks!!!
Now that I survived the night I can weigh in on whether or not boon docking was all it is cracked up to be.  I'm not sure if last night was worth it.... it was and it wasn't.  Let me explain..... I didn't sleep!  I was SO worried.  Senseless worry I'm sure but, I'm a worrier so it was to be expected!  We have our bikes chained to the back of our RV and I was just sure someone was going to try to steal them in the middle of the night.  Crazy!  I'm sure we would have been woken up by the sounds of someone cutting the chain on the ladder which is right by our bedroom window which also means right by our head.  Instead of being confident that 1) our bikes would be safe and 2) if someone did want to steal them the noise would wake me up and if it didn't wake me up it would wake Shilo up and his barking would wake me up.  Instead, I laid in bed awake... most of the night!  Ugh!  In that sense, boon docking wasn't worth it!  On the other hand, it was our first time and when I woke up... or should I say "got up" (you can only wake up if you were sleeping), and the bikes were safe and we were safe I could say, it was worth it!  I got to experience an upside of RVing and this first time paved the way to many more times which I'm sure will be more restful times!  Looking back, it was worth it!  I feel like a real RVer now!!! ; )
After our Starbucks, we headed out to the outlet mall, the whole reason why we stopped in McKinney!  We had 2 hours to shop before we needed to head to Austin to try to beat the traffic.  We split up and our newest purchase (or one of them) for our trip helped us do that!  Sams was selling a collapse-able wagon!!!  It is great!  Folds up small like a stroller and provides SO much space when you open it up!  Enough space for 2 big kids and many shopping bags!!! : )  I'm sure this will come in handy on our many adventures!  The kids love a wagon and this folds up and isn't too bulky to take along!
After our quick shopping spree we grabbed lunch and headed out!  We got yummy Chipotle!  One thing I have to think about when buying anything for the RV is the ease of its use while on the road.  Today at lunch, I had to think about what was going to be easy for the kids to eat while on the go, while bumping up and down and navigating turns.  The burrito bowl seemed like a better option than the kids go-to crunchy taco option!  Good thing I've learned on past road trips that there are some times you don't give the kids options, you just bring out what is best and they are happy with that.  If given options and you have to choose something different for them than what they choose it doesn't always go over so well!
After a successful first lunch on the road it was time for a nap!  This was my first time to convert the table to a bed while in motion.  I was a bit nervous but, it all worked out in the end.  I got a bit hung up on getting the table underneath the cushions that are held down with velcro but I'm sure I'll get better at that with time.  Before I knew it, the kids were asleep and we were peacefully headed to Austin for another night of boon docking in Chris and Holly's driveway!  On to night 2!

1 comment:

dave and jenn said...

I have been wondering where you guys have been! I should have read this sooner... I've never ridden in an RV before, but it looks like you guys are having a blast. :) And I love the pic of Shilo curled up next to Brad while he's driving!