We’ve settled into Charlotte… it only took six days to realize it was unrealistic to come to a major urban area and think we could just find a spot to chill out for a month or two!
We Made It Here Wednesday
We took the most beautiful drive down for Shanandoah National Park, along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Skipping off it for a short interstate hop to Charlotte. We were so excited to get here that we pushed to make it a day earlier than planned! Thank goodness we did because we would have been screwed otherwise (not really, there are always big box stores we could crash at!). We got here and went to the closest state park to my cousins house. We planned to stay there a night to then go check out some of the other areas that allow monthly stays (most state parks are limited to 14 days in any one month period). Here we thought we had lots of options!
Since no one would give chat over the phone and monthly stays and availability are not listed on websites, we wake up Thursday and plan on driving to three of the places we picked out.
Apparently Halloween camping is a thing
We didn’t know that (now I hear most holidays are a camping thing… so book early if possible!). ALL of the places we planned to go were booked solid for the weekend, including the one we stayed at Wednesday and Thursday. Not only that but ALL of the places that allow monthly stays are wait-listed. We turned to Harvest Hosts, Tryittiny, Passport America, Boondockers Welcome. Everything we could think of. They were all either booked or didn’t count because this is their peak season (accident on our part! We had no idea, fall foliage and snowbirds really love this area right now!). Everything we did find made a perimeter all the way around Charlotte but none gave a reasonable drive distance to families house. We may as well have been staying in Boise because traveling that far and back for a visit wouldn’t have been easy.
It left us one option, pretty much no staying and getting situated in Charlotte for a month. We could park hop between state parks if we are were into planning it but that sort of defeats our purpose with planing it for the month.
So, We Changed Our Mind
We didn’t want to be moving around for the month during our busiest work time. On top of that, two of the three state parks that did have limited availability didn’t have internet access so we would have had to drive in just to work anyway. Since we would have to move around a bit anyway we’ve decided we’re here to trick or treat with the family (which was awesome!) and hang for the week but then we’ll just keep rolling on!
Since we will be moving anyway we’re moving back toward Mammoth Caves in Kentucky because we missed it on the way down. We’re in Charlotte through the end of the week to hang with my cousins then over toward Ashville, to Smokey Mountain National Park. Then up to Nashville to hopefully get a quick visit in with Nana (who is dropping in for a weekend there) then Mammoth before coming back to Charlotte for Thanksgiving with Sage and Mikel (cousins)! It sounds like more work than just sitting tight for a month but it actually isn’t! So that is our new path of least resistance!
It Was A Tiring Realization
I think James and I were more invested than we thought in the idea of stopping for a month. It felt disappointing to hit so many dead end options. It took two days of driving all over town to realize that this plan was just not going to work out. We ended up parking little Beastie (our camper) out front of my cousins house for the weekend because there were zero legit places. I’m confident that was against their HOA rules. They are lovely people with lovely neighbors who didn’t seem to have an issue for the couple of days. I suppose we’ll see Friday at their neighborhood party that we’re going to crash! Ha!
We Noticed The Long Term Stay Places Were Different
At least the options here:
- They were literally like parking lots. Lots of pavement with LOTS of trailers. There was no room to even extend our awning fully. I think there were fire pits but I would be worried about doing damage to the trailers around the fire (or someone doing damage to ours!)
- There was almost nothing for the kids to do! No play structures and not very safe walking areas even. We would have to leave daily just to get fresh air. I can’t imagine a bad bed time cry would have made the neighbors too happy…
- They were expensive. The monthly rates weren’t bad but none of them were offering monthly rates at this time. The cheapest one was $40/night which adds up to $1,200 a month for a parking spot. With little in the way of ‘amenities’…
- Airbnb or TryitTiny would have probably been a better option.
In any case…
We’re excited for our new adventure!