National Forest vs State Parks

So we never knew before about camping in the National Forest, but because of our obsession with watching YouTube videos every morning, we have learned all about the National Forests, mostly through 2 YouTubers. (AdventureVanMan and SlimPotatoHead) anyway, last year when we were in Colorado and Utah, we sort of stumbled across a National Forest and couldn’t believe that the camping was FREE!! There aren’t too many National Forests on the East Coast so the pickings are slim. However, we were able to explore The Alleghany National Forest which is under 2 hours from the cabin. Most National Forests have lots of dirt roads with very little signage. So basically, you head down these dirt roads, hoping for the best, and hoping you’ll be able to do a three point turn if you find no where to camp. It’s kind of scary but at the same time, fun. It’s a little less stressful now that we have the van which has high clearance and 4 wheel drive.

So we drove these forest roads for a while, a couple of hours or so and came across a few pull offs where there were camping spots. However each one had occupants already in them. So we continued on and finally found a nice spot right by a creek which we grabbed.

It was a really great spot! We set up camp and then went on a little hike down to the river bed.

I built a quick rock cairn and we headed back.

The next day we stayed at West Branch State Park next to a rather large family of happy children. We did some laundry and showered and did some rearranging of the van. The next day we headed to another National Forest in Ohio. This one was much different. We attempted some four wheeling up a mountain side to where we saw a pond on the satellite view on google maps. Got to the pond but really there was nowhere to pull the van and it was way too wide open for us.

So we headed back down and stopped for a minute to look at a well. Greg is fascinated with water and natural springs and wells.

The street was super hot coming out of there. The blacktop was making bubbling noises as we drove over it. I saw something in the road and stopped. It was a snake that I guess was trying to cross the road but the blacktop was oozing and he got trapped in a vat of hot goop. So gross but so cool at the same time.

The size of this snake convinced me that maybe this wasn’t the National Forest for us. So we drove to the Perry County Fair instead!

We had a great time at the fair. We didn’t go on any of the rides but we ate a lot of the food. That’s my favorite part of country fairs. The eating!! And I like the pigs too . I think Greg and I were the only 2 not wearing boots.

After the fair we really had nowhere to go or stay for the night. We heard the Walmart in town didn’t allow RV or trucks to stay. But we went anyway to check it out and yup, there was a sign. So we drove around and found a Holiday Inn. We put up our window shades and went to bed. Actually with Parking Lot Camping, I get to sleep in the hammock!! That’s my favorite!! Did I mention I LOVE THIS VAN!!!

The next morning, we had a one minute drive to the Big Boy restaurant for some breakfast.

Then we went a public park to do some work on the van. Greg had to make some new longer wires for the solar and we had some rearranging to do if the propane and the stove since we were able to find some new wires at Lowe’s to connect the large propane tank directly to the stove instead of the small green tanks.

Then it was time to drop Greg off at The Ventriloquist Convention. He took his bike with him, which gave me lots more room. Every bit of space is important when you are living in a “Tiny Home.”

I stopped at a church parking lot to have some lunch. I couldn’t find a park nearby so the church had a nice picnic table and so lunch was served.

Then I made my way to the campground. Site 57 at Big Bone Lick State Park.

Pretty uneventful place. However, there’s a 2 mile hike that takes you to a Bison viewing. They discourage hiking alone, but sometimes you have no choice. The Bison are just so cool to look at.

This kid in the video is really insightful regarding flies

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It’s pretty hot in Kentucky. The campground has a pool so I spent some time cooling off with the 30 or more children in the pool with me. My second night at Big Bone Lick was stormy and loud!! Super loud thunder woke me up. I packed up the van pretty early when the rain stopped and am currently at the library typing away and using their WiFi.

It’s supposed be stormy all day, so I’ll stay here for a bit then I’m going to drive to another State Park in Ohio. If it’s still raining I will go see the Mr. Rogers Movie and then spend some time in Ikea.

Yup. It rained and rained and rained. I stayed for two movies and still it was raining so I went to Barnes and Nobles and browsed around and still it was raining. I went to Red Robin for dinner and still it was raining. Finally I just bit the bullet and drove to the campground, backed in the van, hooked up the electric and went to bed. Woke up to more rain.

Finally it cleared up and I was able to go for a bike ride and explore the park. I got a great site nestled in the pine trees.

Tomorrow morning I’m going to pick Greg up from the Ventriloquist Convention.

From there we will head into The Daniel Boone National Forest in Southern Kentucky. Looking forward to some better weather.


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