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In May 2017 we travelled from Virginia up to New York. Here are our stops, what it cost and our plans for the summer.
Also, before I forget, with the most recent update to the Resource Library, I uploaded a new and improved Free RV Parking Spots (Urban Camping) document. It includes every place we parked from southeastern California to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina during our cross-country trip earlier this year. If you would like instructions for how to use the new and improved Resource Library, see the previous post.
Pocahontas State Park in Virginia
We kicked off May 2016 in Virginia at a state park. This huge park has miles and miles of trails, and they gear them towards mountain biking. They even have bike repair stations at the trailheads. The park also has a lake and aquatic center with multiple pools and water slides.
This state park also houses an amphitheater, dining halls and a museum.
Non-residents pay $35 per night for a water/electric site. You pay upon entry and then choose your own spot. Many of the sites are large and have tons of trees. Here’s our site:
Our spot had a picnic table, a fire pit and a spot for a tent, too. I loved walking around and exploring the beautiful scenery.
And if you don’t have an RV or a tent, you can still stay here. They have little bunkhouse cabins. And yurts!!
After doing some free urban camping for a few days we made our way up to Cherry Hill Park in College Park, Maryland. This RV park is the closest one to Washington, DC. You pay for the convenience, though. They charge $70-90 per night during peak months for RV sites and $55 per night for tent sites (we snuck in at $63 per night). But it’s a pretty nice park. They have a seasonal pool and an indoor hot tub, which we definitely took advantage of after walking around DC all day. I don’t know if it’s $70-90 per night nice, but it’s nice enough.
As for getting to DC, there is a city bus stop right at the campground. You can buy a metro pass at the office or pay cash. From the bus, you arrive at the train to go the rest of the way into the city. You can also drive to the train station and take the train from there, but the parking is more expensive than the bus fare.
You can also drive into the city, but you will hit traffic and probably have a very difficult time parking, especially during the nicer months.
One of the great things about DC is all the free museums. There’s the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum…
The National Gallery of Art…
The United States Botanic Garden…
And the Museum of Natural History.
There are also quite a few vegan restaurants in town. Our favorite is HipCity Veg. All of their packaging and utensils are compostable and the employees were all such friendly, happy people. If you’ve been to a vegan restaurant before, you probably know that this is normally the case at vegan restaurants. We really have never been to one and had bad service.
Their gluten-free options include nice cream, sweet potato fries and arugula taco salad (all pictured below). Everything was so delicious we stopped here multiple times during our stay.
We also got to hang out with my friend Rachel, who moved to DC a few years ago. She’s not vegan but she loved the food there too! I’m so happy I got to see her, and I’m so grateful that my lifestyle allows me to travel across the country to see friends and family!
Our final East Coast stop for May 2017–New York
My mom retired the Catskill Mountains in New York, surrounded by family (she grew up here). We were a little worried about coming to visit her in our rig, because she lives off a country highway and up a steep mountain. But we made it–just in time to spend Mother’s Day with her!
What’s nice about mom’s place is she has acreage and hardly any neighbors, so it’s generally quiet and there’s plenty of room for us to park. She’s also kind enough to let us hook into her water spigot and use her outlet, so we have 15-amp electricity to the RV. That means we can run one major electrical component at a time–for example, the air conditioner or the microwave, but not both. Which is fine, and is sometimes the case in RV parks with crappy power pedestals anyway.
Plus I haven’t seen my mom in years, because we’ve lived on opposite coasts since her retirement. As I mentioned before, it’s tough to go on vacation because of the pets, and plane tickets across the country are not cheap (especially between San Francisco and New York)! So once again, the freedom of the RV lifestyle gave me a chance to see people I would have a difficult time seeing.
We haven’t had much chance to do anything fun yet, because almost immediately after we arrived we got sick and stayed that way for about 3 weeks. Then other stuff happened…but that’s a story for June.
Expenses for May 2017 on the East Coast
Groceries near my mom’s place are expensive!!!! And we spent more than half the month of May at her place, so our monthly food expenses went way up.
Unfortunately, gas is also very expensive up here. We were spoiled by gas in the southern states at around $2 per gallon, and it’s more like $2.30-$2.50 per gallon out here. Also, everything is very far away–it’s very rural. So we have to go by car (and then we fill up mom’s gas tank) or go by RV if we stay overnight (which is a minimum of 200 miles round-trip).
Our most expensive stay was 2 nights at Cherry Hill RV Park at $63 each. 3 nights at Pocahantas State Park cost us $115.57 including tax. We stayed at 2 other parks just as stopovers for one night each; one cost us $35 and the other $41.69.
This includes $124 eating out and $44 for 2 Metro passes for Washington, DC. This cost included both buses and trains.
Propane is also very expensive out here. The cost also included using the dump station at $20. We did both of these at a KOA.
Total expenses for May 2017: $1741.76
Not our most, or least, expensive month of travel. I cringe to think of what June will cost–I haven’t added it up yet and we had a lot of expenses. Stay tuned.
As for the rest of the summer, we actually plan on staying at my mom’s place. This is so we can spend time with her and other family in the area. Also, we started doing some remodeling projects on the RV and some other maintenance.
It also gives us a chance to rest, while still taking small trips to explore the surrounding area. And as you’ll see when I talk about June, we actually have to stay here for awhile anyway due to some unexpected medical needs. Which means that once again, I’m going to mention how thankful I am we can travel wherever we want or need to go, and stay as long or as short as we like. I’m also grateful we get to be around my mom!