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  1. Default One week road trip as cheap as possible

    I'm currently in NC waiting for a wedding that is a week away so I have a week to check out the area. I'm looking into the cheapest way to hang around in the area until the wedding. I figure I could just sleep in my van. I also have a tent, portable shower, and even the means to filter,purify water if needed. So I was thinking about free or cheap campsites. For showers on the road, I was thinking possibly truck stops. How does that work though. Any help organizing this is greatly appreciated.

  2. #2

    Default Welcome to North Carolina, lee9786

    You don't mention where in NC you are, but let's assume you're here in my hometown of Raleigh. Now, how to get by on the cheap:

    Free camping: The Uwharrie National Forest, generally south of Asheboro in the center of the state, offers "disbursed" free camping, meaning simply that one can camp anywhere one likes at whatever place does NOT have signage prohibiting same. Close to the coast is the Croatan NF (generally east of New Bern) and in western NC there are large sections of the Pisgah NF. Be aware, however, that NFs in this part of the country are generally patchworks of public (NF) and private property. For fee-paid camping, check the state parks at Umstead Park (beside the Raleigh-Durham Intl Airport) Falls Lake north of Raleigh, Jordan Lake, and north of Raleigh at Kerr Lake (aka Buggs Island Lake). There are other state parks literally all over the state.

    Free showers: a 5-gallon solar shower is free but for the $8 Wal-Mart charges for the bag. Then your only challenge is finding somewhere to hoist 45 lbs of water high enough to shower beneath it. As sunny and warm as the weather is now and for the rest of the week, no problems getting the water warm. Even when it's cool outside, you can place the solar shower on the dashboard of a closed-up vehicle and it'll be warm in no time.

    Truck stop showers: Although I've never needed to use one, my understanding from having purchased diesel fuel in many a truck stop is that you just pay the shower fee (free if you're purchasing a truck's worth of fuel, around $8 or so if not), and take your shower. You should have your toiletries, towel, and a pair of flip-flops already.

    I imagine you're already squared-away as to cooking/eating on the cheap.

    If you can share info as to where in the state you are, or are headed to, I can perhaps offer more specifics.


  3. Default

    Thanks Foy! Raleigh is actually perfect because my buddy is getting married in around Durham area. I'm in Hatteras NC right now. I was thinking of cruising down to Savannah, GA and checking it out. While that would be a gas expense, I think it'd be worth it if I could make it a relatively cheap trip down. I was figuring get there in two days to get down, camp out for two days, and then take two or three days to get back to the Durham area.

    I actually already have the $8 shower bag from Walmart as well as a tent to put it in. So if I need to I can go that route. I'm pretty much prepared to sleep in a walmart parking lot and shower at truck stops along the way or camp at a cheap/free campsites if at all possible. thanks for all the help.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    You would be a lot better off sleeping at truckstops than Walmarts. Just ask permission, park where they tell you to, and give them some business (buy some fuel, shower, and/or a meal).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Personally, I'd think you'd be much better off just staying at campsites than trying to sleep in your van and showering in truck stops.

    Most truck stops are going to charge you about $10 for a shower, but for $15-20 you can usually stay at a nice state park or similar campground that has a shower, and have a much better night sleep and a more comfortable place to relax at the end of the day than a asphalt parking lot.

  6. Default

    ^ I'm with Midwest Michael there. If you're looking for some decent rest, you'd could do much worse than some state/national parks (if their campgrounds have showers, that is). The busier the truckstop, the less tolerable they usually are with people camping out for the night. I've stayed in Walmart parking lots before and was disturbed less, but that may just be my own dumb luck. The good thing about parks is that you get a nice break from the asphalt monotony and checkout times are reasonable for the next day, allowing you to get some higher quality rest. I'd bank on parks and leave truckstops for filling up.

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