I love posting these recaps of our trips because it’s such a fun way to look back on our adventures and see all the ground we’ve covered. This trip definitely looks different from some of our previous trips — more on that below!
Appalachian Adventure By the Numbers:
Total travel days: 41 (September 6 – October 17)
States visited: 7 (Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Indiana, Kentucky)
Nights camping: 41
Nights in hotels or with family: 0 (!)
Campgrounds visited: 12
First of all — this trip was fun. In some ways it was more mellow than other trips we’ve done (no crazy off-roading, lots of KOAs) but in some ways, it was definitely an adventure (all the whitewater and all.the.bourbon). We definitely enjoyed getting to know a part of the country we’ve neglected. And we picked a great time of year to do it — let me tell you, West Virginia, Tennesee, and Kentucky in fall are gorgeous. The trip was also a study in contrasts; we stayed at both the swankiest campground we’ve ever visited (Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg KOA) and the sketchiest (Camp on the Kentucky RV Park). We spent quality time in four states, and traveled through three more.
Every extended trip we take, it seems like we experience something new — and this trip was no different. This was the first extended road trip we’ve taken where we pulled the camper with us, and it was pretty eye-opening. First, we learned that it’s a lot easier to be lazy with a camper than when car camping; this trip definitely saw us doing a lot more TV watching and lounging indoors than we’ve done on previous trips. We also learned that pulling the camper is a little bit stressful, slows you way down, wreaks havoc on your gas mileage, and puts a major damper on spontaneity. Yikes! This trip was a bit of a test run, as we’re planning some pretty extended on-the-road time for 2017, and it was certainly instructive. So we’re taking it as a lesson to figure out how to improve for the future.
Traveling with the camper definitely changed our travel style. In the past we’ve often rolled into off-the-beaten path campgrounds, cooked dinner over the fire, went to bed early, and rolled out with the sunrise. This trip we averaged 3.5 nights per campground — unheard of for us! — and definitely traveled more slowly. We actually spent six nights each at two different campgrounds. Now, I know that for many full-time travelers that’s nothing, but for us, that’s the definition of S-L-O-W travel, which definitely had its pros and cons. (One thing that hasn’t changed: we’re still terrible at making reservations in advance. We actually got turned away from our very first full-to-capacity campground on this trip! I guess after 18 months on the road, it was bound to happen eventually.)
Now, without further ado — here is the official link roundup/recap of our Appalachian Adventure! We loved our time in the mid-Atlantic mountains, and we hope you enjoy reading about it, too.
Car trouble, camping in Coopers Rock State Forest, and excellent beer! (Morgantown, West Virginia)
Whitewater, whitewater, whitewater! (#GauleySeason kickoff weekend)
Books and burritos in West Virginia’s capital city! (Charleston, West Virginia)
Our new favorite West Virginia state park! (Pipestem Resort State Park)
Yeah, we’d like to be a guest of the Vanderbilts … (Asheville, North Carolina & the Biltmore Estate)
It’s America’s most-visited national park for a reason … (Great Smoky Mountains National Park)
Celebrating Ryan’s birthday in “The Gateway to the South” (Chattanooga, Tennessee)
One night in Nashville + our new favorite campground! (Nashville, Tennessee)
Caves for days! (Mammoth Cave National Park)
Three days. So much bourbon. (The Kentucky Bourbon Trail)
We didn’t jump off a bridge — but other people did. (Bridge Day, Fayetteville, West Virginia)
If you’re interested in reading more of our road trip adventures, check out our 2015 Road Trip recap here (where we travel from the East Coast to the West Coast and back) and our 2016 Road Trip recap here (also known as our Great Southwest Adventure)!