As I've written about our travels to the north, I have shared that I only had reservations in one place between where we left home (Texas) and our destination for August (Maine.)
We have had a lot of luck, which I am calling Grand Adventure serendipity, on our side, and even though we've been winging it with almost no reservations in the middle of a beautiful summer, we have had no problems finding a comfortable place to stay.
When it was time to end our most delightful stay in Watkins Glen, New York, our idea was to head to the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont. Besides wanting to experience its beauty, legend has it (along with lots of websites and rv camping forums) that there are plenty of places to stay for free or nearly free in federal lands, as long as you don't need a full hook up with electricity and water. That seemed like a great plan for us since we only wanted to spend one night and get back on the road fairly quickly.
My best guess is that we were getting a little too comfortable with our "winging it" luck. Because we loved the state park we were leaving, we did not leave very early in the day. Then we had to drive across New York and into Vermont. Even though the National Forest is right there on the border, it takes some time to get where you are going. They don't call them the Green Mountains for nothing. Those mountains are legit!
We drove up and down, coaxing (the-yet-to-be-officially-named) RV who did a great job, but was kind of saying something like..."Umm...what??"
We still haven't fully figured out if the following story is due more to this particular National Forest, our status as newbies, or the nighttime arrival into the camping areas. Whatever the reason, this was our experience...
I had tried to do a little reading about where a motorhome could camp for the night in the Green Mountains and we headed to a camping area. When we got there, we saw that we had arrived at a "normal" campground--albeit with very tight spaces--not the primitive wide-open fields we were expecting.
Not wanting to disturb anyone further at the late-ish hour we had arrived by unhooking our car and backing into a space, all while shining lights in every nearby camping spots' location and in general attracting more attention than a lightbulb at a junebug convention, we decided to pass on that area and look for a new spot.
We didn't know where we were heading and we were off to find a place in the wide wild forest.
In God's provision, it happened to be the night of a Blue Moon. We sure would have had it rough without those moonbeams!
To make our long night's story shorter, I'll just say we drove around for a couple hours. At every potential spot, we spotted homes or private businesses. Is this normal in a National Forest? We were expecting much more deserted land. We'll do a bit more homework before we plan that again.
We finally decided to "give up" our idea of roughing it in the forest and headed for a state park campground we discovered located within the forest. We made our way there and found out that it, too, was full. When it rains, it pours.
At this point we needed to stop and rest. We pulled into a thankfully large and empty parking lot of the state park, turned around to be ready to head out as soon as possible, and settled down to a dinner of Honey Nut Cheerios with banana slices before grabbing a few restless hours of sleep.
We pulled out very early in the morning before anyone would have to tell us to leave. We put a good number of miles between us and our less-than-ideal camping spot before turning into the quintessential, small town diner for a large breakfast. We got reset, and headed out ready to tackle the new day's adventures.
You win some. You lose some. You gain experience either way.