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Back to Boondocking

Posted by on October 11, 2013

In PEI we had gotten into a rut of staying in campgrounds. At the end of a long day, sometimes it is easier than looking for a boondocking (free camping) location. And the provincial parks, while not very picturesque, were pretty inexpensive at $30.00 a night, less our senior citizens’ discount of 10%.

Because PEI is known for their great seafood, we had also been on that quest and eating in restaurants, whether good or bad, costs a lot. Add to that a love of oysters which at $18.00 to $24.00 a dozen could strain any budget.

So in an effort to reign in the expenses, we decided to try to boondock three nights then stay in a campground one or two nights, and so on. That way we could refill our water supply, dump our holding tank, recharge our batteries (Serena’s and ours) and do laundry when needed. On the days that we pay to stay, we will try to get there early so we can get our money’s worth.

Tatamagouche Picnic Park

Tatamagouche Picnic Park

On the first night of our new plan we found a fantastic little picnic park in the town of Tatamagouche. We checked thoroughly for “no overnight parking” or “no camping” signs —which usually contain a picture of an RV or a tent. There were none. Picturesque, quiet and safe: the trifecta of boondocking.

Encouraged, we set out to explore Cape Breton, the jewel in Nova Scotia’s crown. We arrived in Port Hawkesbury the next night at dusk. Unable to find a good location, we settled for the local Walmart, always our last resort, but at least it fulfills the cost-free and safe requirements.

Irish Cove

Irish Cove

Continuing our journey, we headed up the coast on route 4 and discovered a lovely rest stop in Irish Cove. Complete with gazebo, picnic benches, vault toilets, and boardwalk, we spent the late afternoon reading and relaxing in our own private park.  At bedtime, though, we discovered just how much of an incline we were on. (I forgot to mention, a level spot is always preferable. When you pay for a campsite, you can always take out your leveling blocks. When you are trying to be stealthy, you have to take what you get.) Oh well. Sliding down the bed periodically in the night was a small price to pay for such a beautiful location.

Levels, Manny!

Levels, Manny!

Yesterday, we were heading up the famed Cabot Trail looking for a nice turnout with a view to stop and make lunch. At 2:30, we found a gem: Wreck Cove, a large overlook on the shores of the Atlantic.

Short Order Chef

Short Order Chef

Sunset at Wreck Cove

Sunset at Wreck Cove

Manny whipped out the barbecue and made what tasted like the best burgers I have ever eaten. Although early, we decided to stop for the day. We have learned that when you find a great boon docking location, you better take advantage of it. You never know where the next one will be. We sat outside in our chairs until dusk (something you can’t always do when you are trying to be subtle and inconspicuous) and slept with the sound of the gentle surf rocking us to sleep.

Lately, we have enjoyed God’s hospitality and have spent several nights boondocking in church parking lots.

Churches are everywhere —even in the smallest of towns— and usually have large, flat parking lots where we always feel safe.

In Boylston, I watched the local sheriff slow down to check us out and continue on his way —a tacit sign of approval.

United Church in Boylston

United Church in Boylston

Boondocking is no longer just about saving money. We find we enjoy the challenge of finding a safe and picturesque spot to spend the night and have gotten more daring with each successful find.

A local shared his technique: “Find a great spot to camp, then locate the closest house. Compliment the owner on his beautiful view and ask to spend the night.” According to him, “the resident is so pleased that they not only allow you to stay, but offer everything from free advice to a treat from their kitchen. Some even invite you to stay on their property the next time you come back.” We have yet to try this approach, and will be sure to let you know when we do.

7 Responses to Back to Boondocking

  1. Bob

    Hi Roz,

    Very interesting blog. NS is on our short list, and I’m definitely learning all I can about boondocking. keep me on your list.

    Thx

  2. Mo

    Interesting blog post. It sounds like a grown up way of hitchhiking across country(ies). I would have thought oysters to be cheaper in PE, though. That’s about the going rate here as well but we can find $1 oyster happy hours farely easy. Enjoy and keep us posted, It is always fun to read your adventures.

  3. Manny & Roz

    Email from Connie:

    Hi Guys!

    I have so enjoyed your blog. Sounds like you are having an amazing trip meeting amazing people and, even better, eating really good food!

    Connie

  4. Margie McCormick

    What a beautiful world you live in; Wreck Cove sunset says it all! Got a little taste of it last month at B&G Oysters in Boston where we enjoyed succulent Nova Scotia Tatamagouche oysters! Now I know where they come from thanks to your RV there yet travelblog; ¡gracias! Margie xxoo

  5. Chip Schireson

    Manny & Roz
    I always enjoy your posts. Love the lifestyle and the pithy prose. Thought you might show up when Margie & Jim were in Philly a few weeks ago. Keep me on your list! all the best, chip

  6. Michel Nadon

    Thank you for your information
    whe are planning fro next year 3 weeks in Nova-Scotia

  7. Manny & Roz

    Email from Arthur Stoppe:

    Interesting tie-in to your recent post on boondocking….

    http://www.wired.com/rawfile/2013/11/walmart-parking-lots/?viewall=false#slideid-94801

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