The main purpose of this road trip was to do a little hiking and that is what I did. The first couple of days I was able to hike out on the Appalachian Trail and then return on a connecting trail. The days after that I had to hike out and back on the same trail. That wasn’t bad though since you get a bit of a different perspective when you hike in both directions. I do like the out and back hiking and may use this method to eventually complete the Appalachian Trail.
The highlight of my hikes was seeing a bear. I saw a black blob about ten yards off the trail and at first I thought it was a dog but after watching it a few seconds I realized it was a small bear. The bear was licking itself and completely oblivious to my presence. I suppose if I could lick myself I’d be oblivious too. After deciding that it wouldn’t be too smart to startle the bear when I was in such close proximity I backed up a bit on the trail. Then I loudly clapped my hands which sent the bear running off into the woods. I have to start carrying my camera so I can get a picture if anything like that happens again.
I mostly parked at trail heads which were off of lightly traveled roads. This was nice for sleeping since it was dark and quiet. It was also convenient when I needed to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. All I had to do was get out of the van, find a tree, and go. I wish I could park somewhere like that every night.
Parking in somewhat remote locations almost backfired on me though. I managed to forget my keys in the van when I left for one of my hikes. When I was returning to the van from the hike it started to rain and since it was a shorter hike and it didn’t look like rain I hadn’t brought my rain gear. I was thinking the rain was no big deal since I’d be back to my van in a few minutes. Then I had an Oh,Shit! moment and realized I didn’t remember to bring my keys. I searched for them anyway but they were not to be found. I was hoping that maybe I forgot to lock the van but all the doors were locked and the windows were all the way up. The prospect of getting a ride back to town on this road on a Sunday morning seemed dim. Luckily, after less than a minute a truck came down the road. I waved it down and the gentleman was kind enough to stop. He was on his way back home after an early morning church service. He didn’t know who could unlock my van but offered to take me to the sheriff’s office in town as they might be able to unlock the van. When I got to the sheriff’s office they told me they couldn’t unlock the van but they would call someone. I had to wait a little over a half hour since it was Sunday morning and the company that offered the unlocking service was closed but I was happy they would come at all. They guy didn’t have any trouble unlocking my van and only charged me $35 for the unlocking service. When I initially realized I had locked my keys in my van I thought my day was going to be ruined but thanks to the kind people of Bland, Va it turned out to just be a minor inconvenience and I was able to get a good day of hiking in.
Another interesting thing that happened during the hike was running into a chicken. I was driving down a dirt road to get to a trail head and noticed a chicken on the side of the road. I don’t know why the chicken crossed the road but he decided at the last second to cross right in front of my van. Although I was going pretty slow there was no way I could avoid the chicken. I heard a thump and then a Bok! Boooook! as the chicken hit the van. When I looked in the rear-view mirror I could see feathers in the air. I pulled over a little way down the road to see what happened to the chicken. A woman drove up and told me not to worry about the chicken. It was alive and ok, although it would probably be laying scrambled eggs for a while. I guess that is part of the danger of being a free-range chicken.
It will probably be a little while before I go on my next road trip because I need to save up some money. I was happy with how this trip went and it did prove to me that I can live in my van on the road. I’m hoping to start my next road trip by August. I may relocate before then though because it is starting to get hot. At any rate I will have my road trip started by the time of the Financial Blogger’s Conference in September.