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The Great Smokey Mountain Tourist Watch

Leaving Knoxville late at night, we stopped at a Walmart to rest for the night. At this particular Walmart, we were chancing our luck not to be towed away. Even with "No Overnight RV Parking"  signs posted, we figured it would be okay since others were more than obviously parked for the night. Safety in numbers, right!? The restless night went by and eventually I fell fast asleep.  Early in the morning, Josh woke to make our way to The Great Smokey Mountains.  Beyond exhausted, we stopped at an outdoor store to stock up on cooking fuel.  The store yet to open, Josh climbed back into bed for a couple hours to wait it out.  When we woke, the parking lot was full and Josh headed in.   He was lucky to come out with fuel as he mentioned the store was mainly for tourists with money burning in their pockets. Still bring a bit early, we made our way to a visitors center just outside the park. This feeling like yet another tourist trap, we found ourselves back in bed again.

Our excessive morning sleep caused us to head into the Smokies later than expected, but we pushed forward. Upon entering the park's main Visitor's Center, we were faced with the worst part of the only free (and most visited) National Park on the country- traffic. It's like Christmas-time traffic where everyone is busy getting somewhere, distracted and in some kind of dumb-founded bubble. Drivers aren't kind here for the most part. It took us a few circles to find parking and due to traffic chaos mixed with growling bellies and petty arguing follows suit. We finally made into the visitor center which was littered with aimlessly wandering tourists showing souvenir hunger in their eyes.   Read more

2

Columbus Ohio. It's More Fun with Your Pants Off.

Coming into Columbus started out on a positive note as we had just skydived that day, but quickly turned into shambles. Everything was STUPID!! The only things people could suggest for us to do were parks, walking, museums, and biking. Which just couldn’t live up to the thrill of jumping from 13,000 ft out of a plane. We spent a few days bickering with a final blow up that drove us to leave and never had an intent to return!

After spending time in The Plains and winging our way to Cleveland, we found ourselves giving Columbus a second chance. This time around we weren’t hyped up on adrenaline and seeking our next fix. And this time we had a challenge: no van and no plans past somewhere to sleep that for the first night. At first glance Columbus appears to be a small town with small neighborhoods surrounding it, but we came to find out it has the 15th largest population of any city in the U.S. with diverse people and LOTS and LOTS of food.

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5

Cheap Travel Food Recipe: Cheesy Creamy Potato 'n' Broccoli Soup

So how does one eat when living in a van with no refrigerator or cooler?  Surprisingly... quite well!  Being van dwellers and backpackers, space, weight and budget are always limited, making dehydrated foods a typical theme for our meals.  Wait, isn't "dehydrated meal" synonymous with "tastes like crap"?  With a little experimentation and the proper dehydrated veggies and meat-ish bits, the answer is a resounding NO!  We thought we'd put together a little video showing you one of our typical meals and just what goes into it.  How's it taste?  We think it's delicious, but don't take our work for it.  Try it yourself!   Read more

4

Bending Reality at Old Man's Cave

It began with a soggy afternoon drive through the hills of Southeastern Ohio.  Green, thick, moist, lush and calm.  The trees... Ohio has more trees than I could have possibly imagined.  We exited the freeway and followed the winding roads of the Hocking Hills past pleasant little houses and grassy knolls as I stared out the foggy window contemplating what daily life might be like in this quiet little corner of the world.  Eventually, the twisted road guided us to our parking place just outside the entrance to Old Man's Cave.  We readied ourselves and wandered down the wooden stairs to find ourselves thrust into a magical place devoid of time and reality.   Read more