Experience: 2022 Christmas Camping Across 4 State Parks in 5 Days

“Slow travel rejects speed, emphasizes soaking in the local culture, and encourages us to savor the journey, not rush it.” –The Art of Slow Travel, by Bhavana Gesota

Most everyone we told of our Christmas travel plans tried to convince us to rethink our winter camping journey in subzero temperatures.  

"You might want to reconsider," they'd urged, each in their own way.  

"It's going to be dangerously cold.  How will you stay warm in a camper?" 

We'd recently downsized from a 30-foot 4-season Keystone Outback to a 21-foot non-insulated 2022 Little Guy Max Rough Rider.  We were looking forward to seeing what it was made of.....and, perhaps more importantly, what we were made of.  

We weren't wavering on our decision.  The plans were made, and we would set out with two full propane tanks, an indoor-safe propane heater, an indoor electric heater, a supply of firewood, and an electric blanket.  We'd monitored the weather and were keeping close tabs on the conditions of the roads.  

We weren't worried about the extreme temperatures, either. With three radiant-heater dogs (who sleep at our head, hips, and feet) and each other, we were looking forward to all the cozy snuggling and excuses to linger in bed with coffee and read or write or watch Netflix or listen to our favorite seventies bands until the sun came up and warmed the walking trails a half a degree or more. 

With any trip, things happen that we don't anticipate - - like when the bananas freeze and all turn dark brown and ooze goo, and the jar of olive oil freezes solid when we'd planned on searing steaks.  Or when the propane, which converts from a liquid to a gas in the pipelines, freezes and renders that first heating plan completely ineffective, taking us straight to our backup heat.  Those kinds of things.  A few minor setbacks mixed in with some more serious ones.  

So it is in life.  Determination, a plan, a road map, forecasts, obstacles, challenges, a burning desire to experience life ~ even in extreme elements.  It's all part of the journey.  

I'm so glad we stayed the course and savored the moments. It was worth it to experience "slow travel," without a novel-thick itinerary, to "camp our way across states," breaking down the drive into short segments.  

Here are the “Slow Travel” savored moments from our week away over the holidays.

First Stop: Burdoc Farms, Crofton, Kentucky. Most memorable moment: goofing off in the snow in our pajamas, taking pictures of the White Christmas winter wonderland as one of our daughters clicked her heels in sunset snow.

Second Stop: Rock Island State Park, Tennessee. Most memorable moment: enjoying the peaceful sounds of the waterfall at the dam.

Third Stop: Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. Most memorable moment: taking in the beauty and sounds of the frozen waterfalls and cascades.

Waterfall at Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee

Fourth Stop: Harrison Bay State Park, Tennessee. Most Memorable moment: sunrise on the bay.

Fifth Stop: Red Top Mountain State Park, Georgia. Most memorable moment: writing all day on a rainy New Year’s Eve Eve.

Sixth Stop: Lunch with my aunt and uncle at OK Cafe in Atlanta, Georgia. Most memorable moment: sipping coffee at the retro dinette table, celebrating their December birthdays.

Seventh Stop: Home for New Year’s Eve with one of our sons. Most memorable moment: eating collard greens, black eyed peas, and ribs as we watched the Peach Bowl.

Experiencing places + savoring the journey through slow travel = just the right pace!

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