In the age of opportunity to work remote and travel around is a boon for many but one of the major expense during a road trip is accommodation . Though camping is cheaper compared to staying in hotels and this would still be a major expense . Sometimes all you would need is a place to park you car or camper van and get couple of hours sleep and taking a accommodation for that wouldn't sound economical . Today we will explore what are the places where you can stay overnight or camp for free in USA
1. National Forests And Grasslands
Typically you are allowed to camp for free in US National Forests & Grasslands unless otherwise marked. Each national forest has slightly different rules, so check ahead of time, but generally speaking, you are allowed to camp anywhere outside established recreation areas and developed campgrounds. Limit is 14 days
2. BLM (Bureau Of Land Management)
These publicly managed lands are commonly found in the western part of the United States and typically allow free camping outside of developed campgrounds. However, BLM manages a wide range of activities including cattle grazing rights and mining operations, so they can require a little more research to determine if they’re suitable for camping.
Here we get into the grey zone of what is considered “camping.” While many Walmarts across the country allow RVs, trailers, vans, and other self-contained vehicles to stay overnight in their parking lot, few people would consider this camping. Nevertheless, staying at Walmarts can definitely come in handy at times. Whether you’re trying to pull off an epic travel day and just need a place to sleep for the night, or plan on using Walmart as a staging place in order to stay close to civilization, there are a lot of reasons to spend a night at Wally-World.
4. Rest Areas
For every 70 to 80 miles across highways all over US you can see rest areas equipped with picnic tables and rest rooms . These places allows overnight halting your vehicle
Many casinos allow overnight parking for RVs, trailers, vans, and other self-contained travelers. The situation will be similar to staying at Walmart. Basically, keep your activities within your vehicle and keep a low profile. You can check out the map locator on CasinoCamper.com to see what casinos allow overnight parking.
6. Truck Stops
You can hardly drive a hundred miles on a major freeway without seeing a truck stop. While they primarily cater to long-haul truckers, some of them also provide accommodations for RVs, trailers, and vans. In addition to offering fuel, food, and other travel amenities, many of them allow overnight parking. If you’re uncertain, it’s always worth calling the location to find out.
7. Cracker Barrel
These chain of restaurants allow overnight camping for vans and cars
In a regular Timelapse earth is stable and sky moves and since we are on earth we feel that we are stable and everything around us is rotation like sun raising from East etc but in reality stars in sky are stable and we rotate. For us to visualize this a Timelapse is need but keeping stars as stable . This can be achieved using a device called Sky Tracker or Star tracker.
About Sky Trackers
A star tracker is a motorised, equatorial mount that fits on top of a tripod and allows a camera to follow the stars (or a planet, a comet, or anything else) as they are carried across the sky by the rotation of Earth. How they work is by rotating at the same speed as the Earth, just in the opposite direction.
For star trackers to work as intended, they do need to be aligned with the Earth’s axis. This is commonly referred to as polar alignment. Polar alignment is the process of accurately aligning the polar axis of your mount with the north (or south) celestial pole. The polar axis does not move when you move the Camera. Simply put, you need to make sure that your telescope mount is rotating on the exact same angle the sky turns on
Once your sky tracker is set mount the camera and compose a shot of your liking . If you are shooting at 20 secs exposure make sure you have 60 secs gap before shooting another picture . Using a external trigger or inbuilt interval function in camera shoot for close to 4hrs . This will give you 200+ shots that would have been captured with milky way galactic core being stable and earth changing .
Now edit these individual images and make a video out of them and you will get to visual Earth rotation
Star Gazing is one of the best experineces you can have out there.The night sky is like a giant puzzle. Hidden among the thousands of stars you can find dozens of constellations. You can also search for individual stars and planets. When was the last time you saw countless stars ? Challenge here is to first find a place dark enough for Stars to be visible .With invention of electricity and high luminous lights we have caused enough light pollution that we can hardly see any stars during night . Finding a dark sky would be tough but not impossible . Lets find out how to find dark skies around you .
Brightness during night is measured by Brotle scale . The Bortle scale (also known as the Bottle scale) is a nine-level numeric scale that measures the night sky's brightness of a particular location. It quantifies the astronomical observability of celestial objects and the interference caused by light pollution. John E. Bortle created the scale and published it in the February 2001 edition of Sky & Telescope magazine to help amateur astronomers evaluate the darkness of an observing site, and secondarily, to compare the darkness of observing sites. The scale ranges from Class 1, the darkest skies available on Earth, through to Class 9, inner-city skies.
Light Pollution Map
Now that we know what Bortle scale lets find out how to know the Bortle value of a place . For this we have several sites that help with this info and lightpollutionmap.info is one such site that will show light pollution of a give area. It is like an interactive map where you can zoom in to a place and drop a pin and it will show brotle value of that place . If the value of that place is between 1 to 4 you have found your spot .
Now that you have found the place to star gaze how do you navigate the sky ? How to know what is the name of the star you are looking at or how to find Scorpio Constellation in sky or find the Ursa Major ? Whether the Super Pink Moon in April kickstarted your love of astronomy, or you want to be prepared by the time the Perseids meteor shower rolls around during warmer weather, you should start with having a star gazing map or app .Like how we had road maps and google maps in recent times we have skymaps and few phone apps to help with . Lets find out more about them
Equivalent to how we use road maps to navigate land there are sky maps to navigate through stars in sky . skymaps.com will release a PDF of night sky every month and you and take a printout and find use major know objects (pole star, moon etc) in sky as pointer and navigate around
Night Sky Apps
There are lot of apps that help navigate night sky . These night sky apps are like a planetarium in your pocket.They use gps to pinpoint your location and Most of the time, all you have to do is point them at the night sky, and they'll demystify what's in front of you, be it stars, planets, constellations, or man-made objects like satellites or the International Space Station. Many of them can even alert you to the upcoming celestial events, so you'll never miss another Super Moon again . I personally use skyview lite which is a free version
Next time when you're on a trip try to find a dark sky around you and star gaze over night and once you do that the experience is superior !!! . Let me know if this blog helped you to give better experience during your travel .