It may seem like a bit of a foreign concept to us Michiganders unless you drive out of state frequently, but toll roads can put quite a damper on your RVing adventures. You have to come to a complete stop and pay your precious hard-earned dollars to drive on down the road. If you’re driving long distances, these fees can really add up quickly! We do not have toll roads here in Michigan, so in-state travel won’t be a problem, but if you’re planning a cross-country excursion, you may want to consider shunpike RVing to save money and see more of the beautiful sights of America!
What Is Shunpiking?
Despite spending my time delving into the world of all things RV, “shunpike” is a term I have not come across before. For anyone familiar with the Harry Potter franchise, you may have instinctively thought, like I did, of Stan Shunpike, the conductor of the Knight Bus.
Instead of magically popping up at your destinations on a magical bus, shunpiking is the practice of avoiding toll roads by taking back roads or non-highway roads to get to your destination. It’s a combination of the words “shun,” meaning to avoid, and “turnpike,” which is a long stretch of highway that requires a toll for use. So by shunpiking, you’ll be able to avoid tolled highways and save money!
Suddenly, Stan Shunpike’s name makes total sense: The Knight Bus avoids tolls by magically apparating across the country to its destination. J.K. Rowling, you thoughtful genius, I see what you did there!
How Did Shunpiking Start?
Shunpiking started back in the 1920s, when turnpikes started popping up throughout the American road system. The term actually dates back much further, generally relating to a side road used to avoid a toll stop, but as far as automobiles are concerned, the 1920s began the movement to ditch the toll system and take the road now less traveled.
Back then, it was more about avoiding the tolls, but it sparked a renewed interest in seeing more sights and exploring the roads that Americans have seem to forgotten. What started out as a way for travelers, local farmers, commuters, and others to stick it to the man, it has transformed into a relaxed, enjoyable way of life!
Benefits of Shunpiking
There are a lot of benefits to shunpiking that will definitely make it worth your while! If you have the time and the patience, it can be a great way to see more of our beautiful country in a way that not many people experience anymore.
You’ll Save Money
If you’re planning on taking a long cross-country trip, shunpiking can save you quite a bit of money! Depending on where you’re traveling and the type of tolls charged, you could pay just over $1 for use of a roadway. Okay, no big deal. But for some stretches, a flat-rate toll can be as high as $30 for usage! There are others that charge a rate per mile traveled, and if you plan to travel the whole length of the highway, that can add up to over $50 in some places!
Even if you’re spending an average of $5 per toll, just think about how quickly that can add up! By traveling the back roads, you won’t have to pay these tolls and can travel at your leisure by avoiding congested highways. You may want to take some time to calculate if the money spent on gas usage to navigate these back roads is still cheaper or at least breaks even than just paying the tolls.
See More Interesting Sights
While the development of America’s highway system has done wonders for quick, usually efficient travel from coast to coast, the easygoing nature of taking the back roads has become a thing of the past. Everyone always has to make good time while traveling, which is understandable when you only get so many vacation days for your getaways. But if you have the time, it can be life-changing to explore and take the road less traveled!
There are so many wonders that America holds that you will miss by zooming down the interstate! If you have the time to be able to take it slow, you’ll be able to stop and see more unique roadside attractions, see more natural wonders, try lesser known restaurants, and find more unique places to set up camp!
Combining the benefits of both saving money and seeing incredible sights, shunpiking allows you to get out and find unique places to camp! If you’re into boondocking (a.k.a. dry camping), there will be a plethora of secluded campsites off the grid where you can stay for free and enjoy the peace and quiet. You’ll save money by not paying for pricey campgrounds while avoiding paying those pesky tolls!
What do you think of the shunpiking lifestyle? Shunpike RVing can save you money and allow you to see more sights than ever before! If you just want to slow down and enjoy a more relaxed travel experience, this is the way to do it!
Before you head out and explore the ins and outs of America’s back roads, bring your RV down to RV World and let our certified RV technicians take a look to ensure that all systems are working correctly and that your RV is ready for extended travel! In need of an RV? We have a great selection of RVs for sale in Grand Rapids, so stop by today and find the perfect RV for your adventurous lifestyle!
Do you have experience with taking the road less traveled? Leave us a comment on your thoughts about shunpike RVing!