I was gone from home 67 days (that's two weeks longer than last year!) I traveled 5957 miles through 6 states (Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota and Montana). I visited 5 national parks (Bryce, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore and Glacier), as well as some national monuments and state parks.
This year I didn't track my campground spending, but I know I stayed in more forest service campgrounds than last year and did fewer nights of free dispersed camping. I've learned I like the secure feeling of having other campers nearby, and also knowing the roads will be relatively decent. But with my senior pass which gets me half off, it's still a very economical way to overnight.
I also stayed in RV parks more nights this year, but that was out of necessity. There is no free camping in Boise/Eagle, so I stay at HiValley RV Park when I'm visiting Robin and Ken. I also paid for four nights of full hookups in SD near Mt Rushmore with the boys, because I thought we would need air conditioning during the day.
Last summer, I averaged 8.32 mpg in my Minnie. This year, towing the Fit, my mileage fell to 7.55 mpg, but having the car to run around made that totally worthwhile. And the Fit averages 41 mpg, so I more than made up those lost miles by camping longer in many spots and using the car for errands and sight seeing. The biggest negative was discovering gas was so much more expensive outside Arizona. I filled up my tank in Mesa for $2.119 before I left, and $2.099 when I came home. But on the road, gas prices averaged $2.46. I paid as high as $2.749 in Grangeville, ID. Overall, I spent $1950 on gas.
One thing I learned this year is that nine weeks is a little too long, for me, to be out. By six or seven weeks, I was ready for home. I think in the future, I'll split my trips up into six week chunks, with a respite at home in between. Additionally, next summer, I want to try to be home during at least part of the monsoon. This year was a spectacular season of storms and I missed every single one of them. All I could do was watch my security cameras and listen to the What's App chatter of my brothers who were enjoying the downpours in real life. This Arizona gal loves a good thunder storm.
With that wrap up, I want to end with a list that I have been mentally composing throughout this summer of all the things that made me grumble, and all the things that made me smile.
Eight things I hate while RVing
- Washboard roads - they shake, rattle and tear apart everything in my motor home, including every nut, bolt, and screw, and every item in my cupboards.
- Narrow mountain roads, especially when I'm on the outside lane with a big drop off and nowhere to pull off if I meet another car.
- Steep grades, which rev my engine, slow my speed and drain my gas tank.
- Cities and towns that are not laid out in a grid, with terrible signage, and hard to find my way around. (i.e. Flagstaff)
- Being both navigator and driver, and sometimes getting myself lost.
- ATVers who don't slow down on dirt roads near camp sites, which generates aggravating dust and noise.
- Getting to a campsite and discovering there's no cell signal.
Eight things I love while RVing
- Seeing the most beautiful countryside in the world, off the beaten track.
- Taking grandkids to see the most beautiful countryside in the world.
- Occasional rain on the roof of my Minnie.
- Having my own bathroom, kitchen and bed anywhere I go.
- Taking my own sweet time going places and staying as long as I want. Or moving on if I want.
- Meeting other like minded folks.
- Chasing the best weather.
- Living a life filled with nostalgia from my childhood family camp trips and the legacy of my parent's retirement lifestyle, visiting many of the same places.