Finally working on the STATS from our RV Trip of 2019. It was such a great trip. We moved a little slower and stayed a little longer in places which gave us an opportunity to meet more people and really get to know the city we were visiting. We did a big circle around the central states because we have already spent time in OK, KS, and NB on another trip. I often get questions on the cost of things while living on the road, so I have included that information. I hope you find it interesting.
182 Days on the Road
Our route around the central states. Since we missed Moab UT last year due to RV repairs, we added that on to our 2019 trip, so we dipped back into the western side of the US at the end of our route. Only 1 RV this year, but 1 different Car
We decided to flat tow this year instead of using a tow dolly. It’s soooooo much easier and faster to hook up; however, due to that situation, we had to get another car. We sold the Juke and bought a great barely used 2014 Honda CRV which is the last year they designed that car for flat towing. It’s bigger than the Juke so we had more room to haul things around. It turned out to be one of the best decisions we ever made. 14 States and 1 Foreign Country
We made it to 14 states and 1 Country on this trip, and here are pictures of the state line signs, all but Wyoming. We made a big circle of the central states in the USA, and popped into Canada while in North Dakota at the International Peach Gardens. 5,784 RV Miles & Gas Cost
And he drove the whole time. What works best for us is him piloting and me navigating. We spent $2,450.16 in RV gas and $823.85 in car gas for a total of $3,274.01 in gas. Gas prices ranged from $2.26-$3.12 for diesel and $2.26 (here at home) to $3.54 for gas. We averaged around 7 miles per gallon in the RV, and about 28 miles per gallon in the car. 4 Big Set Backs & RV Maintenance
AC coming out New AC going up Bob & Lee getting the AC installed. Our new towing bolts Our broken mirror Bob checking out the leak We had a rough start to this trip and were tested many times and it almost made us want to turn around and come home. When we would get something fixed, as we were leaving that same park something else would go wrong. Our first issue started before we even left home. We started out with a broken AC and after installing a new one for the living room, Bob ended up having to go to Houston to make them fix it while I was lounging on the beach with some girlfriends. Coming back to Victoria, he took a wrong turn and nearly had a wreck when a lady pulled right out in front of him. Glad I didn’t know any of that was going on at the time. Second set back was losing a bolt that hooks the car onto the RV. Heading to our RV park in Hot Springs AR, the Garmen had sent us down a VERY wrong road and we had to unhook the car just to make a VERY tight corner. In our panic of the moment, we left the bolt on the ground where we got lost. Because I drove the car to the park, we didn’t notice it was gone till we had to hook up to leave, so we ran around Hot Springs trying to find the bolt before check out time. We found one that would work, but when we got to our next RV park, the bolt had lost its locking pin and was half way out. If it had come out, we would have had a VERY BAD situation. After leaving Hot Springs and before we got to our next park in Mark Twain National Forest, our third incident happened when an 18 wheeler wasn’t paying attention, veered into our lane, and hit us on the highway taking out the right side mirror. Luckily it didn’t break the mirror just the arm, but we were without a side mirror for about 700 miles. I had to stick my iPad out my window, turn the camera around to see behind me to let Bob know when he could move into the right lane. We got a new mirror in St. Louis and that’s where Bob was able to put it on himself (my hero). The fourth incident occurred when we were leaving St. Louis. As Bob pulled out of the park I was outside watching and noticed a big puddle of some liquid on the ground. Bob determined it was hydraulic fluid that works the levelers. No drama there!!! We weren’t able to get it fixed until Minot so we were filling the tank with fluid every time we left a park. It was just one thing after another and we really were exhausted with all the bad luck, but we persevered and kept going. Not pictured were smaller incidents like the fridge leaking water into my carpet and our interior lights not working. Word of the wise, be careful if you have an ice maker. We never use ours but didn’t disconnect it, so it finally started leaking making our carpet wet. Also, get to know your neighbors because that’s the only reason we got our lights fixed. All in all, we spent $3,579.53 on RV maintenance, but half of that was the cost of a new air conditioner. This also includes RV washes, car washes, propane, and miscellaneous items. Stayed in 30 RV Parks
Miller Creek RV Johnson City TX Hoot Owl RV, Debuque Iowa Royal Oaks, Bemidji MN Milwaukee State Fair RV, WI Ok RV, Moab UT Blackbarts RV, Flagstaff AZ Glendo Lake RV, Glendo WY Badgerland Campground, Madison WI We had some lovely RV parks on this trip. Everyone was so nice to work with and very friendly. We only had a couple of parks that were a great location but a sketchy neighborhood. Anytime you see security rounding your spot every 15 minutes, it’s a big clue. Having said that, we never felt threatened or had any trouble. The total bill for RV parks in 2019 is $6,780.21 Stayed in 1 State Park, and 1 National Park
James Robb SP North TRNP We only stayed in one State Park this trip, the James Robb SP in Fruita CO, outside Grand Junction CO. James Robb SP had full hook ups and great laundry. We also had the pleasure of staying in the north Theodore Roosevelt National Park. TRNP didn’t have full hook ups, only water and electricity. 1 Boondocking Experience & the BIG Event
We were excited to be there. Our spot for 10 days We were front row on Saturday night for the BIG show. The crowd These two were excited. Thumbs Up!! Loved seeing this!! Walking through a plane. Night show. The Oshkosh Fly-In was our big event this year and why we chose to do the middle states. This was our boondocking spot for a very long and hot 10 days in Oshkosh for the fly-in. You could only run your generator during the day, so there were some hot and muggy nights. We were one of the lucky ones that came in early and got a premo spot before the rains hit. Others were stuck for days in the line just to get in, so sad. 1 Hotel
This year, we only had one hotel stay and that was in Minot where we finally were able to get the hydraulic fluid tank repaired. It was comfortable and a located right next to a shopping mall. This place had a great hot tub that we were bound and determined to enjoy but our bathing suits were in the coach. Since we were right next to a mall we ran over there, bought a couple bathing suits (and on sale!!) and jumped right in. It felt soooooo good!! Laundry Expense
I often get asked how we dealt with laundry. I don’t know of any RV park that didn’t have a laundry on site; however, some were very busy and I couldn’t use it when I wanted. I try to go first thing in the morning, but sometimes that doesn’t work. We have been known to go into town to a local laundromat. We try to do laundry only at reasonably priced facilities at our RV park. The price depends on if the units are new or old. We ran into a lot of parks that were upgrading their washer and dryers, so those will be higher. At one park the cost per load was $4.00(!!!), which was ridiculous. I couldn’t believe it and wasn’t going to give any more money to that park, so I drove 20 miles down the road to go to a laundromat that cost us about $5.00 for ALL the loads. Since I hang dry a lot of our clothes we are able to save a little bit on dryers. We spent $162.50 on washing and drying clothes. Groceries & Restaurants
One of the first things we do when we arrive in a new city is check out the grocery store. We also try to find a local grocery store and love it when we hit a farmers market. We were pleasantly surprised on this trip to find the types of stores we like, such as Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, and Safeway. We eat as healthy and clean as we can, and we juice our veggies most mornings. We spent $6,455.82 in 7 months, which equates to $922.26 per month, which breaks down to $230.56 per week, divided by 7 days equals $32.94 a day, then divide by 3 meals a day and it’s $10.78 per meal, divided by 2 people and the grand total is $5.49 per meal. THAT’S A DEAL!!!! We do try to buy organic and I like to cook so we eat most of our meals at home. Going out to eat is so expensive and we forget to share most of the time. We really didn’t go out that much but still managed to spend $2,370.40 at restaurants. It ranged from $144 for my birthday dinner to $25.00, if we were lucky and didn’t have any drinks. The average spent going out to eat was $60.56, WOW!! 1 Birthday Celebration
We celebrated my birthday in one of my favorite places, Milwaukee WI. I am 60 years young and we had a busy day. We started off with breakfast, then ran the stairs down to Lake Michigan, then walked a lovely historic neighborhood. We enjoyed being down in the Historic Third Ward and ended the evening with Bob surprising me with having dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, 4th Base. We absolutely LOVE Brian, the Chef and he is the reason we returned. We pick out the food and he makes whatever we want. We picked out some seafood and it was tremendous and so fresh. We had the back dining room all to ourselves. Great way to celebrate having 60 rotations around the sun, and hopefully a lot more to come.
Started here for breakfast Went to my favorite beach area. Did our stairs down & up to Lake Michigan Milwaukee skyline Saw some historic homes. Walked the Third Ward Saw Fonzie Great place for dinner!! I love scallops Visited 6 National Parks, 4 National Forests, 1 National Memorial, 1 National Monument, and 2 State Parks
Medora ND Canyonlands NP AZ Arches NP AZ Voyagers NP MN Rocky Mountain NP in Estes Park CO Colorado National Monument NP Grand Junction CO Mt. Rushmore National Memorial SD White Sands National Monument New Mexico Itasca SP Bemidji MN Custer SP South Dakota Grand Mesa NF Colorado Black Hills NF South Dakota MTNF Johnson Ruffs MO Uncompahgre River in Uncompahgre NF We visited some fantastic parks this trip. TRNP was spectacular and HUGE with a lot of wildlife. It has a north and south area that is 60 miles apart. In Moab UT we toured the Canyonlands NP & Arches NP, and both were amazing. Voyagers NP was such a wonderful place. We met some great people, got some great photographs, and it was such a friendly place. Rocky Mountain National Park is one of our favorites. We went specifically to get pictures on some Elk. We saw them when we first drove in and that was the last time. Colorado National Monument in Grand Junction had some beautiful views and vistas. Mt. Rushmore National Memorial is not to be missed. This was our second trip, but unfortunately they are doing a massive updating of the Row of Flags, so part of it was closed. We still had good views and could still get close. We have been to White Sands National Monument several times but each time is a unique experience. I was hoping to get a full moon shot but due to the clouds, I ended up focusing on a good sunset picture. Itasca State Park was lovely, and has the headwaters of the Mississippi River so we had to go walk across it. We stayed about a month in the area of Custer State Park. Lots of wildlife and where we were for the Buffalo Roundup. We drove up to the Grand Mesa and it was spectacular. Black Hills National Forest is in Spearfish SD. It’s has a lot of waterfalls and is just lovely. Mark Twain National Forest is enormous which covers 3,068,800 acres and spans 29 counties which includes the beautiful Johnson Ruffs area. We stayed in an RV park right on the Uncompahgre River and we spent a lot of time in the Uncompahgre National Forest. 1 Center of North America & 1 Center of the United States of America
Center of North America Bob standing in the center of the USA We had the surprise of being in the center of North America in Rugby ND, and the center of the USA in Belle Fourche SD Visited 3 Friends, 1 Family Member, and Met About 25 New People
#1 Kristen & family #2 Tom #3 Jo & Mike #4 Richard #5 Lisa & Steven #6 Steve & Pat #7 Brandon & Katelyn #8 Chris & Alex #9 Lori & Barry #10 Jeff, Nancy, & Tyler #11 The Oshkosh Escapee Group This is what made this trip so much fun, meeting all the new people and seeing some old friends. l to r: #1 – Kristen, Ben, Sofia, and Austin in Madison WI. She was our assistant when we had our real estate office in San Marcos, and she is a long time friend. #2 – Tom we met at Kabetogama RV Resort and he is a photographer from Texas. He took us out for a sunrise shoot and gave me the scoop on the best place to see the Northern Lights. #3 – Jo & Mike, we met them also in Kabetogama RV Resort and they are from AZ. So much fun!! #4 – Richard the war hero, and what a story he had to tell. We met him at Devils Lake RV, and he was so interesting to talk with. #5 – Lisa & Steven, our bar crawl buddies in Minot. We had WAY too much fun with these guys and what hospitality!!! #6 – Steve & Pat – Pat is my cousin so we had to find some time to meet them for lunch. We had a great visit. UPDATE: Sadly, Steve passed away early February 2020, so we are glad we got to spend this time with him. #7 – Brandon & Katelyn, were awesome and instrumental in changing the way we will travel in the future. We met them at the RV park in Albuquerque. We started chatting at 2:00 p.m. and ended at 10:00 p.m. They are awesome and we will see them again, and what a fabulous dog!!!! Love these guys!! #8 – Chris & Alex, in Moab UT. Chris is the son of friends and our fabulous tour guide for the Canyonlands and Arches in Moab UT. He set me up with his friend, Alex, who is a photographer and she took me out a few times and recommended some great places. #9 – Lori & Barry from Grand Junction CO. We have known these guys ever since they walked into my real estate office in Dripping Springs looking for a house over 10 years ago. We have done several transactions with these guys and couldn’t pass up the chance to see them. #10 – Nancy, Jeff & Tyler in Denver CO. Nancy and I went to high school together and are in a group ladies that get together every year at the beach. We spent a lovely day with Jeff and Nancy and then their son Tyler made us all dinner that evening. We had such a good time and good food!! #11 – Our Escapee group from the Oshkosh Fly-In. Off to a rocky start with the floods and some folks not being able to get in, we ended on a high note. Met some great people and what a show Oshkosh puts on. Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys air shows. Not pictured is my good old friend, Skip from St. Louis. I didn’t get to personally visit with him, but we had a good long conversation on the phone. Also, our Santa Clause that saved us when our interior electricity wouldn’t work. We are truly grateful for him pulling into the spot next to us with the exact same type of RV, just a few years older. Don’t remember his name, but what a lifesaver. He knew the exact problem, had it himself, and fixed it within 10 minutes. WHEW!!! Hope I didn’t miss anyone. 1,975,809 Steps
Running the stairs at Mt. Rushmore Hiking across the Mississippi River Headwaters in Itasca SP Walked the Rapid City Mall Running the stairs at Box Canyon Hiking to the Petrified Forest in TRNP We walked everywhere we could. We ran the stairs at Mt. Rushmore many times while in the area. We walked for miles at Oshkosh because that was about the best way to get around if you didn’t have a golf cart and we didn’t want to ride the crowded buses. We definitely wore out some shoes that week. We walked across the Mississippi River. We took a few hikes (got scary lost on one in MTNF), walked a few malls, and climbed a few hills. We try to stay as active as possible. 54,897 Pictures Taken
Sunset in Milwaukee WI Buffalo Roundup SD Off roading Custer SD At the end of last year, I switched camera systems from Olympus Micro Four Thirds to Sony a7riii full frame. I have really enjoyed the Sony product. I worked 5 cameras at any given time, mainly using my Sony a7riii (two of those), cell phone, and my Sony a6000. I still have an Olympus Tough camera that I used occasionally. 5 Favorite Cities
Art Walk in Minot ND Custer SD Rapid City SD We are at Paul Bunyan and Babe in Bemidji MN Ouray CO Of all the places we visited we both agree that we could live in these places if it weren’t for the snowy winters. Minot ND was one of my favorites. It is a very quaint town where we met some wonderful locals in Minot and went out on the town with them. They have a great art walk downtown. Custer SD was a favorite of both of ours. We actually looked at some real estate, but decided that it was too remote. Rapid City has always been a favorite. It has everything you could ever want and good restaurants. Bemidji MN probably won the most favorite award. It was so warm and welcoming. They have the Woolens Company which is over 100 years old. We visited with the owner when we were there and later I went in and he remembered me and asked how we were enjoying the area. I was so impressed that I was ready to join the Chamber and get to work. Ouray CO was a place that we just fell in love with. We had a lot of fun here and such scenery. Some of our favorite experiences and things we saw….
Headed to the top of the St. Louis Arch Route 66 Wisconsin Courthouse Oshkosh Fly-In Fiddle Contest in Mountain Iron MN Abe Lincoln’s Library Lake Kabetogama MN Boat ride to Kettlefalls Inn International Peace Gardens between USA & Canada Medora Musical Chicken Pot Pie in Custer SD Buffalo Roundup in Custer SP Gold Trees CO Train in Silverton CO Northern Lights Voyagers NP North Dakota Bear Country USA Rapid City SD Off Roading outside Custer SD Ellsworth AFB Plane & Car Show ND Telluride CO Griswold station wagon at Red Rocks in CO We had so many favorites that it was hard to choose what I posted, but here are a few highlights. Top of the St. Louis Arch was a highlight and real treat. You go up in a cramped elevator on one side, walk across the top to the other side, and come down on the other side. It wasn’t horribly crowded and was a lot of fun. Route 66 – I have always wanted to drive up the old Route 66 and we did both south and north. Bob had to buy his Route 66 shirt. Wisconsin Courthouse – always one of my favorites. We made a special trip to see this again. Oshkosh Fly-In – HUGE highlight!!! Fiddle Contest – We stumbled across this and thought it would be fun. We were probably one of the few non-relative, but I have to say that we had so much fun. There were some seriously talented young and old people there. I got to visit with a young man who won his division. Super fun!!! Abraham Lincoln Library – It’s a must see if in Springfield IL. Lake Kabetogama – Wonderful place and a favorite of mine. We met some great people, and it was the one and only place we saw the Northern Lights. Great fishing place for Walleye fish, YUM!!! Bob on the way to Kettle Falls in Canada – We took a boat tour to Kettle Falls, and it was great fun!! International Peace Gardens – This was such a wonderful surprise. If in the area make special plans to visit. It’s truly a garden paradise. Musical in Medora – This was a highlight and we had such fabulous seats. We saw one of the last performances of the season. Don’t miss it if in the area. Chicken Pot Pie in Custer – We had this 5 years ago when we visited and, usually repeats aren’t that good, but this one did not disappoint. I’m so glad we got it when we did because we tried again and they had run out of it. Buffalo Roundup Custer State Park – Our second time to the Buffalo Roundup and this repeat didn’t disappoint either. This time we took our own car so we could take our time. AWESOME!! Golden Colorado – I was looking forward to seeing the Colorado gold trees. We were about a week late but still found some beautiful trees. Silverton Train – when we arrived in Silverton the train was arriving. It was fun to watch. Northern Lights – We had the opportunity to see and photograph the Northern Lights over Lake Kabetogama. Such a treat. Bear Country – I had a great opportunity to have a special guide at the Bear Country USA in Rapid City SD. I got a lot of wonderful images of the animals and I had too much fun. Off Roading in Custer – We rented an ATV to go on the back roads and had a great time. Ellsworth AFB plane & car show – On our way to Wall SD and the Badlands, we first stopped at the AFB. It was very well done and had a great collection. Telluride CO – We took the tram from Telluride to the Village Market. Bob is looking down at Telluride. Double Arch Moab UT – This was a fascinating thing to see. I went back for a night shot of this arch. Canyonlands NP – We also toured the Canyonlands NP and it was beautiful!! Griswold Station Wagon – This was so much fun to see. We were running the stairs at Red Rocks and when we were leaving we saw this car in the parking lot. Hilarious!!! Notice the license plate it says Ant Edna, clever!! Funny thing, on our way to Grand Junction, we saw it again driving in Glenwood Springs. Miscellaneous Items
We spent $7,120.66 on miscellaneous items such as clothing, souvenirs, presents, hair cuts, a new laptop, extra curricular activities, office supplies, entrance fees, toiletries, parking fees, movie fees, toll road fees, medical fees, some business expenses, etc.
Great trip but always great to be home. Stay tuned for whats in store for 2020.
Getting settled on the ranch for a couple of months. It takes about 2 years to get fully equipped and gain confidence in what you are doing and taking with you. Hoping this year we won’t spend as much money. The grand total for expenses was $29,743.13.