Summing up another stay in Casa Grande. Time to hit the road again

I guess it’s time to sum up our stay at Palm Creek Golf & RV Resort,,,,,,, again LOL!!! Obviously we say again because of our previous stay / stay’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In our last update we mentioned that Palm Creek ran a special so we came back for 1 month however in the middle of our stay they ran another 40% off deal for extensions so we took advantage of it and lengthened our stay another week making it 5 weeks, heck we had no place to be anyway plus the weather up north was pathetic and we were having a good time.

Of course we had to stop off and play a little bean bag golf about every time we rode or walked by.

Of course we had to stop off and play a little bean bag golf about every time we rode or walked by.

If you have read our other update about our stay here it will be of no surprise if we tell you our days since our last update have been filled with flying at the airfield and Pickleball so we won’t bore you with that LOL!!

An average morning around the airfield.

An average morning around the airfield.

Slow sticks lined up getting ready for combat.

Slow sticks lined up getting ready for combat.

Jerry and his Night Vision Air. It looks really cool in the sky at night.

Jerry and his Night Vision Air. It looks really cool in the sky at night.

Converted dog carriers area a common site at the airfield. And of course bikes are a preferred for of transportation around the park

Converted dog carriers area a common site at the airfield. And of course bikes are a preferred for of transportation around the park.

People will fly about anything!!

People will fly about anything!!

Combat

Combat

Ed (sitting in the chair) is flying Ron's racing drone for the first time to test out flying with FPV goggles. I flew it the other day and found it very challenging.

Ed (sitting in the chair) is flying Ron’s racing drone for the first time to test out flying with FPV goggles. I flew it the other day and found it very challenging.

A new drone race track has been installed at the Casa Grande city airfield and I think Ron feels if he lets as many people fly his they just might get hooked and come back with there own next season. I can see it happening.

A new drone race track has been installed at the Casa Grande city airfield and I think Ron feels if he lets as many people fly his they just might get hooked and come back with there own next season. I can see it happening.

We also spent a little time watching a dog agility show here at the park which is always good for a chuckle.


We went to a RC Airshow at the Casa Grande RC Airfield and watched one heck of a performance by some youngsters from southern California which was a real treat and a representative from Horizon Hobby also showed of his amazing skills. If I were HALF the pilot these guys are I would be very happy.

This was taken at one of the events at the Casa Grande city field where I will be doing a bunch of my flying next year.

This was taken at one of the events at the Casa Grande city field where I will be doing a bunch of my flying next year.

Palm Creek also had a movie night. They put up there big screen in the park, sold popcorn and non-alcoholic cold drinks, everyone brought their lawn chairs and choice of beverage if they wanted something more “adult oriented” and played “Arrival” as the movie. Not something we would normally pick to go see but for this setting it was very enjoyable.

Waiting for the sunset to finish so the movie can start.

Waiting for the sunset to finish so the movie can start.

Palm Creek also put on an “End of Season” bash. For $5 you could get a Tri-Tip sandwich, a green salad, potato salad, water AND an ice-cream bar PLUS they had a live band called “One Of These Nights” that played all Eagles music and were exceptional as far as I was concerned.


Our neighbors and fellow Oregonian’s and new found friends Rodger & Colene actually gave us tickets for the event after needing to leave the park early due to family issues back home. I don’t think they read the blog but we want to thank them anyway!!

The small tan area middle left is the stage for the band. A good crowd showed up to have a good time.

The small tan area middle left is the stage for the band. A good crowd showed up to have a good time.

All of the people standing along the edge are in line to make it to the tent you see the top of in the distance to get food & drinks LOL!! It actually went pretty fast.

All of the people standing along the edge are in line to make it to the tent you see the top of in the distance to get food & drinks LOL!! It actually went pretty fast.

And of course last but not least we had a couple Happy Hours with fellow Pickleball players and RC fliers before our departure date.
Mid-March the park started to clear out every day as we walked and rode around we would see more and more empty sites (I guess that’s why they ran the extension special that snagged us LOL!!). And for about a week the temperatures soared into the mid 90’s which sure slowed us down a bit mid-day and had our minds wandering to cooler places which in turn got us thinking about where we wanted to go this coming summer.

During our brainstorming sessions we decided maybe Michigan would be a good spot to head to this summer. We hear it is beautiful in that area and can be cooler during the summer months, both good things.
The logical side of me thought that maybe waiting until next year and going straight to Michigan from here in Arizona and by-pass our usual Oregon visit would make more sense as far as miles needing to be traveled but just as I was thinking that I started noticing all of the tornado’s being talked about right in the path we would be taking if we did go straight to Michigan from here, Hmmm angling up through the heart of tornado alley smack dab in the middle of tornado season all of a sudden didn’t sound so great so I guess we decided a few extra miles didn’t sound so bad this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have not set a Michigan trip in stone yet but if we do we figure it will change the way we normally travel for this year anyway. I started mapping out a journey with stops along the way of interest but soon realized it would take us so long to get to Michigan at our normal snail’s pace that we wouldn’t have much time to really tour Michigan once we got there before having to head south. So we just might try the “just drive and get there” approach until we get to say Minnesota and then slow down and smell the roses as they say.

Neither of us are real crazy about the idea of the fast and longer day travel method but we figure it just might need to happen. Keep in mind that we are talking about leaving Oregon June 1st and getting to the western shores of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin by mid-July in time for the Oshkosh Airshow so I’m sure traveling roughly 2200 miles in 6 or 7 weeks doesn’t sound like much to many of you but that would be traveling at least TWICE as fast as we normally travel LOL!!

We love when the cactus bloom.

We love when the cactus bloom.

We have been asking questions and researching a Michigan trip and will continue doing so but we have the present to deal with now and now means hanging up our Pickelball paddles, saying goodbye to the all so convenient airfield and our seasonal friends and once again lift our jacks and get back on the road.

Wednesday (3/29) we will lift our jacks and head to Kingman Arizona where we will spend 2 nights before making another move to Mesquite Nevada to spend a week. We have toured Kingman before so 2 nights is just a stopover and we plan to tour St. George Utah while staying in Mesquite, they are only 30 miles apart. From there we will start a slow move towards Oregon with our first stop being in La Pine to visit our good friends Bob & Karen for a couple days. I hope the snow is gone so we can get a good bike ride in along the river, with all the snow they had this year I bet it’s really roaring!!!

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Back on familiar grounds

 On Monday (2/20) after our short 4 day stay in Gold Canyon we lifted our jacks and drove a whole 60 miles to our next destination at Palm Creek Golf and RV Resort in Casa Grande. Oh wait, do we hear the cogs turning out there?? Are you thinking Palm Creek Golf and RV Resort sounds darn familiar? Do we hear you saying “didn’t they just stay there”?  Well it should sound familiar and yes we spend Oct. 15th to Jan. 15th here and had such a great time, plus time to kill that we decided to come back and spend another month.

 Even though we really enjoyed seeing friends while in Quartzsite and even though we like going to new places we realized that we missed all the activities that we were involved with during our previous stay. So because we had some time to kill before the weather turns hot down south and before we need to be back in Oregon for some real life stuff “doctor appointments etc.) we figured what the hey, let’s go back. And because we can, we did LOL!!!

 We rolled into Palm Creek and were all set up around noon and found ourselves on our bikes headed towards the Pickleball courts to sign up for Round Robin play for the next week by 2 and Diane was playing her first Round Robin (which consists of 6 games) at 6PM LOL!!! I was signed up for a 9am Round Robin for Tuesday morning as well as each day for the next week except Sunday. Are we hooked,,,,, well maybe.

 It’s not just Pickleball that brought us back, of course the on-site RC Airfield is a huge draw for me (there is a story here to come at a later date about the park expansion and the loss of the airfield next year. Some people have cancelled next year’s reservations just because of this and next year may be our last year as well), the gym and of course people we have met. Plus we find it a nice eye appealing place amongst the brown desert.

Oh wait!!! Are those 2 new planes in the hanger??

Oh wait!!! Are those 2 new planes in the hanger??

And this little Bi-plane can be flown in a small area as well. A baseball diamond is more than enough space.

And this little Bi-plane can be flown in a small area as well. A baseball diamond is more than enough space.

This new plane will fly in such a small area that I will be able to fly it in just a empty RV site. So many times we are not by a larger airfield so this will keep my thumbs busy LOL!! It need to be calm wind however.

This new plane will fly in such a small area that I will be able to fly it in just a empty RV site. So many times we are not by a larger airfield so this will keep my thumbs busy LOL!! It need to be calm wind however.

 We have been here 2 weeks and have had a great time so far. I’m guessing that we have each played roughly 50 games of pickleball so far. We would have played more but they held a 4 day “Duel in the Desert” Pickleball tournament here which shuts down all organized play unless you are actually in the tournament which we are not “THIS YEAR”. But I’m thinking and hoping that I might enter 2 of the 3 big tournaments next year.

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 And I have spent probably 30 hours AT LEAST at the airfield. Plus we have walked and ridden our bikes a number of miles.

A pretty good crowd gathers on Wednesday mornings at the airfield for competition day. It sure will be missed next year when Palm Creek Golf and RV takes away our airfield. YES you read that right but more on that later.

A pretty good crowd gathers on Wednesday mornings at the airfield for competition day. It sure will be missed next year when Palm Creek Golf and RV takes away our airfield. YES you read that right but more on that later.

All lined up and ready for the dog fight!!

All lined up and ready for the dog fight!!

 We also attended a nice car show put on by Palm Creek which also included a live band, burgers and hot dogs on the grill and of course a beer garden.

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 To be honest we didn’t spend a bunch of time at the Car Show because I flew in the morning and we both had Pickleball scheduled during the event but we did at least check out all the cars and listened to the band for a bit. But no beer or burgers for us this time.

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 In other words we are back into the swing of things and feeling good. We have 2 more weeks to spend here before lifting our jacks and moving on but we can assure you those two weeks will be filled with Pickleball and flying LOL!!! I have a couple little projects I would like to get done and we talked about a road trip to Tucson mid-week before heading north to take a look at a couple RV resorts (for future reference due to the airfield being closed down here, again more on that thought later) and to hopefully have lunch with some friends. So time will tell if we actually break away to get those things done.

Old cars sitting everywhere, the band was playing, burgers & hotdogs were on the grill and cold beer was flowing. All that and great weather, not a bad day.

Old cars sitting everywhere, the band was playing, burgers & hotdogs were on the grill and cold beer was flowing. All that and great weather, not a bad day.

 And the temps are starting to rise down here so I’m sure by the time our departure days rolls around we will be ready to make a move a little north in hope of cooler temps. Diane likes warmer temps that I do but I start melting when it gets above the mid 80’s, I like it in the 70 degree range.

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A short stay in Gold Canyon for a RC Airshow

First off we will just scatter pictures throughout this update in no rhyme or reason.

On Thursday (2/16) after getting our coach weighed at 9AM we hit the road about 10:30 towards our next destination (no it didn’t take that long to actually get weighed but a little yacking was going on LOL!!).

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Our goal for the day was to travel from Congress AZ (northwest of Phoenix) to Gold Canyon (southeast of Phoenix) and avoid all of the big Phoenix traffic that we could. So the best way I could figure out to do that was take HWY 60 south from Congress to Hwy 74, then take 74 east until it turned into E Carefree Hwy (this took I17 out of the picture AND took us through a very attractive area that we would not have seen by sticking to the GPS suggested routes). We then turned south on N Scottsdale Rd and took it until we could jump on 101 which we drove until we could jump off on Hwy 60, then east on 60 until we reached Canyon Vista’s RV Resort and making our travel day about 120 miles.

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 This made our 3rd stay at Canyon Vista’s and we normally stay for a week when passing through and normally a little earlier in the season but this time we wanted to stay just 4 days, between being only 4 days and paying the daily rate and being later in the season (prime time) we ended up paying about $60 per night!!! Uuuuuggggg. Note to self, don’t do that again!!

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Of wait, that's a real plane. I just thought it might be Harrison Ford and he was confused about the RC airfield LOL!!

Of wait, that’s a real plane. I just thought it might be Harrison Ford and he was confused about the RC airfield LOL!!

 After getting checked in and set up we went for a nice walk followed by an early dinner at our favorite little Chinese restaurant in the area just up the road a bit. Then another evening walk before plopping ourselves in front of the TV the rest of the evening, not very exciting we know.

Look at the size of that monster!!

Look at the size of that monster!!

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 The only reason we came to Canyon Vista’s this time was so we (well mainly I) could attend the 3 day, 13th Annual Arizona Electric RC Plane Festival in Mesa. If you are a reader of our blog you will know that I really like RC planes (well RC toys of any kind) so if there is an event in our path I like to attend if we can.

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 The event flier said the show would start at 8am so I woke Diane up a little extra early so we could get out to the airfield before 8, it was only a 20 minute drive and all on surface streets so it wasn’t far from our campground at all. But after getting to the field we found that pilots were still rolling in and setting up and even most of the vendors had not arrived yet, heck the show didn’t even really start until after 9. Well of course I caught a ration of crap from Diane about me always wanting to be early to everything LOL!!!

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 Once everything got going it was pretty good, Friday was pretty nice weather wise with blue skies and only a slight breeze so there was a lot of planes out on display and in the air.

 I was a little disappointed in the amount of venders that were there, I really expected there to be many more but the ones that did show up had some good stuff.

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 We hung around the show for about 6 hours before taking off for the day, a pretty good day.

Saturday the weather was so cooperative. It rained a little over night, the skies were still full of threatening clouds and there was a pretty good breeze so the old saying “The Show Must Go On” was being challenged.

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 Diane had already told me that she had enough on Friday and wasn’t going Saturday and especially with the weather being what it was BUT I on the other hand wasn’t about to just sit around so I headed out to the airfield about 8.

 The day was a rollercoaster weather wise, it would rain for a bit and everyone was grounded, then the rain would stop and it was a rush for everyone to get in the air while they could. It just kept cycling like that all day until finally about 3 when the rain came in and it looked like it was there to stay so I decided to call it and day and headed home. Pretty much another 6 hour day at the airfield even though less enjoyable than Friday but it was better than sitting around on my ars LOL!!

One of my planes is like the one in the front except with a red instead of blue.

One of my planes is like the one in the front except with a red instead of blue.

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 Sunday I checked the Airshow’s Facebook page and saw that the show had been cancelled for the day due to weather so that ended that, now what to do with the day. The answer to that was a trip to a shopping mall where we managed to kill a couple hours after a leisurely start to the morning and then a stop at Costco to bulk back up on supplies. Well to be honest we didn’t need that much but we were in the area and had nothing else planned so what the heck.

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 That pretty much sums up our short 4 day stay in Gold Canyon, it was good even though not all that we had hoped it would be.

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They don't all go home in the same shape they came.

They don’t all go home in the same shape they came.

 Monday morning (2/20) was travel day. Over Valentine’s Day the Casa Grande Golf & RV Resort put out a 25% off special on Facebook so we decided to jump on it and booked a month. If you remember we stayed there from Oct. 15th to Jan. 15th on our first attempt at staying someplace for what we called “long term” and really had a great time so it was a pretty easy decision on our part. In fact they ran the same special last year so we were hoping they would do it again this year.

 So, that’s where we are sitting now and have been for the last week but that will be left for our next update. Just know that we are right back into the routine we had while here before, PickleBall every day, me hitting the RC airfield almost every day (there is a story to come about the airfield in our next update), bike rides and long walks. A big change from what we have been doing since leaving here Jan. 15th and it feels good.   

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The update we promised on weighing our coach

 

 In our last update we mentioned having our motorhome and pickup 4 corner weighed before leaving North Ranch so I thought we would go into that a little deeper. We know for a lot of you this will be old hat but for those just getting into RV’s it might be interesting. And even for you old timers you might be interested in what we came up with for our weights.

 Like most RVers we have ran our coach across scales you find along roadways to at least get our axle weights and total weights to compare to the (GAWR) Gross Axle Weight Rating, our (GVWR) Gross Vehicle Weight Rating and (GCWR) Gross Combined Weight Rating. Doing that is certainly better than doing nothing at all BUT even by doing that and finding that our weights are within the parameters of our coach there can still be problems.

What problems you ask? Well it is possible to be within your Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and your Gross Axle Weight Ratings (GAWR), and still be overloaded on an individual wheel position and unless you know the load being carried by each wheel position, you have no way of knowing the proper inflation of your tires. Improper inflation leads to improper wear, reduced life of the tire, and greater potential for a blowout. An overloaded tire (which usually means an underinflated tire) is the number one cause of a blowout.

 Plus being overweight can cause premature wear and tear on the vehicle’s components and therefore create unnecessary repair costs and worse yet safety hazards.

The ONLY way to properly weigh your RV is by wheel position. Your tires and wheels are the foundation of your RV, and each has a maximum weight rating.

 And if the things mentioned above are not enough, keep in mind that if you ever have an accident and it is discovered that you exceeded the GCWR it could lead to legal consequences and your insurance could have grounds to deny a claim.

 Last but not least having a properly balanced couch with properly inflated tires should create a betting handling RV with a better and more comfortable ride.

 We opted to use “Smart Weigh” through the Escapee’s Club for this weighing but there are other’s out there that also do great jobs, just do a google search and a few will pop up.

Diane driving the pickup onto the scales.

Diane driving the pickup onto the scales.

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 The cost to have our motorhome and toad weighed was $55 PLUS they measure the actual height of your RV. It so happens that Tiffin shows our coach to be 12’ 7” tall but during our weigh and measure we found that we are actually 12’ 8”. Only an inch difference but that inch could make a difference some time in the future.

  OK, a few notes about our coach at the time of the weigh, we probably had 85 gallons of fuel onboard (we have a 100 gallon tank) and the DEF tank was full, The black tank had maybe 5 gallons of water and the grey was basically empty other than what I used washing my hands after getting ready to roll and we had roughly ¼ tank of fresh water. The cupboards and refer are about as full as they can be and the freezer was ¾ full. That’s pretty much the way things are when we travel. Oh I was in the driver’s seat and Diane was in the passenger seat (that’s the way it should be during the weigh).

 Side note, we have 8 solar panels on the roof and we upgraded our 6 house batteries to Lifeline 6CT AGM’s that are certainly heavy compared to the stock batteries so I’m really happy with the results on the front axle.

Here are our results:

 Front right = 6525lbs,,, Front left = 6550lbs,,, total front axle 13075lbs. Front GAWR is 14320 so we are 1245lbs under.

Right rear dual = 7925lbs,, Left rear dual = 8350, total drive axle 16275lbs. Drive axle GAWR is 20,000lbs so we are 3725lbs under.

Right rear tag = 3450lbs,, Left rear tag = 4000, total tag axle = 7450lbs. Tag axle GAWR is 10,000lbs so we are 2550lbs under.

 Our actual GVWR is 36,800lbs and our sticker shows we can be 44,320lbs so we are 7520lbs under.

Our toad weighed in at 5450lbs making our total weight with motorhome and toad 42,250lbs. The GCWR for our coach & toad is 54,320 according to the sticker so we are 12,070lbs under.

 So unless I made a mistake that’s where we stand and I will say that I’m pretty happy with that. The rear is 975lbs heavy on the left rear but that’s where the washer/dryer are located and knowing how little we have stowed on that side in the back I don’t think I will be able to completely offset that but we are so far underweight that to be honest I’m not going to worry about it that much.

 Our coach has Michelin 275/80R22.5 XZA3 tires and I have been running 115PSI in the front and 100PSI in the rear. I think I will be leaving the fronts alone but will be dropping the pressure in the rears a bit, not much but maybe 5 PSI.

It looks like mama can get some new shoes and I need to find a new toy or two LOL!!

 So, in case you now have the juices flowing in your head about tires I thought we would share a few links to what I consider some of the major tire brands you might find on motorhomes that provide information about load limits and proper air pressures.  

http://www.michelinrvtires.com/reference-materials/load-and-inflation-tables/#/

http://www.goodyearrvtires.com/pdfs/rv_inflation.pdf

http://rvweigh.com/Bridgestone%20Load-Inflation%20tbl.pdf

http://commercial.firestone.com/en-us/resources/inflation-tables

http://rvweigh.com/Toyo%20RV%20Tire%20Load%20Inflation%20Tables.pdf

 Hey, while you are checking the PSI in your tires you may as well check how old they are. A tire’s age is determined by its birth date, not the date on which it was installed. Its birth date is stamped right on the sidewall, and it’s called a DOT code. The first two digits are the week, and the second two are the year the tire was produced. I borrowed this picture from the internet but it shows how to read the date code.

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Normally RV tires age out before they wear out in most cases due to limited miles traveled each year by most RVer’s. The typical “life” of a tire is between five and seven years, regardless of tread wear.  And believe it or not tires deteriorate more quickly when used less frequently, such as long storage periods or in a spare tire position. I read that it has to do with the chemical reaction caused by a tire rolling down the road that helps keep it healthy. Sort of like our bodies, use it or lose it.  

And while we are talking about tires I will mention that one of the best purchases we have made since hitting the road was our tire monitoring system. Here is a link to that write-up in case you are interested. (Oh we did upgrade the compressor that I showed in that update to a 150PSI Porter-Cable Pancake that does a very nice job). https://daveanddiane.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/our-new-tpms-tire-pressure-minitoring-system/

And a second item that also goes along with this tire related update that should be considered by all rvers is some sort of tire covers. One of the most harmful things to tires are ultraviolet rays.

We opted for the snap on covers. Easy to install and still allows for great air flow around the tires

We opted for the snap on covers. Easy to install and still allows for great air flow around the tires.

 We opted for the snap on tire covers, I find them easy to put on and take off and I like that they also allow for good air flow around the tires. Oh, and I think they look pretty darn sharp LOL!!  We had the same type on our last coach as well. Any time we are going to be setting for at least a week I put them on.

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 I guess that does it for our little blurb on having our coach weighed and tire safety. Of course there is tons of information online that’s goes much further into detail than we have but at least it might get you thinking.

 After getting weighed we were off to our next stop in Gold Canyon. The plan was to only spend 4 days there so we (well mainly I) could attend a 3 day RC airplane event in Mesa. But more on that in our next update.

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Spending a little time at North Ranch

  As mentioned in our last update, after leaving Quartzsite (Saturday 2/11) we drove a nice mellow 100 miles to our next stop at the North Ranch Escapee Park in Congress Arizona. We drove I-10 about 15 miles east to exit 31 where we and jumped on HWY 60 which took us through a few small towns like Brenda, Hope, Salome, Wenden and Aguila. As soon as we drove through Aguila we turned left on HWY 71 and drove it until we reached HWY 89 at Congress. We turned right on 89 and drove about 5 miles to North Ranch. Other than the short run on I-10 everything else was a nice (mostly nice) 2 lane highway drive.

 I unhooked the truck while Diane went in to check us in and then we were off to our site. (Oh, I will make mention now that as we were filling up with fuel and again while unhooking the truck that our brake lights remained on. WHAT!!!! That’s exactly why we stopped at Freightliner to have recall work done on before heading to Quartzsite. And to add insult we never had an issue BEFORE we had the recall work done geezzzzz. We will report more on this I’m sure in the future.)

Office/ clubhouse

Office/ clubhouse

North Ranch is what is referred to as an Escapee Rainbow Park. Quoted from the Escapee web page (The Rainbow Parks were started to satisfy the needs of members desiring home base park opportunities while providing more parking for traveling Escapees. Rainbow Parks offer the options of daily campground rental, annual leases, deeded RV-style lots, and unimproved larger lots with flexibility to develop them in several different ways. Unlike the SKP Co-Ops where you purchase a membership, in the Rainbow Parks you purchase a deeded-lot that you may later sell for current market value to any member. Use of the clubhouse, campground, and recreational facilities are benefits of Escapees Club membership and are not privileges of ownership of deeded lots. Unlike SKP Co-ops, operating expenses in Rainbow Parks are paid from campground income, and park rules and policies are administered by Rainbow Parks.)

 So taking into consideration what you just read above this park is split up into 2 sections. The section where we stayed which is pretty much a gravel parking lot divided into OK sized sites but certainly not large with 30 amp power, water & septic. No character at all and certainly not sites we would be interested in staying put in for any length of time. Um, did that sound snobbish??? LOL!!!

You can see us on the left. No frills campground area.

You can see us on the left. No frills campground area.

One row in the campground. We were parked at the other end on the right.

One row in the campground. We were parked at the other end on the right.

Looking down the backside of 1 row in the campground area. About the only row with any shade.

Looking down the backside of 1 row in the campground area. About the only row with any shade.

 You can see in these pictures that this section is really just a place to park. But for just $19 per night (electric included) or $116 per week (electric included) or $325 (plus electric) per month you can’t complain about the price. Oh those prices are for Escapee members.

 And then you have the other section of the park where the deeded lots are, the “neighborhood”.

All the streets are nice like this in the neighborhood.

All the streets are nice like this in the neighborhood.

One of the basic bare lots with only a shed

One of the basic bare lots with only a shed.

The streets are all nice & wide and asphalt lined with everything from bare lots with 1 to 3 RV hookup areas and maybe a shed to full blown very nice homes, many with RV ports or at least RV storage areas with hookups. And “almost” every lot is as neat as a pin.

Living area to the right, RV parking in the middle and a covered parking area to the left.

Living area to the right, RV parking in the middle and a covered parking area to the left.

One of the nice homes in the park

One of the nice homes in the park

 From an outsider looking in it would appear that renting a lot in the “neighborhood” area isn’t possible and in fact if you ask in the office about it you really won’t get anywhere, they just lead you to a list of lots for sale and avoid the question. Well they did for us anyway. But as you meet people or if you happen to know someone that stays in the park and knows the in’s & outs you will find out that it is possible to rents a site from a lot owner but it’s sort of a taboo and it’s more commonly referred to as “lot sitting”.  In fact during one of our walks we saw one sign that showed the lot for sale and or looking for a “lot sitter”.

They have a great cactus garden.

They have a great cactus garden.

 Regardless of which area you end up staying in the park, the campground or the neighborhood you have access to everything the Escapee Park has to offer amenity and activity wise.

 North Ranch is like many Escapee Parks we have visited as far as activities with a large activity center that is geared towards games and gatherings (like ice-cream socials). They also have 1 PickleBall court that is located inside of a barn and horseshoes. The biggest draw here seems to be ATV’s. Everywhere you look someone has an ATV parked on their site and from what we gather group outings are almost a daily thing once you start meeting people which is very easy at North Ranch.

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 North Ranch is out in the country just outside the small town of Congress with a population of about 2000 and has just the basics, a gas station, a small grocery store and a great little restaurant called Nichols West that would rival most any restaurant in much larger cities as far as menu selections, quality of food and service and we would highly recommend it if you ever find yourself in the area.

That's one big old cactus in the garden. Lots of birds make this there home.

That’s one big old cactus in the garden. Lots of birds make this there home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well because we planned to only stay 5 days at North Ranch and we didn’t have an ATV to occupy our time and we are not normally sit around and play board game people we decided to take a couple day trips.

 North Ranch is located 15 miles from the historic city of Wickenburg and about 50 miles from Phoenix so on one day (Monday 2/13) we drove into Surprise which is on the northwest edge of Phoenix between Congress and the “to big for us” city of Phoenix and toured a RV Resort that caught my eye while researching the area on RV Park Reviews and also stopped in at a large ATV dealer to see if we happened across anything of interest.

 After killing some time in Surprise we headed towards home with a stop in Wickenburg for a bite to eat and a walk about downtown. There are a few interesting things to check out like The Santa Fe Depot, An Old Brick Post Office dating back to1930, The Hyder’s Livery Stable dating back to 1890 and the Railroad Engine No. 761 and Drover Caboose one of the workhorses of the main line built in 1890, The Desert Caballeros Western Museum, The Old Town Hall and Jail dating back to 1909 along with a few interesting shops scattered along the streets.

 We had toured Wickenburg before so we didn’t really spend much of time this time before heading home for the evening.

 Tuesday (2/14, Valentine’s Day) we decided would be a great day for a road trip to Prescott which is about 50 miles northeast of Congress on HWY 89, a great motorcycle road I might add and a very scenic drive in a car but rigs over 40’ are not allowed.

The courthouse in Prescott

The courthouse in Prescott

 We had never been to Prescott before but had heard from many people how much they loved the area so we were looking forward to the trip. For some reason we had envisioned Prescott to be a small, quaint older town with boardwalks but to our surprise it was much larger than we had anticipated. Prescott has a population of just over 40,000 which is about right for us AND it’s a college town which we also like but just 5 miles away is Prescott Valley that has a population of 40,000 as well making the population 80,000 plus which is on the larger size of what we prefer but not too large.

When we first rolled into town everything was pretty mellow and we easily found parking right on the town square. Once parked we headed to the visitor center and strolled through the streets enjoying the old town architectures we popped in and out of a few shops. Parking downtown is limited to 2 hours so once that time had gone by we decided to jump in the truck and take a driving tour through Prescott and into Prescott Valley and the surrounding areas including a drive by Watkins Lake.

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 After our driving tour we decided to head back downtown to have lunch. We noticed the Prescott Brewery during our walking tour so it just seemed fitting to have lunch and an adult beverage there. Once again I was slacking during this entire outing in the picture category.

We had a nice lunch then decided to walk over to the Superstition Meadery to do a little sampling. For those that don’t know (I didn’t before this week) Mead or honey wine is the oldest alcoholic drink known to man. It is made from honey and water via fermentation with yeast and ranges in taste from dry, semi-sweet, or sweet just like regular wine.

 They had a number of wines to sample and you can buy a flight of 12 different wines for $24 but because Diane nor I are big wine drinkers AND we still had a scenic 50 mile drive on a great motorcycle road to get home we decided to just try 4 or 5. A 1oz sample ranged from $2 to $5 each and bottles ranged from $25 to $85. Even though we like a couple of the wines we left empty handed and headed home.

 Unfortunately there really are not any campgrounds around Prescott that we would care to stay in but we both agree it would be fun to spend a week in the area some time in the future.

 Wednesday (2/15) we hung around North Ranch, we took a nice long walk mid-morning stopping to talk with fellow RVers along the way and other than that we pretty much just killed the day until 4 when we had plans to meet with our fiends Dave & Becky at their place for happy hour.

 We met Dave & Becky back in 2015 through our mutual friends Tom & Dianne at a happy hour and have stayed somewhat in contact but have not bumped into each other again until now. I wish it had worked out that we could have had a couple more happy hours with them during our stay but it wasn’t meant to be so we will be happy we at least had the one evening together, I’m sure there will be more down the road somewhere at some point. Once again I failed in the picture department, geezzzz.

 Well that takes us to Thursday (2/16) and another travel day. But before we actually drove away we had scheduled to have our motorhome and pickup 4 corner weighed by a weighing service that is set up in the park. We have weighed our cough a couple times on roadside scales but have not had a proper 4 corner weighing done since getting this coach and it has been on my mind for the last 2 year. Knowing your axle weights is important but knowing how evenly distributed the weight is from side to side is just as important so I was very anxious to get this done.

Diane driving the pickup onto the scales.

Diane driving the pickup onto the scales.

 Instead of making this update longer I will do a separate update just for the 4 corner weigh.

 We will say that after getting weighed our next stop was in Gold Canyon for 4 nights so we could attend a 3 day RC Airshow that was scheduled in Mesa, again that will be another update.  

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Time for a catch up

 1/15/17 rolled around and with it came a travel day after our 3 month stay at Palm Creek Golf & RV Resort. Boy that 3 months went by a lot faster than we expected.

 We got right back into our routine however and had the engine fired up and ready to roll at our normal 9Am even though we only had a 65 mile travel day ahead of us. We had to be in our spot and set up before the football games started ya know LOL!!

 Our destination was Freightliner of Arizona in Tolleson on the west side of Phoenix. I know I have mentioned this route before in reverse but as you know I hate big cities and Phoenix certainly qualifies as a big city so if I can avoid driving through there I certainly will so I will mention this route again.

 We took I-10 north and jumped off on exit 167 at Riggs Road and turned left back over the freeway and followed it all the way to Buckeye RD. (Riggs RD turns into Beltline and eventually 51st but just follow it). We then turned left on Buckeye and took it to 99th Street and turned right. Then followed 99th a short distance to Roosevelt where Freightliner is located.

 Even if we were not going to Freightliner I would take that route just to cut out Phoenix. (FYI if you are going east and want to do this in reverse you would take exit 132 or 133). This route takes you through so light commercial areas, a little residential and some farm land but most everything is 35 to 55 mph stuff and a lot of 2 lane highway. Just putting it out there in case you case to give it a shot.

Once we reached Freightliner I checked in at the service desk and then we made our way to one of the 7 full hookup sites they have available to RV customers and settled in for the remainder of the day.

 1/16/17 Our appointment was at 7am so by 6:30 we were up, unhooked, had the slides in and I was headed in to see Kirk our service advisor who said they were all ready for us and it should take about 2 ½ hours to take care of the 2 safety recalls we had.

 We had 2 safety recalls that needed to be done and both were pretty easy fixes it seems. One recall was to have a torsion spring replaced on the brake pedal. I guess there was a chance that the pedal would not return far enough to allow the engine brake to engage even though we never had a problem, but better safe than sorry. The second recall was on the throttle pedal assembly. It seems there was a chance that the pedal would not act correctly and not allow the cruise control to engage, again we have not had an issue.

 While they were working on the rig Diane and I headed to a little restaurant called The Village Inn for breakfast. It had good ratings on Trip Advisor and was close by but if we had it to do over again we would pick another spot. It was fine but the bacon was paper thin and we both like good thick bacon. But everything else was ok.

 After breakfast we just hung around Freightliner until they finished with it around 10, then we hooked up and headed towards our boondocking spot in Quartzsite which was just over 2 hours and 125 miles away.

 When we reached the location for the Outside Our Bubble gathering there were already 3 other RV’s there of the 99 expected so we picked a spot, set up and just kicked back and mingled the rest of the afternoon and evening.

 Tuesday (1/17/17) after a casual morning drinking coffee outside yacking and watching a hot air balloon take flight right behind our campsite we decided to drive into Quartzsite to fill a few drinking water containers, pick up some firewood and do a short driving tour to see what all was happening.

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 The outing was pretty uneventful and we returned home just in time to head back out to visit our friends in the “Class-Less” group that were camped about a mile away from the Outside Our Bubble group. Many of the people we had not seen since last year and a few even longer than that.

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 Not only did we enjoy seeing old friends but enjoyed meeting new ones as well AND really lucked out because Steve & Carol were putting on a spaghetti feed. Steve has a special spaghetti sauce receipt that is always a huge hit and it certainly didn’t disappoint this time either.

Steve is serving up his famous sauce.

Steve is serving up his famous sauce.

 After sunset we enjoyed sharing a fire with everyone before finally making our way home.

 Wednesday (1/18) through Saturday (1/21) were the official “OOBERFEST” day’s so we pretty much stayed around camp and participated in planned activities and visited with a few old and many new friends.

 100 rigs signed up for Ooberfest but I think the last number we heard 72 rigs actually showed up. I’m sure a number of reasons effected the turn out. I know weather was certainly one of them. We know people that were being held back because of adverse conditions in different parts of the country and I’m sure the forecast for Quartzsite held a few away as well, it was far from perfect but not all that bad. And 72 rigs with an average of 2 people per rig created a pretty darn good crowd.

DCIM999GOPRO

DCIM999GOPRO

 We had a “tire safety” seminar and a 4 corner RV weigh was offered, for a fee of course. And we also had a tech talk where David “the mastermind behind Ooberfest and a very very knowledgeable fellow” answered questions anyone might have on a variety of RV related topics “anything electronic is his specialty”.

Gathered around for a tire safety seminar

Gathered around for a tire safety seminar.

 We had a movie night. David & Brenda have a huge projector screen about as large as the front of a motorhome they set up outside and everyone enjoyed a movie called “Get Hard”. NO it was not porn!!! Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell star in the movie and I think it came out in 2015 so I’m sure many of you have seen it but we had not. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea with some vulgar language and some adult related scenes but we had a good laugh watching it.  

 

Dave & Brenda manning the donut table.

Dave & Brenda manning the donut table.

Donut morning

Donut morning

 And without saying most days were finished off around the campfire. Well in this case 3 campfires. With the large number of people in attendance we decided 3 fire pits might work well so everyone could get a front row seat by the fire and conversation could be held amongst everyone at that particular fire. Roaming from fire to fire was encouraged.

The band was setting up by the coach to the right and everyone was gathered around 3 large fires getting ready to party. 2 smaller fires were also burning a little ways away for those that didn't want to be right by the band. A great night.

The band was setting up by the coach to the right and everyone was gathered around 3 large fires getting ready to party. 2 smaller fires were also burning a little ways away for those that didn’t want to be right by the band. A great night.

Of course a gathering of RVers wouldn’t be the same without a potluck. You can imagine that with 72 RV’s we had a ton of good food!!

 After our potluck and after the sun went down we set ablaze 5 fire pits and a live band “Notes from Neptune” that David & Brenda hired started playing for our entertainment to cap off the event.

Gathering around for a pot luck.

Gathering around for a pot luck.

The screen is set up for movie night.

The screen is set up for movie night.

 From the people we saw stumbling towards their RV’s after the event I’m guessing everyone had a pretty good time. But I’m sure it was just the rocks and darkness that made people walk so clumsily LOL!!

 Sunday (1/22) Ooberfest was officially over and a few people packed up and headed out but the majority hung around like we did.

 We took a short drive about just to break away from home a while but made our way back in time to for the kickoff of the first game of the day and spent the rest of the day watching football with only a small amount of socializing mixed in.

 Monday (1/23) we decided would be a good day to make it to the “Big Tent” so we didn’t waste any time getting through our morning routine so we could be there by 8:30 so we wouldn’t have any problem finding a parking spot, the show opened at 9.

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 We wandered through the show until about noon, every year we go through the tent and every year we become less impressed and this year was no exception.

 As the days went by more and more people rolled off into the sunset leaving fewer around the fire each night.

 Saturday (1/28) those of us remaining (4 rigs) decided to make a run to the Desert Bar outside of Parker. Diane and I were the only ones in the group that had been there before so we led the way.

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 The weather cooperated and I think everyone had a good time.

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 After the Desert Bar everyone made their way home and once again the day ended around a fire.

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 Sunday morning (1/29) rolled around and it was time for us to lift our jacks and make a move after 2 weeks of boondocking so after saying our “see ya down the roads” to the remaining few we headed into town to spend 1 night at Quail Run RV Park with full hookups, so we thought.

 We had been around 5 or 6 people at the OOberfest that were suffering from the flue/cold going around plus we spent time in town at the Big Tent surrounded by thousands of people and I’m sure some of them could have been bug carriers as well. Taking those things into account plus the fact that I normally come down with 1 good cold per year about this time so I was doomed. Yup, Saturday night I started with the symptoms and they were coming on fast. And yes, I kept my distance while saying our “see ya down the roads”.

 Once settled in our full hookup site at Quail Run we started dumping tanks, doing laundry and a good deep cleaning. As we worked I kept getting worse and worse until we finally called it a night.

 Monday morning I was a mess, in fact so much so that Diane decided to see if we could extend our stay one more night to give me a chance to recover a bit. With luck we were able to stay without moving. Not much to report for that day because I stayed in my chair 95% of the day napping off & on.

 Tuesday morning though not perfect I felt much better but guess what!!! Diane stated coming down with the same bug, holy crud, literally.

DCIM999GOPRO

DCIM999GOPRO

 We decided to go ahead and move back out to a boondocking spot out in the desert where we could hopefully get some space between us and our closest neighbor so we could go through our coughing spells, sneezing and moanin & groaning in peace and not bother OR contaminate anyone else.  So we drove to La Posa South just a few miles out of town, paid our $40 for a 2 week stay and found a hunk of ground and settled in. Because the Big Tent event finished up the crowds have dwindled and it was pretty easy to find a spot that we didn’t have anyone close to us which was nice after being in such tight quarters during the OOberfest event. We parked closer to our neighbors there than we do in any campgrounds throughout the year, there is just something wrong with that picture LOL!!

DCIM999GOPRO

DCIM999GOPRO

 Wednesday (2/1) and Thursday (2/2) we pretty much hung out close to home healing except for a short visit with our friends Jeff & Tina who would be leaving the area on Friday.

 We decided because they were leaving we would pick up a Pizza and sit outside at their camp site and visit instead of going to a restaurant, neither Diane nor I were up for a closed in area with people just yet.

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 We had a very nice visit even though relatively short before saying our “see ya down the roads” and heading home.

I think we will hit the fast forward button at this point so this update isn’t a daily journal of our entire 4 weeks in Quartzsite LOL!!!

 Once again I spent my birthday camped in Quartzsite which works out pretty well for me because I don’t like to do the big birthday thing. Maybe when I hit one of the big birthday numbers like “100” I’ll feel its party worthy LOL!!!

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 Diane and I took a drive to Yuma one day for an outing and to Lake Havasu on another. We had been to both places a number of times but they were both good for a day trip.

 We also once again watched the Super Bowl while boondocking in the middle of the desert. I think that makes 3 now we have watched in the desert. And what a game right!!!!

 And after FINALLY starting to feel better from our colds we were able to attend a Happy Hour with a few RV Dreamers. We sure missed out on a number of gatherings with this group of friends this year but were happy to at least make it to one evening.

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 And I was able to attend a RC Airshow with our friends Steve & Harry. Of course any time I can get to an airfield I’m a happy camper!!!

 We also made it a point to go see if our “HAPPY” that we put in place between two cactus during our first stay in Quartzsite in 2012 was still there, AND IT WAS!!! If I remember correctly we put this in place in Dec. of 2012.

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 Those of you that have visited Quartzsite and camped out in the desert can probably appreciate how amazing it is that it is still intact because of everyone scavenging for rocks like these to make fire pits. We would like to think people see the “Happy” and get a warm and fuzzy so they leave it in place.  

 Quartzite sure has not been a lucky spot for us the last couple years it seems. Last year I thought I was going to die here while passing a kidney stone (I think) and the year before we both caught the crud during our stay. Then this year we had a water pump go bad, lucky for us I have been packing around an old spare that had a slight leak that I was able to plumb in to at least get us by but we will need to buy another new one when we get to civilization again. There is a RV parts shop in Q that had one but they wanted $95 which is $35 more than we can buy one from Amazon for. We would have bought one if we didn’t have our leaky spare but sure would have pissed and moaned about it. And then of course we both caught the crud again this year but those things were not the worst of it, we also got word that Diane’s mom had passed away.

 Those of you that have followed the blog might remember that Diane’s mom finally decided to get old a couple years back and moved in with Diane’s brother and had been on a steady downhill slide ever since until the brilliant and beautiful person we all knew disappeared really leaving just a shell of what once was.

 She was always so full of life and enjoyed every minute. We can remember caller her late in the evenings many times as we were snuggle in for the evening only to find out she was out on the town handing out fliers at a Trailblazers game or acting as an usher at a local theater well into her late 80’s. More than once this would happen and we would just look at each other at our age and say how pathetic we were compared to Diane’s mom LOL!!!

 Heck she wanted to go bowling on her 90th birthday for crying out loud LOL!!! And we did. She only bowled one game but still that’s great.   

Of course it’s a very sad time but we can’t help feel happy for her knowing that after such a full life it had to be hard being trapped in a body that just wouldn’t cooperate any longer, but we really don’t think she was aware of anything during the last year. She will be missed.

 Diane’s mom’s last wishes were to be cremated and to not have any type of service. And because she had thought things out ahead and already made arraignments with a mortuary there is no real need for us to make a trip to Oregon at this point. It seems strange but with family all spread out and her wishes being what they were it just works I guess.

 Our original plan was to hang around Quartzsite until February 16th and then make a move but between leaving a place like Palm Creek where we were leading such an active life every day and coming to Quartzsite where we pretty much stayed dormant along with everything else that has been happening we decided to heck with it and make a move sooner. That’s part of the beauty with this life style, if you don’t like what’s gong on where you are get those wheels rolling and go somewhere else.

 We decided to lift our jacks on Saturday (2/11) and travel about 100 miles north east to a small town called Congress where we will spend 5 nights at an Escapee Park called North Ranch. We have never stayed at this Escapee Park so it should be interesting.

 After our stay in Congress we will lift our jacks again and move to Gold Canyon for 4 nights so we can attend a huge RC Airshow in Apache Junction. From there we have absolutely no real plan, maybe Tucson, maybe Casa Grande, maybe to another Escapee park outside Temecula Ca. or maybe we will see how the weather looks and slide north through Prescott and St George Utah. We honestly don’t know.

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So for now we are nestle into our new home for a few days and after a good cleaning of the coach AND OURSELVES I’m sure we will have some exploring to do.

Posted in A little about us | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Our annual analysis of our 4 year’s on the road fulltime

We have now gone past our fourth year of fulltime RVing !!! Wow, time has flown by.  Actually July of 2016 marked 4 years of “living” in a RV but November 2016 marked 4 years actually traveling fulltime. We celebrate the actual traveling part as our full-timing Anniversary but do our budget update on a Jan. thru Dec. basis.

While we researched the possibility of living a fulltime RV lifestyle we found it very helpful looking at what others experienced cost wise while on the road. So we try to pay the favor back by sharing some of our expenses and changing thoughts while on the road in hope it might help others that are researching this way of life.

You will notice there is no real talk of insurance costs,, health or auto listed in the update because they can vary way too much from person to person. Lucky for us we have not experienced high medical costs to this point. But that certainly needs to be taken into consideration.

You should note that the categories we have listed we consider areas that most everyone will have while on the road. But you should think about storage fees, a maintenance fund, License and registration fees, clothing and entertainment, vet bills and pet food if you travel with a pet and the cost of any hobbies you may have. All of these are also way to variable from person to person so we won’t talk much about that in our expenses for this update.

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RV Fuel, First year = $3787 or ($315.58 per month on average)

Second year = $3287 or ($273.91 per month on average)

Third year =  $2908 or ($242.33 per month average) you just have to love the lower fuel costs!!

Fourth year = $2056 or ($171.33 per month). Hmmm, getting lower each year but I think that will change again in 2017 (higher).

 

Jeep Fuel, First year = $2310 or ($192.50 per month on average)

Second year = $2109 or ($175.75 per month on average)

Third year = $1822 or ($151.83 per month on average)

Fourth year (part Jeep & part F150) = $1487.49 ($123.95 per month on average)

 

Food in (groceries), First year = $4420 or ($368.33 per month on average) we budgeted $350

Second year = $4893 or ($407.75 per month on average) we budgeted $350 per month

Third year = $4829 or ($402.41 per month on average) once again we budget $350 per month

Fourth year = $4603 or ($383.58 per month on average) this year for budgeting I raised the budget to $375

 

Eating out,, First year = $2639 or ($219.91 per month on average)

Second year = $2890 or ($240.83 per month on average)

Third year = $2677 or ($223.08 per month on average) we budget $300 per month

Fourth year =  $2707 or (225.58 per month on average) our budget this year was $2950

 

Campground fee’s,, First year = $8515 (1 month at Lazy Days with no campground fees)

Second year = $6487 (3 months at Lazy Days with no campground fees)

Third year = $10,511 (DANG, we need to be better during our 4th year. When we hit the road we set a budget of $25 per day which makes our yearly budget $9125. That makes us $1386 over budget for the year.)

Fourth year = $7753 (well under our $9125 budget. Hey we are $1372 under budget and almost      negated the overage we had last year to the dollar LOL!!)

 

Average cost per night,, First Year = $23.32

Second Year = $17.77

Third year = $28.79

Fourth year = $21.24

All years combined = $23.04 (I guess we can’t complain because this number is still under the $25 budget we set when we hit the road 4 years ago.)

 

Direct TV,, First year = $760

Second year = $1014.89 (We switched to HD plus lost a $10 per month discount we were getting in 2013)

Third year = $1197.27 (We were getting so tired of paying this much for TV that I made a call to Direct TV mid-November and had a chat with them. By the end of the conversation I had our monthly bill dropped from $108 per month to $73 AND kept the same programing for the next 12 months. That will be a savings of $420 for 2016 from our $108 per month cost and should drop our yearly cost to $876. It all adds up.

Fourth year =  $880.59 (Looks like that phone call last year worked out as planned. Still too darn much to watch TV but I think this will be a number we will just have to deal with. The only way I can see it getting any lower is IF we find a spot to hang out for a couple months at a time that has free cable and we can put our account on “vacation mode” if that’s even available. I guess it’s worth checking out).

** NOTE!! If you will not be using your DIRECTV service and would like to temporarily suspend your account, you can do this at no charge by calling us at 1-800-531-5000. You can say “suspend services” at the voice prompt and the automated system can complete your request.

Requirements for putting your service on hold.

  • Zero balance on your bill
  • Customers with only 1 account are allowed a maximum of 2 suspend requests every 12 months
  • Customers with 2 or more accounts are allowed a maximum of 4 suspend requests per account every 12 months
  • Total time with service suspended per 12 month period cannot exceed 6 months
  • The minimum time for an account suspend is 30 days

 

Phone & internet,, First year = $1764

Second year = $1873.80

Third year = $1937.87 (this is another expense that really should be lower and I hate to pay this much for. We took advantage of a special offer Verizon had over a year ago and have a 30GB data plan plus voice and unlimited text and have a Verizon Jetpack for our internet access which we pay a $20 line charge for that makes our total cost per month $161.47.

Fourth year = $1778.63 (I hear Verizon has come out with a few new plans so maybe we need to revisit what they have to offer. We sure would like to trim this back a bit. If we stopped or cut back on the blog we could certainly cut our plan back and I have honestly pondered the idea the last few months).

 

Mail service,, First year = $210

Second year = $200

Third year = $210 (and we will roll about $20 of remaining postage into next year). Next year our base fee will raise from $120 per year plus postage to $150 per year plus postage. If we were wanting to save pennies we could stop a couple magazines we receive and lower the postage cost and just view the magazines on line I bet).

Fourth year = $190

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On the actual spreadsheet we keep for all of our expenses we have columns for storage, Prius Insurance (was in storage the first 3 ½ years on the road but was traded in for a new pickup toad and the Jeep went into storage while we are away from Oregon), pickup maintenance, Jeep registration, Jeep maintenance, Jeep fuel, RV/Jeep insurance, RV registration, RV maintenance, RV fuel, Health Insurance, Propane, Direct TV, Food in, Food out, Phone/Internet, Campground Fee’s, Campground Electric, Misc. Health/laundry, Mail forwarding, RV clubs, Motorhome goodies, Clothing, Entertainment, Household and Other.

You can see why we don’t share the numbers in some of those areas because they are so individual. For example we spent $343 in 2013 on clothing, $564 in 2014, $970 in 2015 (new hiking boots and sandals each) and $855 in 2016 (we each got new tennis shoes to the tune of $110 each) and really didn’t need to spend THAT much. But how can you compare people’s tastes or wants in clothing?

Taking into account ALL of the categories we keep track of (not just what we share) we were considerably over our budget for the year of 2016. The main culprit that caused that was of course buying the pickup. Keep in mind that we sold Diane’s Prius and my Goldwing trike to offset a bunch of the expense but some still came out of pocket. It wasn’t just the cost of the truck, all the upgrades we did after the purchase like getting it ready to tow behind the motorhome, the bed cover, spray on bed liner, new tires, window tint and on and on added up as well.  If it wasn’t for being able to sell the Prius and Trike I doubt we would have spent the money just to have the truck.

However if we just look at all categories that we keep track of (including ones that are not shown in this update) and take the truck purchase out of the picture we were $1155 over budget, not really that bad.

Give me a cooler full of beer and I could spend a day right there

Give me a cooler full of beer and I could spend a day right there.

 

A few comments

1st year comment: We have a washer drier on board our RV so that helps with laundry costs. Even though I didn’t list the cost of soap ECT. Some of the laundry mats are pretty proud of their machines and charge accordingly. Plus they are a hassle in our book.

2nd year comment: No change here either. We would not own a RV without a washer and dryer (while living fulltime in it). But that’s just our personal preference. A lot of people would rather have the added storage space and less weight. We would rather have the freedom to be taking a walk, watching TV, chatting with friends or anything while cloths are washing rather than going to a laundry mat and being tied down. Plus the thought of using machines that have been used for who knows what is not appealing to us.

3rd year comment: Our feelings will never change on this topic. It is so nice to be able to do a load while sitting around home instead of planning time at a laundry mat. And we know what’s been in our machines.

4th year comment: Still wouldn’t be without our washer & drier. Hours not spent at a laundry mat = PRICELESS!! We do however take advantage of laundry mats now and again when convenient to wash large things like blankets.

 

1st year comment: We treat this as a life style and not a vacation. If we treated it like a vacation I’m afraid we would be broke pretty fast and our fulltime RV lifestyle would come to a premature end.

2nd Year comment: No change here. We don’t go,, do things,, every day. We have our share of stay home days. If we are in a place we find interesting for a week we might tour for 3 or 4 days and stay home the rest. But staying home always include walks and bike rides and the occasional social hour. And touring does not always have to cost much money, there are lots of things to do for free.

3rd year comment: We feel we were in vacation mode a lot more than we were the first 2 years and it sure showed expense wise. We had far fewer “kick back at home” days and even though it didn’t bother Diane as much it started to burn me out a little. I couldn’t keep this pace up and enjoy it year after year. But because we spent a lot of time in areas of the country that were filled with National Parks and Monuments it really did make sense to take advantage of it. I think we will slow down a little in year 4.

4th year comment: It seems we slowed the pace down a little compared to 2015 just like we hoped and didn’t have the constant vacation mode feel we had most of 2015. Yet we still saw lots of new country. I think we could slow down even more and still be very happy but I don’t think that will be the plan for 2017.

 

1st year comment: We travel pretty slowly. We feel it allows us to really experience an area while we are there. So our fuel costs may be a little less than those that like to cover a bunch of miles each month. When we hit the road we budgeted 1 tank of fuel in the motor home per month on average and have not gone over that. In fact we are well under that on average.

2nd year comment: We still prefer to travel 100 to 200 miles and spend a week however after leaving Florida we did pick up the pace a little in order to reach Oregon by June for doctor appointments. And we did stay put longer in one spot while visiting family and friends while in Oregon and only moved 5 times between June and October.

3rd year comment: Once again our travel days were pretty short all year. We did have a few more stops that were in the 5 day range rather than a week but miles between the stops were still short, normally well under 200 miles and a number of them under 100 miles. And once again we were well under our yearly motorhome fuel budget. When we hit the road diesel was in the $4 per gallon range so we set a budget of $400 (1 tank per month) and even though prices have dropped we just stick with the $400 number but as you can see we never come close to the $4800 budget number for the year. We really just keep the 1 tank per month in the back of our minds mainly so we don’t fall into the “drive to many miles and in turn right by things of interest” trap. Plus being under budget on fuel builds in a buffer that helps offset the line items we go over budget on like FOOD LOL!! It’s all about the bottom line.

4th year comment: Even though we had our share of short travel days it seems we have turned it up a notch and traveled a few longer days (to us) and far fewer travel days under 100 miles. I think we started to think more about destinations rather than just stopping at any old small town along the way.  At one point this year I told Diane we better put pen to paper and decide what things we want to see in each state so we can focus on that a little more because at the rate we have been traveling over the last 4 years we may not be on the road long enough or have the life span to hit them all LOL!! Even with that statement in mind we stayed under our fuel budget for the year and we even lowered the budget for 2016.

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1st year comment: Just like while living in a house and working you can only spend what you have so budgeting is important unless you are one of the lucky ones with unlimited income,,, we are not LOL. And we only live on the income we have each month. We have made the decision to not touch any of the money we have in investments and to leave them in place for when we want or need to get off of the road.

2nd year comment: No changes here. We still have not touched our investments to support our traveling life style yet.

3rd year comment: Once again we have not touched our investments to support our life style. But we did dip into our savings account to buy our new bikes this year. When we first hit the road we set aside about 2 years living expenses in a saving account separate from our investments as an emergency fund. Up until this year we had not touched it but did this year for the bikes and new tires for the Jeep.

4th year comment: We still have not dipped into our investments to support our life style (the stock market itself does its share of dipping however without any help from us) but again this year we did make a small dint in our savings account to buy the truck.

 

Here are some interesting tid-bits.

 

* The 1st year on the road we stayed at 57 different camping spots.

**   The second year on the road we stayed at 36 different spots. Between being stuck in Florida until April of 2014 and staying in Oregon as long as we did visiting family and friends the number went down some but felt good.

*** Our third year on the road we stayed at 49 different spots and have a feeling we will try to cut this back just a little in 2016.

**** Our 4th year we stayed at 41 different locations. I guess we did stay a few less places than we did in 2015 like we thought but not by much.

 

* The 1st year our shortest stay was 1 night and our longest stay was 17 nights.

**   The second year (not counting our stay at Lazy Days while buying our new coach), our shortest stay was 1 day and our longest was 60 while visiting friends in Oregon.

*** Our third year our shortest stay was 1 day and our longest stay was 30 days.

**** Our 4th year our shortest stay was 2 days and our longest stay was 78. The 78 days is part of our 3 month stay in Casa Grande Arizona. 15 days of our 3 month stay will roll into 2017.

* That makes our average stay in one spot since hitting the road 8 nights. And if we take our extended stay at Lazy Day’s out of the equation our average stay would be even less.

* The 1st year our cheapest stay per night of course was while boon docking at $0 cost and our most expensive was 60.96 while visiting Nashville. And it wasn’t even the nicest park we stayed at (location, location, location).

** The 2nd year our cheapest stays per night were boon docking at a $0 cost (I guess that goes without saying). And our most expensive was $65 in Borrego Springs, Ca. (Our New Year’s treat to ourselves) and the second highest was $51.55 while visiting New Orleans. And once again neither were the nicest place’s we have stayed (location, location, location holds true yet again).

*** The 3rd year of course our cheapest stay per night was boon docking at a $0 cost (We should just stop stating the obvious but we won’t LOL!!). And our most expensive was $73.14 at the Polson Motor Coach Resort in Polson Montana (our 4th of July treat to ourselves). And the second most expensive was $56.23 at the Portal in Moab Utah where we stayed 2 weeks. Both Polson and the Portal were pretty nice spots but still really too much money and we shouldn’t be paying that much.

**** Our 4th year our cheapest stay per night was $0 while boondocking and the most expensive was $65.58 while staying at Tiger Run in Breckenridge Colorado. The second highest was at the Portal in Moab Utah.

 

* 1st year comment: At the end of 12 months our average cost per night was $25.52. We are pretty happy with that I guess. We budget $25 per night. Campground fees in the eastern states are way more expensive than the western states.

** 2nd year comment: The average cost per night of our second year on the road was $17.84. And our overall average cost per night for the 2 years on the road is $20.69. When we first hit the road we set a budget of $25 per night so I guess even though we have certainly been over budget many months our primary goal is to be at or below our budget at the end of each year. And we have so far been able to do that with a mix of boon docking, staying at the average campgrounds and throwing a few resort type spots in for the now and again pampering LOL!!

*** 3rd year comment: Our average cost per night for our third year was $28.79. And the overall average cost per night for 3 years in $23.29. Hmm, I just realized that I elaborated about this above so we won’t repeat ourselves here. But we are happy that after 3 years we are still under the original $25 per night budget we set when first hitting the road.

**** 4th year comment:  Our average cost per night our 4th year was $21.24 and the overall for all 4 years is $23.04.

 

* 1st year comment: We have found state parks to be our favorite places to stay. And they are best mid-week when most everyone has gone.

** 2nd year comment: We still like state parks the best but we have certainly found a couple privately owned parks scattered around that have been very very nice. And we do like a good mix of little or no creature comforts and the more plush parks. If all we did was one or the other I think we would get tired of the life style pretty quickly. Variety is the spice of life they say. And if they don’t we do LOL!!

*** 3rd year comment: We still like a mix of State Parks, boon-docking and private parks. But state parks are still our favorites for the most part. We did find a new admiration for at least a couple larger parks that we stayed at this year by taking advantage of classes they offered and tons of activities and will more than likely keep them in the mix now and again.

**** 4th year comment: It seems we stayed at fewer state parks this year and we only boon-docked 47 days in 2016. Hmm, I wonder what can be read into that.

 

* 1st year comment: Large RV parks with all the bells and whistles mixed in with the park model type structures have been our least favorite places to stay. We just don’t use or need all that stuff. And being mixed in with all the park models takes away from the feel and look we like. We are talking places with 400+ sites with the lap siding type park models (No offence meant to anyone, it’s just not for us). But we have found that we like the more pampered feel now and again of a resort setting. When we first hit the road we just wanted to boondock and live as cheap as we could. But we have decided that variety is a key factor to our happiness.

*** 3rd year comment: We still feel the same way about the really huge parks but have found a couple that are very nice and after moving so often over the last 3 years have started thinking about finding a park with all the amenities to hunker down for longer lengths of time during the winter. In fact we did stay at two parks this year for a month and had a pretty darn good time.

**** 4th year comment: State Parks are still our favorite places to stay but as we mentioned in our 3rd Year Comment we have found an unexpected admiration for a couple larger parks. In fact this year we actually stayed 3 months in one location at a LARGE resort in Arizona during the winter and must admit we enjoyed having a little structure during that time and bonding with people longer than one week at a time was a nice change. Could that grow into longer stretches, maybe. Can we see ourselves settling down in one location again long term, LETS NOT GET CRAZY HERE (just yet)!!!!

 

* 1st year comment: In our 1st year we found our food budget to be the hardest to control

** 2nd year comment: In our 2nd year we continue to find that our food budget is the hardest thing for us to stay within LOL!! It could be that we simply didn’t set a realistic budget from the beginning. Or it could be that Diane buys too many name brand products, or it could be I buy too many expensive snack foods LOL!!

***3rd year comment: That darn food budget is STILL hard to keep in line LOL!! But this year the campground fees were way out of whack and took the number 1 spot on the hardest to control. Staying in campgrounds around National Parks made it hard to find places we wanted to stay at without costing an arm and a leg. Maybe we are just too spoiled and refuse to stay at dumps I guess. But the food budget was over again this year. We are wearing the same sized cloths so we are at least working off all the food we eat LOL!!

**** 4th year comment: Yeah!! This year if we combine our food in and food out budgets we were $140 under budget. This year we were a little over on motorhome maintenance because of a front window blind motor going bad and our HDMI splitter for our entertainment center. It will always be something.

 

*1st year comment: It’s easier to say “follow the weather” than it really is. But within reason,, doable.

** 2nd year comment: No change to this comment. You’re still going to get caught in some rain or a storm now and again but just knowing that overall you can stay in areas with good weather is priceless.

*** 3rd year comment: It’s simply impossible to not get stuck in some sort of bad weather now and again. But in this life style you can sure decrease your chances of being in long stretches of it like being in a sticks & bricks in tornado alley or some place you are sure to get snow for months on end every year.

**** 4th year comment: What can we say, how can you really predict the weather. But we do know we ended up in Arizona to early this year and will maybe postpone getting here by a couple weeks in 2017, assuming we do Arizona again next winter but I’m sure we will.

 

* 1st year comment: we don’t miss all the,, stuff,, we had while living in the house for the most part. Diane does miss working in the yard,,, WHATS WITH THAT!!!

** 2nd year comment: the same holds true now but I certainly do not hear Diane say she misses the yard work as much now.

*** 3rd year comment: we still don’t miss all the stuff but I have picked up a couple new toys along the way, we still need hobbies. But the things now are smaller and cost less.

**** 4th year comment: We still don’t miss all “the stuff” but we are talking more about having a spot for a home base where we can set up a few more things outside while we are there. What does that mean about our long term future fulltime life style, we don’t know. But nothing will change for at least another year I’m sure or at least until we get the northern states under our belts.

 

* 1st year comment: we packed way to many cloths to bring with us.

** 2nd year comment: Even after purging a few times since we have been on the road we STILL have cloths with us that we have never worn. How can that be??

*** 3rd year comment: as amazing as it may sound after 3 years we STILL have cloths that we just don’t wear. But everything we do have fit’s in our closet and drawers so no harm no foul. No clothing is stored in totes in the belly of the coach any longer.

**** 4th year comment: Same as our 3rd year comment.

 

* 1st year comment: we like small town America compared to larger cities.

** 2nd year comment: this is probably even truer after spending some time on the east coast.

*** 3rd year comment: No change, I just don’t like large cities. Diane is more open to them than I am but she is not a huge fan either.  A town of 50,000 to 60,000 people is about the max in size but even smaller is our preference. There are tons of towns out there with populations far less than 50,000 that have everything a person could possibly need in the way of shopping, restaurants, activities and medical care without the craziness of large cities. Life is too short to spend it being pissed off at traffic every day.

**** 4th year comment: Same as our 3rd year comment. The only change might be that the first 3 years we were very content stopping in very small towns with really nothing to offer and I think we have grown a little bored with the extremely small places for the most part. But still have no desire to tour large cities.

 

* 1st year comment: we put too much stuff in storage. Need to purge some.

** 2nd year comment: after our 1st year we condensed down from 2 storage units to one. We probably STILL have too much stuff in storage but we are content with it at this time.

*** 3rd year comment: We still have one storage unit and don’t really see that changing in the near future.  I guess that will change when and if we ever decide to get a winter home and we move stuff to that location.

**** 4th year comment: Same as our 3rd year comment. And we did receive a notice that our storage unit costs will jump about $20 per month for 2017.

 

* 1st year comment: we don’t seem to,, want,, stuff like we used to. We don’t just buy because we can.

** 2nd year comment: Still holds true even though we seemed to loosen our belts a little and not be so tight with our money. For example we bought our new motorhome, we bought the Quad-Copter, we purchased new tire and front windshield covers and we bought our new Keurig coffee maker.

*** 3rd year comment: This year the new bikes come to mind, that sure blew the “not just wanting stuff” statement LOL!!

**** 4th year comment: This year the truck comes to mind but that was partly a comfort thing (with the intention of possibly buying an ATV to toss in the back). Other than the truck the only things we bought were the Instant Pot and the Breville Toaster Oven and a new RC plane. We certainly could have done without the Instant Pot and Toaster Oven (and plane I guess lol!!) but boy have we enjoyed both and use them often so money well spent in our book.

 

* 1st year comment: we meet some great friendly people while traveling. We have met less grumpy people in the year we have been on the road than I would deal with in just one month while I worked. Or maybe we just don’t pay the grumpy people any attention now LOL!!

** 2nd year comment: Still holds true. Most people we meet in campgrounds are like minded and are just trying to enjoy life and are not wound so tight.

*** 3rd year comment: No change here. People in campgrounds for the most part are just out to have a good time whether they are traveling the country or just getting away for the weekend.

**** 4th year comment: Again no change from previous years, we just continue meeting great people along the way and adding to the snowball effect of friends that we bump into along our travels that we have met during our journey. I will say that while living in a house in one location we all tend to run in circles of friends that are like minded and while on the road and meeting people that isn’t always the case, this election year really was what made me think about this. BUT if you are smart and can keep politics, religion and a couple other touchy topics out of conversations OR be willing to just shake your head and keep your trap shut when topics wonder off in the direction of those topics it does not need to be an issue. Of course keeping my trap shut is not my strong suit and I DO like to stir the pot now and again just for fun.

 

* 1st year comment: I wish I had left work sooner instead of waiting around trying to make life easier for others. The world moves on with or without you.

** 2nd year comment: No change of heart here!! I will say that even though I was plagued with thoughts of my old job far longer than I thought I would be once we hit the road, I very seldom think about the place now. And when I do I don’t think my blood pressure rises as far as it used to LOL!!

*** 3rd year comment: What??? I had a job?? Hmmmmm

**** 4th year comment:  I don’t really think about the old job any longer. It’s much better to live in the present and not the past. We started this journey to make memories, if I wanted to live in the past we could have pulled up a rocking chair and sat on our porch the remainder of our lives staring into our back yard just reflecting. I’m not saying we don’t ever think about or bring up the past but really not that much.

 

* 1st year comment: we miss our family and friends but think they are all happy for us.

** 2nd year comment: This still holds true and it was great getting back to Oregon for our visit after being gone for 18 months.

*** 3rd year comment: Of course we still miss the friends we had while living stationary in the sticks & bricks but with social media it really seems like we have never left in certain ways.

**** 4th year comment: All of the comments from previous years still hold true and in fact during our last visit to Oregon everyone was so busy that we hardly had a chance to all get together but with social media we still knew what everyone was pretty much up to. However we did feel a little more “outside the circle”. Maybe we were holding onto the thought of things staying the same a little too much. I know we are not alone with this happening, we have talked with a number of full-timers that feel the same way when they return “home”.

 

** 2nd year comment: If you are a recycler and travel around you could become frustrated with the lack of recycling in some parts of the country. And if one person of the pair is more of a recycler than the other be ready for the possibility of conflicts LOL!!. Diane is the big recycler between us. I will recycle but it needs to be convenient. If a park does not participate in recycling I have no problem tossing stuff in the garbage. Diane however is more inclined to bag things in hope that our next stop may recycle. So if I start finding recyclables hidden I get frustrated which in turn creates tension. It is what it is, I don’t like clutter and Diane wants to save the earth.

*** 3rd year comment: I have actually seen Diane walk to the garbage and recycling area with 2 bags and come home with one just because they didn’t recycle a certain material. If it were me I would have just tossed it in the garbage. I just shake my head and shut up, I’m sure there MIGHT be something I do that she just doesn’t get, MIGHT be I say.

**** 4th year comment: Not much more to say on this topic. I don’t mind recycling if it’s convenient and Diane does not mind packing recyclables around for weeks until we find a spot to drop them off. It’s just a topic we disagree on and deal with on a regular basis and I’m sure always will LOL!!

 

* 1st year comment: I don’t think, no I know that we could only live this life style as long as we stay in motion. Meaning we keep traveling like we have and not staying put in any one spot for extended lengths of time.

** 2nd year comment: I could see us spending a month or maybe even 3 or 4 in one spot during the winter when the nice weather (we consider nice weather as warm) is restricted to the southern states. Or even 2 or 3 months while visiting family and friends back in Oregon. But if we had to stay put any longer than that I’m afraid we couldn’t do it. That feeling might change in the future, who knows.

*** 3rd year comment: This still holds true but we did stay put in one location a couple times this year for 30 days and did just fine. We have even tossed around the idea of maybe 3 months in one spot next winter to test the waters but have not committed to it yet.

**** 4th year comment: We still feel there would be no way we could stay put in one spot long term and live in an RV but we are starting to talk about finding a couple spots around the country ( 2 or maybe 3 in different areas) we can stay put for 2 or 3 months at a time and travel the rest of the year. In fact we DID stay for 3 months this winter in Arizona and didn’t have much trouble but the place had lots of activities. If we had not gotten involved with activities we would have gone bonkers I’m sure.

Another sitting area along the river

Another sitting area along the river

 

We are pretty happy that we really for the most part have stayed within our planned budget since hitting the road. But I’m afraid if we didn’t keep a spreadsheet keeping track of expenses like we do it would be very easy for us to get carried away. It’s a simple tool that keeps us in check and one we didn’t use while still working so it didn’t come naturally.

Before we hit the road while talking or reading about people that had been on the road fulltime for 2, 3, 5, 8 or even more years we thought, how the heck could you do that!! But now that we have been on the road for over 4 years we understand how. Time really does go by quickly and there are so many great things to see and experience that we would have NEVER seen just going on vacations 2 or 3 weeks a year.

And while planning the life style we thought long and hard about being away from friends and being loners while traveling but it is amazing how many new friends you make along the way. And it’s even more amazing at how often you run into the new (traveling) friends in different parts of the country. And it’s a snowball effect, the longer we stay on the road the more and more friends we gather which in turn increase the chances of seeing them where ever we are. We have used the term, it’s a small world, more times over the last 4 years than we ever used it in our previous life style.

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Yep, it’s a pretty darn good life. You can make it as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. You can stay put, live off of solar power in the middle of the desert, eat cheap and stay away from people if you want. OR you can move around all the time, stay in high end resort type RV parks, drink expensive wine and eat steak every night and attend every type of social event known to man. Or do as we have and mix a little of everything in. I’m sure this life style is not for everyone, and we are darn glad it’s not because we would have one heck of a time finding a spot to camp LOL!! All I can say is don’t knock it if you have not tried it.

To put it simply, if you have a desire to fulltime and the means we would certainly recommend giving it a chance. You only live once with no guarantee just how long that will be so you may as well enjoy it.

We hope this format of reporting our year end results isn’t too long and drug out but I find it interesting to read our own thoughts from one year to the next and we hope you do as well.

We are really pretty much an open book so I you have any questions on topics that we might not have covered in our update please feel free to ask and we will try to give any insight we can.

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