Year One Campground and Lodging Expense Summary

I promised in my early August blog post that the calculations would be forthcoming for the campground and lodging expenses for our first year as full-time RVers. Admittedly some of the information was entered into Google Calendar entries for each stay, but much of the information was lacking. I’ve spent roughly 20 hours gathering and entering data in the fields. Hopefully I’ve learned a lesson to keep the information current so I don’t have to hunt down credit card statements, go through a stack of papers (nearly all have now been purged since I nabbed the info needed), or search on Accuweather for the temp data and Google for the elevations.

I created a Google spreadsheet to track data in the following fields:

  • Name of Campground or Lodging
  • Address
  • Site #
  • Hookups (Electric, Water, Sewer)
  • Number of Nights Stayed
  • Fee Per Night
  • Total Cost of Stay
  • Elevation (over 9,500’ is where our frig/freezer won’t work with L.P. Gas)
  • Day/Night Temps (forecasted by Accuweather on day of check-in)
  • Notes

We now have all of this at our fingertips. Google Drive is even accessible from our phones. Now it’s easy to just review the spreadsheet when planning future stays. In the notes section, I have included some of the pros or cons of a stay, who we visited, what activities we enjoyed, etc.

Here is an example of a recent stay! The West Yellowstone KOA was just 10 minutes to Yellowstone National Park. The KOA had full-hookups and beautiful views!

Year-One Totals for Campground & Lodging Expenses

The grand total for Year One Campground & Lodging (includes seven budget hotel stays with truck-trailer combo in their parking lot) was $8,723.18. Our average nightly stay was $31.15, or $726.93 per month. In 95% of our campsites we’ve had electric, water, and sewer hookups or along with just an electric hookup there’s access to water fill stations and dump stations. We’ve paid roughly $25 during the year in dump station or fresh water fill station fees. Two gas stations provided a dump station for free. When we don’t have direct hookups for water or sewer, most city, county, state, and national park campgrounds have free water and dump stations. 

Most importantly, we SO appreciate the family members and friends who extended their hospitality whether enjoying their guest rooms or in two cases, staying in their homes during their absence. We were the recipients of 74 nights thanks to your generosity!!

Numerous times these stays included a space in the driveway or nearby parking for the trailer. In one instance, our trailer went to storage for nearly a month.

Future Data Capturing

If you think of a category that we could add to our data capturing, which may picque your interest, please provide your suggestion.

We are currently in the state of Washington enjoying areas for the first time! May Autumn continue gracing you with nature’s beauty!

Living Life at the Speed of Sanity with Steve by my side!



Family & Friends Tour Concludes: Part Two of Two

This Part Two recap of the Family & Friends Tour provides statistics and other details of our trek across the miles.

Diverse Landscapes
We certainly experienced diverse landscapes these past 8 1/2 months. Miles of vastness met us over the Great Plains of the Midwest, across the windy flats between volcanic remnants in New Mexico, and throughout the high desert of western Texas. Crashing waves along Oregon’s coastline were thunderous and persistent, whereas the surf along the Gulf Coast in Alabama and Florida was much smaller and quieter in comparison. The many ranges of the Rocky Mountains with jagged and rocky precipices were stark in contrast to the more rolling and gentle Great Smoky Mountains. The hub-bub and traffic of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex was a night and day difference to the much quieter and sensible pace of my hometown of Belle Plaine, Iowa.

Pacific Coast, Brookings, Oregon, November 2018
Hiking at Kartchner Caverns State Park, Benson, Arizona, February 2019

Dotting the Map
From July 29, 2018 through April 15, 2019, we stayed at 59 different locations. This includes private/national park/state park/city/county campgrounds, boondocking on BLM/National Forest Lands, overnight drycamping/parking in casino or rest area parking lots, parking the trailer on the driveways of family or friends thereby staying in their comfy homes, and several hotel stays with the truck/trailer combo taking up parking lot space overnight.

Welcome to California! November 2018

We have camped in 23 states, yet been in 25 states. The two states where we didn’t camp were South Carolina and Florida for day-trips without the trailer. The 23 states in which we’ve camped (listed in order) include: Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia. In 14 of these states, we stayed in State Park campgrounds. In several states we have  12-month State Park passes to enjoy discounts. Our National Park Senior Passes save us roughly 50% on national park campground fees. In our future slower pace, we look forward to more national park, BLM, or National Forest stays to support a more budget-friendly retirement!

Kartchner Caverns State Park, Benson, Arizona, February 2019

Travel Highlights
Some of our favorite travel highlights includes places and cuisines. Favorite places include Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado), Craters of the Moon National Monument (Idaho), Redwoods National and State Parks (Oregon/California), Death Valley National Park (California), Brazos Bend State Park (Texas), San Antonio Missions National Park (Texas), Gulf Islands National Seashore (Florida), Bandolier National Monument (New Mexico), and adding South Carolina to our list of states visited. [Steve’s up to 49 states and I’m up to 44.] It’s of no surprise that we visited numerous national or state parks, since it’s part of our retirement goal.

An American Alligator in Brazos Bend State Park, near Needville, Texas, February 2019

Another highlight was the more regional cuisines across the United States with a virtual bushel-load and bakery-case of tasty, local flavors. Clam chowder along the Oregon coast, a Friendsgiving feast in Reno, Nevada, Tex-Mex fare in New Mexico and Texas, barbecue across the southern tier of states, and fish (fresh and fried) in Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama. Hands-down, one of the most festive food stops was at the Elberta Sausage Festival in Elberta, Alabama (rich in German heritage).  Family and friends often prepared delicous home-cooked meals. Suffice it to say, the abundant caloric intake from both of us now has us on a journey to decrease our mid-sections!

Elberta Sausage Festival, Elberta, Alabama, March 2019
German Sausage with Sauerkraut

Mileage to Date
As of May 22, 2019, we have covered 27,967 miles in the truck and 16,215 of those miles towing the trailer. Perhaps not so surprisingly, we have acquired many additional truck miles in instances when we’re visiting several different family members or friends in a general locale or making the most as tourists or outdoor enthusiasts. We also put the trailer in storage for three weeks in Tucson for most of January 2019 in order to make just a road trip to and from Denver with the truck.

Concluding our Family & Friends Tour, Virginia, April 15, 2019

More Details to Come
We have been asked what our full-time RVing costs look like. We are currently in the process of calculating diesel, DEF fluid, truck & trailer servicing, campground fees, etc. Once we have reviewed these costs, we will share them.

I hope that you enjoyed this two-part recap of our Family & Friends Tour.

“Living Life at the Speed of Sanity”

– Diane (and Steve)

Together 24/7: Separate Space & Time

Final Installment of 24/7

Alas, this will be the final installment of Together 24/7. Hopefully it will give others a sense for how we manage the full-time RV lifestyle that provides us with more undivided time. Please check out our previous two installments of Together 24/7 to gain a more complete perspective on what we’re experiencing.

Solo Time

Yep. Sometimes it’s only natural that we covet solo time. Admittedly, while rare, we do get cranky with each other! Go figure! It may just be a walk. Or one day it was a solo stroll on a beach for me or for Steve a solo bike ride. If we have a campsite with ample space from other campers and nice weather, we may sit and read outdoors in our camp chairs, permitting silence to prevail. One may stay indoors and the other outdoors.

Solo Bike Ride for Steve
Solo Beach Walk for Diane

Another way to experience solo time is taking turns doing laundry. Why have both of us sitting in a laundromat waiting on washers and dryers?! Or, the run to the grocery or hardware store is a great way to create space.

Seating Divided

There are just two possible seating areas in the trailer: the dinette and the sofa. The dinette provides our only surface area. Sometimes when we’re both working on our laptops, it’s tough to also have space for other items on the table. Yet, we manage sharing okay. What also works great is a little folding table that my parents acquired during their years as snowbirds. Additionally, we have a small wood TV tray that fits our scanner perfectly.

Dinette in our 2018 Nash 26N

Night Owl Routine

It’s not uncommon for one of us to head to bed before the other. This isn’t new for us. Perhaps Steve’s really into a good book or I am in a creative flow either writing or editing photos. It’s also not out of the ordinary for me to move to the sofa part way through the night. It doesn’t take much added noise to wake me up.

Sofa in our 2018 Nash 26N

If you’re in a close space with your spouse or partner for an extended period of time, how do you carve out time for yourself?

~ Living Life at the Speed of Sanity

Diane (& Steve)

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