We finally arrived home on November 7th pretty much emotionally and physically exhausted from our adventure. We had a great trip and thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful scenery, special events and people we met along the way. I’m not sure that there is too much we would have done differently. However, you have probably heard the phrase “Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans.” This is certainly what happened to us on this trip. Unexpected issues involving my mother’s situation in Illinois required us to adjust our plans several times and ultimately we ended up spending almost five weeks in Effingham, IL over the course of our trip when we had planned for one. I’m certainly not complaining about helping my mother, but the nature of the issues and the inconsistent, unorganized and unprofessional response of the assisted living staff made everything more complicated and consequently more difficult to resolve. Furthermore, it also made it difficult to plan for upcoming events as we weren’t sure if or when the trip might be interrupted by a new issue requiring a return to Illinois. If it would not have been for the help of my sister traveling from Oregon to Illinois for a few weeks, I’m afraid most of our plans would have been cancelled.
As in most cases, things worked out and we attended all the major events that we had scheduled except for the Michigan portion. We will reschedule that trip some time in the next year or so. Below is a quick summary of our travel stats and observations.
- We traveled 6,377 miles in the motor home. This doesn’t count excursions in the car after we were settled in an RV park. I figure we had around 2000 or so additional miles on the car.
- We used 750 gallons of diesel at an approximate cost of $1,800. We saved .13 a gallon by using our Pilot/Flying J card.
- We added six new states to our list of those visited.
- Cleaned at least two million (or it seemed that way) dead bugs off the front of the coach.
- We were gone for 110 consecutive days.
- We completed our first full year with the motor home on October 12th. We ended up traveling in it for just over seven months out of that first year. Our total mileage is now approaching 16,000 miles (we really didn’t feel that we traveled that many miles in the past year).
- On average, campgrounds costs ranged from between $30 and $40 per night. We tried to get the weekly rate when possible and sometimes this would be below $30 per night. We had a few places like Mt. Rushmore and some large cities where the sites where over $40. The Balloon Fiesta was an exception where prices were way over the $40 amount. The Newmar Rally site costs were rolled into the overall rally cost making it hard to pinpoint that exact nightly cost. We really didn’t boondock at any Walmarts or Cracker Barrels. The weather was really too hot and would have required a lot of generator use so we stuck to full hook ups or at least electric. I did not keep a record of our total campground expenses.
- We didn’t keep track of food costs, but we do like to try new restaurants, pubs and breweries so we did a lot of that. There were also quite a few pre-paid meals at the rallies and Balloon Fiesta. Liz did remind me that she cooked quite a bit too. I think we tried to balance it out over the course of the trip.
- We had no major breakdowns or issues with the motor home that caused a delay. We did take advantage of the opportunity for a few fixes and adjustments to be made by techs at the Newmar and Hoots rallies.
- We had no medical emergencies although Liz had two episodes of what we believe to be gall bladder issues that could have been more serious, and I had some knee problems that slowed me down on occasion. We plan to address these matters along with a few others while we now have some downtime here in Georgia. Getting old is certainly not for the faint of heart!
- Reliable Wi-Fi at campgrounds continued to be an issue at the vast majority of places we stayed. Connectivity was not the problem, but the lack of sufficient bandwidth to do anything was annoying. We had great cell service with Verizon everywhere and increased our data for the month to 40 GB (photos for the blog and FaceTime with grand kids eats up the data). This gave us reliable internet to do what we wanted all the time. It did cost us quite a bit more to increase the plan, but we went back to 12 GB now that we are back in Georgia. We will increase again when we hit the road.
- We found our Garmin 760 LMT to be a frustrating navigation tool that many times chooses questionable routes of travel and in a few cases were just been wrong. I have to say that I’m really disappointed in it. We now rely more on our smartphones and other sources to augment the Garmin in planning our route and supplementing it while in motion.
- We visited 10 National Parks/Monuments, several state parks, and countless museums and points of interest.
- Thanks to God, Hurricane Matthew spared our property from any damage that required us to return home. For us on the east coast, hurricanes are just another reason for getting rid of your property when you plan to be on the road most of the time.