RV TRAVELS SUMMARY TO DATE...
...Back to last year's travels... -OR-
...On to next year's travels...
1-24 JAN, MONTGOMERY AL -- Once again, we began a new year of fulltime RVing by wrapping up our annual Thanksgiving and Christmas visit with kids and grandkids in the Montgomery AL area. We began the year by returning the TST tire pressure monitoring system we bought last March for a refund. The TST system works great when it works, but we have had two flat tires on the Honda due to leaking sensors, and TST replaced 8 sensors in the first 8 months, and then 3 more started giving faulty readings. TST has been great to work with in terms of customer service, but we decided the system was not worth the hassle. As described on our RV Tire Care page, our motorhome valve stems are set up for very quick and easy pressure checks ... so we'll forget the technology and go back to the manual monitoring method. January was chilly this year in central Alabama with about ten successive nights below freezing ...but guess we would rather have that than the hail, lightning and tornadoes we have had here in the past!! During January we had the carpets cleaned and tile floors cleaned & sealed by Stanley Steamer. We finished up some medical issues, and restocked the pill supply for our older dog, Xena ... too bad Medicare won't pay for her pills!! We also made a visit to Mid-South Cummins in Montgomery to check out/repair a small diesel fuel leak on the engine. As expected, the problem was the fuel lift/transfer pump. This is a typical problem on a Cummins engine that was used with low sulfur diesel fuel prior to then being used with the new ultra low sulfur diesel fuel (ULSD). There were costly problems with diesel engines when the EPA mandated a change in the composition of diesel fuel several years ago, and now the same thing again after ULSD was mandated in apx 2007-2008. At a repair cost of $600-$700 per engine, this is a HUGE economic impact on diesel owners as a group!! We really enjoyed the extended time with our family, but it is time to get on with our RV adventures...
25-31 JAN, PERDIDO KEY, FL -- We hit the road south from Montgomery just after noon, headed for the home of friends West of Pensacola just north of Perdido Key. The RV hookups in their yard are across a lot of open ground, and with all the recent rain we needed to arrive in late afternoon when our host would be there to show us the best driving route in to avoid getting stuck ...like his last RV guest did. We did cut some grooves in one particularly soggy spot but speed and luck got us through. You can see one area on the right side where we were about 6" deep for several feet! With our friends busy with work & school during the daytime, most of our visiting was in the evening. That left the daytime for us to be lazy, and to begin getting around to a few projects that were on hold while we were spending time with kids and grandkids over the past couple of months. One project was replacing the original gray and black waste tank sensor probes with Horst Miracle Probes. The accuracy of RV waste tanks sensors is notoriously bad. We've read many suggested cures in the past, most very iffy and some pretty costly. Based on their design and many reviews I have read, the Horst probes hold great promise for more accurate readings. They use the original wiring and gauges, and the price is quite reasonable, so they are worth a try. The hard part of the installation was getting access to the original probes ...the gray tank probes are behind a metal panel behind a basement storage door on one passenger side of the motorhome (found last year when we replaced the water heater), and the black tank probes are behind a somewhat more difficult metal panel in the water service compartment (found a couple of years ago when I replaced the gray tank dump valve) on the driver side. Getting to them wasn't too bad, and installation was fairly easy. It was interesting to find that the black tank walls are apx 1/4" thick and the gray tank walls are apx 3/8" thick. The extra thickness of the gray tank walls made the well-nut type mount on new the Horst probes want to pop back out of the hole, but after some mental processing I used a Dremel tool and small grinding wheel to countersink the rubber head of the probes apx 1/8" into the tank wall. That did the trick! I left the metal plates off until we count run the waste tanks through a few fill and dump cycles just to be sure no probes are leaking. The next project was upgrading the manual-lift Fantastic Fan in the "throne" room to a power-lift model. The motor home came with a power lift fan, but had to be replaced a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, the replacement Fantastic Fan we found at that time did not have the power lift option. We recently found we could replace the "brains" of the Fantastic Fan to upgrade the lower model to a power lift ... great improvement as the shorter occupant on board could not reach the ceiling-mounted lift handle of the manual model! As always, we enjoyed the visit and fellowship with our Perdido Bay friends, and even managed to get in a dinner at Lambert's (Home of the Throwed Rolls) in nearby Foley AL!
1-7 FEB, NEW ORLEANS LA -- We headed West from Florida at 10am, stopping for 53 gallon of fuel at $2.669 a gallon at the Flying J near Gulfport MS. While refueling, our daughter and friend coming from Alabama caught up with us. After a sandwich, we arrived at Ponchartrain Landing RV Park on the East side of New Orleans about 2:30pm. Ponchartrain Landing is a relatively new RV park, with most of the park being built after Hurricane Katrina. It is in an industrial area along a canal off Lake Ponchartrain, but is pretty decent, and has gated security. The only disconcerting thoughts might come when you note that you are located on the water side of the sea wall clearly visible across the road from the RV park entrance! Efforts at continual improvement are obvious. We spent most of Tuesday exploring the French Quarter, about a 15 minute ride on the free shuttle provided by the RV park three times a day. We ate beignets at the Cafe Du Mond, took a carriage ride around the French Quarter, and had the "privilege" of very brief conversations with several scam artists attempting to ply their "trade." After hiding out at the motorhome for 2 1/2 days of cold & windy rain, we got back downtown on Saturday intending to experience some more French Quarter and to see the Garden District via the St Charles trolley. However, the trolley was shut down in the afternoon for the first of the Mardi Gras krewe parades. In addition to being in the wind-up toward Mardi Gras 10 days away, it was the day before the Super Bowl match between the Saints and the Colts, and scores of the "Who Dat!" crowd were preparing to party in the French Quarter, win or lose!! The relatively empty streets we found on Tuesday were wall-to-wall people on Saturday afternoon! Pictures here are looking across Jackson Square toward St Louis Cathedral, and standing on the corner of Bourbon and St Peter during a pre-Mardi Gras parade on Saturday. On Sunday morning, we found a local United Methodist Church well away from the French Quarter as large crowds of Saints fans were expected on the streets ...and came to pass as anticipated!! Our per night cost at Ponchartrain Landing with the weekly discount (equal to their Passport America discount), was just over $31 per night.
8 FEB-7 MAR, CARTHAGE TX -- I woke early, and since we had a long drive ahead of us with an unfavorable weather forecast on the other end, I went ahead and got up and we were on the road just after 8:00am. In spite of driving across New Orleans, apparently rush hour traffic was already over (OR more likely, no one went to work after partying all night over the Saint's Super Bowl victory!!) as we met no traffic congestion. We had a pleasant 350 mile drive, the only problem being that I-49 across Louisiana has absolutely no rest areas for doggie walks or lunch stops! We made our own stops areas when needed, including a stop for 53.5 gallon of diesel at $2.799 per gallon at Logansport LA just before crossing into Texas. We arrived at the RV park run by the Panola County Fresh Water District on Lake Murvaul just SW of Carthage just after 3pm as a cold, light rain was beginning. We picked out a site and got the power hooked up before the cold rain really cut loose. A couple of days later, we awoke to snow on the ground, and had snow pretty much all day with temps never reaching 40. We had only an inch or two accumulation that day, but added another 5-7" in the next 24 hours while Dallas apx 160 mi to the NE had a record 12.5 inches! The local HAM group is small but active and very friendly. We had great visits with the members we were able to meet ...including being treated to a catfish dinner by one member! We enjoyed Carthage very much ...very friendly folks, great United Methodist church, and a very neat town. It might be bit small for our taste perhaps (the smallest WalMart we have ever seen), but there is a Sonic and a choice of good Mexican restaurants ...quite nice over all! At the monthly rate, our cost at Murvaul Lake RV Park was $11.61 per night.
8 MAR-4 APR, TYLER TX -- Since we had a short drive planned, and required checkout at Lake Murvaul was not until 2:30pm, we did our normal morning routine, slowly got things ready to travel, and hit the road after lunch. We drove in rain most of the 67 mile drive, arriving at Northgate Mobile Home & RV Park on the north side of Tyler just before 2pm. On the north side of the park, Northgate has 20 nice concrete RV pull-through sites, complete with very fast WIFI and free CATV. The entire park suffers from a bit of benign neglect, but it is a pretty decent place overall. The day after we arrived was very pleasant and sunny. Then about mid-afternoon a sudden blast of wind hit the patio awning which was extended to shade windows from the afternoon sun. Before we could get to the power button to retract the awning, another strong burst of wind stuck, turning one awning arm into a metal pretzel and damaging the internal parts of both arms. It took the next four hours for us to dismantle and remove the entire 20' awning, meanwhile keeping flapping pieces from damaging the side of the motorhome. We succeeded in limiting damage to a few minor scratches to the paint. We got an "awning arms upgrade kit" awning manufacturer Carefree of Colorado, through a local dealer. According to the Carefree website, the kit can be used "to upgrade any Carefree or A&E awing." The kit used our undamaged original roller tube and fabric, converting our obsolete awning into a current Eclipse model. Tyler RV Center got the new arms in place, and awning reinstalled and rewired in one full day's work. AND, due to the different style, there is no longer a low arm for me to crack my head on!! Once again, we made a significant effort to keep the local economy running in places we visit!!! While in Tyler, we also were successful in replacing the Norcold refrigerator icemaker with a Whirlpool icemaker from a local Lowes store ...it was an exact match. On inspection, it was obvious after we got it out that the 7 year old icemaker had lost most of its Teflon coating, allowing water to wick up the rough metal surface on one end and over the side of the ice tray. With the new ice maker, there is no more dripping water creating ice dams in the freezer! In addition to the repairs, we spent most of one day at Tyler Truck Center getting the annual chassis and generator service done ...oil change, lube, etc. Then, when we returned to the RV park, we found our automatic satellite dish could not find Dish Network's satellite 110. After some trouble-shooting, a call to Motosat support confirmed that Dish Network had once again made significant changes in their satellite setup, crippling our automatic dish ...a software upgrade was required for the dish controller box. We found a Motosat dealer near our next planned stop, made a telephone call, and managed to connect with a mobile tech who would be in our area a few days later and would do the update ...ON EASTER SUNDAY!! We told him we would be occupied Easter Sunday morning. We enjoyed a Sunrise Worship Service ...the warmest we remember since we lived on the island of Guam over 10 years ago ...had lunch with friends, and the mobile tech & his wife arrived at 3pm. After connecting his computer via serial port (who has a serial port anymore???), he got our system updated and working again, and we paid him an arm and a leg. Oh, well ...more help to the economy, right? We had some enjoyable visits with friends in the Tyler area, got in some Skeet shooting at a local Skeet Club, and enjoyed looking around the area. We even looked at a couple of homes for sale, giving us a better idea of what we might want to look for when the time comes to have a "real" home again someday. At the monthly rate, our cost at Northgate was $12.50 per night.
5 APR-2 MAY, SAGINAW, TX -- We left Tyler about 11:30am and had a relatively easy drive to Saginaw, on the NW side of Ft Worth. We made only one stop at the Flying J on the south side of Dallas to top off the diesel tank with 29.6 gallon at $2.98 per gallon. We got the big motorhome stuffed into a small site at Fowler's RV Park a few miles north of Saginaw. We stayed in this park once before, so knew what to expect (tight sites, rules but no enforcement, free but useless WIFI, VERY close train track w/24hr slow freight trains), but still got a surprise when we tried to hook up to the electric box. The 50a outlet is not the standard outlet, having an L-shaped common rather than I-shaped. I tested it and found that it was wired as the correct outlet should be, and had good voltage levels. On close examination I could see that it has had the proper plug "forced" into it enough times that it would work. But our plug would not go in because of the outlet being installed upside down, and having a protruding shield around the outlet box. I got the manager and he came to assist me with a new outlet in his hand. We attempted to remove the outlet and install it properly, but were unable to due to the small non-standard box it was installed in and no slack in the wiring. We finally made it work by removing a part of the shield on the box cover. The box wasn't weather-tight to start with, and was even less so when we got connected, so the manager covered the box with a plastic garbage bag secured with duct tape to ensure rain water won't get into the box. Hopefully it will not rain as much as it did when we were here last October when we saw some electrical boxes partially submerged in water. While in Saginaw we replaced the worn out "check limiter strap" on the entry door, and insulated the hollow door while we were at it. We also got a used 2-meter HAM radio installed and working in the Honda. We had a good visit with family members in the area, including Paul's first round of golf in 2 years, some skeet shooting at a local deer lease, and got a chance to meet some out of town family members at the annual Pate's Swap Meet at the Texas Motor Speedway ...a great place to find parts for classic cars!! At the monthly rate of $300, our cost per night for our 4-week stay was $10.71 per night.
3-30 MAY, DUNCANVILLE TX -- We left Fowler's RV Park at 12:15am, and had an easy 50 mile drive across the DFW area to the Wycliffe Associates location on the campus of the International Linguistics Center on the south side of Dallas. Organizations present on the campus include SIL Intl, the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (GIAL), Wycliffe Bible Translators, Pioneer Bible Translators, and the International Museum of Cultures. We had a good visit a college friend in the area, and other than that had a pretty uneventful month in Duncanville. Paul got the trike & Maggie out for a ride a few times, but with rough roads and not much distance to safely ride, that didn't work all that well. Then little 6 lb Maggie went to the vet to have a loose tooth checked out and ended up having dental surgery. She was already missing 11 teeth, and had to have 21 more impacted and/or loose teeth removed. That leaves her 10 teeth, which the vet said should not be a problem. Maltese tend to have dental problems, but our 13 yr old Xena has had none so she apparently spoiled us! Our last week in Dallas, Summer arrived for sure with temps in the mid to high 90's with very high humidity. Then, over the Memorial Day weekend, our last few days in town, our two grandchildren and their parents joined us. On Memorial Day the parents headed back to Alabama, and we headed West with the two grandkids on board for a month's journey through West Texas and Oklahoma. Our Wycliffe Associate "member" cost for the 28 days was $13.93/night.
31 MAY-6 JUN, LUBBOCK TX -- We headed West from Duncanville just after 9:30am, and completed the 340 mile trip to Lubbock at around 4pm, stopping for lunch and a rest stop, and then at Flying J in Lubbock for 64 gallon of fuel at $2.94 a gallon. After refueling, we drove apx 5 miles North to Lubbock RV Park on the North side of Lubbock TX where we spent a week visiting family and friends. One fun evening was spent at Joyland Amusement Park in Lubbock. The picture to the left is of the two speed loving members of our group. "Family Night" from 7pm - 10pm was only $40 for the four of us, including free fountain drinks! We did the park from one end to the other, and then the younger two enjoyed a few rides for a second time. Joyland is a great place to visit in Lubbock! In spite of some stormy weather plus several days over 100 degrees during the week, we also tried out the nice pool at the RV park a couple of times, a disappointingly short paved bicycle trail in town, and spent one afternoon viewing the latest Shrek movie in a local theater. Our cost for 7 nights at Lubbock RV park was $20 per night.
7-13 JUN, ENID OK -- We got an early start out of Lubbock at 8:45 am. After a couple of rest and lunch stops, we picked up 55 gallon of diesel in the little town of Meno, OK a few minutes out of Enid. After a short stop for a few supplies at WalMart, we arrived at Highpoint RV Park just after 4pm. We have stayed here before, but this time got a site where our rooftop satellite dish was blocked by heavy trees. With 70-some channels on the free CATV, that isn't a huge problem ...just requires getting used to different channels for our normal/favorite programs. They also offer free low-speed WIFI, but it works better than some that claim to be high speed! In addition to the RV site, we also rented a two-bedroom park model trailer for our daughter and two young friends who arrived from Alabama at apx 6pm. The little ones had a great time at Leonardo's Discovery Warehouse & Adventure Quest in downtown Enid, the base swimming pool at Vance AFB just south of town, and Government Springs Park. We also visited the Sod House Museum apx 30 miles West of Enid near Aline, OK. In addition to the sod house, now protected from the weather with a building constructed around it, they have several old household items and a collection of old farming equipment. We had a great week visiting family in Enid, both those who live in Enid and those who live in Alabama and Georgia! We happened to be in Enid in the height of "cotton shedding" season for the very large Cottonwood trees in the RV park, making it look like we were sometimes in the midst of light snow flurries! We had to pay attention to the ac condenser, cleaning it frequently. The picture here on the right shows the partially removed accumulation of a little over 24 hours!! Fortunately for us, our ac unit is in the "basement" of the motorhome and the unit pulls air inward through the condenser, making it easy for us to visually track the building accumulation, and to clean it as needed ...which was frequently!! For more information on Cottonwood seeds and ac units, go to our "lessons learned" sheet on the subject by clicking HERE. Our cost for the RV site at Highpoint RV Park for 7 nights was $18.57 per night.
14-20 JUN, WOODWARD OK -- After "breakfast" at a local donut shop, we left Enid about 10:30am, headed West through the Gloss Mountain area for the apx 90 minute drive to Boiling Springs State Park just north of Woodward OK. The Gloss Mountains are named for the glittering glossy effects seen at sunrise and sunset as the sun reflects off the plentiful alabaster on the buttes and hillsides ...it is a very scenic area, and boasts what some call "Oklahoma's Painted Desert." We arrived at Boiling Springs State Park just after noon. We have stayed at Boiling Springs before, and found only one rig in the 10 full hookup sites on top of the hill in the Whitetail Campground. We picked out our site and got set up, then drove down to the office to register. The campground is well named as we were seeing Whitetail Deer just about everywhere we looked ...one even followed the grandkids around one evening, much to their consternation! On our return to the campground after registering, we found two additional rigs in the full hookup area, and a pop-up in the water & electric (called "semi-modern" here) area. There was also a tent or two down in the trees to the south. Most evenings we saw a few cars and/or motorcycles come in and set up tents for the night, and leave first thing the next morning. This stay was not as pleasant as in years past as there was a large church group in a "group camp area" a short distance through the woods who played very loud "music" at both early and late hours, violating the posted quiet hours and making the customarily plentiful wildlife somewhat scarce after our first day. We enjoyed visiting family members in the area, visiting the family homestead south of Gage, and swimming at the artesian beach at Gage and the nice pool at Boiling Springs. Our cost at Boiling Springs was $12 per day for the site, plus $11 per day "utility fee" for a total of $23 per night.
21-27 JUN, GUTHRIE OK -- After stopping by for one last visit with family members, we headed South from Woodward about 11:15am, made a stop for lunch East of Watonga, and arrived at Cedar Valley RV & Golf Resort west of Guthrie at little after 2pm. It was a hot week, but we enjoyed several visits with family members, Toy Story 3 at a theater in Edmond, and a trolley tour of historic Guthrie. On Sunday we enjoyed worship at the beautiful old First United Methodist Church. During the week, we noted that our refrigerator was not maintaining adequate temperatures. With the new cooling unit installed last November, that should not be a problem! Then we realized we were not hearing the 12v cooling fans that are designed to run in warmer temperatures to pull air over the cooling unit coils and out the roof vent ...and we did not recall hearing them in quite some time. We were able to get an appointment with Motley RV Repairs on the West side of Oklahoma City for 9:30 on Friday. We arrived at 9am, and after getting signed in and repositioned near the service bays, the tech found that the 12v power to the refrigerator control board was hooked up backwards, causing a reversed polarity. Many electrical items will run fine on reversed polarity, but the stack fans did not. The tech swapped the wires around, and we immediately heard the welcome sound of the humming fans. Offered the choice between being billed at the hourly rate of $132.00 for one hour's labor, or making at least a $50 donation to their "charity bucket", we gladly made a $100 donation, thanked them for their great service, and were back at Cedar Valley RV Park three hours after we left. That included nearly 2 hours driving time for the 80 mile round trip! On the weekly rate, our nightly cost at Cedar Valley was $18.57.
28 JUN-5 JUL, VAN BUREN AR -- We left Cedar Valley just after 9am, headed East through Guthrie to I-35, and then south. We stopped at the Flying J in Edmond for 56 gallon of diesel at $2.66 per gallon, and for lunch near Checotah. We found light rain as we approached the state line, and it turned into a full downpour when we entered Arkansas. Three miles later, just after 1pm, we arrived at Park Ridge RV Campground just West of Van Buren. The campground has a very heavy tree cover so our satellite TV dish would not work, but they do provide 60-some channels of free CATV. They want $3 per day for their WIFI, which we gladly declined in favor of our Verizon Broadband at less than $1 per day through our tethered cell phone. Park Ridge is an older RV park in fairly decent condition. Water pressure is very low, electrical voltage sags under load, and the streets and sites are a combination of gravel, dirt, and mud. Sites have "shared utilities" and are quite close together. A couple of hours after we arrived, our two grandkids gladly welcomed their parents as they arrived from Alabama, signaling the end of their one-month adventure on the road with "Gramps' Camp." Although the grandkids and their parents left two days later for the Alabama beach, we enjoyed visiting with other family members and friends in the Van Buren/Ft Smith area. While the grandkids were there we got in some sight-seeing at Ft Smith historical sites, including a ride on a genuine old electric trolley car! On July 3rd, we enjoyed some great fireworks from the banks of the Arkansas River in Ft Smith. At the weekly rate plus one night, our nightly cost at Park Ridge was $27.91 ...a bit on the pricey side, especially for what they provide.
6-9 JUL, GROVE OK -- About 10 days ahead of time, we decided to add a stop at the Grand Lake O' The Cherokees just north of Grove OK. We joined in a joint chapter muster with the Midway and MOHawk chapters of SMART. Grand Lake is one of the largest fresh water lakes in the United States, covering 46,500 acres, and with more coastline than the state of California! The lake was created in 1940 with the completion of construction of Pensacola Dam several miles away, which is the longest multiple arch dam in the world. The muster was held at Cedar Oaks RV Resort. Despite the word "resort" in their name," their prices were quite reasonable. We had a good time with the SMART folks, and spent an interesting afternoon at Har-Ber Village, a very large antiques museum with multiple buildings covering a large area along one part of the lake shore. Our nightly cost at Cedar Oaks RV Resort was $20.95.
10-14 JUL, STEELVILLE MO -- Looking for someplace in Missouri to spend a few days before meeting an airplane in St Louis, we found Candy Cane RV park in our Passport America book. This little RV park is located south of I-44 on a loop between St James and Steelville MO. Between Thanksgiving and New Year's they have a display of Christmas decorations from Conway Twitty's Estate ...but not during our stay, and a bit out of season in the very hot and humid July weather anyway!! It was peaceful, they had full hookups, and very fast free WIFI. While there we had to replace the Shurflo 5.7gpm water pump with the smaller capacity backup pump we have learned to carry. Shurflo has a great warranty, and great customer service ...they have replaced this 5.7gpm pump an average of once a year since the first one we bought in 2005! It is great when it works... While at Steelville, we visited nearby Cuba MO, referred to by some as "Route 66 Mural City" because of its location on Historic Route 66 and the 15 murals around town commemorating historic events in the Cuba area, plus several others sponsored by local businesses on their own property. The murals are very good, and can be found with a map from the visitor's center on I-44, or can be viewed on a "Trolley Mural Tour." The picture here is of one part of the Civil War Mural near downtown. Also nearby, we found the huge "Route 66 Rocker," proclaimed to be "the world's largest rocking chair" at 46 ft tall. It is huge!! We don't question their claim at all! On Sunday, we worshipped at the UMC in nearby St James, MO. With our Passport America discount, our nightly cost at Candy Cane RV park was $10.65 ...a great deal!!
15-18 JUL, BRIGHTON IL -- We headed NE from Steelville about 10am, stopped along the way for lunch at a Subway shop, and arrived at the home of friends near Brighton IL about 1pm. It was a short 132 miles. We left the motorhome in their yard the next day when they delivered us to the airport in St Louis a few miles to the South so we could fly to the Washington DC area for the wedding of a nephew and his bride on Kent Island MD. We stayed in Annapolis, and didn't have time to get into DC at all this trip ...we'll have more time for that later in the year. The motorhome had basic electric connection while at the farm, keeping the batteries charged while the refrigerator and the roof vents ran full speed in the intense heat and humidity. Our "smart" thermometer told us that while we were gone the inside temps were a high of 103.6F and a low of 69F ...and the refrigerator stayed under 44F...not bad! We had a great time with family members at the wedding, and arrived back at Brighton on Sunday afternoon. The visit and fellowship with our friends at the Brighton farm was also great. The picture here is the view out the "living room" window of the motorhome where we were parked at the farm just East of Brighton.
15-18 JUL, SPRINGFIELD IL -- After picking up the dogs from the nearby kennel, we left the Brighton farm about 10am, headed NE apx 85 miles to Springfield. After getting onto I-55 and regaining a decent cell phone signal, we stopped at a rest area to call the Illinois State Fairground Campground to see if they had sites available ...but we got only voice mail. Due to having run the generator apx 30 hours in order to have air conditioning during two overnights at the farm, we estimated that had burned apx 10 gallon of fuel (apx 1/2 gallon per hour when running full capacity, which is rare) and we needed a fillup and there were no Flying J stations around. At the I-55 exit for the fairgrounds we also found a Pilot Truck Stop. Compared to Flying J (which has recently been "merged/bought out" by Pilot), we have found Pilot Truck Stops to be the armpit of the truck stop world. This one lived down to that expectation ...very rough entry/exit roads, dirty pumps & fuel lanes, and even worse we could not pay at the pump on the truck lanes!! That cost us just over $10 on our $201.35 fillup (3.019/gallon), as our credit card gives us a 5% discount when we pay at the pump. We sure hope Pilot's take-over of Flying J doesn't ruin them too!!! On arrival at the State Fairground Campground we found the office is closed on Sunday and Monday, so called the number for Security as directed on signs at the office. There were obviously plenty of open sites. The security officer quickly arrived and checked us in on a 50a full hookup site on the asphalt parking lot just down the hill from the 30a grass sites. We got parked just as a severe thunderstorm cut loose, with plentiful cloud-to-ground lightning, so we waited about an hour before we hooked up to the electric power just in case of a lightning strike. We spent a peaceful week among a number of horse trailer RVs ...horse trailers with living quarters built into the front part of the trailer. Some of these trailers are around 60' long!! While in Springfield, we spent time viewing the very impressive Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, where we took the photo here of the wax figures of Abe, Mary, and their three younger sons, and the equally impressive Lincoln's Tomb/Gravesite at Oakwood Cemetery near the fairgrounds, the burial site of President Abraham and Mary Lincoln, and three of their four sons. On Sunday, we worshipped at Douglas Ave UMC, where we enjoyed good fellowship and the beautiful old building. With the "senior" rate (over 55), our one week stay at the Illinois State Fairground cost us $17.86 per night.
26 JUL-25 AUG, WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, FAIRBORN OH -- We left Springfield about 8:20 am, and arrived at Wright-Patterson AFB in Fairborn OH, just North of Dayton, at 3pm. We made a rest stop along the road in Illinois, a lunch stop on the south side of Indianapolis, and a fuel stop a couple of hours later at the Flying J near Spiceland, paying $2.99 a gallon for 35.5 gallon of diesel. We had made reservations at W-P about six weeks in advance, and were surprised when they charged the entire amount in advance to hold the reservation, rather than one night as most campground do. On arrival, we also discovered that their 50a electric outlets are not the true 240v/120v outlets they should be. It is impossible to tell how they are wired without taking them apart, but since the multi-meter reads two 120v power legs and 0v where it should read 240v, they likely are fed by only one circuit rather than the required two opposite phased circuits. The result is that we likely have only 50a of power available rather than the normal 100a provided on the 240v/50a outlet. That could result in tripped breakers if too many appliances are used at the same time, or an overheated neutral if they really are badly wired ...hard to believe in a military facility. This famcamp is known for its low water pressure, I guess we can add to that the bogus 50a power. While in Dayton we got the leaking Shurflo water pump returned to the factory in Indiana, and received a new warranty replacement in less than a week. We also finally broke down and bought a Wilson 801212 3W Wireless Cellular Amplifier Kit. A couple of years ago we bought an external cellular antenna, but were too cheap to buy the matching amplifier ...now with a newer cellphone that doesn't have a jack to attach the amp, we finally bought the amp which comes with a wireless "connection" to any cell phone. When we powered up the amp, we immediately got an increase in reception signal strength from 2 or 3 bars to maximum strength on both cell phones. That should really help our cell voice and data reception in weak signal areas. Check out the picture here of the strange "RV" that backed in next to us one day. It is what it looks like ...a portable observatory with home-built living quarters on the front half of the 25-30' trailer. You can check out the portable observatory option at www.skyshedpod.com ...get one for your backyard, or put it on wheels like this one! We spent one day at Lewis RV in Dayton getting the annual roof sealant inspection/R&R ...looks like they did a great job. We enjoyed visits with several friends, and weekend worship at Sulphur Grove UMC in Huber Heights. Paul & Maggie enjoyed several recumbent trike rides on the great Miami Valley bicycle trail network, and a few rides around the base. During some slow days, we watched the groundhogs around the north side of the Famcamp, particularly one brave one who ventured into the campground among the RVs. Our cost for one month at the Wright-Patterson AFB FamCamp was $17.06 a night.
26 AUG-1 SEP, WESTFIELD NY -- The hot, muggy weather was beginning to fade to more pleasant weather over the past couple of days when we left the Dayton area at 9:15 am. We did not need air conditioning at all on our way to Western New York state. After a couple of rest stops, lunch stop, and a stop for 41 gallon of diesel at the Flying J near Austinberg OH @ $2.96/gallon, we took the first exit on I-90 after entering New York and arrived at Brookside Beach Campground just West of Westfield at apx 4:00 pm. There are many permanently installed trailers at Brookside along with a fair number of full hookups for motorhomes. Sites are grass and not particularly level, but the view out over Lake Erie is great, the sunsets are spectacular, and the private beach is just a few steps down the stairs below the rock face of the shoreline. This area is known as the "Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt," a strip of land apx 60 miles long and 2 to 6 miles wide between Lake Erie on the North and the Allegany Plateau Escarpment on the south where the climate is perfect for growing a wide variety of grapes. There are a number of wineries in the area, but we visited only the closest ...which is apparently one of the area favorites. We figured after buying 5 bottles of wine there, we didn't need to visit/sample/buy at any others! While in NY some parts for one of our Fantastic Fan power roof vents caught up with us. A plastic part broke about 10 days ago when I tried to manually open one of the vents, so I called the company for a replacement part. They sent out not only the motor cover I needed, but also a new lift motor and a new style lift arm ...all at no cost to us! The folks really live up to their name ...fantastic!! Our cost for one week at Brookside Beach Campground was $28.86 a night.
2 SEP, WOODLAND PA -- After leaving Brookside Beach about 10am, we stopped in Bradford PA for a lunch visit with friends. We had a great visit at a local Perkins restaurant, and then made a stop at WalMart and a Radio Shack next door before heading on south. While in NY I tried out an idea I had to add a reverse switch to one of our Fantastic Fan roof vents. It worked great, and the cost was only $3.98! So I needed two more DPDT Center Off toggle switches for the other two roof vents ...the Radio Shack in Bradford had just two, so I bought them both! We arrived at Woodland Campground near Woodland & Clearfield PA at 3:30pm, just in time to get parked and plugged into electric before getting our chairs and heading out to Happy Hour with fellow members of the SMART Nomad and Fulltimers chapters who are having pre-muster activities here for the next several days before moving on to Centre Hall for the 2010 SMART National Muster. We had a good visit, but can stay for only one night as we need to be at another location for the Board of Directors meeting over the next few days. Woodland is a decent campground, but the 50a power had sagging voltage and the free WIFI didn't work. We did however have a good Verizon cellular broadband connection. Our cost for one night at Woodland Campground was $30.60.
3-6 SEP, SPRING MILLS PA -- We left Woodland just after 11am for the short 1 hour drive to Seven Mountains Campground at Spring Mills PA where the SMART Board of Directors were scheduled to meet for several days prior to the National Muster at the state fairgrounds in Centre Hall beginning on the 7th. Pennsylvania is very hilly country, with some 10% grades which add "fun" to RV travel! At Seven Mountains, we found the campground was not what it had been represented to be. They had very few RV sites with sewer connections (when they advertise "sewer service" they mean you can request they bring their "honey wagon" by and hook up to your RV to dump the waste water tanks), and even fewer with 50a power. After asking us how long our motorhome is, and hearing our answer of 40', they parked us in a tent site on sloping ground! I refused to back in from uphill to downhill as suggested as there was absolutely no way to level a 40' motorhome in that configuration. I backed into the tent site from the side where I could get as little slope as possible side to side, then still had to use several planks under the left front leveling jack and tire to safely level the motorhome. The 30a power connection had extremely marginal low voltage, the water pressure had almost NO pressure, satellite TV reception was not possible due to heavy trees, OTA TV is extremely limited with very weak signal, and although the RV sites are wired for CATV, it apparently is not an active system. And to top it off, the promised meeting space turned out to be a small open air pavilion so our group had to find another location about 8 miles away for the BOD meetings. But the campground owners did provide a hot dog/burger burn for our group so at least we had a good time together! We learned that this is their first season of owning the campground and they are beginning to work some much-needed improvements. I held a worship service for our group in the open pavilion on Sunday morning ...the breeze was cool but the fellowship was warm! Our cost for four nights at Seven Mountains was $36 per night ...much higher than we generally pay for better facilities ...and the following week we had some additional expense when we had to replace the end on our fresh water hose, apparently cracked when the campground folks ran over our sediment water filter with their tractor when they came by to pump out our waste water tanks.
7-13 SEP, CENTRE HALL PA -- On Tuesday morning, we convoyed with a few other rigs from the campground apx 7 miles North to the Center County Grange Fairgrounds in Centre Hall where we were part of the 2010 National Rally of SMART (Special Military Active Retired Travel Club). We are members of one local and three at-large chapters of SMART, and Paul serves as the National Chaplain. The National Musters are always a great time, and this one was no different. There were just under 200 rigs present, and while the evenings were a bit cool, the weather was very nice most of the week. The utility hookups at the Grange Fairgrounds were a welcome change from recent RV parks we have been in. The 30a power held good voltage levels, and the water pressure was dangerously high. Our gauge measured it at 110psi!! Fortunately we use a good pressure regulator so did not have problems as some other folks did ...there were many who suffered "blow outs" in their water hoses during the week, and some no doubt had leaks in their RV plumbing. A good water pressure regulator is a very good piece of equipment to have on an RV. Most RV hookups at the fairground do not have sewer connections, but that is typical of fairground setups. One interesting feature of this fairgrounds are the 950 tents that people live in during the annual Grange Fair that took place the week before we arrived. In the picture to the left, note the asphalt floors and electrical hookups. These tents are highly coveted accommodations, with people eager to have one being on waiting lists for many, many years for their opportunity. Once a family gets a tent, they pass it along from one generation to the next! Among the rally vendors at the SMART National Muster we finally found some LED light bulbs that are bright enough to use in our 12v reading light fixtures. We have tried others in the past, and had to return them as they were too dim or cast too tight a beam to be useful for reading. The A1141 3w bulbs are a great replacement for the 1383 incandescent bulbs we burn out on a very regular basis, and are far better than previous LEDs we have tried. We also found some 300 lumen replacement bulbs for the 12v 1156 incandescent bulbs that literally melt the lenses on our two porch/yard lights, and some good replacements for the 12v G4 halogen bulbs in some of our accent lighting fixtures. These bulbs all use far less energy than the incandescent bulbs they replace, in some cases 1/10 the amps!!! That is a very significant difference where battery endurance is important when we are parked without electrical hookups. We also found a new TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) we believe will work better than the one we tried last year. Hopefully it will, as without such a system it is virtually impossible to notice a flat tire on the car being towed behind the motorhome until damage has been done to the car. We'll comment more on how the new Tire Tracker system is working in a later post after it has been installed and thoroughly road tested. During a free afternoon at the Muster, we took off on our own for a tour of nearby Penn's Cave. It is a very neat experience as once you walk down the 45 steps and a steep slope into the mouth of the cave, the rest of the tour is by boat ...including going out the manmade rear entrance onto Lake Nittany, and then back into the cave for the return trip to the natural entrance. Our cost for 7 nights at the Grange Fairgrounds was $33 per night, which included $8 per night above the normal charge of $25 to enable the Muster hosts to pay the rent fees on the buildings used during the Muster.
14-17 SEP, FALLING WATERS WV -- After heavy fog on the morning of the 13th when most of the Muster attendees departed, the 14th dawned clear and sunny. We had a pleasant 125 mile drive southward to Falling Waters WV for a few nights before heading on to the Washington DC area. Falling Waters Campsites is a small RV park just off I-81 just over the state line from NW Maryland. Their "free" WIFI via Tengo worked for a few hours, then dropped the connection and never worked again, but our Verizon broadband worked well although much slower than normal due to our being in a 1X area rather than a native Verizon EVDO area where we get very good data speeds. We found a WalMart Supercenter a few miles away where we re-stocked on groceries. The rest of the time we just rested up from the busy last 10 days. With our FMCA/Senior discount, our cost for full hookup site at Falling Waters was $35 per night.
18-26 SEP, JOINT BASE ANDREWS, aka ANDREWS AFB, CAMP SPRINGS MD -- Getting out of the Falling Waters Campsites wasn't easy ...our neighbor moved his car and we got out of our site easy enough, but then had to unhook the car from behind the motorhome when we discovered the turn-around in the RV park was too tight to turn the motorhome!! After unhooking, jinking and jiving to get pointed outward, re-attaching the tow bar, brakes and lights, we finally headed southward down I-81 toward the DC area about 10:45am. The drive was right at 100 miles, with typically bumper-to-bumper traffic on the north Beltway ...it took us about 20 minutes to go 5 miles or so before we resumed normal speeds. On arrival at Andrews AFB, the home of AF One, we made our way to the "truck entrance" gate that did not exist when we left here 8 years ago. At the gate, as required, we told the security folks we had a firearm on board and they backed off and called Security Forces to escort us to the armory where we would be required to store the firearm while we are visiting Andrews. When our SF escort arrived, we were waved to follow them, and ended up at the SF Armory where we signed in the firearm and ammo. Then we made our way to the Famcamp. During our week-long visit, we found lots of changes at Andrews, starting with it now being called Joint Base Andrews. There is a great deal of construction going on to provide office space for all the military functions being moved from other downsized or closed military installations by the latest BRAC (base re-alignment and closure) commission that met around 2005. The idea is to save money by consolidating and/or closing military installations, but it is hard to imagine savings when you see all the new building that has to go on after BRAC does its work. We also found our home here eight years ago ...by far the nicest home we lived in during our 26 years on active duty, and a designated Colonel house ...has been remodeled/enlarged/rebuilt into a VERY nice home, and has been named for a former CMSgt of the Air Force, and is now the designated home for the currently serving CMSgt of the Air Force ...very interesting! In addition to sight-seeing around Andrews, and some trike rides with little Maggie, we got in visits with several friends in the area and spent some time in nearby Old Town Alexandria where we took these two pictures. It is a neat place to visit, with lots of great places to eat. Unlike the great facilities throughout most of Andrews AFB, the famcamp is one of the worst military famcamps in the country. But we knew that, and came here anyway to visit friends nearby. They do have full hookup sites, but are limited to 30a power, no CATV, no WIFI, and most sites cannot receive satellite TV due to tree cover ...and we got one of those "covered" sites. Although we do have a digital "box" for over-the-air TV, there weren't many local channels with broadcasts we were interested in ...surprising number of foreign language news stations! Most of the area is covered with large gravel/stones, and sites are not level. There are tables and grills at most sites, and most of the grills are somewhat usable even though many are bent at odd angles. DO YOU FILTER THE WATER THAT GOES INTO YOUR RV?? There are warning signs in the Famcamp laundry room that the water is sometimes "rusty", and that it may "soil" any clothing you wash. We have a washer/drier in our motorhome and always use a 1 micron sediment filter at the hydrant, in addition to a charcoal filter under the galley sink for drinking and ice maker use. We didn't notice any color to the water inside the motorhome, but I installed a new sediment filter two days after arrival on the regular 3 month replacement schedule. When I disconnected the water hose on departure 7 days later, I noticed rust colored water trickling back out of the hose from the filter. When I opened the housing to check the filter I found it was far worse in just 7 days than those we normally throw away after 3 months of use. The picture here is of a new filter on the right, one with much heavier than normal rust for 3 months in the center, and then the Andrews AFB 7 day old filter on the left ...amazing. If the campground is not heavily filtering the water in the laundry room, no doubt it DOES "soil" your clothing!! But they are slowly making some improvements, with a few new concrete sites completed (though extremely close together) ...and the price is right!!! ...you can't have everything, right? ...but it would be nice to have good water ...our cost for 9 nights at the Andrews AFB Famcamp was a little under $15 per night.
27 SEP-3 OCT, FT MONROE, HAMPTON VA -- After heavy rain overnight, we got away from Andrews at about 10am in a light rain, heading south down Hwy 5/US 301/and US 17 to the Hampton VA area. We know from previous experience that this "back" route is not only shorter than going down I-95 and I-64, but also is far more scenic and much more relaxing with nowhere near the traffic problems that the I-495 Beltway and southbound I-95 always have. The further south we went, the heavier the rain got. After lunch and some Walmart shopping in Tappahannock, VA, we arrived at Ft Monroe in Chesapeake Heights VA (actually, we thought it was Hampton) just before 3pm. We were grateful that the rains stopped about the time we arrived so that we didn't have to unhook the car and hook up electric and water in the pouring rain! Ft Monroe is a very historic location, with old shore batteries and one of the earlier "inner fort" structures remaining here at the strategic mouth of Chesapeake Bay. The Army fort will be closing in late 2011. We have hopes that the National Park Service will keep the RV Park/Campground open along with the historic fort facilities, while no doubt much of the Ft Monroe area will be covered with pricey high-rise condos, etc. The Army name for the famcamp is "The Colonies Campground." We stayed here off and on during the three months prior to retirement in 2005. This time we got a site with great satellite TV reception. There is pretty good free WIFI, and our Verizon broadband signal was a full 4-bars. Monday through Thursday was pretty much constant rain, sometimes quite heavy, and sometimes with considerable winds. Much of the Famcamp was under water, and I had to carry the two dogs through ankle-deep water to "high ground" whenever they needed to do their business, hopefully when the rain was in a short lull. After it finally quit raining, I realized our "booster" step (some people use these nifty plastic steps for aerobics ...what a waste!!) was missing from the front door, and found it under the rear of the motorhome ...it floated away sometime during the 4-day deluge, and that was the direction the water was flowing. No telling how far the step could have gone if it had not been for the full-width mud flap across the rear of the motorhome!! In spite of the rain and high water, we did work in visits with friends in the local area, and also had an evening out with friends from the SMART Nomads chapter who were in the fampcamp at the Little Creek Navy installation across the water to the south. The water was not quite as rusty at Ft Monroe at it was at Andrews, but nearly so ...another filter used up in just one week. With a 15% discount for National Parks Golden Access card, our cost for one week at Ft Monroe was $15.57 per night.
4-10 OCT, FT BRAGG, FAYETTEVILLE NC -- We left Ft Monroe on a very damp morning after another day and night of off and on rain showers. We stopped at the WalMart in Emporia VA for some shopping and lunch, and then made a brief stop for fuel at the Flying J near Kenly NC where we paid $2.88 a gallon for 64 gallon of diesel. Less than an hour later we arrived at Smith Lake Recreation Area next to Simmons Army Air Field near Ft Bragg. The weather was a bit drier at Ft Bragg than it was at Ft Monroe, and the long entry road was quite dusty, but the campground area is very nice and quite isolated from the city all around. We got a full-hookup site in a upper area of the campground, which is more open for satellite TV reception than most sites in the lower area. The weather was sunny every day during our week at Ft Bragg, a welcome change from Ft Monroe. We took advantage of the sunny weather and the nice concrete pad to accomplish several little maintenance items on the motorhome that had been on hold waiting for the right situation ...resealed clearance lamps (and replaced a bulb I broke in the process!!), cleaned roof-top side of the ceiling vents, checked/did minor repairs on roof caulk, checked ac duct for leaks where it exits the basement ac/heatpump under the rear of the motorhome (previously repaired), etc. And on Sunday we attended worship at the Pope AFB chapel, where they are in the final stages of transitioning from Air Force to Army ownership ...basically Ft Bragg swallowing Pope and bringing in 40,000 or so people from Ft McPherson in Atlanta, which is closing. At this point, there were two AF chaplains remaining of the original five, with an Army chaplain preaching the one Protestant worship service. There have been some great improvements at the Smith Lake Campground since our last stay 6 years ago, including new bathhouses and rental cabins, both small "primitive" cabins and large "full service" cabins. One of the large ones is pictured here on the right. The campground is right next to, and in the flight approach pattern of, Simmons Army Airfield where several Army Helo's were flying day and night, but the noise isn't too bad for those who are used to "the sound of freedom." For the third or fourth campground in a row, we had some power problems ...pretty rare on newer 50a connections but it does happen. This time it appeared to be possibly a loose common on the 50a circuit, causing simultaneous over/under voltage on the two 50a power legs when under load. With 10% discount for the National Parks Golden Access card, our cost for one week at Ft Bragg was $18.00 per night.
11 OCT-10 NOV, HUNTER AAF, SAVANNAH GA -- It was a beautiful morning when we left Ft Bragg about 9am and headed South. The drive down I-95 was uneventful, including a rest area stop for lunch and a stop at a Pilot Travel Center for 46 gallon of diesel. The very tight fuel islands, and no ability to use a credit card at the fuel pump confirmed our previous impressions that Pilot is a place to avoid buying fuel. When we cannot use a credit card at the pump we loose the 5% cash back our bank gives for fuel purchased at the pump ...this Pilot fillup alone cost us a little over $7 in lost benefits, and I told the cashier why we would avoid Pilot in the future. We arrived at Hunter Army Airfield on the South side of Savannah GA around 4pm. We didn't even see the road to the left of the entry gate, and realized soon after we went into the base that we had no idea where the RV park was from where we were ...and there were scarce places to do a u-turn with a 61 ft tow combination! After we got to the main post area we pulled into an empty parking lot (nice that it was a federal holiday), got out the computer, and found the detailed directions to the RV park. We returned back to the same gate, found the road beside the gate, and 30 seconds later were at the RV Park ...about 45 minutes after entering the gate! Lotts Island RV Park is very new ...a total rebuilding on a previous very primitive campground. Though it does have full hookups, it can still be described at this point as "not quite finished." There is no bathhouse or laundry (which we normally don't use anyway) yet. The free CATV was activated after we had been there 5 days. These sites ...a very tight squeeze between the concrete patio and the utility connections ...probably were designed with small travel trailers with no slide-outs in mind ...and are a very poor match for the large fifth wheel trailers and diesel motorhomes occupying most of the park. Why design 100% of your facilities to the needs of maybe 10% of your customers? ...this is what happens when engineers design RV facilities with little knowledge of what RVs actually are. Perhaps in their already planned expansion, they can do a little better. The concrete patio, grill, and table at each site are very nice! And the camp host and assistant are extremely helpful! Somehow, even with all the trees and the hanging Spanish Moss, we managed to get a satellite TV signal ...weak, but usable most of the time. We had a great time in Savannah. Among other things, we had a visit from friends, toured The Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum, took a trolley tour of the historic area, walked River Street, and checked out Ft Pulaski (picture on the right) and Tybee Island. In the woods near Ft Pulaski is a small marker commemorating the 1736 landing of John Wesley, founder of Methodism, on American soil. On one long weekend, we enjoyed a visit from our daughter. There are many recommended restaurants in Savannah ...including Paula Dean's place (and her sons' restaurant and her brother's restaurant) and Mrs. Wilke's in the historic district. But we just weren't willing to stand in line for literally hours when there were other very good choices, so we made an early lunch visit to Sisters of the New South Cafe and got right it ...and the food was great!! The day before we left, I got up on the roof to check for debris (leaves and branches falling on the roof 24/7) and found an unbelievable amount of leaves, water, etc on our slide-out toppers ...no way would they have properly retracted with all that "stuff" on them. I swept them off so they would dry out and work properly at departure time the next morning. With our National Parks Golden Access card our cost at the Hunter AAF RV Park was only $10 per night, apx 40% the cost of a local civilian RV park we checked out!! Savannah is a neat place to visit!!
11 NOV-31 DEC, MONTGOMERY AL -- Veterans Day was a beautiful sunny day in the 70's. We left Savannah at 9am Eastern time, and arrived at Capital City RV Park in Montgomery at 3:45 Central time. That included a stop for fuel on the East side of Montgomery where we got 49 gallon of diesel @ $3.05 per gallon, and another stop for 19.5 LP @ $2.99 per gallon just before reaching the RV park. We refill our 37 gallon LP tank normally twice a year, and have never used more than 40 gallon of LP in a 12 month period. As we have experienced before at this RV park, the free WIFI only works sometimes. Because the WIFI is unreliable, I keep my Verizon Mobile Broadband activated while in the area so I can also access internet on my laptop using my cell phone as the modem. While in Montgomery, we enjoyed spending time with our children and grandchildren in spite of some very cold weather with overnight temps in the teens ...and just enough snow late on Christmas day to claim it was a White Christmas! Alabama doesn't get many days of this kind of weather, but seemed to get a bit more than normal this year. On most Sundays we attended worship at the historic First UMC in Wetumpka, the location of a very unique and beautiful Pilcher pipe organ which was originally installed in 1910. The ornate, hand-painted pipes look like giant pencils!! Our cost at Capital City for the first month at the monthly rate was $13.67 per night.
SOME NOTES ON OUR 2010 RVING COSTS ...
Our total RV mileage for 2010 was 5,127.5 miles.
- CAMPGROUND COSTS totaled $5,222.86 (avg per night $14.30) ...this includes 7 nights parking at no cost at friends' homes. We stay in military campgrounds when they are available with full hookup sites where we are traveling ...81 days this past year compared to 35 the previous year. We generally avoid any place with "resort" or "KOA" in their name. We did not overnight at any Walmart, truck stop, etc this year.
- COST FOR DIESEL FUEL was $2,115.29 with avg cost per gallon of $2.88, and avg 7.05 mpg (includes apx 110 hrs of generator use at up to .5 gallon/hr). Our per mile fuel cost this year was 40.9 cents per mile.
- COST FOR LP GAS was $130.57 (total of 39.7 gallon in two fills of our apx 37 gallon tank). We use LP gas for stovetop cooking, occasional water heater or refrigerator power when electric is not available, to power two LP furnaces (one 35,000 BTU and one 25,000 BTU) when temps are below the point where the heat pumps will work (apx 35 degrees), or if it is cold and we do not have electric "shore power" available. The stove top, refrigerator, and water heater use very little LP, but the two furnaces are LP hogs!!
- MAINTENANCE COSTS for the year were right at $3,445. That includes routine chassis service and all repairs. That amount does not reflect the full cost of replacing our patio electric powered awning arms which were damaged by wind in March. Insurance covered all but apx $250 of the total cost of just over $2,000 ...insurance is good to have when you need it!! We budget about $300 per month for maintenance, intended to cover the cost of routine maintenance each year and tire replacement every 7 years. It is a VERY GOOD idea to have some $$ in reserve for unplanned repairs.
- MOTORHOME INSURANCE for fulltimer coverage runs us apx $1,600/year. That includes full replacement cost in case of accident or fire that "totals" our home. This figure varies widely for fulltimers depending on driving record, credit record, and state of residency.
- TOAD COSTS were primarily for fuel at $1,084 for 8,137 miles ...apx 13.3 cents per mile and avg cost $2.63/gallon. Avg mpg was apx 19.7. Regular service and repair costs totaled $513. Beyond normal oil changes I did myself, there was $100 to have the EGR valve cleaned to correct a check engine light, and $385 for new brakes all around. Although the ten-year old Honda Odyssey has a bit over 165k on the odometer plus apx 42k towed miles, it is still very dependable.
AL, AR, AZ, CO, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MN, MO, MS,
MT, NC, NB, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV, WY = 37
back to Our RV Travels... ...... back to Our Retirement Home...
back to The Empty Nest HOME...
RV TRAVELS SUMMARY TO DATE...
...Back to last year's travels... -OR-
...On to next year's travels...
...Back to last year's travels... -OR-
...On to next year's travels...