It is amazing to me that we have been out on the road for 2 years! I looked back on my year one summary posts, just to see what topics I covered, as a starting place for this post. This year has been completely different from last year in many ways. In case you missed last years summary – here’s a link: Year One Summary on Stuff Let’s dig in – This could take awhile…
Campgrounds and Boondocking:
In year 2 we have stayed at 36 campgrounds in 12 different states and one Canadian Providence. That’s quite a few more than last year, and a few new states, and a different country!
Our shortest stay was 1 night 2 different places – Congdon Creek CG in Yukon, Canada, and Ship Creek, Anchorage, AK, we also had a few 2 night stays, Cedar Key in FL, Valley of the Rogue in Grants Pass, OR, Bellingham RV Park in Bellingham WA, Trapper Creek RV Park in Trapper Creek AK, and Northern Nights, Glennallen AK, and our longest (aside from workamping) was 9 nights at Sunshine Key in the Florida Keys! We’ve had a few one week stays – Clearwater Travel Resort in Clearwater FL (twice), Vacation Village in Largo FL, Cachuma Lake SRA in Santa Barbara CA, Park of the Sierras, outside Yosemite NP, CA, and Tolt McDonald County Park, Carnation (outside Seattle) WA.
We stayed at more state parks this year – a total of 6 for a total of 23 nights; we stayed at our first COE (Corp of Engineer) CG for 3 nights; 7 nights were spent at our first SRA (State Recreation Area); we spent 14 nights between 3 county/city parks and 3 nights at a National Park. We stayed 5 nights in 2 different Canadian Provincial Parks.
We have found we love county and city parks, as well as COE (Corp of Engineer) parks, SRA park and Canadian Provincial Parks. The sites are large and well screened. State parks are nice as well, you just need to be careful if you have to pay the day fee in addition to the CG fee.
Another new to us this year place to stay was dessert boondocking. We spent a total of 16 nights in the AZ town of Quartzsite, known in RVing circles as “Q”. We stayed in the area called LaPosa South, the cost is $40 for up to 2 weeks, or if you want to spend a longer time, there is a $180 option which covers you for the whole 5 month season – Nov through April! Wow! In LaPosa South there is a water filling station and dump station, so very convenient to use. It was a great place to meet up with friends and enjoy the great outdoors! You can read more about Q here: Quartzite, Yuma and back to Q, Q second time
Last year we talked about our favorite and least favorite places we stayed. Last year we chose Sunshine Key as our fav, and we did stay there again this past year. It is a tough spot to top, for many reasons – location and the CG amenities. It would be easy to chose it again this year but I want to give the honor to a new place. I have actually decided to divide this and have 2 favs. FL Keys
Strictly based on the CG itself, I think I have to say Cedar Key. We didn’t stay there very long, only 2 nights, but it’s a beautiful CG, with large, well spaced sites and well maintained gorgeous landscaping. There were also many activities offered, making it easy to understand why so many people chose it as their winter home. Cedar Key and NOLA
The second fav CG, this one is for location and scenery, is: Muncho Lake in British Columbia, Canada, in between Fort Nelson and Watson Lake. We dry camped there for 4 nights and it was amazing! The only negative was lack of cell service. This is a Provincial Park, the Canadian equivalent to our State Parks. The sites were plenty big enough and although there wasn’t any official landscaping – it wasn’t needed, the lake we backed up to provided all the beauty we needed. Muncho Lake, Canada
It is actually difficult it to choose a fav CG this year b/c we’ve stayed in some great places. An honorable mention goes to Canyon Lake COE park, north of San Antonio TX. It was a great park, with large well defined sites and views of the lake. The location was also nice, an easy drive into San Antonio. TX
Our least fav shouldn’t be a surprise to any of my longer term readers, Wachula Peace River CG – a Thousand Trails park. For my newer readers – we stayed there in January of this year. Here is a link to our time spent there: Wachula TT CG
We did have 2 Workamper campground experiences this year, which is new. The first was Heatland CG in Campbellsville KY, which is where we lived while working for Amazon. We arrived there on Sept 25 and pulled out on Dec 22, our longest time in one place without moving. The site fees were paid directly to the CG by Amazon, we didn’t have to do anything. This CG is basically a gravel parking lot with lines painted to define the sites. FHU’s, including 50amp electric was included. There was a laundry room, which was clean but I preferred the local laundromat. The benefit to staying there was it was VERY close to Amazon, literally right across the street, so no commute time at all, which after 10 hour days was very nice! First Amazon post
Our second workamping experience is Renfros Lakeside Retreat. We are actually working here, unlike with Amazon. We have our first 25 hours per month taken out for our site, so at $10 per hour, that’s a total of $500 per month for the site. We are not taxed on that amount, and all additional hours are paid. The CG itself is nothing particularly special to be honest, even by AK standards, it’s well maintained and clean, and the bath house is clean and has free hot, good water pressure showers (evidently not easy to find up here), but the views of the mountains and Kenai Lake are very special. Every day I walk outside and see the mountains all around us and I feel like one of the luckiest people in the world. arriving at Renfros
Last year I wrote a lot about the different memberships we had and how we used them to save money. We didn’t use memberships nearly so much this year. We did use our Thousand Trails and Ready Camp Go card a few times, but we traveled a lot differently this year and using memberships didn’t fit our travel plan as much as year one.
– Thousand Trails and Ready Camp Go card
— Year one ended while we were staying at a TT CG, Lake and Shore in Ocean View, NJ; our first 5 days of year 2 were spent there. We paid our $3 per night TT fee instead of the $44, saving us $220. Jersey Shore
— Circle M, Lancaster County, PA: this CG is a very convenient location to visit our son, so we stayed there 5 days last September. We paid our $3 per day TT fee instead of the $61 per night usual fee. We would actually not stay there and pay that kind of money. We’d have to find somewhere else. So, we saved $290! Lancaster
— Vacation Village, Largo, FL: We used our Ready, Camp, Go card here for 7 nights, $20 per night. Their regular weekly rate is $294, so we saved $154! Vacation Village
— Sunshine Key, FL Keys: We also used the RCG card for 4 nights out of our 9 night stay here. Their regular rate is $115 per night, so for this 4 nights, we saved $380 on this portion of our stay here. FL Keys
— Sunshine Key, FL Keys: For the balance of our stay here (2 nights) – we were able to get a 20% off regular rate discount b/c we had TT, so we saved $46.
So, having Thousand Trails and the Ready, Camp Go card, we saved a total of $1090.
— We spent a week at Park of the Sierras, near Yosemite National Park in CA, in April. You have to be an Escapee member to stay at this park, unlike some Escapee parks that allow non-members and just charge a higher per night fee. Park of the Sierras is a Co-op park, the owners of the lots each own a piece of the park. It is a beautiful park, well maintained, lots of activities and people were very welcoming. We would totally stay at another of these parks if there was one near where we wanted to be. There was a $50 off a week stay coupon available to first time visitors, so we took advantage of that and the cost for the week we were there was $97.50! Other parks in the area were about $30 per night – so we saved about $100
– Passport America
— Clearwater Travel Resort, Clearwater FL – we used Passport America for one of our 7 night stays (they don’t allow it to be used for longer than 7 days and not in Jan, Feb or March), their usual rate is $350 per week, so we spent/saved $175 Clearwater
— Sunshine Key, FL Keys – we used PA for 2 of our 9 nights – the max they allow – the rate was $115 per night, so we saved $115!
— Kamp Klamath, Klamath CA – we used PA for our whole 5 night stay (we could have stayed up to 7 nights using it). Their regular rate is $172.50 for 5 nights, so we spent/saved $86.25. Klamath
— 99 RV Park, Vancouver, WA – we stayed here 3 nights and used PA for all of those, their regular rate is $34 per night, so we saved/spent $51. Vancouver
Our total savings with Passport America for this year was $427.25! Considering the cost, which this year we paid $39 ($5 discount for using their online directory only) it WAY more than paid for itself!
That wraps up the membership campgrounds we’ve stayed at this year. We are considering signing back up for a Thousand Trails Zone Pass for this coming up year, I will keep you updated on that.
Last year I had figured out that we averaged $25 per night for CG’s. This year that number is $27.60 per night, a bit higher, but this is only for nights we paid for. I did not include Q fees, b/c that is such a nominal fee, I felt like it would throw off what we paid for actual campgrounds. Now, we stayed with family/friends a lot more, a total of 26 nights. We boondocked in the desert for 16 nights. We stayed 2 nights in Cracker Barrel, 1 night in a rest area, 2 nights in casinos, 6 nights at Walmarts, 3 nights at Visitor Centers (in Canada), 1 night at a gas station, 1 night at a Fred Meyer (grocery store), for a total of 16 nights. Assuming we hadn’t stayed in those places, we would have paid the average of $27.60 per night, so we saved $1,600.80.
Total saved with memberships and boondocking: $3,217.25.
After taking all this into account, our campground fees are significantly less than last year, largely due to the 6 months we stayed not paying any fees while workamping. Total spent on campground fees: $3,650.
Miles and Fuel:
I’ve already said we traveled differently this year. One of the biggest differences is we decided to leave our CRV in FL with my parents. Considering how many miles we were planning to do and how much new territory, we decided traveling it together was the way to go. Here’s the breakdown:
Total miles on truck: 19,970
Miles towing total: 12,584
Miles on CRV before leaving it in FL: 6,358
Miles on truck since leaving FL: 15,982
Miles towing since leaving FL: 9,485
Total miles on truck since leaving FL minus towing miles: 6,497
When figuring if it was a financial plus or minus to leave the car in FL for this trip – we will use the above numbers plus a few more. If you remember from last year, Bill used the difference in MPG, insurance and maintenance costs, as well as depreciation numbers in making this determination.
Since we have traveled to so many new and different areas, I will include some of what we’ve been paying for diesel fuel, these numbers will also we used in our calculations.
Highest fuel cost (per gallon US$): $4.57 in Muncho Lake, British Colunbia, Canada on May 12! Yikes!
Lowest fuel cost: $1.60 in San Felipe, TX on Feb 9.
Average fuel cost: $2.50 per gallon.
Ok – lets get into it – you may want a cup of coffee or shot of your fav adult beverage –
If we had brought our CRV – it is fair to say we would have put 15,982 miles on it – the same amount that we put on the truck. The cost for that (using 25 mpg @ $2.50 per gallon average – I know it probably would have been a bit less for gas vs diesel but I don’t have gas numbers) is: $1598
If we had the CRV – we can assume we would have not have driven the truck the additional 6,497 miles @ 16 mpg that were non-towing miles, saving 406 gallons of fuel @ $2.50 per gallon = $1,015.
So it would seem it would have cost us an additional $582 to have brought the car, just in fuel.
Bill looked into the difference in depreciation of the 2 vehicles. The truck with the current amount of miles on it is worth $24,373, if we had kept the car with us and not put the 6,497 “exploring” miles and only used it for towing, it would be worth $25,265 for a difference of $892. The CRV, in the meantime, isn’t getting a whole lot of use. My parents take it out for a ride every few weeks or so, to keep it exercised, but not putting a lot of miles on it at all. So, with its current amount of miles it is worth $5,357, if it had 15,982 additional miles on it, that number would be $5,066, for a difference of $291. So, it cost us an additional $601 in depreciation by choosing not to bring the car.
Now, having said all that, I trust you can see that not bringing the car has proven to be cost neutral, from a fuel/depreciation stand point. Briefly, I will say, Bill ran some numbers and it seems the maintenance costs came out to be a wash as well. It must be considered that the possibility of a break down with the CRV would have a possibility, however remote, the car does have over 150,000 miles on it. The only other factor to mention now would be that if we had SOLD the car, we wouldn’t have had to pay $1000’ish for the year to insure it.
Mods, Maintenance and Fixes:
This section has been expanded this year – considering how many miles we’ve put on the truck and rig (see above) – maintenance is normal and a certain amount of fixes are to be expected. The hope is, of course, fixes are kept to a minimum with regular maintenance. I realize that is not always completely possible, but one can hope, right?
Mods: There aren’t many exciting mods this year, especially when comparing to our extensive list the first year.
Bill added 2 outlets in the bedroom 1 – 12 volt and one 120 volt. The 12volt is for a phone charger and the 120 volt is for the fan – both to be used while we boondock. He added them before we went to Q, and both have proven very useful. These were very inexpensive mods – total cost for both was about $20.
Another thing Bill did was make us a heated water hose before the cold hit Campbellsville KY last fall. To buy one would have cost about $100, the one he made cost us $51.60; $16 for a 15′ fresh water hose, $5.60 for pipe insulation, $30 for heat tape. There are several pics and more explanation – see link below.
Bill also added a new clip to our water heater door – it’s a metal one vs a plastic one – cost $5.30.
We purchased an insulating vent cover – which we used for room darkening while here in AK, for the couple months when it never got fully dark – cost at Walmart $5!
Last but not least, Bill added a push/grab bar to our screen door – cost $11.75 (see link below)
That wraps up the mods! Told you it wasn’t very exciting!
Running gear: repack wheel bearings, inspect brakes and lube equalizers – total cost $30. Link to post with pics here: running gear inspection, grab bar and heated hose
Wash and wax supplies: $10
Truck: oil changes in Feb and April – cost $55 each time (half the cost of having it done at the dealer or elsewhere)
Front brakes and replace caliper $156. Caliper needed to be replaced b/c it was hanging up – it’s a common Ford problem – all has been good since then. brake job
4 dually tires: $1,057.56 – purchased at Sam’s Club. Bill chose Michelin LTX. When we purchase at Sam’s Club, we get a road warranty, so we are covered if we get a flat.
Drawer closing hardware (drawer wouldn’t stay shut during travel) $4
We replaced 3 floor heat registered as the ones that came with the rig broke when we stepped on them (cheap pieces of crap!) cost $25
Bill had to permanently attach the frig to the slide floor – cost $4
We learned a few of our MCD shades were not properly installed when one came crashing down during travel and Bill inspected them all – Heartland covered the replacement shade and also sent us additional attachment clips – cost $0
The baggage door pneumatic piece that attaches broke away and Bill got a metal support piece – cost $3
This section isn’t very exciting either is it? That’s awesome!
Future project (before we leave AK): Bill plans to replace (has already purchased) the shackles and bolts. I will blog about it when it happens but wanted to give you a heads up.
To wrap it up – we’ve spent a total of $1,492.65, the bulk of which were our new sneakers for the truck.
I have to add at this point that we have been very lucky with regards to not having any major issues with either the rig or truck. I do attribute at least part of that to Bill taking such awesome care of our home. Part of it is just luck as we know others who’ve done all they were supposed to do and they still had issues.
I will also add that if anyone wants additional info on any of stuff I’ve mentioned, please don’t hesitate to ask. We all learn from one another by asking questions. Some of the things Bill has looked into has been because someone else had an issue and he wanted to make sure we didn’t have the same one. The shackles/ bolts will be discussed more in a future post.
It’s time for me to publish this post! I’ve taken longer than I wanted to complete this, but this working and then having fun keeps getting in the way. First world problems as we say, right?