The RV is cleaned and cleaned now, compressed bugs rubbed off the front end, clothes and products unpacked, rugs vacuumed, fridge cleared.
Here’s our statistics: 5,209 miles driven in 12 states. Fuel cost– $941; Campground cost– $650.
Now, three days after returning from a three-week trip out west– we’re both prepared for our next adventure.
So … individuals ask … how was it?
What they truly would like to know is how can two individuals live for 3 weeks in a 22-foot motorhome.
The answer is … very well. We were remarkably comfortable, in fact.
It’s a given that taking a trip west is always incredible. I do not think I’ve every been more amazed at the marvel of God’s production than after experiencing Yellowstone National forest, the Grand Tetons, the Badlands, the Black Hills, the sandhills of Nebraska. Stunning all. You can scroll around and see the stories and images we published each day throughout the journey.
Our Recreational Vehicle travel is focused on seeing this terrific land. However it’s also a possibility for me as a long time reporter now in my retirement years to return, at my own pace, and discover individuals and locations and stories that you seldom hear in mainstream media. To that end, the journey was also exactly what I hoped it would be. I have a multitude on video stories that I’m now modifying and you’ll see them here on the blog site in the weeks ahead.
In no particular order, here are 12 lessons learned on this journey, lessons that have actually confirmed to us we’re on the best prepare for this stage in our life, in the right RV.
1) You are never ever alone– You are also never ever, or very seldom, out of Internet range. Whether by mobile phone or through something like the Verizon Jetpack that creates a hotspot, it’s quite easy now to discover high speed access. And that suggests you have access to help from numerous other who have preceded. In the Back Hills of South Dakota, I messed up, downshifting excessive and redlining my turbo, sending the motor into “limp house” mode, which restricts speeds to 45 miles per hour or two. I pulled into the car park of the Crazy Horse monument and fired off an email to the CyberRally, a service of the Roadtrek International Chapter of the Family Motor Coach Association. I described my problem and, in less than 5 minutes, I had a number of people correctly detect the circumstance, direct me to the nearby service center and discuss the mistake of my driving. In North Platte, Nebraska, I published another CyberRally SOS when I could not get my home battery to charge while owning. Rather of an email, a chapter member in fact telephoned me, strolled me through opening my hood, removing a cover near the battery and finding that a fuse had actually blown.
2) You will make errors– I have composed before how I am about the most unhandy handyman you will ever come across. The only mechanical problems I experienced were self caused, or, as one CyberRally friend joked, the outcome of “the nut that sits behind the steering wheel.” That would be me. Ideally, I’ve gained from those errors. I have actually kept a list of things I have to comprehend better about my RV and I’m returning and re-reading the instruction manuals. I’ve found out that while it is essential to understand things, what’s more vital is to know where to go to find out the things you have no idea. I return from this journey definitely persuaded that the best investment I have actually made in my RVing life was signing up with the FMCA and the Roadtrek International chapter. No matter what motorhome type you have– A, B, C– no matter what brand, there is a chapter devoted to that model and you will find a whole neighborhood of individuals happy to assist.
3) Campgrounds vary considerably– I do not wish to be unfavorable. I did enough of bad news reporting as a journalist. However I will say that it is scandalous how bad some camping areas really are. Twice, I consulted guide books to discover locations to stay. Both had high rankings. Both were dumps. One, in Wyoming, appeared to be a work camp. I discovered later tat a lot of the residents were living there while working in the close-by fracking fields. We awakened in the early morning to see a bulldog chained outside a next-door neighbor’s 5th wheel. The poor creature has no more than 5 feet of rope. There was a doghouse it could barely get into, some filthy looking water, surrounded by the poor pet’s excrement. I grumbled to the supervisor of the camping area. “He looks delighted to me,” she shrugged. I wished to chain her up. In Missouri, another extremely ranked park had a stack of uncollected charred trash in the firepit next to us. The toilets were packed with spiders. I showered with six of them. The window was busted out. Bugs were all over. A rusty shower dripped continuously. The only industrial camping sites we found that were regularly clean, peaceful, well-maintained and neat were KOA camping sites. They set the standard for business excellence. I will pick them each time from now on.
4) Stay where you play– We did discover a great commercial camping site in the Yellowstone National forest entry town of West Yellowstone. We utilized it as a base to check out the park, returning each night, heading out each early morning. Then, towards the end of our stay, we stayed in one of 12 Yellowstone campgrounds. Wish we had done that the time we existed. Being in the park, rather than outdoors, was by gar the best experience. We boondocked in the Indian Creek Camping site. No generator, no power, no flush toilets. No issue. We had battery power for lights, our own restroom in our Recreational Vehicle and we understood that, once darkness comes, a campfire and a lantern are all the light you require. Our LP fridge utilizes little battery power. We might boondock for a week, quickly.
5) Do not over-schedule or drive excessive– I did. Mainly since we were on a trip sponsored by FMCA and needed to be in particular towns for media interviews, we had a schedule to keep to. We found out that unforeseen delights crop up daily, things to see, places to check out off the beaten course that you never anticipated. Several times, specifically on the return when we had to own 1,000 miles in 2 days to get to a live TELEVISION interview, we found ourselves dissatisfied and irritable at missing things we would have preferred to have stuck around over. Like pretty much the entire state of Wyoming. We will build in margin on future trips. I as soon as believed 400 miles a day should be the optimum. After this trip, I think 250-300 miles a day must be tops.
6) Get to your location a minimum of 2 hours prior to dark– I would have prevented some of those awful camping sites if I had done this. You require some downtime after driving. Chill out. Explore your place on foot or bike prior to you settle in for the night. Strategy the next day together.
7) Do not book campgrounds ahead of time, unless absolutely essential– Since our travel was delayed, we lost deposits and had to pay a charge because our strategies altered en path. One was $45 and the other was $22. I called, more than 24 hours ahead of time, but their policy was, you cancel, you pay. I comprehend during peak times, bookings are necessary. However the nature of Recreational Vehicle travel is that things come up. Strategies change. We will only selectively make reservations from now on. Losing cash is never ever an excellent experience.
8) Avoid discount travel clubs– I signed up with among those clubs that claims to give you a 50% decrease in over night costs. Read the fine print. It’s constantly at the discretion of the camping site. On this trip, despite the fact that the campground was a member of the discount program, they said they never ever gave that discount in the summer, when company is good. Ah, excuse me, however summertime is when we do most of our RVing. This occurred once previously, on another trip. A number of experienced RVers told me the exact same story. That’s another $79 I squandered.
9) Home is where your RV is– No matter the scenery, we were always house. All our stuff was with us. Everything we required was at hand. Our preferred foods, a change of clothing, raincoats, cameras, computer, whatever we needed. I said above how stunned we were at being so comfy. While neither people believes a 22-foot motorhome is big enough to be fulltime RVers, we both agreed that we could have stayed out there on the road longer. Every day, we organized better, discovered various locations to put things. I believe we now have our routines developed and our Recreational Vehicle really feels like home, not a van. It’s a lot more convenient than even a hotel space.
10) Often, it’s simpler to eat in restaurants than in– We anticipated to do more cooking in our RV. We didn’t. We ate in restaurants most meals. It was just easier. We picnicked a couple of times, as soon as along the Mississippi, a couple of times in Yellowstone, once in a Rest Area in Minnesota. But most meals, we stopped and found a regional dining establishment. We ate in Mommy and Pop places, primarily, cowboy bars, Tex-Mex places, a few truck stops and the remarkably excellent grills in the Yellowstone service centers in Mammoth Hot Springs and Grand Village. This was also a getaway. Jennifer does adequate cooking in the house. I made my own coffee every morning in the RV. In some cases we ‘d have oatmeal or yogurt and granola for breakfast there, often we ‘d be on the road an hour or two before we stopped and had breakfast. As soon as we rode bikes into town for eggs and sausage. Because our days were so jam loaded with sightseeing, neither of us felt like cooking at the end of the day. We prevented junk food locations, always selecting local color over the chains. None of the meals were expensive and, in general, our month-to-month food expenditure last month– with 3 weeks of traveling– was only around $200 more than exactly what we typically invest at home.
11) Turn off the TV– The idea was to obtain away from everything. We turned our TELEVISION on simply when, to discover news about a wildfire we has actually seen burning in Montana. I was impressed at how many people sit inside their RVs enjoying TELEVISION when, outside, around them, there are a billions stars in jet black skies that they’re never ever see back home, or mountain vistas and carbonated waters and tidy, clear non city air. Craziest thing I ever saw. Individuals deciding to view TELEVISION rather than experience nature and peaceful. Thank God most camping areas have quiet hours after 10 PM. One night in Yellowstone, I heard wolves howling. Coolest noise I have ever heard. In the camping site all around me were people secured inside their Recreational vehicles enjoying DVDs on their tv. They hadn’t an idea. To each their own, I guess. However please tell me I’m not crazy when I believe they are.
12) Make brand-new friends– That we did. To that end, we are pleased to have actually met a lot of people. They include: Kirk, the Colorado man enjoying his 7th year of sobriety and getting his life on track who was our neighbor at the Indian Creek campground at Yellowstone offered delightful business as he shared his discoveries in solo wilderness outdoor camping there for a month each year. The Ann Arbor, Michigan couple we satisfied at the Old Faithful picnic area who had rented a Class C to experience Recreational Vehicle life who now are so ecstatic they prepare to purchase a Type B motorhome like ours. The owner of the Badlands, SD, KOA campground, who relaxed our site at sundown one night and discussed exactly what it resembles living in such a lovely, but desolate spot. To numerous others, we thank you for your company and generosity. Thanks likewise to the many readers of this blog site who passed along encouragement and ideas through email.
Try to find videos of this tour to be edited and start appearing in the next week.
Our next journey will be next week, to Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia. Then, in mid October, out to New England for the fall colors.