From Mitchell Resort & RV Park – Perrin, TX
September 6, 2008 – Six months into our fulltiming lifestyle! Yes, it has been 184 days or 26 weeks or better yet, 6 months since we started out from Oasis RV Resort in La Marque, TX on Thursday, March 6, 2008.
What a journey thus far! All of it possible because of our loving and understanding children and other family members. When we first told them of the idea, they were full of encouragement from the start. Thanks Lance, April, Amy, Mom, El and all the rest.
We have called 29 cities home and slept in 14 different states. These states include – Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and now Texas once again.
We have driven a total of 15,131.4 miles of which 5,588.5 we were towing our rig. The shortest move between home cities was 68 miles with the longest being 318.1 miles. Of course there were two moves that were either across the street (Chanute, KS from Motel to City RV Park) or less than 3 miles (Chamberlain, SD when we experienced the bad electrical setup and moved after just a couple of hours).
The average daily park rent for this 6 month period was $22.31 with the highest we paid for a single night being $41.00 at Majestic Oaks in Biloxi, Mississippi. While driving the 15,000 + miles through the 14 states, the highest amount paid for diesel was $4.759 per gallon.
Other monthly spending averages for a few categories would be as follows:
Food & Toiletries (most Wal-Mart shopping in this category) - $617.92
Diesel - $758.26
Laundry - $56.33 (even with washer/dryer in rig, jeans & bed linens are too large. Then if not at a full hookup site, washer/dryer cannot be run because of closed gray tank)
Attraction Fees - $192.83 (This is high because of the higher priced sight seeing tours at Escapade in June)
As I have said in previous journals, the hardest aspect of this lifestyle is to NOT consider yourself on VACATION. To stay within a reasonable budget, you must stay in an area for longer periods of time and not feel you have to see and do every tourist attraction as you will probably pass this way again if you continue the fulltime lifestyle. An area of expense that we have really been bad at staying within budget is eating out. But this goes hand-in-hand with the tourist mentality – if you are out seeing sights, it is so much easier to stop in a restaurant for supper before returning home.
Thinking over the last 6 months of travel, we have each named our favorites when considering places we have stayed, attractions seen or experienced and a moment that stands out far and above all the other moments experienced.
We are both in agreement on the best state in which we have traveled and that is South Dakota; the Black Hills Region. The best attraction seen was another unanimous decision for both and that was the night shuttle launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
We did disagree on the best RV Park in which we stayed. I voted for Big Red Barn in Carthage, Missouri while Rudy’s vote was for Cherry Creek State Park in Aurora, Colorado. However, the worst RV Park was again unanimous with both thinking it was Orange Grove Campground in Kissimmee, Florida.
Now, for the moment that stood out far and above all others during this 6 months was for both of us the arrival at On-Ur-Way RV Park in Onawa, Iowa. It was here that our dearest and best friends used our itinerary posted on the journal homepage and were awaiting our arrival. What a surprise and what a reunion!
As I post this journal entry, it will be the 102nd since our journey began. Today, for one of just a few postings there will be no photos attached. I say that because over the 6 month period we have posted 1,791 photos! Of course there was probably half of that amount again that were deleted and not used on the journal. Thank goodness for digital photography. Can you imagine the BAD images that you would have paid for in the past when FILM had to be developed? Then not knowing if you really had a good image before leaving the site of the photo. Some technical improvements are worth their weight in gold!
Some things still amaze and puzzle me while living this lifestyle. To think as you drive down the highway at posted speeds, your home is right behind you and once at your destination you walk inside and you are HOME! You have the ability to stay longer than originally planned or better yet, leave early if things are not as you expected or something unexpected arises out of the blue – like Gustav! Puzzling is the complete change of topography in just a few short hours of driving. You can awake amongst flat fields of wheat and go to bed at the top of a mountain pass over 8,000 feet high.
Meeting new people at each turn and exchanging with them experiences, places of interest and at times helpful “household” or travel tips is also a part of this wonderful lifestyle. So, at the dawn of a new day when you open your shades, your neighbors of yesterday may be gone and replaced with new ones having even more interesting experiences and tips than those of yesterday.
Over the first 6 months we have seen from our “backyard” some of the most awesome displays of beauty the United States has to offer. This same “backyard” has allowed us to meet many new friends that we keep in touch with and plan to meet again farther down the road.
We want to experience all the extremely diverse areas of the country with its various cultures and lifestyles of the people while being at home the entire time. So, we await with anticipation more wonderful experiences and spectacular scenery as we continue our lifestyle’s journey across the highways and byways of this great nation.
Once again, we invite you to travel along with us. Till Later………