There are some things that after three decades of working you just CAN’T turn off. Reflecting on the year in a quantifiable way is just one of those. As of December 2016, we have enjoyed 28 months of retirement and being on the road in our truck camper. Here is how the year shaped up for us and some lessons learned.
We didn’t do as much moving around to different camping sites as last year since 2016 included nine months of camp hosting – three in Alabama and six in Oregon. Really more time than we had planned on, however we were able to still explore some new areas on off days. Besides working, the biggest time ‘gobbler’ was buying the new camper (I still need to change our blog header showing our new camperJ). The pre and post purchase took w-a-a-ay more time than we thought but we are not impulsive buyers and wanted to make sure it was just right for us. The Northwest is really a great place to buy and sell truck campers since there are many more of these units than in other parts of the states.
After another year here are some things we learned this year…..
–slowing down is good. It has taken us this long to feel like we should see everything when we are in an area or to get to another interesting place. This year we learned to enjoy reading a book, playing cards, or taking a leisurely walk.
–we still love being on the road and in a small space together 24/7. There are no secrets in such a small space and we’ve learned more about each other than in the prior 20 years.
–always have a print book in reserve. Love my Kindle paperwhite, however we are in areas with no cell or internet coverage to be able to download a book so even though I might have two books downloaded, I might read one FAST and the other one doesn’t catch my interest so I am bookless. What is the best way to get print books for us? Local libraries always have a good ‘for sale section’ and we donate our read copies and buy a couple more. Also it is good to have access to more than one library for downloading books. Our main library has ZERO Kindle books so I use my daughter’s and sister’s accounts.
–fleece sheets are awesome. It is great to not run the furnace to save on propane and still keep warm. Because of weather hopping, we leave them on the bed for more months in a row than we did when living in a house.
–having a flexible wash basin for the sink keeps the grey tank cleaner and conserves space in tanks. We use a backpacking sink from REI. Beside for dishes, I use it for cleaning inside camper, soaking clothes, etc
–we still love our collapsible coffee pot and Aeropress for coffee. They are terrific for boon docking because of low water use and low waste.
–our favorite apps are still Gas Buddy (can look ahead to see best diesel prices), The Ultimate Campground Project (public areas and campgrounds), Overnight RV Parking (continually user updated overnight pull-in spots like Walmart, Home Depot, etc).
–blogging is tough. Putting out content is not easy especially when we are in areas of limited reception, etc and there is always something fun to do besides stay inside and type. It is feeling more like a job to me so I will give it a few more months and make the decision to continue or not.
–we give each camping location a ‘score’ for our records on a spreadsheet. Turns out it is tough to assign a number because each location is so different – one location might have great hiking, another might be remotely quiet, and another has a sparkling pool. We love for different reasons.
So far since retiring and hitting the road in August 2014, we’ve been camping for 910 nights with 594 of them free either camp hosting, driveway surfing, or dispersed camping in 22 states. For just 2016 we spent $2,096 in camping (camp hosting gave us free sites but we did exploring on days off) at an average cost for a campground stay of $25/night. We stayed in a total of 34 different campgrounds in 2016.
For those of you planning on full-time travel and are curious about our expenses, in 2016 we spent $3,157 in fuel, food costs $5,564, and eating out $2,381.
Our favorite campgrounds this year varied by reason. We keep a spreadsheet of all of them with details and ratings, just let me now if you would like to see a copy.
Kodachrome State Park Cannonville, UT. Nice day hikes accessible from the campground. Interesting rock colors that change throughout the day with different light conditions.
East Burns Run COE in Cartwright, OK. Easy access for boat next to campsite and good fishing on Lake Texoma.
Honeycomb Campground in Guntersville, AL. Easy access for boat next to campsite and good fishing on Lake Guntersville.
Fruita Campground in Capitol Reef National Park, UT. Beautiful setting in canyon with unexpected orchards.
KOA Campground, Salt Lake City, UT. Campground is located on bus and train line for easy access to explore a clean, interesting town.