Numbers by Lee…..
This year we did a total of 7,334 travel miles on the trailer, and 18,874 miles on the truck!
For the first travel map, we started out at Cori & Greg’s and from there went to our first gate, near Encinal, TX. Then a brief few days off between gates and on to our second gate at Los Angeles, TX. That’s where I had my heart attack, and then we went back to Cori & Greg’s. From there we went to Phoenix, and then on to Surprise where we had a little work done on our rig. Once that was done we headed to Lone Rock Beach for a quick stay and then on to Bryce Canyon and Torrey, UT with Steve & Deb and Cori & Greg.
We also did Goblin Valley and then everyone went their separate ways and we headed up to Promontory Park and then to Timothy Lake for the summer. After that we came right back down the way we came up, until Salt Lake City where we headed east to head south!
We went through southern Wyoming and saw Jo, and then across a bit of Nebraska before heading down to Oklahoma to see Dan & Sharon, and then on down to Cori & Greg’s place again! And from there we headed east once again to Charleston and then up to Rock Hill and back down to Charleston.
Here’s the complete travel map-
Total number of days “workkamping” where our site was provided: 195 (55%)
Total number of days “moochdocking” where we stayed with friends or family: 58 (17%)
Total number of days “boondocking” where we had no campground fee: 11 ( 5%)
Total number of days of paid camping: 78 ( 23%)
Total amount spent on campground fees: $ 1,504
Total data used for the year: 3.64 Terabytes (3640 GB). Our total data costs for the year were $1,380, which works out to about $ 0.38 per GB, which is not too shabby. This is a fantastic value for us because we use that data for internet, obviously, as well as every TV show and movie we watch.
We took 16,505 pictures totaling 76 GB. Here’s how that compares to previous years:
2015 – 24,436
2016 – 28,929
2017 – 20,087
2018 – 15,246
Repairs, Upgrades and Major Expenses Five Year Summary
- Solar – $5,400 Whether or not solar is worth the expense is debatable to some. For example, if we spread this out over five years, it’s $1000 per year. If we go with an average of $30 per night for a campsite, we’d have to boondock for over 30 days each year to “get our money back” on the solar in that five years. My problem with that is that when we do boondock, it tends to be in places that either don’t have campgrounds or RV parks within what I would call a reasonable distance, or because they are in such demand, they would be worth WAY more than $30 per night. Also, I think that the intangible value of a view or solitude also goes WELL beyond $30 per night. And finally, our AGM batteries have a life expectancy of 6-8 years, depending on how much the batteries are discharged, and how many times, and how fully they are recharged. I estimate that they will last even longer than that, but we’ll have to see. In any case, having solar and being able to boondock is more of a lifestlye choice than anything else, so it’s really impossible to calculate return on investment, but for us, I think it was worth every penny.
- 4 New RV Tires & 2 Front Truck Tires and Installation – $1659 Trace commented at some point recently that it seems like we’re “always” getting new tires, but as you will see throughout this summary, we have actually only replaced all 10 of our tires twice. Remember the first trailer tire replacement was in November of 2015, and we were only replacing the junky “China Bombs” that came with the trailer at around 10,000 miles because we had already had a blowout. Those 4 tires lasted us until we replaced them this past April at 44,395 trailer miles, so we got 34,000 miles out of them. I’ll talk more about this later in the summary.
- Surge Protector and Voltage Regulator – $1100
- Sea Eagle Inflatable Kayak – $840
- Camera and accessories – $499
- TPMS – $490
- “Blue Boy” and Waste Pump Kit – $475
- Dyson Slim Vacuum – $400
- Magma Stackable Cookware – $400
- WeBoost – $400
- Electric Dump Valves – $300
- Stenciling for the camper – $300
- Heated water hose – $ 163
- Weber Q Grill – $200
- Flagpole Buddy – $205
- Valve Extenders for Tires – $167
- Fresh Water Pump and Tank – $300
- Replacement Surge Protector – $200
- 4 Rear Truck Tires – $1,013 These were replaced at 41,000, of which around 15,000 were towing miles. I feel that this is a reasonable amount of wear for the tires.
- Repair & Upgrade RV Suspension Shackles – $747 This is where the unusual wear and tire on our tires started, although we didn’t know it at the time.
- Repair Truck AC – $448
- Deductible to replace truck engine due to putting diesel fuel in tank. We got off cheap on this one as the total cost was $15,000. We only paid $1000 and insurance paid the rest.
- Front tires and alignment – $592 These were replaced at 60,000 miles and were last replaced at around 16,000 so we got a good 44,000 miles.
- Kayak motor mount and trolling motor – $200
- Mor Ryde Suspension and disc brakes for trailer – $5391 – which you can read about here.
- First attempt to repair the furnace and repair fridge slide. – $380. The mobile tech who worked on the issue was in a motorcycle accident and was unable to finish the repair before we moved on to our next job. The slide got fixed but the furnace did not. We still had to pay $380 in various fees even though it was all supposed to be covered by our extended warranty.
- Furnace repair $310 – After one full year of not having a furnace we finally got it fixed in Columbus, Ohio! Just in time, because we definitely needed a working furnace for all the boondocking we did in Utah.
- Underbelly Heat $150 – We dealt with frozen pipes in the rig for the first time and Lee added some insulation and a heat source to help with the problem.
- Toilet $242 – We replaced our toilet with a standard sized one, which by the way I still really love, and is one of the best repairs we have ever made!
- Valves $150 – Lee put in valves on the fresh water tank vents. Seems like a little thing, but for him it made things a whole lot easier.
- Slide Repairs $1200 – We also spent a few days having our slide floor replaced. We found a great RV tech in Texas who had previously worked in Indiana at the Open Range factory and he did a terrific job.
- Steps $160 – Lee (with Bill and Ben’s help) replaced our steps and did lots of other small repairs while we were at the reunion rally.
- Landing Gear $1024 – We had one of our front jacks fail and Lee had to do an emergency repair.
- Truck Bearing $435 – A front truck bearing seized up and we were stranded on a mountain road. The whole thing turned out OK, but it was pretty stressful. We paid for the tow and a deductible.
- Door $281 – Our entry door window glass broke in a wind storm in Utah and Lee replaced the window portion of the door in Texas.
- Quilt $200 – Something a little more fun, we got a T-shirt quilt made from shirts we had collected in our travels.
- Bluebonnet $314
- 2 Truck batteries $360
- Living Room TV $400
- Bedroom TV $140
- Workstation for Tracy $350
- Replacement WiFi Hotspot $216
- Dog Platform $250
- Convection Microwave $ 370
- Cooktop $300
- Exterior Wall Repair $1725
- Trailer Tires $1556 – After the replacement of our shackle and hanger the tires started to wear in a really bad and unusual pattern. We finally replaced them but still managed to put a LOT of miles on those tires before we did. I’ll be very curious to see how long these new ones last.
- Kitchen Vent and Cover $334
- Rear Truck Tires $1120
Patterns I am Seeing- By Tracy
Five years ago we started out on the road with a large group of fellow travelers. Over the years we have done a good job of staying in contact with one another which has allowed me to notice some general patterns as the years go by. As always these are just impressions and not backed up by statistical data. In year five I see two major trends emerging. First, several people we know have bought a piece of land. Some are using this land to winter or summer and others are staying in one place more often and traveling part-time. Consequently several people we know have sold their larger rigs and are now traveling in a smaller setup. Having a piece of property makes total sense to me, but we don’t have a place yet we want to settle. If we could agree on a place I would 100% start looking for some land.
The second trend is several of us are becoming first time grandparents. It makes sense as many of us had children around the same time and are kids are hitting 30 and deciding to have babies. I know of five couples personally who are in the new grandparent situation and each one of us needs to decide how that will affect our travel long-term. Where the babies are matter of course as RV’s don’t do great in winter locales and those of us who work have to factor that in as well so its a balancing act of family needs and the desire to keep traveling. How that turns out long term I don’t know but I am extremely glad we have five full years of travel before we had a grandchild to balance things with.
Top 10 Things We Saw
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