It's early on a lazy Sunday, and it's gonna be hot. So I got a few outdoorsy things done and have retreated for a while. I'm looking at maps. The great paper-format Benchmark maps that I just got, and, of course, Google maps. And mentally planning possible routes.
I know, I know! I said I'd be more into wandering. But I enjoy looking at maps, and routes. It prolongs the pleasure of the trip.
Along these lines, I want to give a big shout-out to GasBuddy.com I'm not sure what their business model is, but I sure hope it keeps them in business! They're great for finding the cheapest gas where you are, or where you'll be tonight. But today I discovered that they'll also plan a route around your need to refill the tank. You give them Point A and Point B, you tell them what mileage you actually get, and how big your tank is. And they use Google to find a route, tell you where you'll need to stop for gas, and point you at the cheapest gas in that location. Very handy if you happen to need to gas up in Ely, NV. Or wherever.
While poking around, reading reviews, I found myself looking at commercial rv campgrounds in, of all places, Cascade ID. And a light bulb went off, which will amuse any more experienced RV traveler. If I stayed a month, for example, at one of the commercial rv parks there, I'd spend about $300, plus electricity. But virtually nothing on gas. I'd be money ahead!
Nothing could be more different from the BLM and NFS camping I've been doing. I have no idea what these places are really like (although I do like the idea of the one that serves cinnamon buns on Saturday morning!) This is close to my original idea: get out of the heat. If I stayed a week at one of these places, it would cost $174 (electric included.) I'd still be money ahead of moving every 2-3 says. Point is, and it's pretty obvious, that there's a tradeoff between driving cost and camping cost.
I don't mean to get ahead of myself. Maybe these places are all booked up a year in advance. Maybe I'd hate them. But there's a whole model of summer travel that I really haven't considered seriously, and I think I should.