Friday, July 15, 2016

By the numbers

I'm home, putting things away, doing laundry, reacquainting myself with the dog.  Almost ready to put the rig back in the storage lot. I'll have some reflections on this, the longest trip I've taken with the Beast, in a day or so.

But the numbers are easy to summarize: the indispensable Road Trip app records all the vehicle-related costs, and some spreadsheets I've put together track where I've been and how long.

So here's it is:

I was away for 33 nights.  Three of those were spent with family, so for expense purposes I was on the road for 30 days.

I covered 3,476 miles, consuming 395 gallons of gas at an average price of $2.33 per gallon.  Gas cost ranged from $1.979 to $2.659. Total gas cost was $919.58  The Gas Buddy app and web site were invaluable in finding the best gas prices. Over the trip, which included some challenging mountain grades and some gentle rolling country, I got about 8.8 miles per gallon.  Wind and whether or not I was using a/c as I drove seemed to be the biggest determinants of fuel efficiency.

I spent a total of $485 on overnight stays; the cost per night of these ranged from zero for Walmart parking lots to $36.42 at a commercial RV park in Idaho.  Nightly cost averaged about $16.

Total road trip cost, then, was about $1400, or $46 per day.  I don't keep separate track of food costs, since I eat about the same stuff as I would at home and buy it at supermarkets along the way.

I released 7,663 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere.

There were no notable repair costs this trip.

These are, of course, only the direct costs of this trip.  The indirect costs of repairs and maintenance to the rig are a whole 'nother story.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Almost home

I have two more days on the road.  It's been a long trip, and a good one.  Right now I'm at an old favorite placeL BLM's Valley of Fires campground near Carrizozo, NM.  Tonight I'll be at Rockhound state park near Deming, NM, and then home to the furnace heat of Tucson.  Heat or not, it's time to be home.  I don't know when or where the next trip will be.

The activity on this blog will be pretty minimal for a while.  There'll almost certainly be a summary post with some stats and some thoughts.  But after that the blog, like the Beast, will go into storage for a while.

I got up early this morning before there was even a hint of light on the eastern horizon.  The stars! Dry desert air and almost no man-made lights ... the Milky Way stretched across the sky.  And as I stood, probably with my mouth hanging open, a meteor streaked across the eastern sky.  It was a moment.  I'm grateful.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Hunkered down …

For a few days with family in Boulder. When I leave here I'll probably head home, but not sure what route. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Some photos from the last couple of days

Catching up with some images 
Trapper Peak near Darby, MT

Like I said ... 

The Salmon river from Rte 93

A few miles north of Arco, ID, on Rte 93

At Spring Gulch NFS campground, south of Darby, MT.  Written on Sunday, July 3

Fourth of July in Conner, MT

The while 5 days I’ve been here, it’s been quiet and the other folks have been pretty mellow: even a bunch of bikers. The people across the way were a nice couple from California in a pickup camper, who went off most days to go fishing somewhere.  The woman of that pair fell on a river rock and broke her arm (above the elbow: that’ll be a nuisance to immobilize and set!) and their spot was claimed by a family group with Idaho plates on a very large 5th-wheel trailer.  They had three kids ranging in age from something like 8 or 9 to very early teens.  Each kid had a little quad (motorized 4-wheel toy) and Dad had a full-size quad.  And they spent hours buzzing up and down the campground road, squealing and towing each other on skateboards.  Squealing, I tell you!

They did quiet down when dinner called (the smell of burning chicken filled the air,) which was just about when I was heading for bed.  I did resist the urge to go shake my cane at them and yell “Get off my lawn!”  It was a holiday weekend, and they were out camping, and I’m sure it will be one of the good childhood memories.  No harm, no foul.  But I found myself thinking that no WAY would we have let son Mike do something like that when we were camping with him.  If they’d had quads back in the day, I’m sure he’d have loved it.  But it was SO intrusive: their noise filled the whole campground.  I liked it better when the loudest noise was either the Bitterroot River across the way or the mosquitos trying to get through the screens. 

From here I’m headed south and east.  I haven’t decided yet — I’ll probably need to make the call tonight — but I’m still thinking I’ll head across Wyoming and south to Boulder.  We’ll see once I get on the road.

Continuing issue: solitude. 

Before I forget: forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.  I think it was the second night I was here.  It was late afternoon, it was hot and humid, the mosquitos were in full cry. As I walked down to the toilet, I heard — generators.  Yes!!!  So I went back to the rig, fired up the generator and the a/c.  And for a blissful hour or so I was cool and not sweaty and only a little guilty.  On that subject (generators, not guilt) I was again impressed by how quiet the current Honda generators are.  Trailers, even big ones, generally don’t have generators built in the way motorhomes do.  You haul the generator out, put it somewhere, fire it up, and plug the RV into it. They’re really quiet.  Mine makes the sound of a well-mannered lawn mower; the Honda units just purr.  

One of the features of this time at Spring Gulch was trips into town.  “Town” is Darby, MT.  Home of supermarkets, gas stations, laundromats, cell phone service and cheeseburgers.  And cowboys. About 15 minutes up the road.