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September 03, 2017

The Numbers - Road Trip 2017

First of all be certain all plans are never firm!  I consider them as options for the sole purpose of budgeting our summer road trips.  And I didn’t do so good this year … Well it was indeed hotter than ever expected, more wildfires than anticipated, we needed the A/C at night to sleep, etc.

Overall how did I do on the budget?  Not even close!
Days on the road: Budget – 84; Actual – 80
It’s not that we left a week late and are back a few days early, we left a week late and are back 3 days late.  But the house is spotless, thanks to Sue and Bob for taking care of it.
Miles driven: Budget – 6680;  Actual – 8445
The trip to Dayton was pretty much spot on, but the trip home .... with a few side trips and the kids moving, we did not take the most direct way home.  But we did get grandson, Jm, all to ourselves for a day! 
Fuel cost: Budget 1781.33; Actual – 1474.34
CA fuel is pretty high $3.50 while less elsewhere (2.29 in AZ), I usually over estimate the fuel budget.  The cost of non-bio diesel averaged $2.69, I anticipated it would be closer to $3.00.
Diesel: Budget – 450.00; Actual – 547.29 gallons
We did average 15.43 mpg, a bit lower than I had expected.  We started out great, but the prairie winds were biblical!  
Campgrounds:  Budget -  1130.60 ; Actual – 1389.42
With the heat and wildfires we did spend more nights in campgrounds than I anticipated.  The budget allowed for $13.46/night, but we came in at $17.37/night.  That includes the boondocking, moochdocking, Forest Service, WallMart, etc.  It really could/should have been less, even with the price of the eclipse at $80/night with a 2 night requirement.  We paid for 4 nights, Idaho Falls was an easy place to hook up with the family.
Dinning out: Budget – 500.00; Actual – 847.19
I always miss this by a bunch, even after I double the estimate … ARG!  For sure dinning out is part of the travel experience and I do not include the cost of eat-in groceries.  But we ate out almost every day, I did not anticipate that often.  Of course, I’d never pass up a Marion’s Pizza!
Misc: (laundry, haircuts, showers): Budget – 50.00; Actual – 36.50
I got a haircut in Dayton, most of the campgrounds offered free showers.  The price of laundry varied at every campground.  It is free in Dayton and at home so we did stretch the clothes a bit.  I expected Fran to also have a haircut, but she just trimmed it nicely herself.
Museums and entry fees:  Budget – 150.00; Actual – 153.07
Total coincidence that we hit this nearly spot on, the budget was just a guess to fill in a square in the spread sheet..  Mark Twain’s Hannibal and Cave are so worth it, the Taos Pueblo should not be missed and what a surprise find the Mammoth Site was.  If you find yourself in Dayton, the Carillon is worth a few hours of your time.
Entertainment: Budget – 150.00; Actual – 376.00
Again the budget was just a number in the spreadsheet, but we did use the movie theater to escape the heat of the day.  With the Fraze so close to the Dayton house we also enjoyed a few more concerts then we have in the past.
RV Misc:  Budget – 500.00; Actual – 320.10
This includes parking ($30 !!! in Santa Fe), toll roads, dump fee and the schedule A service at Lynnwood MB.  A shoutout to Lynwood Mercedes, the A service is filters and fluids, which is $350 locally without a wash, it’s $270 in Lynwood and they washed the RV!

Overall:  Budget – 4042.53 (48.13/day) ; Actual 5502.41 (68.78/day)
This includes the unanticipated costs for campgrounds and meals.  OK, mostly meals, we ate out a lot!

The Hot and the Squat:
Best RV Park (value): Blanco RV Park
It was $26 w/ FHU and best WiFi on the trip, hands down the very best.  Clean showers were a bonus.  But I’d go back just to be checked in again by the Reese Witherspoon clone behind the counter.  She could be reading the yellow pages, I'd still sit and listen.
Worst RV Park (value): Salem Campground and RV Park
The goal was to drive thru the traffic of Portland and Salem to find a place for the night.  Thus we could start the day fresh to explore the more interesting sections of the Oregon valley.  Location was perfect.
Many folks call this park home, however there is little pride taken in their lots.  Dogs run unchecked, off-leash, while investigating the newcomers.  Several dogs claimed the RV as their territory, one even pooped on my fresh water hose! – gross!!  Living near the beach I am used to public restrooms that are well used and will still go in barefoot.  This may be the first time I’ve worn my sandals into a shower, the only working 1 of 4, so it was well used.  At $41 it was a total waste, WiFi was unusable.
  Damage report:
The converter was acting up before we left but I did not want to address it with the trip a week away.  The house batteries would still charge from the engine, but not from shore power.  I purchased a trickle-charger to use while using an electrical hookup.  By the time we reached Dayton the converter had failed completely.
The TV was working fine one evening, but the following morning failed.  The self-test screen appears and completes, but then repeats and repeats.
The overhead bunk – our storage area – has a damaged hinge and can no longer be raised.
The entry door was sprung when the high winds in South Dakota got a hold of it.  For the rest of the trip it had to be slammed shut.
That’s not so bad really!  I’ve already fixed the entry door, ordered parts for the converter, will set new screws in the overhead bunk perhaps next weekend.
I’ll let Fran pick the replacement TV.  I have one in mind with a built-in BlueRay player Smile and better sound.  Perhaps she’ll think that’s the best solution …

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