(Avon Park, FL) Hi 74 Lo 68 -- We found out this morning there was a tornado east of Orlando last night. I'm glad we got home when we did. It rained last night but not for long, and no wind.
Three years ago today we took possession of Tumbleweed, our 2010 Carriage Cameo fifth wheel. To read about that day click here. It was scary, exciting and challenging all at the same time. We've never owned an RV of any kind, and never even camped out, and we were quite nervous. We've come a long way since then, and we've loved every minute. We're so glad we took the plunge and started this life of freedom on the road.
We have information on the right side of our blog about this years travel routes, and a list of the parks we've stayed at. Check it out over there -------------->
-- We made 40 moves. All were for at least two nights, except for three one-nighters. We had six two night stays. Our longest stay in one place was 17 nights, and five stays were between 12 and 15 nights.
-- Between April 15 and November 15 we traveled a total of 7,657 miles.
-- Total non-travel miles on our car was 11,136. (These are miles we didn't have to put on our truck. The total non-travel miles on the truck was less than 500.)
-- Our average campground cost for the year was $20.50 per night, which was significantly under our budget of $25.00 per night.
-- We spent $730 on maintenance on the RV. This includes the continuing issues we had with our slide out.
Some things we learned:
-- This was our first time in the high mountains out west. If you have a sleep number bed, keep an eye on it when traveling to and from higher elevations. It will gain pressure as you go up in elevation, and lose pressure as you come back down.
-- When sightseeing in high elevations, have lots of water with you, and walk slowly till you get used to the thin air.
-- One new saying I came up with while we were out west was, "There's a lot of nothing till you get to something." There's a lot of wide open spaces west of the Mississippi River, and some people like that. However, we felt isolated and vulnerable much of the time. We found out that we prefer the more populated eastern U.S.
-- We thought it was interesting that most of the towns out west have the elevation on their city limit signs, rather than population. Some had both. And there's not many "outskirts" of towns out west. The towns start and stop very abrubtly.
-- People are very friendly everywhere you go in the towns and cities throughout the midwest and west. Especially in Texas! All you Texans have a right to be proud of your state. It's beautiful. (At least the panhandle and eastern parts we were in.)
Our favorite place, as far as being tourists, was Colorado. I loved Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak. And Jim loved Rocky Mountain National Park. I'm afraid of high places, but I found the courage to drive to the top of Mt. Evans, one of Colorado's "fourteeners," (a mountain over 14,000 feet high). It was inspirational up on the peak looking down on the mountain tops.
Gardens of the Gods
Mt. Evans, very narrow road with sides going straight down
Here's a view from the top of Pike's Peak.
We were privileged to be able to see the iconic Mount Rushmore.
We hiked around the perimeter of Devils Tower in Wyoming. We couldn't help humming the theme song to "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." :)
We met up with old friends, and made new ones. We stayed in some wonderful parks, and some that were a little below wonderful. Two that stand out were the famcamp at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, and Betty's RV Park in Abbeville, LA. Betty, the owner, is so much fun and she goes out of her way to make you feel welcome. We can't wait to make a return visit.
We enjoyed two more visits to our favorite park, Pelicans Roost at Mayport Naval Station near Jacksonville, FL. We always stay there at least a week on our way out of Florida in the spring, and on the way back to Florida in the Fall.
We had very good weather all year. It seemed like the heat of summer was always either ahead of us or behind us as we traveled. One exception was Colorado... they were having an unseasonable heat wave when we were there. We delayed our trip a couple days of traveling to let the fires calm down. We had very little rain or thunderstorms all summer.
We loved our travels this year. We plan on seeing more of the eastern U.S. next summer, including New England. It's been a wonderful three years on the road, and we're so glad we made the decision to live our dream. We'd like to give a big thank you to all our readers who came along with us by reading our blog. You're the reason we haven't missed a day of posting in almost five years.