Friday, December 6, 2013

2013 Recap

(Avon Park, FL) Hi 81 Lo 63 - Today is the fourth anniversary of the start of our full time lifestyle. As we start our fifth year here's a recap of our 2013 travels. It's been an amazing journey and we're hoping for many more years on the road.

This year's travels covered the midwest and northeast, with most of our sightseeing related to U.S. history. It’s one thing to learn history in school, but when you see it live, it leaves quite an impression. With stops in Gettysburg, Philadelphia, Boston and Plymouth, MA, we learned a lot about the history of our great country, covering the 1600's through the 1800's.

We started our travels with our annual stop in the midwest to see the kids and grandkids in Illinois. While in the St. Louis area visiting son Frank in April, we were chased out of our home by tornado warnings for the second year in a row. We drove to a nearby Red Robin restaurant where we were herded into the kitchen area and into the food cooler. A tornado did touch down and did minor damage within a mile, but fortunately there were only downed tree branches and heavy rain at our RV park. We’ve decided to stay away from the midwest in the spring, and in the future we'll visit our kids in the fall. Saying that, it’s sometimes not safe to go in the fall either. In November, I went back to Missouri/Illinois/Indiana for my mom’s funeral, and had to drive through a severe weather front with dangerous tornadoes. One small tornado passed our car on the left side of us. I must say that got my heart pumping!

After our family time with the kids we traveled east to Elkhart, IN where we had some maintenance done on our home. We then made stops in Pennsylvania and visited some of our Adelaide Shores snowbird friends in their winter homes in Beaver Falls and Adamstown. That was nice. Later on we also enjoyed visiting Jim's Aunt and Uncle in Maryland, and our good friends Sandra and Gordon in Smith's Falls, Ontario, Canada.

Every state has some beauty, even New Jersey, which sometimes gets a bad rap. We got to drive up the Jersey Shore from Asbury Park to Sandy Hook, where we looked across Sandy Hook Bay to the beautiful NY City skyline from the top of a light house. There was still lots of evidence of the damage done by Hurricane Sandy a year ago.

Driving from New Jersey we boldly ventured across the George Washington Bridge and crossed the NYC boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx. (It wasn't as bad as you'd think, just a very busy I-95.) We spent time in all of the states in New England, filling out the eastern two thirds of our U.S. map at the right of this blog.

Here's some of the highlights of the "touristy" things we did this summer:

- Gettysburg National Historic Site (including the Eisenhower home)
- Constitution Hall and the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia
- Newport, Rhode Island (beautiful HUGE mansions!)
- Cape Cod, Massachusetts (horrendous traffic everywhere we went on the Cape)
- Boston (all-day trolley hop on/hop off tour)
- Plymouth, Massachusetts (Plymouth Rock, The Plimoth Plantation, The Mayflower)
- Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, Maine

While in Maine we took a drive into Canada for a two-day visit with our friends Elaine and Rick in Moncton, New Brunswick. While there we visited Hopewell Rocks on the Bay of Fundy, one of the most spectacular sights we've ever seen.

On our way back south we spent two weeks in the Washington, DC area for some sightseeing in our nation's capital. We took in Ford's Theater, where Lincoln was assassinated, viewed our Constitution and Declaration of Independence at the National Archives, and the "Newseum", a 7-story museum of print and broadcast news media.

Jim got to check off a few more ballparks from his bucket list, with games at St. Louis (Cardinals), Philadelphia (Phillies), and Boston's Fenway Park (Red Sox). He also went to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY.

While we were in Maine, it seems like I ate lobster almost everyday. They’re cheaper there, and they boil them in sea water, which makes a big difference in the flavor. Speaking of food, we bought some pure maple syrup in Vermont. It's so much tastier than the commercial stuff you buy in the grocery store.

One of the continuing pleasures of our travels is the chance to come upon things unexpectedly, such as Canterbury Shaker Village, near Loudon, New Hampshire. We happened to see a small sign on the highway pointing to it. Also, in Vermont we again saw a small sign pointing to the Green Mountain Spinnery. It’s a small yarn factory, and since I’m getting back into crocheting it was a special place to see. We got a personal tour and watched them make the yarn.

The weather in the northeast this summer was as close to perfect as you can get. Very little rain, and daytime temps in the mid-70's just about every day.

We ended our summer travels with a two-week stop in North Carolina to visit with Jim's mom and sisters. Our friends Jim and Judy were with us and we had fun showing them around and treating them to mom's southern cooking.

Many of our readers are interested to know what the costs are to live and travel full time in an RV. So here's a breakdown of the cost our summer travels, not including food and incidentals. (This covers only the time we were traveling, from the first week of April until the first week of November.)

Total miles traveled towing the rig: 5,631
Total miles for car commuting, sightseeing, etc. while rig is parked: 7,369
Total gasoline (for car): $1,587 (total 13,000 miles)
Total diesel (for truck): $1,197 (total 5,913 miles)
Gasoline price range: $3.18 (Huntsville, AL) - $4.34 (Joliet, IL)
Diesel price range: $3.49 (Garden City, SC) - $4.13 (New Paris, IN)
Tolls: $221
Total Campground fees: $5,243 (for 208 nights)
Avg Daily Campground fee: $25.21
Total truck maintenance: $339 (routine maintenance; no repairs required)
Total car maintenance: $60 (routine oil changes; no repairs required)
Total rig maintenance: $2,054
Rig maintenance included the following (copied from our maintenance log):

4/26/13: Madison RV, Madison, AL - Replaced failed electric transfer switch. Total cost $639, paid $57 (ext. warranty covered $582).

6/25/13: Fox RV, Elkhart, IN - Adjusted, lubed, and reinforced both slideouts; upgraded suspension with MorRyde heavy duty wet bolt kit; replaced front streetside wheel rotor/hub assembly and disc pads; repaired shower and sink check valves and main vent (to eliminate gray tank odors); tightened ceiling a/c mounting bolts; replaced all screws on front cap and re-caulked; repaired broken door step; tightened top mounting bolt on rear ladder and re-caulked; shortened sewer outlet tube; replaced igniter in L/R stove burner; tightened bathroom door hinge plate with longer screws. Total cost $2,737, paid $1,997 (ext. warranty paid $740).

Next year we plan to go to the far west, more new territory for Tumbleweed. We dearly thank all our readers who have followed along with us, and hope you continue to follow along as we fill in the rest of our map next summer to complete the lower 48 states.


Jessica Riker said...

Great recap!! :) I have been following along since you first got on the road, and can't believe it's been four years! Hope today is the beginning of another great year for you guys.

Phyllis said...

Congrats on the start of your "new year". You list of places visited in the northeast includes many of interest, some we've seen, others not.

About tornadoes - after two Springs in Tornado Alley and being chased around by tornadoes, no more. Only visit in the fall. Well as we know, that's no surefire plan either!

Sandra Merrikin said...

Great recap! Thanks for coming to visit us! Also congratulations on your five years. I hope you're able to continue for many, many more!

Laurie and George said...

You guys certainly had a great year! Glad we were a small part of it :)

Gin and Syl said...

Nice recap. Hard to believe how fast time flies. Especially when you're having so much fun.

Tom and Marci said...

Nice recap! You covered lots of territory this year! Congrats on 4 years on the road!

Ruth said...

So sorry to hear of your mother's passing, Dee. We have not had lots of access to the internet or to facebook so haven't had time to read blogs for the month of November. Please except our late condolences.


Dan and Tricia said...

Very neat recap!