Monday, June 30, 2014

Juneless Jim's Road Trip Summary and Observations

Honey, I'm Home!  Again!  So far in 2014, I've spent 7 weeks at home.  For the other 19 weeks, I've been traveling.  About 18,000 miles so far this year and its only July 1st.  The June Road Trip was 28 days and 6,500 miles.  This Blog Entry  shows where I went.  Some of the trip stats are as follows.

  • We visited seven National Parks / Monuments / Historic Sites, three Navajo Tribal Parks, one State Park, and one Presidential Library (Eisenhower).
  • We stayed at three National Park campgrounds and then mostly at private campgrounds / RV parks.  We only had one bad campground experience (Great Bend, KS).  We boon docked three nights at truck stops and one Walmart.  I made reservations at one place (Monument Valley) and had no problems getting a site anywhere.  I usually called the destination a day prior asking them to hold a site for us.
  • We drove a lot on this trip averaging about 232 miles per day.  It was too much for me but we had a couple unplanned long trips to MB dealers and had to shorten the trip duration due to a late start.
  • I used 398 gallons of diesel fuel.  My average fuel mileage was 15.9 mpg.  I noticed the wind really affected mileage.  On a day with a head wind I'd get 14 mpg.  On a calm day or a day with a tail wind, I'd get 18 mpg.  My top speed was 65 mph.
  • Trip expenses were as follows;
    • Fuel                       $1,547       
    • Camping fees           $913
    • Food                         $944
    • Tours                        $503
    • Souvenirs                   $74
    • Misc                           $58
    • Total                      $4,039
It was an expensive trip because we took a few tours, drove a lot, ate out a lot, and didn't boon dock that much.

I had some other observations while on this trip
  • The National Parks and key scenic spots were crowded and very busy.  Its a good sign for the local economies, good for the parks, but bad if you're traveling.  Unless you arrived early, parking lots were full.  Key campgrounds were full or filled up by the end of the day.  I thought I'd be beating the summer crowds by going in early June, but it seemed like everyone might have had the same idea.
  • I saw lots of Asian and European tourists at every national park.  Lots of German and Korean speaking people.  They're economies must be doing well.  I hope they're seeing lots of US tourists in their countries.
  • The most common type of RV that I saw in the RV parks - Class C's.  For every 100 rigs I saw in a park it seemed like 90 of them were Class C's.  And lots of them were rentals.  Next most common, it was towable trailers.  I saw only a handful of Class B's and a few Class A's.
  • Fuel prices were all over the place. I paid a low of $3.62 for diesel and a high of $4.49.  Thank god for the Gas Buddy smart phone app.
  • Many of the private campgrounds had sites filled with pipeline workers. I saw this in Pennsylvania, Missouri, Kansas.  I talked to one fellow camper who said the campgrounds in North Dakota were packed with pipeline workers.  I talked to one guy in a Pennsylvania campground who was a pipeline worker and he travels with his family to various jobs.  He's worked in Wisconsin, North Dakota, Maine, and Pennsylvania.  Said the money was very very good.
  • Best OMG scenic points - Horseshoe Bend, Monument Valley
  • Best Campground - Lake Powell Recreation Area Waheap Campground
  • Best Town - Durango, CO
  • Biggest Disappointment - Dodge City, KS
  • New things I learned:
    •  Japanese internment (at the Eisenhower Library) - Starting in Feb 1942, by Executive order, over 120,000 people of Japanese heritage living in the US (almost all of them) were imprisoned in internment camps until the end of 1945.  About 1/3 of them were citizens of the US. Not one of them was ever convicted of a crime related to the war.  It took until 1988 to gain an apology and reparation for the survivors of these camps.  Each survivor received $20,000.  With the stroke of a pen by one person, 120,000 people were imprisoned for committing no crimes and held for over 3 years.  Shameful.
    • Don't talk about Navajo Yei's in the summer - its bad luck.  You could get eaten by a bear! (see Monument Valley blog entry where I learned this).


  1. I've learned a lot by reading your posts. Thank you.

    How do you manage to track all your receipts while traveling? Any special software? Or do you charge everything to a credit card for a paper trail?

  2. Thanks for reading. I keep a small spiral notebook above the drivers seat and at the end of each day I write down the expenses. For fuel, I reset the trip odometer at each refueling and get a receipt and then write the miles on the receipt. I use two credit cards for all expenses - one for fuel that give a 3% cash back and one for all others that give 1% back. At the end of the trip, I post all the expenses in a spreadsheet to tally them up. I like to see what I'm spending and it helps me refine and learn on what it's costing me. I also share it to help others. Thanks again.
    J. Dawg