Monday, February 18, 2013

Southwest Trip Wrap-Up

Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.  
 ~ Rachel Carson ~

5,566 Miles in 49 Days.              National Parks Sites Visited: 12


Trip Costs 

$236 per week.

My target was $225/week.  Depending on gas prices, I think I can easily achieve that in the future.

For one thing, I won't be spending $67 at a gift shop again.  That happened at McDonald Observatory and, trust me, I could have spent more.  I still regret not getting the 300-piece solar system jigsaw puzzle.  But, seriously, that slip really affected my average cost. 

Shockingly, gasoline accounted for 72% of my expenses.  I really can't do much about that, other than stay home.  The most I paid per gallon was $3.45 and the least was $2.99.  Fortunately, the GDB mileage continues to improve and is now at 14.6 MPG (compared to 13.4 MPG when I bought it).

I spent $288 in campground fees over 12 nights.  Now that I'm comfortable camping for free, I will not likely spend that much in the future.  An exception to that would be if the weather is hot and I need A/C.     

BTW, I did not count groceries or small cash purchases as I would have had those expenses even at home.


McDonald Observatory
White Sands National Monument
LBJ Ranch

Shrimp and Grits at the Blowfly Inn in Gulfport, MS
Migas  at Casa Garcia in Austin, TX 
Boudin and Biscuits at Frank's in Baton Rouge, LA
(Honorable Mention: Charbroiled Cheeseburger at the Ft. Davis Drugstore in Ft. Davis, TX)

Visiting with Sharon (twice!)
The Rubber Tramp Rendevous
Coffee with the Good Luck Ducks

I wouldn't have changed anything.  Well, except the mouse in the house - that was no fun. 
I was able to travel the way I prefer with frequent location changes based on a loose itinerary of touring National Park sites.  And, thankfully, I learned an enormous amount about traveling and living in the GDB. 

I'm busy planning my next trip in late Spring.  It's an ambitious one - so far, I have 15 NP sites on my list!   


  1. Thanks for the report. And, HOORAY "we" are planning on another trip. This is fun and cheap for me!

  2. I'm surprised at how inexpensive your trip was. And yay for the increase in gas mileage!

    I love to read blogs by goers and doers. No way could I keep up that pace! But I sure do enjoy watching you do it! :)

    1. You know, it sounds like a lot, but the GDB makes it easy. Rather than getting frazzled hopping from hotel to hotel, I just meander until I get to whatever NP site I want to see. I can rest when I get there, or sightsee, or spend the night and explore the next day. It doesn't feel rushed at all.

  3. yes. good recap and 15? oh, wow and traveling in a vehicle as opposed to motels ... is very relaxing, indeed ~ the freedom

  4. Great recap. Can't wait to hit the road in about four weeks. You were my inspiration for doing this way back when you found my online teaching blog and I started following your blog as you went through getting the GDB and your first trip. I wanted to be you when I grew up!! LOL Soon ... very soon now ....

  5. Can't wait for the next trip! :) Thanks for the recap. I'm learning a lot from all of you as to how this might really work.

  6. Sounds like you reached your goals and had a great time doing it!

  7. 14.6 MPG I WISH !! I get 7.2 MPG at best.

    You sure did cover a lot of the Country and saw a lots of sights. Good for you.

    The best thing I like when I'm on the road is that where ever I stop to rest or pull in for the night I'm home. Everything is here that I need.

    1. I'm secretly hoping for 15 MPG soon! You are right about home. The day I went to the LBJ site, I had a little over an hour before it opened. I was thinking "what can I so for an hour?". Then I remembered - stretch out on the sofa, sip some coffee, and do a crossword puzzle. Heaven!

  8. Good recap! One of my favorite things about traveling in a converted van is being able to crawl into bed for a nap after lunch or whenever I get tired of driving. :)


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