Today, May 9th, 2020 marks the 2nd anniversary of my full-time RV adventure. It was two years ago today that I moved out of my apartment in Fairfax, VA and into the RV where I would begin my nomadic lifestyle. Based on how quickly time has passed, it’s absolutely unimaginable that I’ve been on the road living in the RV for the past two years. But then again, I look back at this Blog and review all the prior posts documenting where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing, it hardly seems possible that I could accomplish all that has been experienced in just two years. We all imagine what life will be like in retirement, and for me, it had always been to travel and live the RV lifestyle. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine it would be so fulfilling and immensely enjoyable as it has turned out to be. I can only hope that I am blessed with good health and a safe and open environment that will allow me to continue down this journey for many years to come. I have absolutely no urge to get off the road. Let’s keep these wonderful travel adventures going!
Some Anniversary Thoughts & Stats
I’ve been living in my 330 sq/ft RV for 2 years now – truly amazing! I’ve travelled through 18 states, making a total of 40 stops along the way. That equates to just over a week and a half stay per stop. Not bad! During that time, I have published 47 travel blogs, including this one, which roughly averages out to one blog about every two weeks. That’s 47 different adventures, different stories, and in many cases, different locals. I’ve traveled 6,575 miles during the past two years, but frankly that is not a lot when compared to most other RVers. But then again, I’m not in a hurry, and my travel route is intentionally methodical and has me working myself across the country in small increments from east to west and north to south. So, I’m ok with the progress thus far (not withstanding my eye issue and the current pandemic situation which has me stuck here in Portland, TX for what will ultimately be 7 months).
I keep track of my expenses for two reasons – to make sure I stay on budget (important since I’m retired on a fixed income), and to see where the dollars are spent by category. So as you can see at right, campground fees and healthcare remain my most two greatest expenses after two years on the road. In fact, healthcare went up significantly in year two. This was due to me switching from mostly COBRA insurance in year 1 to an expensive ACA (Obamacare) in year 2, as well as all the recent deductible and uncovered costs associated with my eye repairs. So, year two was definitely expensive for healthcare. I sure can’t wait till I’m 65 and eligible for Medicare! I did manage to save some $s in a few categories in year 2 – most notably eating out less often, and a significant reduction in fuel costs (must have had something to do we me being stuck here for 7 months!). Other categories were mostly consistent between year 1 and year 2, and are tracking pretty well on budget.
As for campground costs, I have reduced them slightly from year 1 to year 2, while also having reduced my overall daily average from $41 per day to $38. So, that is a good thing. That is mostly attributed to the fact that the cost here in Portland, TX has been most favorable, and I’ve been here a significantly long time. I did have some expensive stays in year 2 including the magnificent Anchor Down Resort in TN – whose daily stay was $81. I was there for 26 days which did have an impact on the overall average budget. The place was so incredible, it was so worth it.
I have more interesting statistics information over at the Fun Facts page, which is easily accessible from the menu at the very top right of this page. Enjoy!
Where Do I Go From Here
I’ve been giving a lot of thought and doing a lot of research on how and when to proceed from here at my current location. My original, pre-Covid-19 plan had me scheduled to leave Portland in Feb, travel up through Texas, then up through Oklahoma, then springtime in Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, then spending the summer in North and South Dakota, and Wyoming. So, with my considerably late departure, and ongoing uncertainty with the pandemic, I have drastically reduced the overall 2020 plan. I’ve cut out everything from Wichita Falls, TX thru Cheyenne, WY, and instead will travel up through TX more westerly, and will reconnect with my as scheduled trip in Pueblo, CO in mid August. So instead of the 2020 route being 21 stops and 4,284 miles, it is now 11 stops and 2,147 miles. That is quite a significant reduction, but at least it’s better than nothing!
So all the reservation changes have been made. I’ve extended my stay here in Portland up thru July 1st. I’m hoping that will allow for sufficient time for things to get back to some normalcy. But, come hell or high water, I am leaving this place that I’ve called home for 7 months and heading to my next stop in Beorne, TX. I plan to stay there for one month, and worse case if things become kinda sketchy or the virus spikes for some odd reason, I can probably extend my stay at that location, and hunker down once again. At least it will be some different scenery! I’ve also got a long lost friend in that area, so I’ll have someone to spend some time with – assuming social distancing rules not withstanding. So, I’ve got just a little over seven weeks to muddle through, then I can be on my way. I’m sure looking forward to it!
One thing this stay at home exercise has demonstrated to me is the need to keep some level of busy. There is only so much Netflix to watch and FaceBook to read and comment on. To that end, the RV inside has been cleaned from top to bottom (several times), cabinets and other storage areas have been organized, and routine maintenance tasks have been checked off the list. Beyond all that, I’ve been looking for other things to keep me busy. One such project was related to a bandanna that was made that listed all the National Parks. Well, actually almost all of them. In Dec of 2019, White Sands went from being a National Monument to becoming the nations 62nd National Park. So these bandannas are actually left overs from before the change. But that’s ok – close enough. The bandanna listed each of the parks by name, and had sort of a check off spot to mark those that you had been to. I didn’t want to mark up the actual bandanna, and I also wanted to frame and hang this up on display on a nicely blank wall in the RV. After some thought, and considering I would have to customize the size of the finished frame to match the bandanna, a simple poster frame made sense as the best choice. So I donned my face mask and headed off to Walmart to get some supplies. A couple hours of measuring, taping, cutting, installing and hanging later, the finished product was done. I also picked up some star stickers (like the ones they used in elementary school on your homework papers to signify excellent work) and used those on the outside of the frame to check off those that I have seen. 4 down, 58 more to go! Actually, I have been to several more of the parks, but have decided to reset the visitation clock and only count those that I’ve been to since retiring and going on this nomadic journey. Besides, it is the location of each National Park that pretty much governs my RV travel route as I move across America.
Well, assuming things continue to move back towards some sort of normalcy, I’m hoping to get back on the road and resume my travel and sightseeing activities. We’ve all had to endure a difficult period of quarantine, transitioned to work from home and school via video conferencing, and sadly for many, also having to endure the loss of their regular job income. I pray that in the coming weeks and months that businesses will reopen and people will safely return to work and more importantly back to the norms of life.
So I head out July 1st to resume my travels. Definitely look forward to a change of scenery. As I plan my travel routes and stays, I would never in a million years figure to be in one place for seven months. That’s just crazy! But I also understood plans change, things come up, so you gotta remain somewhat flexible to accommodate some of the curve balls thrown at you. Fortunately, I was able to make changes to the overall schedule, and only lost a few dollars in cancellation fees overall. So, that’s pretty good too. I look forward to getting back on the road, and continue to catch up with long lost friends and family, and to visit the many beautiful venues that are so present in this country. Till we meet again, safe travels, and please continue to be well!