Wednesday, October 3, 2012


We traveled this beautiful country of ours for 143 days and saw so many different and wonderful things.  From the desolate desert to the mountains with its snow capped peaks, valleys, canyons and lakes; from rivers winding through canyons to  dried up bedstreams in the desert; from green coniferous forests to petrified wood forests; cascading waterfalls to rapids on the Colorado;  from cliff dwellings to city dwellings and everything in between. Every area that we traveled through had its own distinct flavor with its own geographic features of which we spoke in the previous blogs. Everyone has asked us what we liked the best about this trip. The answer is not as easy as it may sound, but we have decided that Yellowstone and the Tetons were our most enjoyable stays even with the issues with the cold weather and non-working batteries and lack of heat in the RV. That was only a part of the time and the rest of the three weeks there we had wonderful weather and were able to do anything we liked-touring the area, hiking, biking, canoeing, viewing all of the magnificent wildlife and, as a bonus,  smores' around the campfires at night.

Spending the last two weeks with our family was icing on the cake!

We have compiled the statistics for our total journey in case anyone might be interested in taking a similar trip. Here goes:

Sights along the way:
1. Carlsbad Caverns, NM
2. Old Town Albuquerque, NM
3. Sante Fe, NM
4. Santuario de Chimayo, NM
5. Taos, NM
6. Mesa Verde, National Park, CO
7. Leadville, CO
8. Rocky Mountain National Park, CO
9. Yellowstone Nationsl Park, WY
10. Grand Teton National Park, WY, UT
11. Bear Lake, UT
12. Arches National Park, UT
13. Canyonlands National Park, UT
14. Zion National Park, UT
15. Bryce National Park, UT
16. Capitol Reef National Park, UT
17. Grand Canyon National Park, North Rim, AZ
18. Sedona, AZ and Montezumas Castle National Monument
19. Grand Canyon National Park, South Rim, AZ
20. Winslow, AZ
21. Petrified Forest National Park, AZ
22. Painted Desert National Park, AZ
23. Lake Meade National Rereation Area, NV
24. Hoover Dam, AZ/NV
25. Las Vegas, NV
26. Tehachapi, CA
27. Lake Isabelle, CA
28. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, CA
29. Yosemite National Park, CA
30. Lake Tahoe, NV
31. Mount Rushmore National Park, SD
32. Custer State Park and Crazy Horse Memorial, SD
33. Wall Drug, SD
34. Badlands National Park, SD
35. Niagara Falls, NY
36. Ellis Island, NJ (Upper New York Harbor)
37 Statue of Liberty National Monument, NJ (Upper New York Harbor)

We drove through 30 states and our mileage and gasoline statistics are as follows:

RV stats:
      Miles traveled -10,411
      Cost of fuel- $4,791
     Gallons used-1324
     Highest paid was $5.91 in Lake Tahoe
     Lowest paid was $3.21 near Lake Meade
     An average of $3.62 per gallon.
     Average mpg-7.87
     Average cost per mile- 46 cents
When we look at this we have to keep in mind that we used our generator quite a bit to charge our batteries as we had no electricity most of the trip and the generator uses up gasoline as well. Still not a great average.

Car stats:

Once we landed in a Park for a week or so, we would use the car (Honda Fit) to get around.
Cost of fuel-$981
Miles traveled-7,861
Gallons of Gas used-271
Average cost per gallon-$3.62
 Average mpg - 29
Average cost per mile-12 cents


Total Cost-$3,286
Overall average cost per night-$23

We stayed at 29 State Parks with an average cost of $25 per night; at National Parks at a cost of $10 per night; at Private RV parks at an average cost of $38 per night. Four nights were free as we parked in relatives yards three nights and one night we stayed in a Walmart parking lot.


We didn't track food costs as they would be the same as if we stayed at home. We made picnic lunches every day and had breakfast and dinner at the RV everyday with a very few exceptions when we ate out.

 Total Cost-(excluding food and souvenirs)-$9057
  Average cost of gas and lodging per day-$63

The National and State Park systems are absolutely fantastic. What we can't understand is why more Americans are not taking advantage of them. The majority of the people we met throughout our trip were non-Americans. They were Asian and European. We were in the minority as English speaking people in every park visited. Not only do they come to visit our parks, but they rent RVs do it. Our rate as senior citizens in a National Park was $10 per night and the cost to everyone else, including foreigners, is $20 per night. If you can't afford an RV, then I would encourage the American people to buy a tent and take the children to see these wonderful places. The wilderness is here for us thanks to many of our forefathers, not the least of which, is Teddy Roosevelt. They had the foresight to perserve these untouched miracles of nature for future generations. I hope that more of our children and grandchildren will take the opportunity to explore and experience this wonderful country of ours.

We were so fortunate to be able to make this trip and we are looking forward to more in the future. We'll see what next summer brings. We'll keep you posted!

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