Well, its finally over. The first post-retirement RV adventure.
We traveled a total of 8,617 miles in our RV to the west coast and back (excluding our trip to Hawaii). We were gone for 170 days of which 147 days were on the road in our RV making a total of 50 stops along the way. We spent 53 days getting to my sister’s in California before leaving for Hawaii. We spent 41 days on the west coast, most of which were along the coast of Oregon. The return to Florida took an additional 53 days with a longer stop in Colorado.
Overall we spent an average of about 3 days at each stop. The trip west was a bit faster averaging 2.5 days/stop. We slowed down on the west coast (4.1 days/stop) and on the return home (2.8 days/stop).
What We Learned
- Length of stay: We simply traveled too far and too fast. Much of this was dictated by our trip to Hawaii which meant we had a date certain to arrive in California and once there our return was ultimately determined by the date we wanted to be back home in Florida. Our most relaxing were stops of 5 days or longer. Our longest stop was 10 days and we had 4 stays of a week or longer and 8 stays of 5 days in various locations along the route. That meant that we had 38 stops of 4 days or less.
- Miles/Day Traveled: Our longest day was just under 300 miles and most days were between 150 and 250 miles. This was perfect.
- Weather: Although we left in early May, we underestimated how hot it would be as we traveled west. Once we hit the west coast temperatures moderated but the wild fires in California and Oregon during August and early September required we hang out on the Oregon coast rather than trying to go further north toward Glacier and the Grand Tetons. In the future we will travel “in search of 70 degrees”…perhaps traveling earlier in the spring and after the first of August unless we’d be heading north to Canada or Alaska.
- Campsites: We had reservations for virtually every stop heading to the west coast. This meant it was hard to be flexible in changing plans. Once we got to California and Oregon we were able to get reservations with much shorter notice despite the number of “locals” who were also looking to escape the fires and smoke by camping on the Coast. The same was true on our trip home where reservations a week or 10 days in advance were more than adequate. In the future we’re going to try and be more flexible and attempt to “wing it” with more short-term reservations (other than Holidays).
- Boondocking: We spent only one night truly boondocking (outside Natural Bridges National Monument). We’d like to do more boondocking and feel that traveling at a slower pace and spending longer in an area will help us find good boondocking locations.
- Dry Camping: We fared well in locations that didn’t have power or water. Using nominal water and power conservation we were easily able to go 5-7 days without hookups. With our solar we were able to keep house batteries in good shape and never had to run our generator to replenish battery power when “off the cord”.