It’s January 2016, and it’s hard to believe we’ve been on the road for 20 months. Where 2014 was about getting started and learning the ropes, 2015 was an amazing year of exploring the U.S, as we made a complete loop around the country. Here’s a quick look back at 2015, with a few selected blog links. Check out our blog archives for more!
January & February: Learned that we love Southern Arizona in the winter, and we boondocked at Quartzsite for the first time.
March & April: Started our trip north through California, fell in love with its farmer’s markets, and learned first-hand the danger of Foxtail grass.
May: Paid through the nose to camp near San Francisco, were awed by gigantic Redwood trees, and admired Crater Lake in Oregon.
June: Visited the warmer side of Oregon, toured Portland, hiked Mt. Saint Helens, and got a quick taste of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.
July: Hiked, explored, and were generally blown away by Glacier National Park in Montana. The highlight of our year!
August: Impressed by all the things to see and do near Custer, South Dakota. Said a very sad farewell to Max.
September & October: Rode our favorite coasters at Cedar Point, visited the RV hall of fame, and enjoyed an extended stay near Niagara Falls.
November: Spent a month in one spot (wow!), installed solar panels, fostered a dog, visited friends, and enjoyed Thanksgiving with family.
December: Drove 3,500 miles in one month, from DC to Florida, then Florida to Tucson with a week-long break near Dallas.
Our 2015 Route
We’ve been mapping our travels since we hit the road, and the “Our Route” link in our blog’s menu bar has a zoomable and clickable map of our route and campgrounds. In 2015 we managed a complete circuit of the U.S., starting and ending in Tucson AZ:
By the Numbers
We covered 11,300 miles in Rover, sometimes at a very slow pace, sometimes just zooming through states without even stopping. It took us over two months to get through 1,200 miles of California, camping in 14 places and driving an average of 88 miles between stops. In contrast, we spent only a month driving the 3,470 miles from Virginia to Florida to Tucson, including one 507-mile drive to escape the brunt of Winter Storm Goliath in Texas (let’s not do that again).
How many nights have we spent in each state? Glad you asked:
We camped in 63 different places throughout the year, including a couple driveways, a couple RV service center parking lots, and a Walmart. Our average campground cost per night went up to $37 (from $30 in 2014), mostly due to fewer free stays in family driveways and more time in expensive places (88 nights in California and 42 in Northern Virginia).
We made good progress filling in our “States Visited” map. We turn states blue when we’ve camped there, and green when we’ve camped in at least three different locations. Grey states were drive-through states for us… we saw them through the windshield but didn’t stay overnight.
Since we got a good sampling of the outer states in 2015, it’s time to fill in some of the interior! We also want to try to take things a little more slowly, spending more time at each campsite. Packing up and moving every five to seven days gets tiring after a while. It also doesn’t leave enough time to really see and experience each place, and we need to factor in days for shopping, laundry, RV maintenance, and hobbies. With that in mind, we’re thinking of spending most of the spring and summer in Utah and Colorado, with Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming in the mix as well since we weren’t able to make it last year. Here’s an example draft plan linking many of the sights in these states:
Now that we have solar panels on Rover (and more experience under our belts) we also hope to do more boondocking and dry camping this year. Not only is it free (or cheap), it will let us visit even more beautiful places where there are no campgrounds or where campgrounds have no hookups. With that in mind, we’re about to leave the comforts of Catalina State Park in Tucson to do 16 days of boondocking in Winterhaven CA and Quartzsite AZ, all for free!