2016 Year In Review

One of our goals for 2016 was to drive shorter distances and stay a little longer at each destination. In general we succeeded, and appreciated the slower pace (and fuel savings!).

January, February, and March: We spent these winter months mostly in southwestern Arizona. We had several dentist visits in Los Algodones Mexico, we upgraded our inverter, and did quite a bit of free boondocking with our solar panels. We made our second trip to the big Quartzsite boondocking convergence (this time with the Xscapers group), and visited some new areas in the southwest (Borrego Springs, Palm Springs, San Bernardino, Joshua Tree National Park, and Lake Havasu City) to round out our winter.

Lots of solar powered desert boondocking in 2016!

April and May: In spring we started heading to northern Arizona, spending a lot of time in Cottonwood and Sedona and getting back into hiking mode. We visited both the south and north rims of the Grand Canyon, and toured the famous and amazing Antelope Canyon. We ended the month at what turned out to be our favorite national park of the year: Bryce Canyon.

June and July: Next up was the long-dreaded part of our year… returning to Mexico for a dental implant follow-up visit in the middle of summer. We turned our compass 180º and headed south through Zion National Park, Valley of Fire State Park, Las Vegas, and Lake Mead. With two dental visits a month apart, we spent as little time as possible in Yuma (where it was 115º during the day and 80º at night), and waited out the time between appointments in wonderful San Diego.

Coronado Dog Beach

August and September: As soon as we finished with the dentist we headed north to Colorado as quickly as possible, where we stayed and explored for two full months. We found more to see and do near Cortez than we expected, but then headed into the mountains to visit beautiful Ouray with its amazing hikes. Finally, we crossed the rockies (no problem!) and spent a month in Denver and Estes Park, and hiked our first 14er!

Taking a break above the Upper Cascade Falls

October, November, December: We put the pedal to the metal and headed east back to our old stomping grounds in the Washington DC area to visit family and friends. After Thanksgiving dinner was cooked and consumed we headed south to spend Christmas with more family, visiting friends along the way. Pursued by a severe cold front the whole way, we finally made it to warm and sunny Florida.

We hit the road almost three years ago, and until now we’d never spent more than a night or two away from Rover. In Florida we had to spend three weeks without our home while he was in for some repairs! It’s great to finally be back in our home and on the road again.

Autumn in Virginia.

Our 2016 Route

We’ve continued mapping our travels this year, and the “Our Route” page on our blog is starting to get a little crowded! Looking at just our 2016 travels, you can see that we spent half the year leisurely wandering around the southwest. After our two months in Colorado, we made the big journey east and then south all within the last three months of the year.

2016 Travel Map

By the Numbers

We covered a relaxing 7,658 miles in Rover this year, quite a decrease from our “grand tour” last year. Given than we average 6.5 miles per gallon, that also means a big savings on fuel costs and emissions.

Our average cost per night for campgrounds came to $34.68, but that includes 33 nights of free boondocking in the winter and 16 nights staying with Mom while Rover was in for repairs in December. As usual, we tried to stay in state and county parks as much as possible since we enjoy the larger sites and lower costs. We did splurge a few times for some expensive RV Parks in order to be in a particular location.

Because of our need to stay close to Mexico for our extended dental work, we didn’t cover nearly as many states this year as in the past. Here’s where we spent each night in 2016:

And here’s how that relates to our “grand total” since we hit the road in April of 2014:

We’ve filled in seven more states on our map of visited states. As before, we use green when we’ve camped in at least three different spots in a state, and blue if we’ve only been to one or two locations. We paint a state gray if we’ve driven through it but haven’t spent the night. We use the excellent map generator from https://www.gasfoodnolodging.com/visitedstates/generate/ to make our map. You should give it a try!

States Visited

2017 Plans

Along with finally completing our dental work, 2017 has a number of events that are driving our schedule and route a bit more than usual. For one, we’ve tried to visit Yellowstone National Park in both 2015 and 2016 but were thwarted in various ways, so this year we’re going to make it happen!

We also purchased tickets for Dragon Con, the huge geek convention that takes over Atlanta every Labor Day weekend. We attended in 2013 (pre-RV) and 2014 (our first year in the RV) but missed 2015 and 2016, so we’re feeling the urge to return. That means being in Atlanta by the end of August which does throw a wrench into our usual weather-based route planning.

The path of the 2017 total eclipse.

2017 is also the year of the highly anticipated total solar eclipse that will be visible on August 21st from Oregon to South Carolina—if you’re along the path! And even if you’re along the path, weather plays a major role. If it’s an overcast or cloudy day, the experience could be ruined. Looking at average cloud cover for August along the eclipse path, Wyoming is a pretty good spot to be in. But since we need to be in Atlanta for Dragon Con just a week later, we picked southern Illinois for our spot.

The rest of our journey just involves filling in the blanks between these “anchor” locations. We’ll visit the Moab region on our way from Arizona to Yellowstone, and we want to return to Sedona since we enjoyed it so much last year. After Yellowstone we’ll probably spend more time in Colorado again. And after Dragon Con? Well, we’ll just have to see!

Our travels so far…

Michael Fischer

After a high-tech career spanning software development and systems administration to leading hundreds of engineers across cities and continents, I'm now slowing things down a bit. Traveling full-time in an RV with my awesome wife Kathie and our two big dogs Max and Opie, I'm now pursuing smaller personal software projects while seeing North America up close.


  1. Steve Lowe   •  

    Hello Mike and Kathie, great post and loved the graphs showing your 2016 stats. Also, thanks for the info on the eclipse, we’ll have to keep that in mind next summer. Just guessing, we might be in the Wyoming or Idaho area about that time so it might work for us. We hope to cross paths with you in 2017, give Opie a pat for us!

    • Mike   •     Author

      Hi Steve! Hope we catch up in 2017 too. We’ll be in Arizona for the winter, Utah and Wyoming in the spring, and Colorado in the summer. Wyoming and Idaho should be great spots to view the eclipse! -Mike

  2. Jean Frey   •  

    I am so glad I found your blog again! I forgot the name and have been doing google searches to no avail. I finally found it when I google “rvblog married couple tiffin allegro”. We are getting to try and get Bertie ready so that my husband can work on the road. He is a consultant and needs good wi fi and phone access. We will look back at your blogs about that. If we have questions, can we solicit your advice? Now, I’ve got some reading to do to catch up on your travels. Jean

    • Mike   •     Author

      If you use Facebook I’d suggest joining the “Internet For RVers” group run by Technomadia. They also have a great web site dedicated to information about getting internet on the road: https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/. If you have any specific questions about WiFi/Phone access feel free to contact us, but almost everything we know we learned from Technomadia’s info!
      Enjoy your travels! -Mike

  3. Keng   •  

    Nice summary Mike. Oh the total eclipse. Most Oregon campgrounds in the path are pretty much booked up. But we will leave Canadian Rockies and make our way back to Oregon to see it. Not sure how to get a spot in the eclipse path yet. We shall see.

    • Mike   •     Author

      Keng, I think what folks are doing now is finding campgrounds an hour away from the path of totality, then using their tow vehicles (if they have one) to drive into the path for the actual eclipse. You also may be able to find some free / dispersed camping on BLM land or National Forests. This page seems to have some good info for Oregon: http://oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=v.page&id=60 … Good luck, I hope you find a great spot! -Mike

  4. Michael Spivack   •  

    Been following you all since day one. You have made me laugh and cry, envious, enthused and encouraged.

    I love your ability to use technology to track, document and display your travels.

    We have the same make/model and year of RV.

    This year we are planning to visit the northern Virginia Civil War battle fields. We would love to know where you stayed when in that area.

    Please keep rolling and documenting

    • Mike   •     Author

      Michael, we usually stay at Bull Run Regional Park in Manassas VA. They have a full hookup area and partial hookups. Just be aware that some of the sites in the full hookup area are not level and will require some blocks under wheels in addition to using the leveling jacks. We also love staying at Lake Fairfax County Park in Reston VA, but it’s electric only and is going to be farther from the battle fields (but closer to DC). Enjoy your trip! -Mike

      • Michael Spivack   •  

        Perfect thanks. We will try Bull Run and let you know. See ya down the road.
        Michael and Carolyn

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