In the six months since moving into Rover, we’ve traveled from Tampa Florida to Peterborough New Hampshire and back. We’ve challenged the narrow, bumpy, and expensive route onto Long Island NY, the steep and winding local highways through the Vermont mountains, and countless of miles of US Interstates. Our GPS has faithfully kept track of every mile. Below, our trip north from May through July is in blue, and our trip south from July through October in purple. Each campground we stayed at is a green dot:
We covered around 4,500 miles, and filled Rover with 700 gallons of gas, for an average of 6.4 MPG. We had hoped to do slightly better, but we ran our generator fairly often while driving to power the house air conditioners (the dashboard air conditioner can’t keep up with such a large space), and we drove on interstates fairly often which means high speeds and worse fuel economy. And of course, Rover was towing Red that whole distance. With winter approaching, the generator will likely be idle except for a monthly check-up, and with our new 5-Star Tuning program on the engine, we’re hoping to improve our fuel economy a bit more.
We stayed at 20 different campgrounds and paid $5,500 for 180 nights of camping, for an average of $30 per night. Well, to be fair 23 of those nights were free stays in Mom’s, Bob’s, or Gary’s driveways, so our real campground fees averaged closer to $35 per night. Our most expensive campground was Cherry Hill Park in College Park MD at $57/night (after our 10% Good Sam discount!), and the least expensive were Heritage RV Park in Augusta GA and Bill Frederick Park in Orlando FL, both coming in at $23/night.
It’s now time to take the training wheels of and start heading into unknown territory. Even though we’ve visited plenty of new places, we’re both “east coasters” and have been up and down the I-95 corridor often throughout our lives. Our plan now is to head west so we can start exploring more of our country’s amazing places! Since winter is coming, we took a look at seasonal weather averages for the U.S. so we could try to avoid the cold as much as possible. The HAMweather.com site is great for checking the historical average temperatures by month. Here’s the normal high and low temps in January (click to enlarge):
Based on this, I can see why so many “snow birds” spend their winters in southern Florida! Looks like we’ll need to stay pretty far south if we want to avoid the cold, and even then we should expect some chilly nights. Armed with the weather forecast and our tentative goal of being in Quartzsite AZ by mid-January, we’ve started plotting out a proposed route and interesting destinations along the way. Our driving goals include keeping most drives under 300 miles, and staying at each destination for one or two weeks. A few places along the way are just logical stopping points, like New Orleans LA or Tucson AZ. Others we chose so we could visit friends (Houston TX), or roller coasters (San Antonio TX) or amazing sights (Big Bend National Park).
The best part is, if we change our mind along the way, or hear about some “must see” place, it’s easy to change our plans, just like we did six months ago when we heard about the rocket launch scheduled in Cape Canaveral. This week we’ve taken the first step, moving just 90 miles north from Tampa FL to Crystal River FL, to swim with the Manatee. Let the next phase of our adventure begin!