Saturday, December 31, 2016

12/31 New Year's Eve Annual Summary

Instead of sending out a Christmas letter, I put thing together as a summary of the past year.  Here are some statistics for this past year:

·        Drove through Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and California, and then headed north through Oregon and Washington with Rob and Jen.  Toward the end of July, I headed home to Michigan and Ohio, through the northern states.  After visiting with family and friends, I then headed south to Florida.   That’s a LOT of states!

·        I had planned to drive less in 2016, but I ended up driving a little over 21,212 miles, about 2,000 miles more than in 2015.  So much for slowing down.  I really am going to try next year to stay in places longer and to try to save money by staying at more federal campgrounds where I get a discount. 

·        I used 2,798 gallons of gas, which cost me $6,192.  Lousy mileage, I know, but it is not cheap to haul your home and all your belongings all over the country.  Anyway, I’m glad gas prices are down!

·        I spent only $218 on propane this past year to heat water, run furnace, cook, and run my refrigerator while driving.  That compares to spending $365 propane in 2014 and $230 in 2015.  I could say the decrease was due to global warming, but I ended up with two almost-free tanks of propane because the pumps were not registering correctly.  I tried to pay more those two times, but was told it was illegal for them to charge me more than what the pump showed!

·        This was a very expensive year for maintenance costs—about $4,000, which is twice last year’s expense.  The big thing is that I really cannot do much maintenance myself.  That figure included six new tires at $250 each, two house batteries, a new converter, new water pump, new propane monitor, several oil changes and truck washes, oil change for generator, cleaning AC unit, and a lot of miscellaneous things.  RV stuff is expensive and keeps breaking.  Today, for example, I paid $70 for a new thermostat for my furnace and air conditioner, but I am installing that myself.  (Thermostat is doing funny things and clicking, and I really cannot stay in Florida without AC! )  

·        Other big expense was replacing the falling-apart junky shades that came with my RV with really nice dual-roller shades—black mesh for daytime and privacy for night.  Can't count this as maintenance, because it was really an improvement.  Love my new shades and how I can look through the mesh in the daytime, but without bright sun glare!

·        Water use stayed the same.  I average about 10 gallons of water per day for a hot shower and washing dishes once a day, so that totals about 3,650 gallons per year, which is a lot less than the average person uses.  You tend to conserve water when you have to dump it down a sewer yourself.   

While all of this sounds horribly expensive, remember that I have no other vehicles other than my motorhome.  In addition, I do not pay property taxes or utility bills, and I don't own a house or condo with maintenance costs.  Since I am retired, I don't need clothes or shoes for work, nor do I have to commute to an office.  And I have not bought winter clothing for years! 

In 2015, I was happy I didn’t get the flu.  This year I not only got the flu but it turned into bronchitis in March.  I spent winter and spring in the Southwest, and it was Arizona that did me in for a full month.  As soon as I recovered from the bronchitis, I ended up with vertigo, so I missed some of the desert.  I occasionally do get sick while traveling, and people must wonder why this weird lady shows up to a campground and then never comes out or does anything outside!  I will have to tell you, however, that fellow campers are amazingly helpful.  I had several offers to take me to a doctor or get groceries for me, which was very nice.   

Speaking of helpful fellow campers, in October I drove under a tree with low branches in a grocery store parking lot.  The branches grabbed my folding TV antenna and bent it so it was upright.  I did not discover this until I was parked at my campsite. When I went to dump my tanks the next day, I had several people literally running after me to remind me to put my antenna down.  One older gentleman stopped me as I was headed back to my site and offered to try to remove it.  He carried a full-size extension ladder, so in spite of a bad arm, he climbed up, cut the connections and unscrewed it.  I tossed it into the dumpster because it was beyond repair, and I never use it since I have satellite TV. 

Another confession:  I backed into a wall somewhere last spring.  Since my bike rides on a rack at the back of my motorhome, it manages to do a good job of protecting my steel bumper.  The result is that I bent the pedal shaft, making it un-ridable until I ordered new parts and got them installed. (I neglected to mention in my last letter the tree I backed into in Fall 2015, but that only bent my bike rack.  A kindly French Canadian who was camping next to me with his family used his car jack to bend it back in place. At least my bike was not damaged that time. There was another time in 2014 when I bent my bike wheel backing into a telephone pole in Florida, but never mind.)

The good news is that all other items on my roof that I started the year out with are still on the roof in good condition. 

I am still very much enjoying this life and have no intentions to quit.  I get to visit friends and relatives along the way.  When I am in the same locations, I periodically visit with other ladies who travel in RVs the way I do. 

I wish all of my family, friends, and blog readers a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2017!     

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