Putting out the April report only a week into May? We’ve come along way from being five weeks or so behind like we were back in March.
The Distance: 1,793 miles as we crossed the majority of the country from Pensacola to Phoenix. Our biggest month so far this year, and one of our longer ones for our overall fulltime RV adventure. We had several significantly bigger mileage months in 2015 when we were running wildly around the country, but only one month in 2016 exceed this month’s total: back in October when we sprinted home from Minnesota to Florida we did 1825 miles. Our 2017 total is 2,855 miles.
The Places: We finally left Florida, stopped for one night at Farr Equestrian Center in Louisiana, and then another one nighter at a Cracker Barrel in Texas before pushing on to Fort Sam Houston in San Anotonio. We lingered their for eight days and then pulled into Balmorhea State Park, a place we had missed in 2015 due to mechanical difficulties with the old bus. There we ran into Dad and Marcia, also full time RVers, neither of us having planned it at all! Then it was on to Davis-Monthan AFB Family Camp in Tucson, AZ after a one night Walmart stop in Las Cruces. We would end up staying in Tucson for 12 days, most at the AFB, broken up by a two day stay in nearby Gilbert Ray County Park along with a one night in the hotel Radisson in Phoenix so Rosemarie could catch a morning flight back to Florida. That day Serenity stayed behind in Tucson getting her windshield repaired. While I held down the fort back at Davis-Monthan, Rosemarie spent five days in Orlando for the big family trip to Disney World’s series of parks.
We spent 20 days in military parks, 6 in public campgrounds (3 state, 3 county), 2 in parking lots, 1 night in a hotel (though Rosie did five more during the Orlando trip,) and for the second month in a row only 1 night in a private RV resort. We had utility connections of some sort for 27 days (usually full hook up, but 4 with power and water only, and 2 with just 30 amp power) and dry camped for 2 nights. We had the traditional military subsidized rate for 20 nights at Fort Sam and Davis-Monthan, one free night at Davis-Monthan by using one of our Air Force Frequent Camper certificates, obviously camped for free at Cracker Barrel and Walmart, paid for the hotel night with points, but received no discount for the seven days at the county, state, and private parks.
The Budget: We really turned it around this month after our budget blowing March. Despite a huge expenditure on gas ($610 just for Serenity’s four full tank fill ups) as we sprinted across the country, we still ended up nearly 15% under budget, which means we are back under for the year so far as well.
We were able to keep this otherwise big budget month on track because of our participation in seven market events, six of which gave as a satisfying boost. Much like we did back in November and December, we let the markets have a major impact on our schedule and route, lingering in San Antonio to do two events, and staying in Tucson for a weekend full of markets rather than moving up the road to Phoenix. This has put us in a good position leading into May, the first week of which entails significant dental work in Mexico. While the costs of that may be only 25% of what you would pay in the states, it will still be a budget buster, so we are happy to have a small buffer to take into next month.
The Drama and the Improvements: We finally paused long enough for our insurance company to arrange replacement of the passenger side windshield, which is a big deal both in terms of having a clear view and in reducing the wind noise since part of the gasket had failed. We had a bit of drama in San Antonio when unexpected wind gusting collapsed our awning and broke one of the supporting struts. I was able to get that fixed on the cheap by purchasing the $21 part and installing it myself. We have a tear at one section of the awning that still needs to be addressed, and one of the lower mounting brackets has a crack and should be repaired as well. Hopefully we can knock that out in May.
Here are our monthly reports for the year so far: