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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Time Flies

Today marks our first anniversary of our full time life on the road, and Marti hasn’t even smothered me with a pillow (yet).  It’s been a whirlwind of traveling for us, but we knew we’d cover some distances this first year.  To say we’ve had fun is an understatement.  This is working out very well for us and we’ve been able to see and do some wonderful things.

For a recap, we started off when I picked Marti up from her office completing her last day of work.


We headed North for a visit with our son Corey and DIL Amanda in NJ for a few days to organize the inside of the Journey.


Then off we went on our way to Oregon to see son Ryan and DIL Amber and the girls.  In no time we hit our first speed bump, an alternator failure resulting in our staying at a Freightliner shop in PA for three days.


Once the repair was completed, we drove on through great scenery and some snow, fortunately none was on the roads as we traveled.



We arrived in Astoria, OR and spent three weeks and Christmas with Ryan’s family, parked in his driveway.



After leaving Oregon, we headed down the West Coast to San Diego and visited some of my cousins whom I hadn’t seen in years.

Rolling again we went on to Quartzsite for the January RV show and meeting some fellow Escapees and blogging friends. 


We then traveled East, and spent what seemed like weeks driving through Texas (that’s one BIG state) to Florida and then up to South Carolina for a “rest”.

During our “rest” period, we took the grandsons to Disney World,



then a trip to Sioux Falls to get our South Dakota residency taken care of.


A visit to Marti’s sister Gail in August found us parked (?!) in her driveway in Rhode Island for a month, then back and forth to visit the kids in NJ, PA and SC.  September we were off again to Branson with my dad and Marti’s sister Gail.


This year, we also welcomed two new members to our family, granddaughters Rebekah,

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and Anabelle.


It’s been an amazing year!  There has been so many thing we’ve seen and done, so many cool places we visited, so many great friends we’ve spent time with.  I won’t bore you with those details, but here are a few statistics.  We knew we’d be doing some serious traveling this first year, so they are not going to be the norm for us all the time.

We covered 18,100 miles around the U.S., traveling in and/or staying in 23 states, some several times.  We used 2586 gallons of diesel fuel for an average of 7 mpg and spent approximately  $10,085 based on an approximate average cost per gallon of $3.90. (You’re welcome, JB, my retired oil executive friend).

We budgeted $750/month for diesel and we averaged $840/month, so we were not too far over budget despite all the travel.  For campgrounds, we budgeted $750/month and we came in well under that for our monthly average.  We took advantage of boondocking in AZ, some overnights at Walmarts and Flying Js, as well as family driveways, military campgrounds and Passport America campgrounds, all which helped reduce our camping costs.

We had three unanticipated repairs on the Journey, the alternator and the dash computer failure, both covered mostly under our extended warranty.  The awning motor is still awaiting repairs.  Scheduled maintenance ran about $500, an oil change and chassis service at Freightliner, Gaffney, SC.  The Element needed a new starter ($750) and radiator ($450), paid for out of our miscellaneous fund.

We’ve pretty much stayed to our budget, with one category that we’ve blown over every month: Food.  We eat out often and that skewed what we thought we’d be spending.  It is a controllable expense, now that we’re slowing down our travels, we’ll not eat out quite as much.

Now, on to the next year’s adventures.  We’re looking forward to heading to Florida in January, Key West is in our sights for a month or two.  Where else will we go?  We’ll let you know when we know, so stay with us. 

Full time life is working out well for us and if all else fails, Marti still has that pillow handy… ;c)

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Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.



  1. That's a whole lot of miles. But you have such wonderful memories because of those miles. Maybe this year you can just slow down a little bit.

  2. whew....that's a lot of miles and fuel. You've had a very busy year.

  3. Hmmm, we're starting to sound like all the above :) Recap sometime in the future. We'll be glad when we're not driving so much too.

  4. I say congratulations to both of you!
    May you continue to travel safely and for as many miles as you'd like.
    I can't believe it's been a year. Seems like we were just chatting at the Cracker Barrel yesterday about future plans.
    Be safe in your travels.

  5. That went by fast, but then the years do seem to slip by. Let's not get all maudlin.
    I realise this is a very one sided observation, but my impression is (as a naive Canuck) that "eating out" is quite easily done in the States. Cheap food and huge portions. Not that that is such a good thing, but it is what it is.
    Our first foray into dining out in the States was when we had a place in Horseheads, N.Y. All the restaurants were mobbed on the weekends! We had to resort to take out, or stand at the door for an hour! Crazy.

  6. Two months in the Keys should go a ways to help with your PDS. Just hope you don't get 'locked' in down there. :)

  7. Congratulations on a wonderful year!! Now stop and smell the roses and keep the PDS in check;o) We're heading to Florida in January also...perhaps our paths will cross!!

  8. It sounds like a wonderful lifestyle, and I'm glad your first year was so enjoyable. Keep your interesting journey posts coming please!

  9. Congrats on a great (albiet busy!) year. We're headed to FL Dec 30th. Can you tell we are looking forward to warm weather! :-) Keep in touch - maybe we will see you on the road!

  10. Congratulations on getting the first year under your belt. I'm sure your first year will probably be your most expensive as we learn new tricks each year. I wish you and Marti many more years of adventures and look forward to the day our paths cross.

  11. Happy Anniversary!!!! Cheers to many more happy, safe, trouble (and smothering pillow) free miles!

  12. Congrats on a great first year! Scary how quickly time really does fly by!

  13. Great summary Paul. I've followed you all the way and it's been great fun.

    Now a month in the Keys. If you can pull that off at this late date then I will really be jealous. I can't get a week at any of the state parks there during the winter.

    Thanks for all the stats. Gives us all an idea of how we stack up to a real mover! I thought you had a disorder (PDD), not a syndrome. May you recover this 2nd year from whatever it is called. :-))

    1. I'm proud to have PDD (Paul Dahl Disorder). A special lady came up with that for me. :c)

      Key West has a military base with a big campground. We've been there before and it is a real bargain, plus it is right next to the downtown area.

      Thanks for hanging on for the ride with us, even at the speeds we travel. :c)

  14. Did the son on Astoria move or get transferred? You are not headed out this way again?? I must have missed something...

    1. Yes, he transferred to Philly for a new assignment, which is closer to us. Of course he's getting promoted and tranferring again this summer to St. Louis, MO. Not quite as far away, but still a bit of a drive to visit them. ~sigh~

  15. I can't believe it's a year! We met when you were trying to get the house ready to sell. It was great seeing you last month, what fun! Congrats on putting one year in the books.

  16. Congratulations on your first year on the road well done. Great recap of your adventures.

  17. And I and all my retired colleagues thank you for your continuing contributions to our pensions. We were certainly glad to be a part of your first year on the road and the gates at both Dogpounds, South as well as North are always open when you are going by.

  18. You certainly outdid us for your first year! But who's competing! We're all enjoying it at the speed we choose. Sounds like an amazing year. Hope your second year is just as amazing.

  19. Happy anniversary!

    We are now 3+ years and glad we did but after 6 months Jo could have used the pillow on me :-)

  20. Congratulations on your first anniversary! What a nice year you had. I'm guess the next year will be a bit slower...but just guessing :)

  21. congrats on your first anniversary! May you have many more days of safe travels! Can't believe it's been a year already!

  22. Has it only been one year? You've really covered the miles and made the most of everything you did and everyone you saw. May the next dozen years be as wonderful as the first.

  23. The year seems to have flown by at lightning speed ... lots of miles you put on your coach ... here's to another great year, with fewer miles on your wheels.

  24. Congrates on your first year!!! and to think it only gets better.

  25. Congratulations, that went fast, eh? Now try to slow down and smell the roses. :-)
    Travel safe,

  26. Glad that first year went well. We just finished ours also, but you saw a lot more than we did :(.

    I believe your appointment is today, hope it went well and you hear back soon.