Thursday, February 23, 2017

Blog Finale - Recapping our 2016-2017 RV Trip

Another fabulous trip has ended. Here's a quick recap of where we went with a summary of costs and distances at the end.
Schwabacher pond
We started in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Less visited (but still very busy) than its neighbour to the north, Yellowstone National Park, the Tetons offer a beautiful landscape with stunning hikes and drives.
Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho was our next stop. It's a very small park offering a scenic drive and a couple of short hikes.
Climbers on Morning Glory Spire
Also in Idaho, we visited City of Rocks National Reserve. Several climbers made the views so much more interesting and added size perspective to these towering spires.
Finally, we reached the Oregon Coast, this year's "destination". We spent about two weeks travelling southward, staying mostly in state parks. This shot near Cape Meares represents the area around Tillamook (famous for its fabulous cheese and ice cream).
The surf at Cape Kiwanda was spectacular. We spent hours watching the waves smash against the rocks and each other.
The Devil's Churn at Cape Perpetua (I just love that name) was a raging torrent of water rushing up and down this narrow channel. The water was foam by the time it reached the cave at the end of the channel. The power of these waves is unbelievable.
Near Florence, the Heceta Lighthouse sits high above the ocean at the northern end of a lovely, sheltered cove.
A wall of marine life - Sea Stars, Green Anemonies and who knows what else. We viewed these on the rocks along the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor on the way to Brookings at the south end of our coastal drive.
Heading back inland from the Oregon Coast, we stop at the Newberry National Volcanic Monument; yes we like volcanoes and lava flows. Pictured here is the Obsidian Flow, highlighted by snow.
Brad is learning a technique called flint knapping at Glass Buttes in Oregon. People come to collect many different kinds of obsidian here, including the rare fire obsidian. Brad collects mahogany obsidian which is a mixture of brown and black.
We spent over three weeks in the Moab area (Moab Part 1, Moab Part 2 and Moab Part 3), hiking in Arches National Park, at Fishers Towers and other spectacular spots along the Colorado River as it traverses southern Utah. Delicate Arch, pictured here with me standing beneath it, is one of the most photographed spots in Utah.
Cliff Palace
Since we're in the southeast corner of Utah, we are really close to Mesa Verde National Park in the southwest corner of Colorado. This is our first visit to this park which protects ancient native cliff dwellings.
Another spot that's been on our bucket list for a few years is Canyon de Chelly (pron. SHAY) National Monument. These canyons are still inhabited by natives who farm the land and keep livestock.
Brad and Marilyn at Ooh Ahh Point
Since the weather is fairly warm, we stop at the Grand Canyon National Park for a few days. While we've driven through it before, we've never hiked here, so a stop on our way to Lake Havasu City for Thanksgiving is warranted.
The Boat Parade in the canal
We spent the American Thanksgiving in Lake Havasu City at the Porters' Party Place with friends. Brad helped with some chores, we cooked, ate, and drank; a lot of fun as usual with this group.
We met new friends, Jody and her miniature schnauzer BooBoo, at Valley of Fire State Park, just outside of Las Vegas between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We again camped on Lake Mead at Stewarts Point, a favourite free campsite. We also visited the Shelby Museum in Vegas, a real treat for Brad being a Mustang nut!
Christmas was spent back in Lake Havasu City at the Porters with another group of friends. We love spending time with these folks. After New Years, Brad and I headed south to Yuma to stock up on grapefruit honey, date syrup and a few other commodities we have only found here. After Yuma, we met with the Escapees group in Quartzsite during the annual rock & gem shows and the RV show.
Next off to Tucson to see Tom and Dianne's new house and to explore this really pretty area. We visited the nearby San Xavier del Bac Mission, the Titan Missile Museum, drove up Mount Lemmon, and hiked in Sabino Canyon.
As the trip nears its end, we continue east to get closer to home making our journey back to Canada as short as possible. We revisit Chiricahua National Monument and hike around these interesting rock pinnacles.
Our last scenic stop is at White Sands National Monument near Alamagordo in New Mexico. We only spend one night, then drive over the Sacramento Mountains (the town of Cloudcroft is at 8,640 feet, and the ascent from Alamagordo is over 4,000 feet within 16 miles - a good haul with the trailer) to spend a night in Carlsbad, New Mexico to visit with friends before the four-day drive home to southern Ontario. We have a great window of weather for the drive home, which is uneventful but tiring (1,800 miles in 4 days; about 30 hours). It was another fantastic trip, but it's wonderful to be home with family and friends again.

Trip dates: September 6, 2016 to February 20, 2017
Total distance driven: 12,600 miles (20,278 km) over 168 days (5.5 months)
Total amount spent on diesel (truck fuel) $ 2,665 USD of which $953 USD was spent driving to Wyoming and then home from New Mexico (fuel was still fairly cheap again this year)
Total amount spent on propane (heating and cooking) $ 268 USD which isn't bad considering it was another cool, wet season
Total amount spent on camping: $ 683 - $ 373 of that on the Oregon Coast where there is no free camping
Total trip-related expenses: $ 6,373 (includes above fuel costs but excludes groceries since we would buy food at home)
Average daily trip-related cost: $ 38 per day for the two of us ($ 19/day each)
States Visited: Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico
Number of different camping spots: 24 (Lake Havasu City twice and excluding overnights at Walmarts and Cracker Barrels)

Comparison of Daily Average Cost over all years RVing

NOTE: This is the last year that I will blog about our entire trip. I have no idea yet what destinations our next trip will include, but we are returning to a lot of places that we really love, but doing different hikes. I'm sure in the photos, things look very much the same. So I will only blog about a place if it's new or we capture something really interesting or exciting. I started this blog originally as a way to keep friends and family at home informed of where we went and what we did. I think they get it now.

Over the spring and summer, I will be adding a new tab to the blog site with some resources I use to plan our trips, and updating the "Favourite Photos" tab with this year's favourite pics. Let me just say, thanks for reading. I hope you find the information and photos helpful and interesting. Adios.


  1. I totally understand the desire to step away from blogging- look forward to your informational tab!

  2. My own blogging waned with familiarity. As we re-travel the same roads, I see places and things I wrote about in the past and realize my blogging kept the memory alive, not my mind. So I miss blogging. Marilyn, I DO love your blogs! I treasure them, i fact. I return to them often when we are making our plans. That you for the details. And the opportunity to follow.

  3. Thanks Nancy. Might continue to do an annual summary, but I found this past year that I was catching up from the previous month more than once or twice. So it's obviously no longer a priority for me when on the road. You're right though, as we love being able to read through my blog to remind us of all the wonderful places we've been and incredible things we've done.