Home, Sweet Home

Home —  It’s been three weeks to the day and I’ve arrived back where I began.  On this trip I drove close to 6000 miles as I traveled through 12 states.

I want to thank everyone for your support and interest in my road trip.  I appreciate your comments (keep ’em coming!), and as I was traveling alone, I really enjoyed having you along for the ride!

As I expected, by the time I left Utah I was ready to come home.  When I punched home into the Garmin it said I would arrive by 8:15pm.  Given the time-zone change that translated into 13 hours without stops.   I didn’t think about that, I just decided that 8pm wasn’t that late, and that I’d rather come home to late-night traffic than arrive in Friday afternoon traffic.  So my last day of driving was a long one.   I made it home just before 11pm having pulled out of the RV park near the Utah border at 8:30am (Mountain).

The trip was a complete success.  I suffered no major problems or breakdowns.   This was a great time of year to do a trip like this.  I might have left a few days earlier but otherwise the timing was perfect.  The Garmin only seriously messed up once. The camper performed flawlessly and I used every system including the propane heater (many times) and the 110VAC air conditioner (twice).

Except for the service engine light which went on and off almost every day, the truck was great.  For a vehicle which mostly sat around doing nothing for the last decade, it enthusiastically started every time I turned the key.   The ride was a bit noisy, but otherwise was very comfortable.   The air conditioner worked the entire trip, and I was very glad I had it repaired before leaving.  Discount Tire provided a free rotation and balance when I passed through Colorado Springs.

Except for the short thunderstorm in New Mexico, the weather was great the entire trip.  I had a little bit of rain at the start, and used the wipers for short intervals a couple of times.  There was a bit of snow in the shadows at Beartooth Pass, and nothing yet in Colorado, even at Independence Pass.

The only thing I wish I had done before leaving was to upgrade the sound system in the truck.  Lacking a CD player I tried to use a cheap bluetooth speaker with my phone.  That didn’t work as well as I had hoped in terms of both sound and ergonomics.

Buying a month of cell/data service from AT&T turned out to be a very smart thing to do.  It wasn’t flawless, but having internet access more often than not gave me a lot of more options in terms of deciding where I would go next.

I never used my boat’s high-gain wifi antenna.  In my fiberglass camper I was always able to get the RV park’s signal using the WiFi in the computer or phone.

Twice I stayed overnight in Walmart parking lots, both times as my other lodging options didn’t pan out.  I’m grateful to the company for providing me that option.

Most of the pictures in this blog were taken with my Canon G11.  I brought my big Nikon, but it wasn’t working well.  The exposures were never right and were always changing.  I finally gave up using it after I decided it was the camera body that was broken, and not the glass.

For us analytical types, here are the final stats:

Miles traveled today: 770 (a record)
Total Miles Traveled: 5837
Total Days:  22
Average Miles per day: 265 (including 3 non-travel days).

Average Lodging: $14.16
Total Lodging $297.40
Total Fuel: $1,139  (averaged very close to 12 mpg)
Total Fuel:  490 gallons
Total Trip: $1436
Average Cost per day: $65.30

I’m quite pleased that my trip costs were under $500 per week. Hotels alone would have cost more than that if I’d driven my car.

Here’s what I paid for regular unleaded in each state.  As you can see, more than once I paid less than $2 gallon.   The spike was at the south entrance to Yellowstone.



5 thoughts on “Home, Sweet Home”

  1. Welcome home – glad you had a great trip and returned safe and sound. Look forward to getting together for a brew to rehash the trip.

  2. Welcome home Dad! I’m proud of you for getting out and seeing the country! Hopefully next time I can be your co-pilot!

  3. More comments later (and let’s do lunch soon!) but I wanted to say thanks for the words and the pictures. It was great to be a virtual passenger on this journey. I just told Allison there were new posts and she’s anxious to see them.

  4. Welcome home! I didn’t think you would push that hard to get back… was expecting a few more stops on the way. But, great trip and thanks for all the pictures… they were very nice to see.

    1. Thanks, Leon. Yeah, well I was ready to come home, and I’d seen Eastern Washington. I was tempted to poke around a bit in Oregon, but I decided it’s close enough I could do that later if I wanted.

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