Tag Archives: camping

2017 – End of Year Expense Report

doing-the-budget
Here’s our 2017 end of year Expense sheet…

I’m listing the camping related expenses as line item monthly averages. Then, I total everything else up and give just a general dollar figure. If you are researching fulltime RVing you already know what you pay for food, health insurance, etc. (or even if you don’t, my figures for such things won’t have any real world connection to what you spend on them). Also, by combining the non-RVing expenses I feel I’m better able to maintain our privacy.

During the year we spent four months volunteering and receiving a campsite at no charge. For the purpose of this report, I’ve estimated the value of these months at $325 each. Also, we own a small car that doesn’t travel with us.  We have it 4-6 months a year.  That lowers our diesel use and adds a gasoline line to our expense sheet.

During 2017, in addition to our months of volunteering, we spent a two months paying monthly rates. The rest of the time we were traveling, moving an average of once a week.

2017 was a good year for us, but we had some extra expenses including replacing a windshield, buying new tires for both camper and pickup, and a couple of bigger pickup repairs.  These costs are included in the figures below.  We did one major RV upgrade.  However, since it was completely discretionary I’m not including it in these figures.

Because our travel was very limited in 2016 I can’t compare this year’s figures to last year, however, these numbers track pretty well with other years, although they are drifting upwards, primarily, I think, due to inflation rather than any big changes in our lifestyle.

I have to brag just a bit here.  At the beginning of the year I did an estimated budget.  To my surprise, my end of the year figures are within $30 for the entire year!  I’d say that was mostly luck and not skill at budgeting!

2017  Monthly Expense Averages
Camping fees (Value of volunteering + out of pocket + pro-rated annual memberships*) $478.06
Cell/Internet/TV $226.15
Diesel (During the months in which we have a car the truck doesn’t get driven much) $204.35
Gas (note: we only had the car with us about 5 months but this is a 12 month ave.) $23.89
Misc $38.50
RV Maintenance and upgrades $149.81
Vehicle Maintenance (had a couple of big repairs on the truck) $257.75
Registrations/Vehicle Insurance (pro-rated to monthly) $178.48
Propane $1.81
Mail Service $12.08
TOTAL $1570.88
Non RV expense – food, medical, “just living”**                                    TOTAL $1727.28
MONTHLY GRAND TOTAL AVERAGE
$3298.16

*Note 1: Like Thousand Trails, Good Sams, etc. – prorated to monthly cost -but NOT including original buy in costs, if any

**Note 2: These expenses include items like: Groceries & Dining Out, Clothing, Hair, Medical & Dental Expenses, Charity, Health Insurance, and Entertainment – but not Income Tax and a few other expenses

PS: If you find this information helpful, please leave a short comment so I’ll know it is worth the effort needed to provide it. Thanks.

2017 – The Year of the Dog

Some full time traveling RVers set out to visit all the National Parks. Others plan their journeys to see as many minor league ball parks as they can and more than a few focus on seeing the grandkids who are scattered around the country. I think, though, that we have a corner on doing animal highway sketching! At least this year, we did a pretty good drawing of a dog.

Honestly, it was only after I began planning our 2017 Adventure and I started mapping it out that I realized we were drawing a dog. Next year we’ll likely go back to drawing nondescript maps of amoebas.

Check out our 2017 Adventure Map page for links to reviews of all our stops during this “year of the dog.”

2017 – Lake Conroe Thousand Trails, Willis, TX

20171116_095441.jpg We have enjoyed many stays at Lake Conroe Thousand Trails in Willis, TX.  Since I have written several reviews of this, our sort of “home” campground, I think I’ll forgo writing yet another.  I will, though, mention that this campground continues to receive impressive upgrades.  As I understand it, the plan is to make one property in each state into a showplace.  Thousand Trails promises that other campgrounds are going to see improvements as time goes by, but for now, the focus is on just a few properties.

20171109_163152.jpg Another project that has been going on during our stay was leveling and resurfacing the pull through sites.  Those sites have been the worst in the place for a long time now.  The work that is being done will result in considerably better sites.  However, they are still back to back parking and, even though they are no longer rutted and rough sites, several are still downhill, either side to side or front to back (or both).  I think many people will be disappointed that leveling boards, etc. will still be needed in these pull through sites.

All in all, though, the improvements to the campground are really nice and will do nothing but make this already popular Thousand Trails even more popular.  Since we often begin and end our annual adventures here I’m glad for the work that has been, and continues to be, done.

20171107_085813.jpg20171107_085946.jpg20171107_085952.jpg20171109_163127.jpg20171109_163145.jpg20171109_163152.jpg20171109_163203.jpg20171109_163216.jpg20171112_165029-001.jpg20171112_165105-001.jpg20171112_165135-001.jpg20171112_165155.jpg20171112_165312-001.jpg20171112_165400-001.jpg20171112_165702-001.jpg20171112_165808-001.jpg20171112_165900.jpg20171112_165901.jpg20171112_170126-001.jpg20171112_170213-001.jpg20171112_170302-001.jpg20171112_170414-001.jpg20171112_171530-001.jpg20171112_171538-001.jpg20171112_171557.jpg20171116_095441.jpg20171116_095747.jpg20171116_100842.jpg20171116_101113.jpg20171116_101140.jpg20171116_101144.jpg20171116_101728.jpg20171116_101749.jpg20171116_101832.jpg20171116_101842.jpg20171112_171557.jpg

2017 – Eisenhower State Park, Denison, TX

20171001_181755a.jpg We have had a nice stay at Eisenhower State Park, Denison, TX.  We came to Denison so I could fill in for a pastor friend while he took Sabbatical leave.  The park is located on Lake Texoma and features a large marina and multiple camping areas.  However, only the Bois D’Arc Ridge loop has full hookups.

We enjoyed the beautiful wooded campground with its herd of deer and other assorted wildlife.  The neighborhood roadrunners are comical birds that are especially fun to watch.  The campsites in this area are all pull-throughs, which each site a small loop off the road.  That means everyone’s back is to the road, creating a sense of privacy even when the campground is full.

20171024_165840a.jpg The biggest negative is that many of the sites are rather unlevel both side to side and front to back.  Some are so bad that only a small camper has any reasonable hope of getting level.  Also, in addition to bringing along plenty of leveling blocks be sure to bring extra sewer hose as the connection is seldom in a spot that will let you get level and be close to the sewer connection at the same time.  And, even though the lake is very close by, there are no lake views to speak of.  Toward the end of our stay the trees had dropped enough leaves that the lake could be seen through the forest from a few spots but there was nothing like a real lake view from this camping loop.

20171024_104727a.jpg I really should mention the hedge apples.  Some of the sites have trees with this softball sized fruit on them.  You certainly don’t want to park your RV under one of those trees in the fall!

I really don’t mean for this to be a negative sounding review.  We like this park a lot.  The staff is friendly and easy to work with.  Unless you arrive on a busy weekend, they will let you drive around and pick a site rather than stay in the one assigned.  Also, if they know you are in a bigger rig they will try to assign you one of the longer, somewhat more level spots.

The campground is just a few minutes from Denison with its restaurants, Walmart, and about any other business you might need.

20170921_104144.jpg20171001_181755a.jpg20171001_181820a.jpg20171001_181840a.jpg20171024_104727a.jpg20171024_104809a.jpg20171024_104903a.jpg20171024_105120a.jpg20171024_165840a.jpg20171025_104535a.jpg20171029_17331a6.jpg20171029_173332a.jpg20171029_174349a.jpg20171029_17440a0.jpg20171029_174419a.jpg20171031_17065a6.jpg20171031_17071a1.jpg20171031_17075a2.jpg20171031_170822a.jpg

2017 – Lake Texoma Thousand Trails – Gordonville, TX

20170921_183701.jpg In spite of Texas late September summer-like temperatures, we enjoyed our stay at Lake Texoma Thousand Trails, Gordonville, TX. We were last here in May, 2013 and the campground is about the same as it was then. We appreciated the ranger giving us a list of vacant full hookup, 50 Amp sites that were available, I think there were 8 or 9. We picked the one that looked good to us and settled into a large, level, gravel site. There’s a $3 a night surcharge for 50 Amps – in fact, the power pedestals for those sites are padlocked until the surcharge is paid. This Thousand Trails has both a large “family” pool and Activity Center and a smaller Adult pool with spa and Adult Activity Center. There are many annual campsites that have been improved in various ways by the residents. A surprising number of the residents light their sites at night with “running lights” whether or not they are present. However, if a person arrives looking for a 30 Amp full hookup site they would have many nice spots from which to choose. The roads in the campground are typical Thousand Trails: read rough and pothole filled.

We had no problem getting a satellite signal and our Verizon signal was a solid 4G.

20170925_094859.jpg Our arrival day at Lake Texoma was a difficult travel day for us in which a tire on the pickup came apart, doing considerable damage to the pickup. As a result the pickup was in need of repairs and we needed to travel to Houston to pick up our car so we would have transportation during the repairs. The campground management worked with us as we dealt with these unexpected, unwelcome circumstances. We did shorten our stay by a few days as we needed to time our relocation days with the repairs.

20170921_104144.jpg One strange coincidence is that the last time we visited Lake Texoma Thousand Trails we had a tire begin to delaminate as we traveled. We had to stop and buy two new tires. Here we are four years later and, as we traveled to the campground we had a tire (likely one of those bought on that day in 2013) come apart, forcing us to stop and buy four new tires. It almost makes us afraid to schedule Lake Texoma Thousand Trails again!

20170921_183701.jpg20170921_183737.jpg20170925_094139.jpg20170925_094222.jpg20170925_094331.jpg20170925_094409.jpg20170925_094500.jpg20170925_094521.jpg20170925_094552.jpg20170925_094700.jpg20170925_094733.jpg20170925_094739.jpg20170925_094831.jpg20170925_094859.jpg20170925_095150.jpg20170925_095227.jpg20170925_095316.jpg20170925_095504.jpg20170926_102907.jpg20170926_183105.jpg20170927_193955.jpg