Spring 2010 Wrap Up

Distance/time: just about 6,000 miles in 40 days.

Average camping fee: $30.42 (our highest and first over budget!). Only 1 night of boondocking (Usery Mtn SP for $10) and no free driveway camping this trip. We took the cushy route and had electric and water every night. I sure do prefer the quiet electric space heater to that loud propane one....

6-hour, expensive oil change in ABQ on the way home, and replaced marker light cover at RV shop in Tucson on the way out. Now we have to tackle a host of little things that have gone awry: a broken window shade, a broken water compartment door handle, dirty HVAC and engine air filters, and the inevitable plethora of loose (or fallen out) screws.

Fuel Economy: 15.2 mpg. Wayyyy windy this trip, plus ole leadfoot (me) couldn't keep it to 55-62 always.... We had a number of days when we wanted to make miles rather than explore; that always bumps up the speed. We averaged $2.58 per gallon, but paid as much as $3.29 getting out of and back into California.

National Parks and Monuments:

1. Great Sand Dunes National Park (finally!)
2. Big Bend National Park (probably first and last visit to this "remotest" national park in the lower 48)
3. Petroglyph National Monument (revisited)
4. Hot Springs National Park (revisited)
5. New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park
6. Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve (Lafayette, LA)
7. Vicksburg National Military Park

Favorite State/County Parks:
On this trip, we liked both Texas and Louisiana state parks a whole lot. Texas drives us a bit nuts with each park being a different price. We paid, variously, $14, $17, $20, and $25 for no apparent reason except, perhaps, proximity (or not) to urban areas. Same amenities, though. We just loved Blanco SP in Hill Country, though. Our idea of a perfect park: huge, grassy sites; shade trees; water/electric and a convenient dump station; nice restrooms; sound of running water from the creek; a variety of activities (free fishing, good geocaching); and the ability to walk to restaurants and shops. All for $17/night. We'll be back!

Given the poor condition of Louisiana's state roads (which a Reader's Digest article just this month listed as the worst in the nation--no kidding!), we didn't expect a lot from their state parks, but we were pleasantly surprised. We will be staying at more of these parks next time we're visiting and/or passing through.

Favorite vehicle:

Best meal: Oooh, this is tough given the variety of amazing foods we got to try, but the Louisiana Bistro's "Feed Me" dinner probably takes the cake. Also, getting to enjoy the Cajun crawfish dinner provided by our neighbors at Hot Springs NP was a big treat, too.

Best pie: Royer's Round Top. Hands down. We are definitely ordering some of these for the big party we want to throw this summer.

Most educational tourist attraction: Tie between the Queen Mine tour in Bisbee, AZ and the Balloon Museum in Albuquerque. We knew next to nothing about either topic, but had a lot of fun learning at these places.

Most challenging activity:
Hiking up the mountain in Hot Springs National Park and into the canyon at Big Bend. We were, for the most part, a bit on the lazy side this spring.

Most fun: Watching the Cubbies spring training games with our good friend.

Biggest surprises: How much it was still winter in Colorado in mid-April AND how much we liked staying at the Sky Ute Casino--our first Indian casino RV visit. Oh, and the 5-minute sheep delay....

Prettiest sunsets: East and North Texas state parks

This trip's weather challenge: Wind!!! Tailwinds out of California, dust storm in Big Bend, big cross winds across Texas, and severe wind warnings in New Mexico. No other storms to speak of, except that little bit of snow at the beginning of the trip. Couldn't ask for better weather, really.


  1. Thanks for the recap. I'm sorry to see it come to an end. I look forward to your next trip.

  2. We don't actually have one planned for the rest of the year (gasp!), but think we might squeeze in a CA National Parks and/or OR/WA one in June. We need to escape our area in June when the U.S. Open descends.... I've also registered for a week-long culinary boot camp up at the CIA campus in Napa Valley. There's a state park not far from the campus, so I may camp my way through cooking classes. Then we head (by plane, of course) to South Africa this fall. So, the year is getting full.