February 6, 2012—Operating a motorhome is not inexpensive. We’ve paid as high as $3.85/gallon for diesel fuel. “Baby” has a high metabolism; she gets about 9 mpg, compared with our little HHR “toad,” which gets about 25-30 mph on the highway. And, of course, there are other operating expenses as well, ranging from replacing windshield wipers ($20 each; they are big!), to repairing leaking toilets ($40 for a repair kit).
So, does it make sense to drive one of these beasts on a vacation? The answer is, “It depends.”
We drove 2,386 miles to go from Jacksonville to Yuma, via McKinney, Texas, and Quartzsite, Ariz. Our diesel expense for that trip was about $980, and we spent $209 on RV parks, plus $20 for water and dumping while boondocking in Quartzsite. Because we bought a membership into an RV park while we were in the Quartzsite area, we have not had any other overnight expenses. The total for our trip out here, then, comes to $1,209. I have not tracked out eating expenses, because we would have them anyway. Mostly we eat in; we dine out about on the road about as frequently as we do at home.
For comparative purposes, if we had driven our car on the same trip (Jacksonville-McKinney-Quartzsite-Yuma), gas would have been $310 (at 25 mpg and $3.25/gal); motels would have been more than $1,500 (at $50, conservative estimate. The one in McKinney was $100 night), and meals for both of us would have been $1,500 (figuring $50 a day, conservatively), for a total of $3,310. (We would also have had to pay someone to look in on the cats.)
Flying would have been even more expensive.
Aside from the cost differences, I don’t like to sleep in motel beds anymore. Reports of bedbugs have creeped me out. In our motorhome, we sleep in our own bed, do our laundry in our own machines, and eat our own food. We also sometimes get to meet nice people, like the couple from British Columbia, who are parked next to us here. We’ve become friends with them; that’s nice.
We’re not done traveling yet. We leave Yuma area tomorrow. We’ll spend a night in Tucson, then head up to the middle of New Mexico so he can see the night lights without light pollution. We want to stop at Carlsbad Caverns, spend a couple of days in San Antonio, head back to McKinney for a night on our way to Arkansas, and stay in Arkansas a week.
Jim wants to pack up the cats, clothes, and perishables and head home in the car, while leaving “Baby” somewhere in Arkansas until we are ready to travel again, probably in another month. I’m against that; I don’t see how we are going to travel with the cats in that little car, packed to its gills. We’ll see.
Your Reluctant RoVer,