We just got back from our trip to the Rockies and today I sat down and tallied up what we spent.
Getting Some Gas
The biggest expense, of course, was gas. We spent $335 on gas to drive from Omaha to Denver and back, with some stops along the way. According to the spreadsheet I kept for our travels we got 14 mpg on our trip, averaging 75 mph on the interstate and doing plenty of mountain driving.
The next highest expense at $92 was food. It was strictly eating out and buying us and the kids some coffee before dropping them off. We didn’t include the money we spent on the food we took with us. We cooked breakfast in the RV each day and supper for two nights, and bought meals every other time. We could have done better on this point.
Next up was our campground expense. We only spent $56 on that for the two nights we spent in campgrounds. We could have done better on that, too, by not spending the night in North Platte.
The last expense was miscellaneous expenses and that amounted to $34. We paid to get into the park and bought a few things along the way.
We had a great trip and even though it was rushed, it was fun. We definitely couldn’t have taken it in Cousin Eddie where we got 8 mpg on a good day. And we couldn’t have fit into our campsite with Cousin Eddie. Trading off to get Sparky was a great choice and it fit us well.
We woke up around 3:30 a.m. to the sound of some light rain. We slept a couple more hours and got up to walk the dog.
We weren’t in the hours to run a generator yet so we warmed up some water on the stove and used the hot water to make coffee. We made some breakfast and packed up. We wanted to get some pictures of the park before starting to head home.
We started off for the visitor center, stopping at some overlooks along the way. We were heading up in elevation and Mother Nature wasn’t in a good mood. We passed a warning sign about icy roads and then it started snowing. We got pulled over at the visitor center by the park rangers, who had closed the road past that point. They said there were too many wrecks there.
We hung out in the parking lot for an hour or so with some other people who stayed with us to keep warm. They were running low on gas.
The rangers later told us we could backtrack and leave the park through Grand Lake. It was a roundabout way to get home but we took it. There was still a lot of nice scenery out there.
We took Highways 34 and 40 through Grand Lake and Granby and caught I-70 west of Denver. I-70 is sure a pain to drive out there with all the traffic. The road was taking us past where I used to work when I lived out there so we stopped. I used to be a photo lab manager for Wal-Mart and the store outside Evergreen, Colorado, was my first lab. We did some shopping and looking around, and then it was time to hit the road.
We caught I-70 to I-76 and followed that to I-80 in Nebraska. We stopped at North Platte, Nebraska, for the night and got a shower. We had a quiet night there at an RV park and hit the road.
We had a quiet drive back in time to pick up the kids at 3 and head home.
We had a wonderful opportunity this last weekend when the kids had a three-day weekend. They were going to be out of town and we decided to treat ourselves to a quick trip somewhere. We packed up Sparky and made the decision on the way to drop off the kids.
We got the kids dropped off just after 6 p.m. and drove west on I-80. I just love driving Sparky because of the big windshield. We filled up at a truck stop and got some supper on the road. I called an old friend and took him up on his offer to spend the night. We pulled into Kearney at close to 10 p.m. and had a wonderful night in the quiet country.
Friday morning we were up early and made coffee. We walked Toby around the property and packed up to leave. We were only half an hour from where I used to live so we stopped where I used to work and visited with everyone. I told them when they leave their front door open people like me walk in.
We took Highways 6 and 34 west across the southern side of Nebraska and caught I-76 and some side roads to Estes Park, Colorado. We stopped at the Rocky Mountain National Park Visitor Center and got our national parks book stamped. We got our daily pass and drove to the other side of the park to get a spot for the night. We stayed at Timber Creek Campground, which doesn’t take reservations. We got the last spot for the night.
I was sick as a dog on the way up there. It has been a long time since I have been up that high and it wasn’t treating me well. We got set up, took the dog for a walk and had a quick bite to eat before calling it a night.
We did get some pictures and driving to the campground and within the campground. We even had some elk walking through the site.
While on our way from Omaha to the Rocky Mountain National Park, we stopped at a friend’s house to spend the night. He and his wife have close to 40 acres of land just off I-80. He always said we could stop by and stay with the RV so I called him up and drove on over.
We got in at close to 10 pm and chatted a bit. Toby loved playing with their dog Myah as they ran all around the open field. Maybe we need to take him to a dog park.
Jim has a light pole with a 50 Amp hookup so we pulled over there and plugged in. We didn’t need the A/C because it was a cool night. We opened the windows and had a great night of sleep. It was dark out and no noise whatsoever.
I had the alarm set so we got up and made some coffee. We took Toby for a walk near the RV and went to see a tiny cabin that Jim and his wife have as a rental. We have considered buying some land in Tennessee and putting a tiny house on it so it was nice to look around and see how it fit.
Stopping there was a great idea. We had a great night and it was free!
We are still a few years from hitting the road but that hasn’t kept us from dreaming and watching others that are living it right now.
We watch YouTube videos and spend time out camping. Some of the channels we keep up with are
One of the things they all have in common is they minimized their stuff before taking off. And they all realized they needed less stuff on the road.
Getting rid of stuff is definitely a step we can take now to get ready. Giving stuff away helps reduce stress. It doesn’t seem right but clean up a mess and see how you feel looking at that empty space.
Up and At ‘Em
We slept okay through the night, despite having the generator run all night long. I guess we didn’t disturb anyone because we didn’t get any knocks on the door. It was around 5:30 in the morning when we woke up. One of the girls working there was flirting with some cops outside. We walked Toby and had some donuts for breakfast, then packed up to leave.
Northern Arkansas Is a Beautiful Place
I always enjoy driving through northeast and north central Arkansas. Lots of trees, some hills and lots of streams along the way. We traveled through Hardy. Lots of memories in that town. It was easy driving with little traffic.
My Kingdom for a Damn Diesel Pump
We last filled up with diesel before leaving Memphis. We tried filling up in Paragould but the spout was too big for our tank. We tried again at the truck stop in Jonesboro but that wouldn’t fit, either. We tried every little gas station along the way that morning and every one of them was too big.
Finally, a Place to Fill Up
We stopped in Mammoth Springs, Arkansas, right on the border with Missouri. We found a gas station that had the right pump and filled up. We were just under a quarter of a tank. The guy at the counter said the stations down that way sell off road diesel, not the kind we need. It’s a good thing I didn’t force it. We figure it’s about time to buy a gas can to hook to the back of the RV the next time we travel south.
A Heavenly Place to Rest
Not the eternal rest, but close to it. Mammoth Springs is home to a spring and has built a nice park around it. The sun was still coming up and fog was all around. We stopped at the park to walk the dog and hung out for close to half an hour. Some turkeys were chilling under a tree and the water moving by sounded so relaxing. They built a sidewalk and several bridges along the way around the park and into town.
A Long Drive Home
The rest of the day wasn’t all that remarkable. We drove through south central Missouri and through Springfield and caught highway 13 through Cabool. We finally hooked up with the interstate and went north through KC and had an uneventful trip home.
The Last Day in Memphis
In Day 1 I told you about our plans and preps for a class reunion. Day 2, we visited the Arch in St. Louis and Grant’s house. Day 3, we stuck around Memphis and had BBQ. Then we slept in and had breakfast at Mom’s house. I wanted to get on the road by 10 so we could make it to Paragould in time to see some family there and drive around.
We got some gas on the way out and had an easy drive to Jonesboro. We stopped at a Love’s Truck Stop there and looked around. It’s where we planned to spend the night. Gas was a little expensive so we decided to wait until Paragould.
Seeing Some Family
My family members live just outside of town between Jonesboro and Paragould. It’s in an area of condos arranged around a pond. We found some extra parking and started up the generator. We wanted to keep the dog cool with the A/C. We visited for an hour and went back to Sparky.
Checking Out the Town
We drove around town to see how things had changed. We drove by Reynolds Park and through the RV park. They tore out the pool I used to swim in as a kid. Some of the stores downtown have moved out. My old house is still standing. The park that used to have a train engine for the kids to play on doesn’t have it any more.
Making the Reunion
We drove downtown to Skinny J’s and parked on the side of the street. We started up the generator and walked over. We were the first there but didn’t have to wait long. We stuck around until 10 or so before leaving. We stopped at a gas station but the nozzle wouldn’t fit our tank.
Our First Truck Stop Evening
We drove back to Love’s on the interstate outside Jonesboro and looked for a place to park. We tried parking with the trucks but weren’t comfortable with the dark. With a gray vehicle it would be easy for any of them to miss us in the dark. We moved over to the auto side and parked in a special area they had for RVs to park. It was right next to the pumps and wasn’t ideal but worked, I guess. We put up the covers over the windows and ran the generator so we could stay cool.