Alice and I are planning on a trip this summer, pulling our 25' fifth-wheel trailer from our base-camp at Jojoba Hills SKP Resort near Aguanga, CA, in a big circle through Mesa AZ, Durango CO, Ft Collins CO, Custer SD, Gillette WY, Ten Sleep WY, Glacier NP MT, Mt Vernon WA, Sutherlin OR, Brookings OR, Sacramento CA, and back to Aguanga. It is about 5,200 miles pulling the trailer, and and at least that many miles on the loose. It will take over six months.
I have wondered, should we go? There are arguments both ways.
We are both around 71 years of age, and this may be the last time when we can handle a long trip. Alice wants to see her sister (KS) and brother (UT) along the way, and we have been living this roaming life for a long time. We enjoy traveling. There are many emotional reasons for going. But it will cost a lot, and are we being fair to the rest of the world?
Cost wise, I hope to get 13 mpg towing, 18 mpg touring with our 2001 Dodge RAM 2500 diesel. That means I will purchase 400 gallons for pulling plus at least 300 gallons for touring. 700+ gallons at my estimate of $4.50 per gallon average this summer comes to $3,150. Plus there is the wear and tear on the truck, brakes, tires, etc. Compare this to sitting here 17 miles from town for six months: probably 400 gallons for a cost of $1,800 plus half the wear and tear. Will we find $1,400 worth of scenery and good companionship along the way to make up the difference? I expect we will.
One of the reasons for going on the trip is to attend the Escapade Rally in Gillette WY the end of June. We have a booth, and I am to give a seminar on LED lighting -- a subject I believe all RVers should know more about. I expect we will have a booth at Cal Expo in September and find a show in Oregon before that. We will be selling LED products, so the direct mileage of 3,500 miles is a business write-off at $0.50 per mile, or $1,750. Booth space and ancillary costs will be about $1,200, so business can account for $2,950 of our cost of summer travel. Of course, if we don't make a profit, business write-offs don't help a lot on taxes.
Apart from the cost, we have the issue of how much this kind of activity is taking away from the rest of the world and humanity. Should we care? Is this really our responsibility? Should we change our lifestyle in the hope of helping someone who is starving in Zimbabwe? Is this trip important enough to warrant the burning of 700 gallons of diesel?
I am not sure, but I have decided to justify the trip by committing to write about this last trip. I will write about what we remember in our past trips; what is happening across the country; how people are preparing for a future without the resources we have had; and whatever else we find that may help everyone decide how to take care of the future.
As always, I will try to explain how we are working to be Prudent RVers, and how those lessons can be extended to all of our readers.
the Prudent RVer