Reflecting on our First Year Full-Timing

We took delivery of our travel trailer on September 7, 2012 and have lived and traveled in it full-time ever since. We thought it would be a fun post to consolidate a lot of statistics from our first year (and saves you having to go back to read our entire blog to figure all this information out).

We have camped in 25 states and have driven through 29 while pulling the trailer. West Virginia, Illinois, Idaho and Minnesota were the four states we didn’t stop in, but passed through. Total distance while pulling the trailer was 16,904 miles (through September 8th of this year).

We have stayed at 51 different campgrounds during the year. We also stayed in the driveway of our house one night, the parking lot of our RV dealer one night (first night) and in the driveway of friends two nights (one visit). We have yet to stay in a WalMart parking lot or truck stop overnight. Not that we’re against it, just that we haven’t done it.

Our truck has only had one issue while traveling and that is a squealing water pump pulley. It has never left us stranded on the side of the road. In the last year, it has had eight oil changes, four fuel filters, one air filter and three pairs of windshield wipers. The squealing pulley prompted the only major repair – a new pulley, new belt, new radiator hoses, new thermostat and housing and a fresh fill of coolant.

We don’t have fuel usage statistics for the entire year, but have tracked them since February 21st. Since that time, we have run 2,230 gallons of diesel fuel through the truck at a total cost of $8,595.64. Average miles per gallon (which includes both towing and non-towing) is 10.84. We generally get 9.5 – 10.3 mpg while towing. Our lowest average mpg was 7.37 (very high head-wind).

Our trailer has been fairly trouble-free. The biggest problem has been water leaks. One leak was the plastic check valve on the hot water tank – a common issue. The other leaks – three of them – have all been in the water line between the sink and the ice-maker on the refrigerator. The biggest maintenance expense has been due to flat tires – two of them on the trailer.

We have driven in high winds – headwinds that were so strong, the truck would never shift into top gear on the interstate (see also, lowest mpg, above), heavy rain, snow, sleet/ice. All of those were on our first trip in January. Fortunately, we’ve pretty much had clear sailing since. We’ve seen temperatures as low as 19 degrees F (Ozark, Arkansas) and as high as 107 degrees F (Mojave Desert, California).

We’ve been to both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans as well as the Gulf of Mexico. We’ve been to both Disney parks (Disney World in Florida in January and Disneyland in California in August). We’ve been to four Heartland Owners Club rallies – one national rally in Goshen, Indiana and three chapter rallies (MS/AL, TN and GA). We’ve toured the factory where our trailer was built (well, Malcolm and David did).

Our longest driving day was 587 miles from Deer Lodge, Montana to Gig Harbor, Washington. Our shortest driving day was 23 miles from Gig Harbor, Washington to Puyallup, Washington (changing RV parks to be closer to the grandchildren). Our average driving day is 273.5 miles.

We’ve driven on twenty-two different interstates: I-4, I-5, I-8, I-10. I-15, I-20, I-24, I-35, I-40, I-44, I-55, I-59, I-64, I-65, I-69, I-75, I-77, I-80, I-81, I-85, I-90, I-95. We’ve driven in altitudes as low as a few feet and as high as 7,320 feet above sea level.

All in all, it has been a fun first year. We look forward to the next year. You learn a lot when you start traveling around in an RV. Many lessons learned along the way should make the next year even more fun and productive.

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