This coming February will mark our four-year anniversary of full-time RVing! These stats describe our travels from January through December 2017, as we camped out in Austin for Baby Nomad’s first doctor appointments, then did a six-month loop of the southeastern United States.
Number of States: 9 where we stayed overnight, 11 total that we traveled through. No new states this year! Though we revisited states we’ve traveled through before, we incorporated new areas and campgrounds to keep things fresh. In case you’re curious, we plan to add seven new states to our map in 2018. ✌
Number of Overnight Stops: 18
Where We Stayed: 1 Army Corps of Engineers campground, 1 county park, 1 military base, 1 national forest, 1 service center, 1 state park, 2 rest areas, 10 private campgrounds
Free vs. Paid: Staying free isn’t our goal, so only 5/18 locations we stayed at in 2017 were free, including 2 in-kind trades at private campgrounds. The national forest stay was almost free ($2.50/night), due to Eric’s Access Pass as a disabled veteran.
Our lowest number of overnight stops in a year, but then again we were home-based in Austin for Caspian’s first six months. Next year, 2018, should be back in the 20-30 range, since we plan to leave Central Texas at the beginning of March and travel the rest of the year.
We are getting more flexible and adventurous with where we stay. In 2017, we broke up long drives by leaving after work on Friday, and driving on both Friday and Saturday. This allowed us to stay somewhere fun on Friday night, where we didn’t necessarily need hookups or an Internet signal. Campendium has been my favorite resource for this.
2017 Camping Fees
Total: $8,525.46 (we spent $11,752.62 in 2016)
Monthly Average: $710.46
Most Costly Month: $1,090 (August 2017: nightly rate at a Kentucky campground on the tail-end of our stay, and one month at a riverfront campground in Asheville, NC)
Least Costly Month: $207 (November 2017: the RV was in storage for a week while we enjoyed our Florida timeshare, and then it was getting serviced for the next couple of weeks)
Nightly Average: $23.36
While we continue to be willing to pay more to stay where we want, our annual camping costs decreased $3,227.16 from 2016, which was our most expensive year of camping so far. Coincidentally, this past year we spent almost exactly what we spent in 2015.
➡ Keep reading: “2016 in Review”
➡ Keep reading: “2015 in Review”
➡ Keep reading: “2014 in Review”
Conclusion of Our Long Stay in Texas (January-May)
Caspian was born in Austin on Dec. 3, 2016. We spent the first half of 2017 in the Central Texas area, so he could have his first doctor appointments and vaccinations. We were itching to travel pretty much the entire time, but being in the area allowed us to do some cool things.
We got to see my parents multiple times–they live in Corpus Christi. Most importantly, Caspian got to meet his great-grandfather when he flew down from Toronto. Time isn’t promised to us, so I treasure the memories, even though Caspian will only have the photographs.
A huge highlight of our long-term stay in Texas was the first RV Entrepreneur Summit in Fredericksburg. Those of you who were there can attest to the abundance of encouragement, wine, and knowledge that were passed around. Heath and Alyssa Padgett have been on fire with resource-creation for RV entrepreneurs, so I know the second annual event is going to be amazing. The next summit is coming up in February and we’ll be presenting again. We hope to see you there, but it will also be live-streamed on Facebook if you can’t make it.
Last but not least, SXSW in March was a ton of fun. Caspian made some concert appearances, sporting his huge cheeks and trendy earphones. I got to see Hanson perform on the rooftop of the flagship Whole Foods Market (Caspian may or may not have fallen asleep in my arms just a few feet from the huge speaker). And I got up crazy early one morning to see Jimmy Eat World at KGSR’s Live Morning Broadcast. I only regretted missing Third Eye Blind, which made multiple appearances during SX.
Tune in next time for another edition of Brittany revealing her favorite bands.
Feb. 21, 2017 was our 3rd nomadiversary!
➡ Keep reading: “How More Than 3 Years of RV Travel Have Changed Me”
Retracing Our Steps East With Some New Stops (June)
Okay, so we finally hit the road on June 1, 2017. Despite our preparations, it was a super rocky start.
➡ Keep reading: “Day One of Our 2017 RV Trip: Not for the Faint of Heart“
Despite the unwanted and unexpected issues, we spent our first night at a lovely Army Corps of Engineers campground in northeast Texas. We took a deep breath, looked at each other, and remembered, “This is why we live in an RV full-time.”
We spent the first half of June in Hot Springs, at Catherine’s Landing where we stayed back in 2015.
➡ Keep reading: “Hot Springs, Arkansas, Two Years Later“
Going Haywire in Kentucky (June-July)
From Hot Springs, we continued northeast to Cave City, Kentucky. Around 8 p.m. the day after we got there, we decided Eric needed to get to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to be with our eldest, who’s stationed at a Coast Guard small boat station there. Darius (20) needed support and coaching at that point in his career, and who better than Daddy?
That left Caspian and me without wheels for a week, but we made the most of it. When Eric returned, we had about a week left to explore Mammoth Caves National Park, National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, and a few other things in the area.
➡ Keep reading: “Cave City, KY, Where Everything Was All Messed Up”
From there we started southeast to the small town of Somerset. Javen (16) and Silas (13) flew in from California, and we spent a month with our family friends. Towards the end of the month, Darius and Arianna (18) flew in for a few days. This was the highlight of our year: having all our kids with us at the same time. ?
➡ Keep reading: “Summer 2017 in the Small Town of Somerset, Kentucky”
Between explorations and making memories, we continued to wrestle with broken RV things. We also had a shock on July 31, 2017, when Eric was diagnosed with Type II diabetes.
➡ Keep reading: “Coping With a Medical Diagnosis on the Road”
Loving Asheville, Which Had Been on My List a Long Time (August)
August 5, 2017, we landed in Asheville, North Carolina. The prior two months of travel–ever since we left Austin–had been almost entirely a revisiting of places we’d been before. While you can always root out new things to do, there’s something intriguing and refreshing about going to brand new places.
I don’t think we’d been in Asheville more than a day when we decided to double our stay time from two weeks to a full month. We were down on the river, right on the hike and bike trail and within walking distance to the River Arts District (at least, for ambitious walkers). West Asheville, which I fell hard for, was only a few minutes’ drive.
Sigh. I really loved Asheville. In fact, IF we were ever going to stop RVing (which I genuinely don’t see us doing for years and years and years), I could picture myself living there. It reminded me of Austin before everyone found out they wanted to live there.
➡ Keep reading: “Enticing Introduction to Asheville, NC on City-wide Trolley Tour”
➡ Keep reading: “I Could Live in Asheville…Oh Wait, I Did”
Asheville itself was charming beyond our expectations. But on a personal level, we continued to deal with Eric’s new diagnosis. It was a lot for both of us.
➡ Keep reading: “Update on Eric’s Health and Sharing New Recipes”
Fortunately, by the time we left at the beginning of September, life was starting to normalize. We got the hang of the keto diet and we found a wonderful RV technician to fix our jacks. Yes, we went without jacks for three entire months and do not recommend it.
Savannah and the Hurricane (September)
A lot of full-time RVers seem to forget about holiday weekends, and we were no exception to the rule when Labor Day weekend rolled around. Fortunately, Campendium led us to Brick House Campground in Sumter National Forest, where there was plenty of room for us. In addition to visiting Ninety Six National Historic Site, we added to our menagerie on wheels.
➡ Keep reading: “Meet Our Newest Rescue Kitty and Learn His Story”
If Asheville was charming, then I don’t even know what adjective to use for Savannah. We spent less than 24 hours there in 2014 and I fell in love. I’d been wanting to go back ever since. But no sooner had we settled at River’s End Campground on Tybee Island than Hurricane Irma pointed her nose in our direction. What was supposed to be a magical two-week stay turned into arrival day, one full day in between, and departure day. I was not happy.
➡ Keep reading: “To Everyone Who Has Ever Said That RVing Requires Flexibility”
➡ Keep reading: “Our Hurricane Irma Evacuation Saga”
We stayed in Macon, GA, for nine days while the hurricane blew through and things got cleaned up in Savannah.
➡ Keep reading: “We Weren’t Supposed to Be in Macon, GA, Until We Were”
I was so grateful when we were able to go straight back to Tybee Island to restart our two-week Savannah exploits.
If you want to know my favorite place we’ve visited in four years of RV travel…it’s Savannah.
➡ Keep reading: “Savannah, My Favorite Place We’ve Stayed in 4 Years of Fulltime Travel”
Meh and Yay in Florida (October-November)
October and our arrival in Florida crept up quickly. I was hoping to find some state parks or small Atlantic towns to stay in, but Hurricane Irma left everything a real mess. We had an impossible time finding any open campgrounds. When we did, it was New Smyrna Beach RV Park and Campground, which is just a bit south of Daytona Beach.
We stayed a whopping five+ weeks, which was approximately four weeks too long. But it was what it was, and I enjoyed visiting Kennedy Space Center, Canaveral National Seashore, and St. Augustine multiple times. We even got to see a Space X launch, which was surreal and awesome.
➡ Keep reading: “New Smyrna Beach: Launch Point for Exploring Florida’s North Atlantic Coast”
Nov. 5, 2017, we moved to Orlando and checked into our timeshare. We have a three-bedroom lockout for the first full week of November, but we hadn’t used it since 2014. We parked Meriwether on the property, just a few minutes away, and checked on the cats twice a day. My parents flew in and we had the best week together. In other words, we spent almost every day at Disney World.
Back to Texas for the Holidays (November-December)
By mid-November, we had Meriwether back at Iron Horse RV in San Antonio for annual maintenance. We left him there and spent the next couple of weeks at my parents’ in Corpus Christi.
Dec. 1, 2017, we pulled back into our Austin spot at La Hacienda RV Resort, which is in far west Austin near Lake Travis. It’s a bit of a drive to get into Austin, but it’s a beautiful campground and the people here are the best. And I do love the sweet familiarity of it, considering this is where I spent the last month of my pregnancy and the first few months of Caspian’s life.
We had a big family Christmas back in Corpus with Javen, Silas, Eric’s mom, my two brothers and their wives, and my parents. Javen and Silas stayed through a very cold New Year’s Eve. In fact, it was so cold and wet outside that they couldn’t get any of their sparklers to light. Just after midnight, I threw on Silas’ coat and Eric’s flip flops, and got one sparkler to light before running around with it like a crazy person. Welcome to 2018, folks.
Sounds like a fantastic year – a kind of perfect combination of staying put and traveling. We are still figuring out the exact travel pace that works for us, but we are definitely liking the idea of staying put for weeks or even months at a time on occasion, so what you guys did this year seems really appealing (as long as the lengthy stay is somewhere awesome with lots of things to see and do, like Austin). We, too, LOVED Savannah, but we had to skip North Carolina completely because we didn’t have time to stop. We are looking forward to getting back there though since you are about the fortieth person to rave about Asheville. We’ll make a point of visiting next time we’re on the east coast. Anyway, happy travels in 2018! (Also, Caspian is adorable).
Aw, thanks for the sweet comment @disqus_JeBlm22pxG:disqus! You’ll want to go to Asheville even more once my travel log is up. ? Everyone is really so different. You can read as much “advice” or stories from other people as you want. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to RV your way. Here’s hoping you find the perfect balance for you!
Patti Cafferkey Suttle
I enjoy living vicariously through your travels! My husband and I hope to be doing the same at the end of this year or probably by Spring of next year…we are 63 and 66 now…so, I don’t want to wait much longer! Ha! We have some other commitments until then, such as a tour of the Holy Land in Israel in March and my husband has a few trips to Hawaii for work (poor guy! ha!) and a few other places as well….so, I am spending my time researching, etc. and preparing for our life on the road…eventually. I would love to know what you use to keep all those great records!
Keep living the dream!
Hi, @patticafferkeysuttle:disqus! Excited for you. I love using Evernote for travel notes. It syncs easily between my phone and laptop. I’m also getting into Roadtrippers.com because of its map feature. I find that putting points on a map really helps me know where we need to stay, and which attractions we’ll be able to reach at each stop.