Apr 082011
 

I have nothing to report today. I’ve been under the weather and feeling really yucky for the last couple of days, which means I don’t have much new to write about, so I thought I’d touch on a few things that have been sitting on the sidelines, waiting for a time just like this.

There are dozens of different products that RVers can pour into their black water holding tanks, and some are pretty good, while others are basically a waste of money. For years, Terry and I have used Doctor Drain, which we buy at WalMart, in the section where you find things like Rid-X and other household chemicals. We find that just a couple of spoonfuls handles our black tank with no problems, and it is a lot cheaper than the products you’ll find in the RV section. One packet lasts us two or three months. However, there are a few places in the country, California being one, where we have not been able to find Doctor Drain. So when we do find it, we stock up on two or three packets at a time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A few years ago, when we were teaching at Life on Wheels, we came across this interesting homebuilt RV in a WalMart parking lot in Missoula, Montana. Made from a 1961 Corvair van, it had solar panels, a satellite TV dish, and all the comforts of home, just on a smaller scale. I talked to the fellow who had it, and he said that he spends a lot of time here in the Verde Valley of Arizona. And sure enough, a few days ago we saw the same rig parked at the Safeway in Cottonwood! It’s a small world, isn’t it?

Corvair Van color

I’m hearing from a lot of folks who are worried about high fuel prices, asking us if we plan to curtail our RV travels this year. The answer is no. We had planned to spend the summer on the Oregon and Washington coasts, and barring any unforeseen circumstances, that’s exactly what we will be doing. I figure that the route we laid out for our summer travels would be about 1900 miles.

On our trip from Florida to Arizona back in January, we paid an average of $3.50 a gallon for diesel. Based upon that price and the mileage we average on our Winnebago diesel pusher, we expected to pay about $960 for diesel fuel. If the pump price jumps as high as $5 a gallon, we’d pay $1375 for fuel. That’s a difference of $415 over the entire summer. When you consider that I have six consecutive weeks booked at Thousand Trails campgrounds along the Oregon and Washington coasts, which will only cost us $10 out of pocket, besides our regular annual dues, it’s not going to be all that expensive. As I’ve said before, the only choices a fulltime RVer has is to pay it or park, and I’m not ready to park it.     

Just when I thought winter was behind us, another cold front is coming through. The weatherman says the White Mountains could see as much as eighteen inches of snow this weekend. We’re due to leave the Thousand Trails next Wednesday, and we’re in a holding pattern, waiting to see when the Elks lodge campground in Show Low will be open, so we can go spend some time with my daughter Tiffany and her family. Last week when I called the lodge, they said they planned to open anywhere from April 15 to May 1st, but with this storm coming through, I suspect it will be later, not sooner. So we will need to find a place to hang out until the campground opens.

We can boondock on BLM land right next to the Thousand Trails if we have to, but if it warms back up, we’d prefer to have some hookups and to run our air conditioner, instead of living off our generator. We’ve done a lot of dry camping over the years, more than the average RVer ever does, but we’ve reached the point in our lives where we are more comfortable with full hookups. Yeah, we’ve gotten spoiled.

Thought For The Day – The key to being at peace with others is to stop being at war with yourself.

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Nick Russell

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  12 Responses to “I Have Nothing To Report”

  1. If you want to stay in the area longer, check out DEAD HORSE RANCH STATE PARK which is right in Cottonwood. They have water & elec with quite a few pull thru sites. When we stayed there in March, 2009 their rate was $20. It is a very
    nice park.

  2. More snow! Wow!

    Have you warned the Northwest that you are coming to their area later this year?

  3. Nothing wrong with being spoiled. We all decide to live in the style that makes us most comfortable and content.

  4. Nick..The Prescott Valley Elks Lodge 330 (AZ’s Oldest) has 12 FHU (30 Amp) sites with nice views of the Bradshaw Mountains for $17 nightly donation with a couple of cozy paddling lakes just 15 minutes away. Hope you feel better…and …oh yeah…thanks for bringing snow back to the AZ Mountains.

  5. We are back in Yuma. I had two root canals yesterday & still in pain. We got all settled in out on the NF (not BLM) land outside the park, had lunch when the toothache hit full force. The best laid plans. Maybe we need to change our plans about traveling the NW and staying at the TT parks. Forgot you bring the bad weather.

  6. Sorry to hear you are under the weather, sure hope you start feeling better real soon. We have curtailed our travel a bit, but it is health issues not the cost of fuel. You should plan to pay around $5 for diesel in California. My friend who is in Oxnard just wrote that gas is now around $4.65. Could you please send some of you wet weather to Hondo. We are desperate for a good rain. Today it is supposed to be 98 with matching humidity. Ugh!

  7. I am a regular reader and I truly enjoy your blog particularly while I am stuck here on the rock. I live in Bermuda but for many years have travelled in North America first as a musician and then with my family in a Sportsmobile van camper. I recently purchased a Tiger motorhome which I hope to take to Newfoundland and Labrador this summer. What prompted me to write was your picture of the Corvair Van in your latest blog entry. In March 2009 my wife and I were in Cottonwood Arizona on a trip to the Grand Canyon and I saw this unique vehicle and took a couple of pictures. Unfortunately did not get to meet the owner. In any case your picture brought back many pleasant memories. It is indeed a small world.

  8. Sorry to here you are under the weather. Just let you know today is the first day in 42 days that the northwest has seen sunshine for over 70% of the day. Don’t worry when you come to the northwest they are waiting with open arms for you, with rain, cold and maybe “SUNSHINE”, Get better and enjoy your blog.

  9. 1. Please, get well soon !!!!

    2. I taught biology for many years. The correct and only thing to put into your black water system is as to you said something that has the bacteria which helps break down the biological material. I ,also, use Dr. Drain from Wal Mart. Any product which has the active bacteria is what you can use. A product which has stuff like formaldehyde kills the bacteria and stops breakdown. This is a no no, not only in your own black tank but in the septic system of a CG. Other flowery products just disguise the odor.

    3. Cost of fuel. You are so right. I don’t understand why people are so concerned with the price of fuel. They seem to think it is going to break their bank. If you use 50 gallons a month of say diesel, at $3/gal it’s $150, at $3.50/gal it’s $175, at $4/gal it’s $200, at $4.50/gal it’s $225 and at $5/gal it’s $250. Are you going to let $25 or $50 a month stop you from traveling? If we need to conserve money we just eat out one less time a month or boon dock one more time or buy one less want instead of need .

    It seems to me that people don’t understand that if you let the unit sit and not use it, the depreciation on the unit is probably more than the fuel cost would have been if you were using it. If you have a monthly payment, you still have to pay that whether you are sitting or traveling. Also, since most things are transported by truck, stuff at the stores has gone up. People say we just can’t travel any more because the prices out “there” are too expensive. I just don’t believe that sticks and bricks living is less expensive than RVing. You can still keep the price down on the road by using lower cost goods, using sales, loss leader items, using thrift stores, used book,CD, DVD stores, freebies, etc.

    We have been able over the years to keep our spending each year on basic needs pretty much the same. Only if we “WANT” something is it more costly each month. Do you really need the “whatever” or can you make do with the “whatever” you already have? Is what you are buying really a need or a want? Each of us can easily cut out $25 or $50 out of the monthly budget in one/several place/s to put into fuel each month.

    And while we will be traveling less this year, it really isn’t due to fuel prices, it’s just due to what we want to do this year. And since we are traveling fewer miles with the increase in fuel prices our cost for fuel will be about the same as last year. And no, we aren’t going to stop traveling either because of fuel prices. Each of us has just so many years on the road. An increase in fuel is not going to stop us !!!!!!! Where there is a will there is a way !!!!!!

  10. Nick. Talk on some news stations it that oil Gould get up to 300.00 dollars a barrel. That would put fuel up to about $15.00 a gallon. I would have to keep mine parked. It would cost me about $1350.00 a tank.

  11. Connie, your numbers of 50 gallons of fuel a month are awfully low. There are a lot of people who winter in the south and travel north in the summer. 50 gallons will only take you about 350 miles. A lot of us travel a whole lot more than that a month. This week I just drove from Arizona to Oregon which was about 1,350 miles.

  12. Dave, Not sure what news stations you are listening to but here are some facts to consider.
    There are many oil wells where it costs less than $50 a barrel to pump. others cost $75 or $100 or $150 or more.
    Now if you were in business and the market for oil was currently $110 a barrel would you be pumping from the $150 well? I doubt it. BUT if the market price his $160 would you start pumping from that well?

    As the price goes up there are additional wells that become economical to pump which increases supply which lowers the price.

    Market at work. The biggest problem for us here in the states is we have become too use to relatively cheep gas (be sure to consider inflation when looking at historic prices) while much of the rest of the worls is already paying over $4 or $6 per gallon. That’s why most of the rest of the world offers cars getting significantly better mpg than here in the US.

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