It’s hard to believe we’re already starting our third year of fulltime RVing! From January-December 2015, these statistics describe our travels:
Number of States: 8
Number of Overnight Stops: 24
Where We Stayed: 1 amusement park, 1 event (Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta), 1 service center, 1 parking lot (truck stop), 1 city park, 1 county park, 2 state parks, 4 military bases, 12 private campgrounds
Free vs. Paid: Staying free isn’t our goal, but 2/24 locations we stayed in 2015 were free.
We didn’t cover as much ground in 2015 as we did in 2014. We spent at least one night in 8 states, compared to 10 in 2014. And we only had 24 overnight stops in 2015, compared to 38 the year before.
Monthly Average: $710.12
Most Costly Month: $1,599.53 (July 2015 in Colorado: a good part of this amount went towards a stay at one of our favorite parks: Clear Creek RV on a mountain stream in Golden, CO)
Least Costly Month: $105.00 (October 2015: stayed at a military base in Texas and the rest of the month was prepaid)
Nightly Average: $23.35
One of the lessons we took from 2014 is that we’re willing to pay more to stay at more beautiful and convenient campgrounds. We skimped a bit in 2014 and ended up staying at some crumby parks. Our annual camping fee increased $667.43, year over year.
Winter in Texas
We spent the remainder of winter in the Texas Hill Country, one of our favorite regions in the country. After a cold New Year’s in Corpus Christi at the Naval Air Station, we moved to Pecan Park Riverside RV in San Marcos, TX. There we met the wonderful Rowley family–owners of the park–and they even became one of our clients.
We spent February in the originally German town of Fredericksburg, where the Smithsonian-quality National Museum of the Pacific War is a big stand-out. We also spent a few days in Wimberley, a small town with Texas-sized charm.
We wrapped the season up back in Austin for SXSW. In between all of this, we made a couple of trips to our preferred RV repair shop, Iron Horse RV in San Antonio. In between not-so-fun repair projects, we had Vortex put on the front end cap of Meriwether.
Unforgettable Hot Springs
As winter turned to spring, we headed northeast through Arkansas. We intended to stay in Little Rock, but the Snowmads insisted we go to Hot Springs instead. Are we ever glad we listened!
To date, Hot Springs is near/at the top of our list when people ask about our favorite RV destinations so far. We loved the scenery, the food, the attractions and–most of all–the hot springs! Bathing at the Buckstaff was like taking a trip in a time machine.
Read all about our time in Hot Springs here:
- Steamy Adventures in Hot Springs, Arkansas
- RV Park Review: Catherine’s Landing in Hot Springs, AR
- Bathing at the Buckstaff in Hot Springs, Arkansas
- Our Favorite Food and Activities in Hot Springs, AR
Yeah. I’m pretty sure we’ve never, ever written four articles about one place. ‘Nough said!
Small Town Kentucky
Nothing could make us stay in one place so long, except the most important thing in the world to us: our kids. The eldest, Darius, was graduating high school, and we couldn’t imagine missing his one-time transition and all the special events that accompanied it. We loved being there for his 18th birthday, senior prom, his JROTC awards and seniors’ night at church. We also took him to Louisville, KY, where he swore into the United States Coast Guard.
Oh, and we also rescued a kitten at one of our campgrounds. Her name is Rhythm Jasmine Highland.
St. Louis, MO
Heading west for the summer, we spent two weeks in St. Louis. St. Louis RV Park may be a parking lot, but the location can’t be beat. We tried so many fun things, including:
- Bailey’s Chocolate Bar with Robin and Jeremy of Live, Breathe, Move
- The Shaved Duck, home to freakin’ amazing BBQ featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives
- Jewel Box in Forest Park
- Gateway Arch
- Lafayette Square bi-annual house and garden tour
- City Museum
- Saint Louis Zoo
We enjoyed St. Louis tons more than we expected, and couldn’t believe how much there was to do. We kept really busy for two weeks, and still had a bunch of things we didn’t get to.
Shortly after we arrived in St. Louis, Darius rejoined us. Eric prepared him for boot camp, with multiple trips to the track every day and lots of memorization. I even dug out my running shoes to encourage Darius to meet his required run time (this is love; I am not a runner).
Kansas City, MO
Going west again, we had a first: camping at an amusement park! For two weeks, Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, MO, constantly serenaded us with the sound of plunging roller coasters. Turns out, it was just as much fun as it sounded.
Other Kansas City highlights included:
- National World War I Museum
- Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que
- Genghis Khan Mongolian Grill
- Our scariest wind storm yet…in the middle of the night.
On Father’s Day weekend, Eric drove Darius back to Louisville because the moment had come: Darius left for bootcamp. So began nine weeks of nail-biting, letter-sending, and never being farther than a foot from our phones.
Colorado Is Calling
The next big family event for the year was my youngest brother’s wedding in Boulder, CO at the end of August. We wanted to be nearby, so we bounced around the Colorado Springs and Denver areas for two months, before heading south through Pueblo. It was awesome.
The mountains were spectacular. There was so much to do. We stayed at a couple of campgrounds we really loved.
Quick campground run-down:
- Colorado Springs: Peregrine Pines, at the Air Force Academy, got its name for a reason. The pine trees were brilliantly aromatic and we loved all the shade.
- Wheat Ridge (northwest of Denver): Prospect RV Park was older and the spaces were tight. But the owner is an absolute gem, the prices are really good for the area, and we loved the lakes and trails directly behind the park.
- Golden (northwest of Denver): We’re going to pass on Dakota Ridge in the future. There’s nothing wrong with the park, other than the fact that it’s overpriced for what you get. If we’re going to pay for location, we’d much rather stay at Clear Creek right down the road. Speaking of which…
- Golden (northwest of Denver): Clear Creek may be our favorite RV park ever, taking all things into consideration. Its a small city park with few amenities, but our site backed right onto the mountain stream. We went to sleep to the sound of running water, and woke up to the same. Every day on our walks, we were on main street in five minutes–with all its shops and sights.
As far as things to do and see, check out these articles:
From Colorado, we took an extended weekend trip to Yellowstone National Park. This may have been the highlight of my 2015.
Adobe, Hot Air Balloons and Isolation
It wasn’t easy to leave Colorado, but we ended up having a great time in New Mexico as we started heading south.
We stayed at Trailer Ranch in Sante Fe from mid-September to the beginning of October. The weather was perfect for a margarita at Bell Tower Bar on the rooftop of La Fonda on the Plaza. Eric also discovered a killer burrito at The Pantry. I had to talk him out of going back again the next day.
Another first for us: a full week of dry camping! We figured if we were going to try, we might as well do it at the first Xscapers Convergence, surrounded by friends who knew a lot more about dry camping than us. The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta was awesome–definitely something you want to see at least once in your life.
After a week of hardcore socializing, we moved to remote Brantley Lake State Park near Carlsbad. With a big grocery trip before we arrived, we actually stayed within the confines of the peaceful campground for an entire week without leaving! We ate a ton of meals outside at the grill, watching the sun descend over the lake. We also played a game on our daily walks: bunny counting!
We also took a day trip to Alamogordo, NM and White Sands National Monument.
Home for the Holidays
Back in Central Texas, we got our annual maintenance done at Iron Horse RV and stayed at all our favorite places, including Pecan Park. We also had to vacate our rig for a week, while Iron Horse put in wood laminate floors for us! I seriously did not recognize Meriwether when I stepped inside again.
We were in Austin for all of December, at McKinney Falls State Park (Eric’s favorite) and Pecan Grove near downtown (Brittany’s favorite). Following a huge family Christmas in Corpus Christi, TX with the kids, Eric’s mom, Brittany’s parents, her brothers and their wives, we started our 2016 Grand Loop Trip!
2015 was an amazing year. Thank you for accompanying us on our adventure.