Thursday, October 28, 2010

2010-36 Work Camping, Cottonwood Arizona

Cottonwood AZ
Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Lagoons at Dead Horse Ranch State Park

This month has flown by so quickly.  As you may remember, I have been work camping at Dead Horse Ranch State Park here in Cottonwood.  I’ve been working in Quail Loop which has 45 campsites, mostly electric and many pull thru’s.  Because our camp loop has the most shade trees, most campers try to get into our loop and it’s been full many weekends and continues to be filled throughout the week as well.

Fred and Jo are fellow work campers in my loop and this is their first time to work camp here at Dead Horse.  They’re from Wisconsin and had never gone camping before.  Having lived in town in a condo.  One day they got a bug up their butt and decided to chuck the ole work a day world.  Did some research on the Rv lifestyle and before you knew it, they were out on the open road.  We also have Jerry (a pretty little gal) who’s also in our circle and is work camping in a small Casita camper.  She’s divorced from Bob who has been work camping here for years.  They remain friends and I often see them sitting outside enjoying the cool evenings.

cutting wood, one of our Camp Host duties

Eric our Ranger who’s in charge of all of us work campers (and does a darn good job of it) has gotten married this past year, has a new baby boy who I like to call Little Eric.

It’s nice to be around all the other work campers, giving back to the community and enjoying friends I’ve met over the past couple of years in the area.

John Hoopes, a friend from the area and I went to Scottsdale last week to see Taliesin West.  Frank Lloyd Wrights  winter home and architecture school.  We took the 90 minute tour which included his personal rooms, large expansive angled ceilings, originally just large beams and canvas.  (They had no idea wha the winters would be like in Scottsdale Az.)  Compact bedrooms, his and hers as it was common to sleep separately back then.  Huge walk in fireplaces, even in the bedrooms.  A dynamic, demanding, inventive, creative person who lived his life exactly the way he saw it.  Never compromising.  Not always an easy person to get along with as many of his clients would testify.  But can you imagine what a joy it must be to live ones life  fully to the beat of your own drum… never getting out of step.

Taliesin West, Frank L Wright 

I’ve gone up to Jerome a few times, the most active ghost town that was once a mining town clinging to the side of a mountain.  Now filled with artsy shops and hippies from the 70’s that found the place and have claimed it as their own.  The winding cliff hanger road leading to the town will get your heart pumping real good.  If that doesn’t work, a good walk along the winding roads and sidewalks along the three main levels of town will work up a good appetite.

Jerome, Az
In a few days I’ll be heading out to tour Lake Havasu, Quartzite, Park dam, Yuma, Organ Pipe and a few other places on my way to Tucson for the winter.  So you can expect one more report as I sneak in one more adventure before settling in for the winter.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Travel Costs for the 2010 Season

For all of my traveling readers or future travelers, I thought I'd once again provide a few basic cost expenses as I traveled along the byways and highways this past season.  I traveled over 7,700 miles as you can see by the map.  I started in March and ended on Oct 1st.

click on picture to enlarge
Note: sorry the table does not come out correctly in this Blog.... oh well.


        DAILY             Monthly         Monthly                       Other
                Avg          CAMPSITE       FUEL                        EXPENSES, 

April   $15.24           $457.17        $263.56
May  $20.99           $629.82        $231.32
June              $16.40            $492.11        $389.46                 $180.61
July               $21.19 $635.65        $336.46
August $23.98            $719.34        $430.38 $1,574.14
Sept             $12.48            $374.45        $724.58                  $268.05
October      $0.00                $0.00 TBD                     TBD

One of the things I usually try to do is use my half price camp club sites to lower the cost of my monthly overall camping fees.  As you can see that only worked for about half of the months, as any that averaged over $20, I was either unable to use Passport America or just found myself in areas that I stayed for longer periods of time at a higher camping rate.  The other camping discount club Recreation USA was a disappointment this year, as many of the campsites I tried to get into, no longer recognized Rec USA or had never heard of them.  Forcing me to pay a higher price than planned.   I will probably not renew my membership with them.

It should also be noted that many State parks have upped their camping fees to $25 a night.  Dead Horse Ranch State Park, where I'm currently a camp host, just raised it's rates to $25 a night as of Oct 1st.  This of course puts quite a damper on all of us full-timers and will in my case restrict some of the places I would like to camp.

Fortunately, as of this coming July 2011, I'll be able to purchase the National Park Pass which not only get me into National Parks, Forests, BLM land for free, any campgrounds in those parks will be half off.  I'm really looking forward to that.

Looking at the fuel expenses, you'll notice that they stayed in the $250 to $400 range most of the season.  That is because I traveled shorter distances and stayed longer at each site.  My last month on the road, I traveled across the Northern tier states on my way to AZ to do some camp host work.  By traveling such long distances in one month, the fuel bill jumped to $724.  Showing ones fuel expenses can sky rocket when traveling long distances, that and the cost of diesel fuel also jumped in Sept.  I was able to offset the cost of fuel in Sept by reducing the camp site fees to almost half what I would normally spend.  Wal-mart parking and a few discount campsites really helped out there.

the only other expenses were those out of the ordinary expenses for things like Insurance, tires, repairs along the way.  One has to budget for those expenses, so that when they come along, they aren't devastating.  I always put money aside for those unexpected expenses so that when they occur, I know I can afford it without any worry.

I hope that helps all you campers and wanna be campers get an idea of travel expenses.

Looking back