Published: June 10th 2007June 10th 2007
We Waltzed Matilda all around North America! Map outline (c) iStockphoto.com/Eugene Ilchenko.
"WALTZING MATILDA" TRIP STATISTICS • Spent 300 days on the road.
• Visited 41 states, 5 provinces.
• Spanned 20 degrees of latitude and 62 degrees of longitude.
• Put 26,225 miles on the odometer.
(Link to Wayfarer route map
with cities and states identified.) OUR VEHICLE
• Gas mileage: appr. 20 mpg.
• Estimated gallons of gas: 1,300—a 747 could fly only about 25 minutes on this much gas!
• Estimated amount spent on gas (average $3/gal., which included higher Canadian prices): $3,900.
• Number of oil changes: 8.
• Number of mechanic shops Matilda visited: 5 (in Blaine, Wash., Vancouver, B.C., Kansas City, Mo., Louisville, Ky., & Levis, Qc.).
• Parts that failed:
- Starter (twice),
- Engine water pump,
- Fresh water tank pump.
- Also, coolant expansion tank cracked, got one flat tire (from nail in New Orleans), and a short circuit to the sink faucet pump is still undiagnosed.
• Windshield rock chips: 1, near Laramie, Wyo., so close to the end of our trip!
• Complimentary AAA member tows we used for Matilda: 3, plus 2 tows for friends we were riding with who broke down! OUR HOSTS
Accommodations Pie Chart
Percentage of nights spent in various accommodations.
80 overnight host families.
• 32 of the families we had never met before:
- 6 we met on the trip and they invited us home.
- 6 we met through host-traveler websites (www.globalfreeloaders.com or www.hospitalityclub.org).
- 2 were family members of the hosts in the above category who lived down the road.
- 3 were relatives we’d never met.
- 15 were recommended friends of friends.
• 12 were relatives.
• 8 were college friends of Shelly’s.
• 5 were high school friends of Jeff’s.
• 7 had a direct connection to Port Townsend (former residents, friends or family of PT residents).
• And the rest fell into the broad category of friends or people we knew.
• Our longest stays were 11 nights with relatives in N.C. and 9 nights in Bay St. Louis, Miss.
• Most random host connections:
- Shelly’s third-grade teacher from Santa Cruz, Boliva;
- Friends of Shelly’s parents from their Peace Corps stint in Peru in the 1970s;
- Cross-country bicyclists who had befriended Shelly’s parents on their 2005 bike trip down the west coast;
- A flyrod enthusiast in Nova Scotia who had purchased rods online from Jeff’s dad. OUR ACCOMMODATIONS
• We slept in Matilda 70% of the time—including about half the nights we were hosted by families, because it was more convenient or there were no guest quarters.
• We camped 58 nights in official campgrounds, pulled off on the side of the road 12 nights (mostly in the Canadian Maritimes), and spent 8 nights in Wal-Mart parking lots.
• Only 5 nights did we pay to sleep indoors, and with a coupon and a gift certificate, we spent a grand total of $175! OUR BLOG
• Number of subscribers (alerted by email to new posts): 239.
• Average number of page views per blog entry: 350 (most popular Fourth of July entry had 597 page views as of Spring 2007).
• Number of comments made by readers: 64. (Fun to read! Click "View All Comments" icon at bottom of entry.)
• Total number of travel photos posted: 754. MISCELLANEOUS
• 45: # of inches Matilda’s fold-down bed measures at its narrowest point across (only 6 inches wider than a twin-sized mattress!).
• 7: # of pillows we packed—well worth the space they took up.
• 25: # of books on tape we
The "Corners" of Our Continent
The northwesternmost, southwesternmost, southeasternmost and northeasternmost cities we reached.
• 18: # of music CDs acquired of regional music or favorite artists heard performing.
• 1: # of times we performed our music with a microphone (at the Rogersville (Tenn.) Music Jamboree).
• 5: # of church services attended (5 different denominations).
• 2: # of times we were asked for pot—by a teenaged male in Weir Beach, NH, and by an old man in Sioux City, Iowa (they saw the hippie van!).
• 85: # of bags of tortilla chips consumed.
• 1: # of gallons in our “portable holding tank” (a 1-gallon ice cream bucket!).
• 0: # of rolls of film shot (trick question).
• 10,000: # of digital pictures saved (appr. 50% more were shot).
• Shelly’s couldn’t-live-without item: hot-water bottle for cold feet at night.
• Jeff’s, ditto: egg-crate foam mattress for Matilda’s bed.
• Best bargains:
- Two all-day hot springs passes ($8 total) to the Desert Hot Springs Spa near Palm Springs, Calif.;
- $1 CDN fruit tarts at the Kingston, Ont., farmers market;
- 10 books on tape for $10 at a library sale in Rogersville, Tenn.
• Most important item that was left behind (but fortunately returned
Visited US States
Traveled through 41 of the Lower 48 states. No, visiting all 48 was NOT a goal!
a week later, via U.S. post): Shelly’s bathroom kit, in a campground bathroom in Andersonville, Ga. Thank goodness we had the campground host’s number in our cell phone call list!
• Close second, ditto: our point-and-shoot camera, left in the pocket of a coat Jeff borrowed in Billings, Mont. (also returned).
• Should have brought: camera tripod & French phrasebook for travels in Quebec.
PRICELESS & INNUMERABLE: All the memories.
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