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Published: August 1st 2018
Home, Questa, New Mexico
Yes, we made it home yesterday. We broke the 350-mile trip from my sister’s place to our place into two driving days this year. Mostly we did that because trying to park, level, and begin unpacking the trailer after driving a long day is just too exhausting. When that tired, you make a lot of mistakes and even simple things become very frustrating. So Monday we drove just 250 miles down, using Colorado highways, down to Lathrop State Park, just west of Walsenberg. Then we drove the last 100 miles home yesterday morning, arriving around 11:30. That gave us the rest of the day to get the trailer situated in its spot, and begin unpacking the trailer, especially the refrigerator and freezer.
The trip the last two days was really unremarkable. Lathrop is a very nice campground with views of the Spanish peaks. We actually spent our first night on this trip at that park, 102 days ago. Spring has turned into mid-summer, but otherwise the campground still looks the same. We ended up at a campsite just across the road from where we were earlier. Sort of just one more way that we are tying the circle together.
Arriving home was an emotional experience. Our adventure was terrific - one of our best trips ever, but there is definitely something special about getting back home. There is a comfort knowing that we are back where we are ‘supposed’ to be. The girls, too, are happy to be back home - they can go outside without a leash, and they have a whole much bigger place to play in. They each have their own bed again and don’t have to share space with each other, or with us. The girls seemed to recognize where they were about a mile away - their ears shot up and they started paying attention at the windows.
I don’t know if I was prepared for the worst just in case, but there was nothing wrong at the house. Although we left it completely unattended for over 14 weeks, all systems seem to be operating perfectly. The batteries were fully charged, the refrigerator stayed on the entire time and kept everything cold, the propane levels are exactly where I left them. The cisterns are overflowing, which means that we did get some rain while we were gone - quite a bit of it actually. I put in a cup of chlorine bleach to kill anything that might have gotten in there, but the water looks amazingly clean and ready to go. I’ll need to replace all the filters here soon, but I’m quite pleased with the water works. There’s a small film of dust on the inside surfaces, and I have a bumper crop of tumbleweeds to pull in the ‘yard’, but otherwise there are no signs the house was abandoned for so long. I like that. (It also proves that a solar home doesn’t need much maintenance at all, contrary to what some people believe.)
Now that the trip is over, I collected some numbers off the car computer and did some calculations. We drove a total of 8661 miles over 102 days. That makes Rendezvous our longest trip in time, but not mileage (Southern Charms was bigger by 500 miles. Still, an 8000 mile road trip is nothing to sneeze at. It is difficult to know exactly how much of that was towing the trailer but I think it would be at least 6000 miles. Basically, we drove an average of 85 miles per day, which is a slower pace than some of our previous trips - either we’re getting older, or we’re learning to take our time and enjoy the sights a bit more.
Average speed while driving was 37.1 mph, which seems a little high to me, but clearly indicates we spent most of our miles on the highway. Doing a bit of math, that means we spent about 233 hours driving on this trip, or 2.3 hours per day. Clearly, we spent some time in the car, but that is kind of what a road trip is all about, right?
The computer also tells me that we averaged 10.6 mpg on this trip. Obviously, that isn’t real good, but towing a trailer takes its toll. I can’t remember, and didn’t record, what it was on previous trips, but without any real mountains to tackle, I suspect it is better than most. Still, that means we consumed 817 gallons of gasoline on this trip. I haven’t tallied our costs yet, but I think we paid an average price of around $2.80 per gallon, so that would estimate our gasoline costs at $2288. Obviously, that isn’t a trivial amount, but it is spread over more than three months... Yes, I am concerned about the air pollution burning that much gasoline creates, but with the almost zero carbon footprint of my home, I still feel we beat the average. It is going to take me some time to add up all the expenses for this trip, so I’m not ready to publish the trip costs yet. But I’ll get to that at some point.
And I suspect I will have additional posts digesting what this trip meant. I still have more than a dozen books to finish and I’m sure that reading them will bring back memories and thoughts about our adventures. For now, though, Great Lakes Rendezvous is over. Now we start work seriously planning next year’s adventure - Alaska!
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